Saturday, November 24, 2012

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal - Round 14 - The Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay

I always liked this track.  I don't know yet if it really has any soul to speak of.  Unfortunately I think there is some sort of spirit transference that needs to happen before a track "comes alive".  I really don't want to see that happen but there aren't many new courses that have a personality.  Shanghai might and I'm hoping Austin does but we'll see. 

The good about watching Singapore is the spectacle, more pit stops, and the inherent danger/excitement of a street circuit.

The bad is that this race is long.  Very long.  Often running past the 2 hour race time limit.  That in itself isn't so bad but at times it can feel long.

It's a street circuit, which means they take a regular city, go crazy and build a track in it.

Racing at night.  If you've never seen any racing at night you really should.  All kinds of flames and sparks and glowing things as we see the Second Law of Thermodynamics come into play.

There's been a safety car in every single running of the Singapore Grand Prix.   Will there be another?

Still very late but we're trying to catch up.  I'm digging that the Super Softs are being used here.  I don't think we have enough of those.  If it's a team sport, then make the teams bear even a larger piece of the real-time element of the victories. 

Singapore has never had a race without a safety car.  It's not an easy race.

Favorite Track Feature
Calling the "night" part of this event, my favorite track feature is admittedly a bit of a stretch but it makes the whole race just more entertaining.  The cars look so glossy and smooth.  They look like glass and it's awesome in HD.  The Lotus looks great, the McLaren looks as cool as it could and even the Mercedes starts to look like they actually finished the livery for once.
Runner up is the Singapore Flyer.  It is cool to see that thing flying around in the background and it makes it easy for the F1 game to seem more realistic.

If there is a downside here it is that the super-slow motion is fast enough to catch the lights cycling and it looks kinda strange if you don't know what it is.   Well, it looks kinda strange either way.

Favorite Easter Egg
Vettel's sparkly LED helmet.  I know a lot of you think its retarded.  I'm telling you, if I was a two time champion and way behind in the championship, why not do cool stuff that you like?  The whole point of doing what they do is that they love it.  Do it all, brother, do it all.

An odd session.  Vettel goes out on SuperSofts and gets a great time.  RedBull says, hey, stay out just in case.  There's still time for people to get a good lap in.  So he stays out gets still great times, and then all kinds of people put on the SuperSofts and start dropping 2+ seconds off their laps.  Ferrari keeps Massa in and he almost pays for it by not making it to the next session.   Crazy cats those Ferrari boys.
Q1 was cool for the sudden performance boost from the SuperSofts.  It was cool to see.   People are going to  have to save those for the race. 

Q2 A bummer for me as I continually miss Ayrton Senna so much that I am desperate for a glimpse of his greatness to show up in his nephew.   To be fair to Bruno, he is an F1 driver with the license and everything.  He hits the wall coming out of a corner and ruins his session. 

Q3 Everyone waits until 3 minutes are left.  Well, everyone except Hamilton, Button, and Vettel.  Rossberg doesn't bother to come out and Grosjean drives like a maniac but loses time.   Hamilton and Maldonado on the front.  Let's see what happens.

This should be good.

The Race
Seems like forever to get everyone in place and the cars up front are feeling the heat.

Lights come on and then the lights go out.  Hamilton keeps his place.  Vettel and Button both pass Maldenado and regular readers may accurately ascertain, this is a good time for me.  It turns out this is just the start of the party.

Massa gets a tire puncture and has to come in.  Poor Massa. 

Now while I feel jaded/sympathetic about Massa, I have no such diminished loathing for Hamilton and so joy was to be found when his transmission let go.  These transmissions need to make nearly five-thousand gear changes during a race in less time than it takes to say "gear" so it's a surprise they don't blow up all the time.

Life gets even better when socialist-hypocrite Maldonado finds himself a victim of the FIA trying to equalize the playing field.  It is nearly ironic.

It was nice to see Vettel win again and the stress on Adrian Newey was intense and obvious.  The magic helmet lights worked.  Alonso does what Alonso does and gets yet another podium.

Favorite Quote
From my 2 year old when Felipe Massa has to come in after one lap to get new tires. In the most dismissive assessment of Massa's fate... "Oh Massa..."

Favorite Moment
Normally this would be Massa not making it out of Q3. But you know what? I'm starting to feel kinda sorry for the guy. Don't get me wrong. I will never be a fan but since he's recently stopped whining and been focusing on racing, I've found him much less annoying. Perhaps it was that whining that he needed to focus properly. Maybe Luca Montezemolo has his family tied up in a basement somewhere. I don't know. He's just not his normal sucky but claiming its not his fault self. I suppose I miss it.
I'm going with Vettel, overcome with emotion at this victory that clearly meant a great deal to him.

Next up Japan.  Another wheel and some classic gravel traps.  Driver rumors abound. See you there.

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