Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dull ... that is all

Dull dull dull dull dull  .. no really that was dull in an absolutely and totally “this is the very definition of the word dull” dull race.

I watched a bit of the practice session and established that;

  • A.  The track looks like a big car park for most of the circuit
  • B.  There was hardly any grandstands or vantage points for the spectators so it looked like an empty car park for most of the race/practice.
  • C.  It’s a dull track.
You are not here to enjoy yourself comrade !!!

So I didn’t see qualifying and Hamilton still got pole.

I watch the race and that is two hours of my life I’ll never get back. The only highlight was Rosberg locking up his brakes into turn 1 and robbing us of any actual racing. Then, rather than watch him drive back through the field in an exciting “I have the best car of the grid hear me roar” type entertainment, we watched cars follow each other around for the afore mentioned two hours.

If you watched it too and didn’t fall asleep, congratulations, It wasn’t even interesting in a “will his tyres last?” because everyone else was running out of Go juice and couldn’t race anyway.
Turn three looked just about alright, but I won’t be counting down the days till the next Russian GP, I can assure you that.

Hamilton won at a canter and only had to avoid Nico running out of talent to extent his lead in the championship. To be fair he looked like he had this place nailed form the moment FP1 started. It’s exactly the sort of track he thrives on and he didn't fail to deliver. The win pretty much sealed the constructors’ championship for Mercedes with three races to go and you have to say they fully deserved it. Redbull pushed them at times but really it was Mercs to lose really.

Nico’s second was more a demonstration of just how good the 2014 F1 Mercedes car is than his skill, he didn’t break a sweat coming from the back of the field to the podium, the car just looked awesome. Shame we didn’t see any of it on the TV, it was the only thing of interest if you had the timing and scoring app going.

Bottas was third, he almost got pole apparently, He followed Hamilton for most of the race and tried to pretend he was racing for second with Nico at the end. All he did was confirm the Williams is fast in a straight line.

Button was forth and might have got a podium with a bit more luck. He’s another driver trying to demonstrate at the end of the year how much better he should have been at the start of the year. The feeling is he might have done enough too.

Magnussen was fifth with another plucky run, I think he’s done enough to justify another year with McLaren, he’s had a few duff races but in the main he’s been feisty and gone out there to get points.

Alonso is dying the slow death of a thousand rumours. This week, he’s going to buy half of the Lotus team with a fat wad of Spanish sponsors money and be a team manager come driver. Because that always works out for the best, doesn’t it Mr Prost. I think driver and team are just counting down the days till they can walk away from each other now.

Ricciardo was seventh on a day when Renault’s lack of straight line speed was shown up in all its glory. Being stuck behind Vettel for half the race didn’t help either.  

Vettel working out his notice, was eighth

Kimi was ninth on the way to picking up his pay cheque

And Perez was tenth was a petrol tank dangerously close to empty I suspect. He was getting calls to save petrol from about the half way point. Which always makes for exciting wheel to wheel action doesn’t it.

Okay so Ericsson was last as Max and the Marussia boys didn't look like they really wanted to be there this weekend, a perfectly understandable attitude given the situation I thought.
And Bottas got the fastest lap on the last hurrah for him.

Okay, well not the most exciting of races, but after the distress of Suzuka, it was probably what the sport needed. There were no dramas, no worrying moments and all the drivers that started walked away at the end.  We have a three week break now as the team’s head off to America, let’s hope we have some good news from Japan and Alonso finally tells us where he is going next year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Putin on the Ritz .. Russian GP preview

Hello all you lovely people that read this nonsense, it’s because of you I have to drag myself to the keyboard time and again, not that many of you ever give me any feedback! This is a blog you know, there’s a comments box down there for a reason. Come on, my ego needs a boast if nothing else, tell me what you like, don’t tell me about the rubbish bits, I don’t need that kind of pressure.

Right yeah, anyway motor racing, that’s why we’re here.

I’m not going to talk about Jules Bianchi too much. There is a video out there that if you are particularly voyeuristic, which shows the crash and I have no intentions of viewing it myself. By all accounts it’s pretty grim watching. There are also pictures of the aftermath, the top of the car is missing and most of the left hand side is a mess, the general consensus being the likeable French lad is lucky to be alive.

The Bianchi family released a statement today, Jules suffered “A diffuse axonal injury” when the two halves of the brain are pulled apart in the accident, causing tares in the soft tissue. This is very common in side impact collisions and the most common cause of death in road traffic accidents. Those side impact air bags that manufactures go on about on your car, well they’re there to stop these injuries. They try to stop your brain sloshing around inside your skull by slowing down the impact with the window/door pillar. I imagine at 200 kmp/h or whatever speed poor Jules hit the tractor, he didn’t stand much chance. 90% of the time victims just don’t wake up after unconsciousness, those that do are usually permanently damaged. It’s about the worst accident you can have.

As to what happens next, I have my thoughts as does every other fan and pundit with access to the social media world. And I think it’s maybe best to wait to see what the FIA have to say about the accident before wringing the hands and demanding this and that immediate action. There’s opinion out there to agree or disagree with as you feel.

One final thing, a closed cockpit probably wouldn’t have made any difference here, he hit the tractor at over a 100 mph sideways. It was that sideways impact that did the damage.

Shall we move on then? What about Vettel then! He’s proper shafted Alonso hasn’t he ho ho! There was Fernando stringing Ferrari, McLaren and the worlds media along, “ I haze not made a decision por favor, I love a thez Ferrari and I want to ay win ay again with ay them, gracias”.

Ferrari had apparently released the grumpy Spaniard from his contract (read: got sick and tired of having Alonso messing them around for week after week so fired his sorry ass) and told Vettel that if he was going to come to Ferrari then this was his last chance, a well beaten ex world champion was no good to them, they already had one of those. Sometime between the Singapore race and the start for the Japanese weekend Vettel confirmed he’d join them.

Then Vettel calls up his boss Horner on the Friday night before the Japanese GP and calmly announces he’s had enough of being beaten by Danny and being made to look petulant and ordinary, so he’s off.

Redbull immediately call a press conference for Saturday morning to tell the worlds media that Sebastian is off to Ferrari and they’ve promoted Kvyat to the A team! The Russian looks a bit bemused but happy, Vergne can be seen visibly spitting blood in the background and quite rightly points out he’s been the bread winner at Torro Rosso so far this year. All too late of course the deal has been done and no one knows who he is or what the strange angry man is doing in a Torro Rosso team shirt.

Ferrari caught rather on the hop, not expecting Vettel to tell his team the news for a few weeks or Redbull to announce Ferrari’s new driver line for them, denied EVERYTHING. Alonso smiled awkwardly and said, “errrr” a lot whilst Kimi wondered if he could get an ice cream.

Pretty much everyone has their money on Button getting his marching order so Alonso can slot in beside Kev at McLaren Honda. The crazy money (and this would be mine) puts Alonso in an LMP1 car next year, either with Porsche and his good mate Webber. Because Porsche ARE going to win Le Mans next year and if Alonso wants to do it then now is the ideal time to pick up an easy ride. OR and this is very left field, with Nissan and their absolutely brand spanking new LMP1 program. It’s a long shot but he has ties with Nissan through the Renault connection. The Japanese manufacturer has been making lots of noise since they announced they were going to go back to Le Mans about getting the best F1 drivers on board from the off. Who better than the driver universally considered the best of the current generation? Unlikely, but if that does happen you all owe me a pint. Cheers.

How will Vettel do at Ferrari? … Well let’s put it this way, Alonso, head and shoulders the best driver out there, couldn’t drag this pony to the championship winning line for the last four years. Do you think Vettel will do a better job than the Spaniard? Because I don’t think he will.

“But what about his mentor Schumacher?” you all cry, “He took a rubbish Ferrari back to the top table and dominated for 5 years !!?!?!?!”!”?!”!!!””!£!”£!”

Pish and indeed tish to your “Schumacher did it” nonsense. They had a dream team join at about the same time and a driver that could develop a car and who was prepared to win by any means. Vettel is inheriting a team that’s just lost its well respected manager for a used car salesman, and Fiat have effectively fired Monty for being a nut ball. They don’t have a plan, there’s no grand vision and super squad of engineers and brains to drive the thing to the championship. Vettel is the last roll of the dice for a desperate board scrabbling around for a miracle. Yeah he had to go somewhere, but the Tifosi will crucify him when he doesn’t deliver, they only barely tolerated Mickey in his heyday. Vettels a spent force, or at the very best soiled goods.  

He’ll turn out to have a renaissance now as Ferrari build their best ever car in 2015, just to spite me the jammy buggers.

Okay enough with the Vettel hate.  Good luck to him, a driver is only as good as his last race and the cocky git won four championships by fair means or foul. He still had to actually do the driving after all. And Ferrari is still the biggest thing in F1, any driver worth his fire proof overalls would jump at the chance to drive for them.

So it’s Russia and the brand new Sochi circuit. You remember Valencia, yeah, how utterly awful it was? The highlight of the part time dockyard circuit being the old fish market, how the beaches were full next door as the stands were empty?

Well this place looks just as awful except we have the whiff of power and corruption stinking up the show. Why the FIA have allowed this one to happen is entirely explained by money.
There is no reason on earth to come here, especially as the rest of Europe is currently piling on economic sanctions as Russia continues to invade Eastern Ukraine.  Oh but sport and politics should never be mixed blah blah blah.. bollocks to that!
There’s a clause in the FIA charter somewhere about no event to be used for political purposes by the host country.  I guarantee you this weekend will see a lot of Russian military might being paraded around for “security issues”. And no doubt Putin will be on the podium or visit the pits to congratulate the boy Kvyat on his new promotion. With lots of pictures of happy flag waving locals smiling at the Russian Premier, if he turns up to the Marussia pits with a wreath I'm turning it off straight away.

NO ..... Bernard, Kvyat will win and my tanks will come second. Do you understand ?

It is, I'm afraid, going to be another sordid chapter in the FIA history book of shame.

Still there’s a race for a championship on so let’s at least focus on that shall we.  Hamilton’s win in Japan was clearly overshadowed by events, but it now means he’s leading Rosberg by 10 points. I’ve seen the track layout and watch the simulator trip of this Tilke track and there is nothing of any real note about it. Its round the Olympic park last seen this winter, so at least its new and sparkly. But really it just looks like yet another industrial/techno park somewhere in central Europe. It’s a “road” course like Valencia was and Canada is. So sort of purpose built but temporary.

Mercedes had a big upgrade in Japan and were two seconds ahead of everyone else again, so one of them is going to win (unless Putin rolls the tanks in a Kvyat is declared the winner of course).    As for the rest, well your guess is as good as mine, I don’t know how the circuit will pan out, though there word is it’s going to be heavy on the brakes. High speed and long, Possible Williams do well and McLaren to improve. The Redbulls were fast in Japan, but only because they went for a really wet set up.

It’s going to be down to adaptability and the drivers that can read the feel of the car as the track evolves.

Time to dust off that looking glass and prepare to make your predictions. .. Good luck.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Japanese GP

Ok, At the time of writing this, Jules Bianchi is in hospital undergoing emergency surgery after colliding with a recovery vehicle. The tractor had come on to remove Sutils car from the barrier on the outside of the Dunlop curve. It’s a fast uphill left hand corner that goes on and on, the exit is blind and even in the dry pretty tricky.  
The reports are that as the tractor was lifting Sutils car back behind the tyre wall, Bianchi lost control, spinning the car under the rear of the tractor, which suggest there was no impact structure to bear the brunt of the crash, the first thing to hit was probably Jules’s head. I don’t even want to imagine what that must have done.  

It’s never easy to know what to write in these circumstances, I'm old enough to remember the years when you could expect at least one driver to be lost due to an accident on or off the track, it was almost expected. But the 80’s saw the introduction of more and more safety features for the cars, drivers and the tracks. Accidents because less frequent and we though the bad days were gone. Then Senna died and the safety efforts we increased again, some said to the detriment to the sport that things were being sanitised and the danger was missing. But then Kubica crashed horrifically at high speed in Canada, the car disintegrating down the wall in a shower of carbon fibre and engine bits. Amazingly Kubica all but walked away and everyone congratulated the rule makers for making things safe again. Lessons seemed to have been learnt.
But it seems as though whatever the rule makers do, the drivers head is always going to be vulnerable, Massa was lucky to be alive after hitting a spring that had fallen of Barrichello’s Brawn during qualifying in Hungary in 2009. Tethers were introduced to stop stray wheels bouncing around the open cockpits. Higher sides with deformable crash structure padding were added to stop heads bouncing from side to side and HANS devices made mandatory to stop heads being slammed into the steering wheels.
It looks like Jules was just in the wrong place at the wrong time; I just hope he will be return to F1

So there was a race, Hamilton survived his own crash on Saturday morning but couldn’t beat his team mate to pole in the dry.
The race on Sunday started in the wet behind a safety car, we got 2 laps before they brought everyone in to wait for the rain to stop. When they restarted behind the safety car half an hour later we got a hatful of laps as the track dried before the racing started.
Rosberg scampered off, but burnt his tyres out as Lewis pegged him back and passed with ease and then never looked back.  Button looked like he could get a podium, but the Redbulls with their wet set up were able to haul him in a Vettel got to follow the Merc boys for a change.

Then Sutil lost it and Bianchi followed a lap later, this brought out the safety car and eventually the red flag as the extent of Bianchi accident became clear.  As the cars parked up and the drivers were told of the reason why, no one wanted to celebrate the race. They were wet, cold and one of their own was being rushed to hospital. Some things are more important than champagne and points.

Hamilton wins and made it look effortless

Rosberg was second and was well beaten

Vettel was third after Redbull set the car up for a very wet race. – I’ll talk about his move to Ferrari later.

Ricciardo was fourth and unlucky, he pitted for new tyres just before the safety car and lost his place to Vettel when they counted back one lap.

Button fifth always goes well in changeable conditions. He made Riccy work his points with a feisty drive.

Bottas was sixth and was clearly struggling with a Willimas lacking downforce.
Massa was seventh and had the same problem as Bottas

Hulkenberg is classified eighth even though he’s stopped at pit exit. I think he was in the pit box when they took the lap before the red flag so get to keep his finish.

Vergne irate in ninth with his team for promoting Kvyat to the A team when he’s got more points than the Russian and out qualified him.

Perez was tenth.

Kobayashi was the last  driver to finish.

Sorry it’s a bit short and sombre this week, I’ll talk about Alonso’s future, Vettels move to Ferrari and Kvyats promotion next week, for now let’s just hope Bianchi is going to be alright. The FIA just put out a press release to say;

“Suzuka, October 5th
- On lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of Turn 7. The marshals displayed double waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was despatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guardrail. While this was being done the driver of car 17, Jules Bianchi, lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.
Once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were despatched and the Safety Car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and an ambulance.
The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital.
The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.

Mie General Hospital will issue an update as soon as further information becomes available.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Scarpper lads it's the rozzers !!!

Just when it looked like things couldn't get much worse for the caterham boys and girls, it appears the law has turned up and started asking awkward question of the accounts department.

What this means to team in Japan is anyone's guess, but given it looks like HMRC have got involved I don't think you should be banking on any actual caterham points this weekend.

The team has issued a swift denial of any problems with the law, but not through their official website, only via twitter. So the race is on then between Sauber and Caterham, who will go to the wall first ? 

130R .. It's proper scary !

Right, we’re back to struggling though an alcoholic haze to get up really early or pulling an all nighter, depending on how much red wine you have on Saturday night.  But it’s all worth it, well the first one is … because this is a big hairy chested manly circuit that likes to strut around with its pecks thrust out daring ne’er do wells to “have at it”.  

Suzuka is one of those circuits that likes to separate the talent from the money. Its fast, narrow and rewards drivers that like to go and attack the tarmac, cocking around being dangerous is a guaranteed trip to the wall. Respect the black stuff as you thrash the car for its impertinent remarks about matrons risqué hemline.
Japan is worth the trouble to get up early to watch, you can imagine the likes of Surtees, Lauda and Hunt thundering around the place in cars that regularly killed their drivers. In places there is little or no run off, no sop to the digital generation that must have their mistakes caressed and kissed away. If you go off line you go into the wall hard. The circuit sweeps and dives around the hill in a figure of eight until the cars reach the end of the lap and the fearsome 130R. There are so many sanitised corners around the worlds tracks now, no real sense of danger to them, in today’s digital cars a driver merely has to turn the wheel and let the electronics do the rest.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m an engineer and  I’m constantly in awe of a. the minds that created these technical marvels, and b. The modern drivers that can adjust brake bias, change the engine mapping programme, adjust their entry and exit speed of any given corner to save fuel and still avoid Maldonado spinning across their past at 180mph. Even Max is a better driver than we mere mortals, for some of you changing the  radio station and driving in a straight line can prove ‘challenging’ after all.

But Suzuka and its 130R, sorts the committed drivers from those that can shake hands and smile at suits really, really well. The driver approaches the corner though a tunnel of concrete and catch fencing as the speed builds to an eye watering 310km/h, the entry is blind the over the brow of a hill, a twitch of the computer console in the drivers hands flicks the car left. The really committed, the special few that are tilting for a pole lap, grab a lung full of air  before the lateral load builds to 6G and breathing is impossible for a split second. Driver and car flash under the gantry above the exit of the corner, before it’s all over and the left foot stamps on the anchors to get the car slowed for the turn in to the hairpin.  It’s a corner that demands respect and the driver to have total faith in the carbon fibre and metal machine under him.  

This  .. this is what it’s all about. This is why you wake up and watch it all live.

So then what’s been happening around the circus.

Well the frothing about Alonso’s future continues. With claim and counter claim being fired at the internet by  every hack with a laptop and some time to kill. McLaren Honda, stay with Ferrari, off to Porsche and a Le Mans drive etc etc. Who knows, I not sure Fernando knows to be honest.

Button has been jumping up and down at the back of the room with his hand in the air telling everyone that “Sir, sir .. please sir, Honda needs an experienced man that knows Honda and McLaren .. just like me in fact sir”. For all the world giving the impression he wants to stay for another year!

 Meanwhile Honda have released a few picture of what their new engine will look like before its slipped into the soft pouting confines of a McLaren MCP-dodarr-12-F-43-GB-JP-FAX F1 car.

Guten tag boys ..eeerrr I mean Konnichiwa  

 And if I didn’t know better I’d say it has more than a passing resemblance to the very successful Mercedes engine. Intercooler at the front, turbo at the rear. So maybe a year on the side lines has paid off after all, though the idea they have only now decided on the design and hasn’t even been built yet, is quite frankly laughable. They’ll have had half a dozen version run into the ground before the press got to see this one.  Still we shall see how it goes, which is expected to be the young drivers test at the end of the season in Dubai.

Also of note this weekend, the news that young Verstappen will get his big debut this weekend in Fridays free practice one. Lots of people will tell you he’s too young, other that he’s got the skills to pay the bills. He’s certainly got the cash to buy his Torro Rosso seat so let’s see how the youngest ever F1 driver copes with whole piranha pit shall we. Do you remember when you we 17 ? All I thought about back then was the contents of Juliet Browns cardigan and where I could get some cheap cider from. Which might explain why I’m writing this from an office in Yateley and not the Ferrari hospitality suit. Ho hum. Anyway .. good luck to him, there’s plenty of time to be rude about him next year.  

Over in Sauber land things look like they’re about to reach crunch time. Simona De Silvestro, the next lady to get a pop at an F1 drive and who some consider to be on a par with the mid field boys at least. Was supposed to be getting a seat in the car next year, but it looks like the Sauber boys were asking just too much money. Contract negotiations have broken down, much like the car this year, apparently the problem is on her side and I suspect she’s been outbid for next year’s car. Given how well Sutil has gone this year, that might not be a bad result for her career anyway.

Okay enough, the race is on at some ungodly hour of the morning, If you have Sky and motors TV then this weekend also see the final American Le mans series race at Road Atlanta on Saturday night.  (I know its TUSCC now but most of these people will have no idea what that means, pipe down at the back). Endurance racing at its not quite best, it’s worth watching if you want to hear big grunty V8 and Ferrari V12 being ragged through the American countryside.

Done forget to update your predictions … yes some of you really do need to .. and good luck.     

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What a race that was !!!!

What a race!
Alright, maybe not such a great race if you’re a Rosberg fan, but for the neutrals and the Hamilton fans that was a belter. For Formula one it was a great result too, it means the last five races are going to mean something, neither of the Merc boys has their hands on that trophy yet. It’s all going to come down to that double pointer in Abu Dhabi isn’t it? And you never know, Danny is still here, stranger things have happened before.   
So Lewis got pole by the slimmest of margins from Nico; 0.007 seconds at 200 mph is about the width of Bernie wallet after he’s been to visit his mate in Germany. But that wasn’t the whole story of qualifying, Ferrari had rolled up to Singapore with one less El Presidente and a new found purpose. Kimi especially looked like a new man with a very real danger of actually starting the race on the front row until an engine glitch robbed him of a second run.
Alonso took a swing at it but just wasn’t as fast as his team mate and ended up behind the two Redbulls. Riccy just edging a rejuvenated Vettel to third and fourth, the German looked disappointed but had the good grace to say he was impressed with Ricciardo.  In fact Vettel looked a lot more chipper all weekend long, seeming to suit the track, he was up around the sharp end all weekend.

Come race day and suddenly as the Merc boys fired up Nico’s car, there was a lot of worried looks and then panicking.  As Rosberg pulled the clutch lever in and make his way to the start line, nothing happened. Ctrl Alt-Del .... pull the lever again, nothing, just a bit fat N on the LCD display. Okay try a new steering wheel and reset the system again.  Success, with minutes to spare he’s out the pits and through the pit lane before it closes. He makes it to the grid where the engineers pounce on it and try to figure out the problem. Queue much frantic gesticulating and bodies diving head first into the cockpit to tweak connectors, check fuses and flip switches. There was much shaking of heads and worried looks.
As the other teams engineers cleared the grid for the parade lap, over the radio Nico is told it’s an intermittent problem and importantly they don’t have a handle on what the route cause is.  As Charlie waves Lewis off to start the parade lap, Nico is stuck on the grid cars streaming past him as he tries in vain to find a gear.  As the last car heads off to warm its tyres and brakes up, the Merc boys push the stricken car into the pit lane to reset the system yet again and try a third steering wheel.

Meanwhile Lewis pulls up to the line for the start of the race, his run to the first corner unchallenged. The lights go out and off he goes, never to be seen by the chasing pack again he hopes.  Vettel jumps Riccy off the line and whilst they’re squabble over the same piece of tarmac, Alonso jumps them both, but misses the brake point for the first corner and takes to the run off. He just about avoids the Armco and gives back second to Vettel a few corners later.  And then we settle down to wait for things to happen.
At the back of the field, Nico has left the pits to join the race but is stuck behind Max of all people. This is a Merc remember, the cream of 2014 there is no better car in the race. Surely it’s just going to be a matter of corners before he’s past, but no, for lap after lap he was stuck behind a car that looked as though it was just faith keeping it on the road. You don’t often get to see Max at work all the way back there, slogging around for nothing week after week. And now you could see just what he had to work with. I’ve seen a half set wet jelly stick to a plate better than that car to the road, some of it may have been Max just being inept, but really, that car looks like a real handful even in the slow stuff. I have a new found respect for Max now, that car is awful.
Anyway. From the onboard, you could see Rosberg fighting a car that didn’t want to change gear when he wanted it too, kept going from third to fifth by itself. The DRS wasn’t opening on request and the Lights to tell him when to change up and down didn’t appear to bear any resemblance to the engine note I could hear. In short, it was like a Scottish ‘yes’ vote, all inevitably in vain. By the time he got to the pits stops, he couldn’t get the thing into neutral, so had to stall it coming in to the box. They gave him yet another steering wheel, but he still couldn’t find a gearbox to control and they called it a day. Having apologised to the team for being a cock in Spa, this time it was Toto’s turn to apologise to Nico for not being able to fix his car.

Meanwhile Lewis kept on going and kept on leading, Vettel had given us the impression that he was racing for the lead, but Hamilton was never in any real trouble. That is, until Sutil forgot to look in his mirrors and ran over Perez’s front wing. Normally a marshal would run on at this point, grab the bit left on the road and start checking ebay for prices as he ran back. But this wing broke free of the Force India’s nose before exploding in a shower of carbon fibre under the car.  Out came the safety car and suddenly Lewis had a problem.
He still needed to change to the harder compound tyre, but the safety car was too early to comfortable finish the race on one more set of tyres. And as others had already changed to the hard set, he would end up down in 10th places with little hope of getting past cars on similar rubber.  So he had to stay out on super soft rubber and rebuild his lead.
He had 20 odd laps, half a tank of gas, 0.8 seconds head start and he needed to be 30 seconds up the road to keep his lead when he stopped next. As the rest of the teams told their drivers they were going to stay out and not stop again, Lewis was told to spank it like it had been caught stealing from matrons handbag yet again. “Open her up lad and demonstrate just how much of an advantage this 2014 Mercedes Benz Formula one car has over the rest of the field”.  14 laps he went, 14 laps of pure Lewis magic, three and half seconds a lap faster than Vettel, Ricciardo and Alonso, on tyres that were already 10 laps old. The team kept telling him to stop worrying about everyone else and just get on with it as the lead grew by three seconds, then six and nine, lap after lap he absolutely ragged that car. Feeling every bump and slide, every wheel spin and missed apex. Desperately trying to build enough of a lead to stay in front of Vettel after the inevitable pit stop.
On lap 53, with a lead of only 23 seconds he came in, the crowd rose as one and stared back down the start finish straight. Vettel pulled round the last turn onto the straight, the mechanics dropped Lewis and he gunned it out of the pit box. Vettel was over the line ticking over another lap. The crowd held its breath as Hamilton crawled up the pit lane limited to 50 mph, Vettel at full chat down the straight to the first corner, Lewis could see the pit exit and freedom, Vettel swept into the first corner and past Lewis who shot out of the pit lane exit the rear dancing around scrabbling for grip as he just managed to stay ahead of Ricciardo and Alonso. The crowd let out an enormous cheer, what a race.  Ricky tried to hustle Lewis for a corner or two, but his tyres were over 20 laps old now and didn’t stand a chance against Hamilton’s brand spanking new rubber.
Vettel got his head down and tried to drive away from the Merc, but Lewis was like an unstoppable force of nature.  Reeling the Redbull in hand over first, it was like shooting fish in a barrel, before the end of the second lap he was back past the current world champion and off once more into the distance, leaving Vettel, Danny and Alonso to watch helplessly as he kept the championship alive.

What a race!

Lewis wins and takes the lead in the championship at last. Finally lady luck escapes the Bratwurst and sauerkraut party on the second floor of the Mercedes hospitality suit and comes looking for a pie and pint dinner. He wasn’t gifted this win with Rosberg hitting trouble. The safety car could well have scuppered the quiet afternoon drive through the city plans. But if Lewis can do only one thing, its drive the balls off a car when ordered to do so. Three and half seconds faster than anyone one else, a hatful of fastest laps and a pit stop to not mess up. At any point he could have tagged a wall or snatched a brake and smeared it Maldonardo style down the Rolex branded wall. But he didn’t, he drove it beautifully and showed everyone why he’s brilliant.
Vettel was second and didn't have to make too many passes to get there. As ever put him at the front and he’ll finish at the front. There was a moment there, when having predicted he would never win another race I thought I was going to have to eat humble pie, my least favour desert, even with a glass of full bodied desert wine. But Lewis was there to save my blushes and saves us from that finger being waved around.
Ricciardo, fluffed the start and lost out to Alonso and Vettel, managed to sneak past Alonso but couldn’t quite reach Vettel with no pit radio to tell him to not overtake his team mate what so ever laddie.
Alonso, looked at one stage like he might go for pole or a win or a podium or something, but like Ferrari this season failed to deliver on the promise.
Massa, had a quiet race with not too much drama. Looked after his tyres and avoided any wall action. Williams said this was unlikely to be a track that suited them, but Massa looked like he might have sneaked the pole, if everyone else hadn’t bothered to come out for their second runs. Still lots of points, keeps that ‘beating Ferrari’ dream alive.
Vergne, having been told his services are no longer required for next year, JEV has suddenly realised he has to start knocking his CV into shape. With little to show for his career so far he’s remembered what the words “RACING driver” means on his contract and started to drive with some spunk. A liberal interpretation of the term ‘track limits’ led to a 5 second penalty to be applied to his time post race. So he drove like a man with something to prove and passed car after car and built a nice big gap to keep his top ten finish, it was almost inspiring. But as other drivers have learnt to their cost over the years, driving with some vim and vigour after being told you’re fired rather than before, is not a very good calling card.  This will be the highlight of his F1 career I'm afraid.
Perez, was minding his own business until Sutil bumbled past him and drove over his wing. In the end it sort of saved his race as it meant he had to change tyres too early to make it through to the end. So he had to change again and was able to pick up places as those ahead ran out of grip. Not very moral boosting I know but points mean prizes, however you come by them.
Kimi was eighth in the end and must be disappointed with that. He was all over qualifying until the engine glitch and on a track that is difficult to overtake on, he was mired back in the pack. In clear air the car was fast, but behind other runners the lack of top speed grunt left the red car wheezing around for a chance opening.
Hulkenberg was ninth and ran out of grip at the end. But yet another race behind his team mate, bad vibes for his future continue to grow.
Finally Magnussen who I though drove pretty well all race is promoted to the top ten within sight of the line as Bottas runs out of sticky rubber before it doesn’t matter. Kev is starting to get his act together and I think has done enough to keep his seat if Alonso or Vettel decided to just ship to Woking next year. He certainly deserves to continue, he could do with dialling the aggression down a notch or two, but he’s got the skillz to pay the bills kidz.

Sorry ....  I went a bit street there. No idea why!

Aaaah, okay, yes, Hamilton got pole and the fastest lap and our ever faithful points machine Max ‘ the grin’ Chilton was last man rolling across the line keeping the timing and scoring people awake. Good for him.

It’s Japan in two weeks time as this fascinating championship year rolls on. See you there.

This weeks gallery picture is of the High Society heiress Lady Luck and her old school friend, the Goddess of checking the wiring loom Kevin. Help the Mercedes team boys prepare the cars for the forthcoming race. 

Miss Luck and friend working on a sticky shaft 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

He's BEHIND you !!!!!!

Our players have been assigned their rolls and costumes have been donned, lines learnt and props … propped. Now it’s on with the lights, let the entertainment commence 
Lewis as our plucky hero, robbed of his rightful inheritance, he has to travel the world searching high and low for the magic points with which to defeat;
Nico, our Panto villain with his dashing good looks and a twinkle in the eye. He has beguiled Lady Luck into a tawdry affair and trapped her in a never ending cycle of champagne and bratwurst parties.

Lady Luck the beautiful but fickle heiress to a large silver cup with the words “F1 world champion” written on it. Sister to the Goddess of not driving on the wet lines you idiots and the countess lady have you tightened that fuel line Kevin. She is the love interest of our Hero who hopes to rescue her from incarceration in the Mercedes hospitality suit. 

Monza was the last of the European season and now we head off for the start of the home stretch for the quest of the chase for the title.

Japan (Suzuka)
Russia (Sochi) … probably will happen now.
America (Circuit Of The Americas)
Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

With the double pointer in Abu Dhabi, that’s a maximum of 150 points  up for grabs. Which means this thing is going to go down to the wire.

We’ve not had a wet race for a long time, so the weather Gods have perked up and look set to dump a load of rain all over the Singapore circuit this weekend. If that happens I’m not sure they’re going to actually race, I’m pretty sure a wet street circuit at night is going to be too much of a PR risk for the chaps in race control so I imagine there will be a lot of safety car action.

If its dry, well Lewis is my favourite, he’s a bit of a whizz around street circuits and like Monaco, loves this place. Its more open and flowing than Monaco but shill punishes the drivers who like to push things to the limit. Nico is almost certainly going to be in championship protection mode now. He doesn’t need to win every race so he can sit behind Hamilton and hoover up the points. No need to get all puffed up to prove anything now.

This could be a good one for Danny as the circuit shares a lot common with Hungary, lots of flowing hairpins with low grip and Redbull have been talking up his chances. Renault are making noises about a pole on Saturday, something I think is beyond them realistically if the Mercs are on song as usual. But it’s a mark of how far the engine team has come from the start of the year, where finishing in Australia was considered an amazing result. So Danny on the podium is a pretty confident bet.

Ferrari could be a surprise package here, the car is a dog but a wet or soggy circuit would level the field for them. Dry and they’ll be behind the Merc/Redbull race, scrapping it out with Williams who missed their shot for the win in Monza and this place isn’t for them. They’ll be top five at best on a dry track.

Williams are now targeting a championship position ahead of Ferrari so a press statement from Ferrari saying, they are starting to work on their 2015 car now and have no interest in racing anymore, will be welcome news to the boys from Didcot. Ferrari isn’t going to win anything so there’s no point busting a nut trying to chase a lost cause.  There’s pride and expectation of course, but they don’t pay the for Kimis’ ice cream bill.


Further back and Kobayashi is allowed to keep his seat for another week as Caterham grub around in the dirt and behind the sofa for any loose change to pay for stuff. The hot rumour doing the rounds in Monza was whether Christian Albers, the new team boss after the fire sale, was still working for the team. The answer came a few hours after the race when he quit for “private reasons”, which appear to be the fact the new corporate owners had failed to pay for anything and had stopped answering the phone to him.  

If this team was in prison it would have a 24 hour suicide watch standing over it. The chances of them making it to the end of the season are looking more and more remote by the hour.

Also having a few sleepless nights are the Lotus team, with lots of rumours floating about suggesting there are still suppliers looking to be paid for work undertaken months ago. Into these dark clouds was dropped the incendiary news that the Merc engine deal was less than certain due to the German engine builders still waiting for the first down payment. The Lotus management of course denied there was any sort of problem whilst visibly sweating and avoiding any sort of eye contact.  


Singapore looks absolutely gorgeous in HD on your TV, I imagine it looks even better live. The track usually throws up a bit of a race with plenty of overtaking and last of the late breakers. It should a be good race, with lots to watch though the field.

Lewis and Nico upfront, Danny continuing to impress and Vettel looking grumpy.

The Williams and Ferrari fight, as Force India and McLaren look to capitalise on any mistakes they make.

Don’t forget to update your predictions before midnight tonight.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Nico saves,but Lewis scores on the rebound.

Right this is defiantly going to be a quick one because it was my birthday yesterday and I'm still partying. !! The roast lamb and new potatoes will be done in an hour and i’ve already cracked the Red open.

Normally Monza is just about the spirit of racing, the history and passion of the fans. Usually there isn’t much in the way of entertainment once the red light goes out at the start of the race.

But it turned into yet another fantastic race! 2014 really is turning into a classic season. There was actual real over taking and racing and stuff. Button, Perez, Kev, Bottas and yet again Danny Boy put on an excellent show for the minor places, but it looked like they wanted those places, they didn’t follow each other and hope an opening would appear, they muscled their way past, pressured the guy in front and put on a show.

Up front the Mercedes infighting was absent but what we did see was the stark difference in driving style of Lewis and Nico. Off the line Lewis, who had got pole with a stunning lap on Saturday, suddenly found a launch system refusing to launch. He mashed the loud pedal and smoked the rear tyres up the start finish straight to turn one to find himself now behind Nico, in the lead and Magnussen in front of Massa. There followed lots of urgent calls back the pit wall telling them exactly what he thought of the Mercedes software and then on with the business of being phenomenal.

Massa, showing the sort of form only glimpsed in the “Alonso is faster than you days” dispatched Kev pretty soon as Lewis chased them down. Nico was four seconds up the road by the time Lewis passed Massa to take second. He was soon up behind his team mate as the single pit stops started for the best of the rest. Vettel hoping to make a move pitted early, very, very early to try to jump the bunch ahead of him. That triggered everyone else who wasn’t expecting to catch the Mrec to call in too.

As Nico was leading the race he got to pit first, Lewis got the “hammer time now” pit call but only closed the gap by half a second once they were back on track together.
“Right Lewis”, came the pit call” the best thing to do here is sit behind Nico for the rest of the race and not get too close to him and maybe ... errr yeah maybe have a pop at him with a couple of laps left to race when the tyres a re a bit subpar and its all sort of over with ... okay lad”

But Lewis didn’t sit back and wait, no. Lewis spanked his car and caught Nico who was being all smooth and boring and technical. Hand over fist he was catching the leading Merc, until suddenly into the first chicane, Nico locks up the brakes and slithers up the escape road slalom course. Hamilton took the conventional route round the chicane and into the lead. Game set and job done.

Nico then got the “no racing now lad” message and the TV people looked for something else to follow. What we got was 30 odd laps of Button trying to pass Perez who was continuing to demonstrate he does know how to drive a car fast if he gets some love. Bottas recovering from dropping to eleventh at the start from third, with an absolutely belting drive. That Williams is like a missile in a straight line, easily the fastest thing through the speed trap. Ricciardo also recovering from a poor qualifying result with yet another “stamping on Vettels reputation” drive.

Kev got pinged again for poor sportsmanship, when the FIA decided he didn't give Bottas enough room as he tried to overtake. It looked pretty harsh to me; Kev was racing and tried to avoid crashing into Bottas as they entered the first chicane together. He was defending his line and to be fair he did all he could to avoid Bottas. I thought the Williams driver bailed early from the move and did the sensible thing. Maybe if Kev hadn’t been pinged weaving around at Spa he’s have been alright here. As it was the FIA got bored of not cocking things up for the views and gave him a five second penalty. As I say, i think it was harsh.

Okay, the new potatoes have been blanched and are now in for roasting. The water is ready for the broccoli and worryingly, half the red wine has gone! I suspect evaporation! Lets rattle off the top ten.

First Lewis with a another stellar “the bloody car has let me down” seat of the pants, balls to the wall, ace drive. If he wins all the other races and Nico come second every time, he might still win the title. But he needs, as John Virgo would say “Snookers now, Steve”. If you want a feisty driver that will spank a car and race till the last corner of the last race, 
Hamilton is your man. But Nico has lady luck riding shot gun and she can be a bugger to shift.

Nico lost this, all he had to do was brake at the same point on the circuit for lap after lap and the big silver cup was his for the taking. But as we saw in Monaco, sometimes it doesn’t quite work out like that for Rosberg, a momentary slip in concentration and suddenly he’s off down the slip road. This time he could carry on but only finish second, what a shame.

Massa, given a new contract by Williams and didn’t he look happy about it with a top draw result. He didn't exactly make it easy for Lewis to pass, but there’s no point farting against thunder. He was looking to get the maximum points he could for the team and you don’t do that tripping up the championship contenders. Williams want contractors points not bit of broken carbon fibre.  

Ricciardo had a bit of an off day on Saturday with a rubbish qualifying result, but made up for it on Sunday when it actually matters. I not sure he could have taken the fight to the Williams boys if he’d been better on Saturday, so this is about the best they were expecting 
I think. And he got to stick it to Vettel yet again.

Talking of whom, I now more convinced than ever that Vettel will never win another race. The car is good enough if the driver wants to win. I rest my case.

Perez showed some real balls today. That was about the best I’ve seen from him. It’s like all of a sudden he’s got belief or something. Hulkenberg was no where all weekend and Perez was up there hunting for points. Great stuff.

Button got shown the way home by the man McLaren fired for being a bit rubbish last year. Not a good race for Jenson really.

Kimi was ninth after yet another piss poor qualifying performance. Paging Doctor Lovegood, emergency career recus’ required in the red car !

Finally Kev was demoted back to tenth by the old farts in the FIA suits, even old Eddie Jordan though he was hard done by.

Lewis was the fastest man of the day and Gutierrez was given a 20 second penalty for being an idiot and is thusly last this week.

Right time to go and carve, see you next time in Singapore.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Monza, will the boys play nicely this time ?

Nico has been allows to get up off the naughty step after having a really good think about what he’s done, any more of that sort of thing will lead to all tuck privileges being a removed and extra Latin vocab. Lewis has been cuffed about the ear and told to stop winding up Nico or he’ll be made to stand up in front of the parents at the end of term and explain himself.

The boys have been sat down and given a stiff talking too. Just like they had after Bahrain .. and Canada … and Hungary … and now Spa. Any more of this sort of thing is going to have consequences. The word is Nico has even been seen walking form the headmasters office with a ginger step and a sudden dislike of sitting on hard surfaces. Oh the joys of inter-team rivalry, an all new and interesting game for the Mercedes management.

It's my turn to win , no its mine, mine, mine ,mine

You’d think Paddy Lowe an ex McLaren employee would know how to deal with two spikey team mates wouldn’t you! Alright he wasn’t there for the Senna v Prost title fight years. But he’s stood next to Big Ron and seen how you lay the smack down on the two numbskulls driving into each other. Lauda, Who witnessed at first-hand how il Commendatore would warn the drivers that the cars and points were more important than they ever were, should be able to knock some sense into these two. But week after week, Nico get the luck and the points, Lewis drives is heart out and puts the moves on Nico.

Mercedes have invested a whole shed load and possibly an out building or two of cash into winning the championship this year. They’d thought about the engine design for a good couple years unlike Renault who were a bit late to the table. When they snaffled Lewis from under Ron’s nose, it was with the promise that Mercedes WERE going to win the 2014 title. The board of directors wobbled a bit when Schumacher didn’t turn up to really appear to care about this return but they kept the faith and now it’s all going to pay off.

As long, and this is the only bit they can’t really control, the drivers do what they are paid to do and not throw it all away with hissy fits, stupid mind games and pissing competitions. Redbull are not as surmised at the start of the season, a pile of shit. That car has won three times now and Danny looks like he can easily do it again. He’s not fazed joining the big league and Vettel looks like he’s counting down the days till his contract ends now.  

Mercedes are in very real danger of fumbling this if they don’t keep a lid on Nico and Lewis growing animosity. The next one to cock the plan up might well find themselves sitting out the next race and thus waving goodbye to their championship party plans. Mercedes have to win the constructors and drivers title to justify all that cash and two nitwit drivers aren’t going to stop that happing.

Speculation about Alonso’s future plans have notched up a gear with Alonso saying “I want to win for Ferrari, I want to win here and finish the job that we started some years ago and we will see what the future comes” which to anyone who as ever witness a premiership manager in full flow, knows it’s akin to standing there and saying, “I’ve told you how much you’re going to have to pay me Mr rival team owner,  it’s up to you now!!”

The word is a failed attempt to bag the Redbull seat last year has turned into a dance with Big Ron over the new McLaren Honda seat next year. Despite having a contract with Ferrari until 2016, most people think he’ll be somewhere else before 2017. Just for his sanity if nothing else, he’s pretty much got the weight of expectation of all of Italy on his shoulders at the moment, dragging a crap car to the front year after year and people just start expecting you to drive whatever turd they pass in January. He wants a solid gold winner now and no one can see Ferrari making one of them these days.

So we are being treated to Alonso dancing around the question of his future, Ferrari trying to appear laid back and cool about its star driver, whilst at the same time desperate to either keep him or pin Vettel down to a contract he may or may not have already signed. McLaren are flouncing around like a love sick English lit undergrad on a weekend break in Venice with his chum Miles, trying to appear comely and slightly flirtatious but not actually coming out and saying,” let’s try again, you big hunk of manliness, take me!”. Meanwhile the F1 media circus, like a rapid pack of One direction fans,  is watching all of this and working itself up into a quivering lather of expectation.

I think he’ll announce a deal with McLaren for 2016 and sit next year out. Vettel will suddenly announce he does indeed have a Ferrari meal deal and join the Scuderia in 2015, Kvyat will get the nod for the then vacant seat at Redbull and some other foetus will be drafted in to learn the ropes at Torro Rosso. Jenson will get one more year at McLaren and Kev will get to keep his seat.

Or something else will happen ;)

Looking towards the back of the grid, Lotterer appears to be getting another run with Caterham this weekend at Monza. He did alright in Spa, he certainly didn’t disgrace himself, buy clearly the car is a pile of shit and the rumour that the receivers will be called in before the end of the season, might have some validity to them. There is no chance on God’s green earth they are going to get any points this year unless something amazing happens. So there’s going to be no prize money for next year, which might just have saved them.

Also looking a bit iffy are Marussia, the Max is he isn’t he driving in Spa story appears to be linked to the rumour that Aon, the company that Chiltons father owns, is going to buy the last of the shares in the team and take full ownership. Max getting kicked out of the car on Friday looks like a broadside from the current owners over Aons bows to get them to hurry up with the purchase of the shares before it all goes tits up and the Russian mafia busts in to get its money back.

In the good old days the back markers would turn up for a bit of a laugh and bask in a bit of reflected glory form the likes of Fangio, Moss and Hawthorn. Now its desperate battle to keep the cheques from bouncing and fighting off the creditors.

I give it two years before Caterham, Marussia and  Sauber have gone to the wall and the four top teams are running three car teams. And the likes of Force India and Williams are customer car teams. In 10 years … it’ll be spec cars and a choice of two engines.

Okay, enough fun, Monza this weekend.

Mercedes could well be in a straight fight with Williams here. This is the circuit the plucky English team is going to pull all the stops out for.  I don’t think they can challenge for the pole, but one of the white cars will be on the front row and if Merc have any sort of problem a Williams will win. The Williams twitter and face books pages have all exuding a quiet confidence this past week, I think they might have the belief to nail it and put the first female team owner on the podium with her boys. If it happens I’ll be cheering for them and a manly tear may appear when I get a little bit of dust in my eye as they sing the national anthem.

Don’t expect Ferrari to feature near the top ten, the Prancing pony press office has been flapping around all week trying play down any chance they have. The car is not going to be fast enough and could well be out of the top ten entirely.

As for the rest, Force India in the top five, Danny best of the rest, Jenson to continue the fair well tour and Kev to impress a few more with his speed and ability to swerve around dangerously.  

Saturday is also my birthday, so I shall have a large glass of red wine as I sit down to watch Lewis take pole.

Friday, August 29, 2014

PR bollocks of the week.

Nico has had a good long think about his lack of judgement. and is so, so sorry.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Spa .. It's handbags at twenty paces !!

Right I've had a very busy weekend riding around a forest and stuff, so this is going to be short as I need a shower.

Hamilton beat Rosberg off the line, Rosberg thought he had enough room and it turned out he didn't. Though when I watched it back he jinxed back in to swipe Hamilton's rear wheel ... in my opinion.

 Whatever the truth of what happened, and Nico is the only one who really knows if he meant to hit Lewis, the pit wall was in no doubt that Rosberg had fumbled the ball spectacularly and cost the team the win. And for a very good reason, Ricky boy has now got three wins and could, if the two boys keep driving into each other, cock up the plan and win the championship. Unlikely I know, but Kimi sneaked the silverware from under the McLaren boys in 2007 because they couldn't control Hamilton and Alonso.

The end result is probably going to be a flat "No more racing now, you idiots" rule, something along the lines of Senna and Prost, the first one into the first corner is allowed to win scenario. It sucks, but there is a lot of money at stake here. After that I was kind of fast forwarding, the end looked fun, and Rosberg's move on Bottas round Blanchemont was pretty awesome.

Right so Ricciardo wins by nipping past Vettel when he made a mistake on lap three, after that I don't think we saw him again until the flag dropped. If the Mercs screw it up Danny boy will be there to collect the prize money. It all you want from your driver.

Rosberg got second and the crowds jeers. To be expected really he ruined what should have been a good race. Made up for it with the move on Bottas though, He's been around long enough in this game to know you don't need to be going wheel to wheel on the first lap, especially not your team mate. He got off lightly and put daylight between himself and Lewis in the title race, so all in all i don't think a bunch of Belgians booing him is going to upset him too much.

Bottas, Mr Number Three delivers again. I don't don't think a win was on the cards, Williams are still reacting to the cars around them, they're not forcing others to follow what they do. The cars is fast in a straight line, so Monza could be theirs for the taking.

Kimi has a whole bunch of fastest laps and looked at one stage like he was going for the win. But the engine and car just doesn't have the sustained grunt for a circuit like Spa, I guess they hoped burning a load of fuel early he'd build a big enough lead to eak out the rest of the race in front.

Vettel, continues to be out driven by Danny.

Button got beaten on the road by Kev, but the FIA stung by criticism that they had been too lenient on Ferrari for having mechanics on the grid at the cars went off, threw the book at Kev for defending a bit to vigorously. It all looked okay to me, no one got hurt and no one lost a championship after all. But yeah, Button did all right for a change, he even looked a bit feisty at the end there!

Alonso had a day to forget.

Perez was on form again, looked handy and didn't hit anything.

Kvyat does what the car is capable of on the weekend he learns he's going to be team leader next year.

Hulkenberg was tenth and looked a bit out of sorts all weekend long. I think the sheen has clearly come off him now, what a difference six months can make.

Rosberg got the fastest lap chasing down points after the nose change.

And whilst Alonso, Button Kev and Vettel where scraping it out for the minor places you might have noticed Chilton and Ericsson  tripping over each other for last place. And blow me down if Max didn't pull a blinder and sneak past Ericsson. Probably, I don;t know we didn't see it on the TV replay because nobody but us cares. Well raise a toast to Max tonight, he wasn't last and he didn't need other people to crash to achieve it.

Okay, that's your lot I'm off to have a beer and soak the dust off. 45th out of 49 teams doesn't just achieve itself you know.