Saturday, March 15, 2008

Albert Park - the weekend

What a weekend? F1 is better this time around and thank God for turning on some nerves in the brains of FIA. The whole weekend, starting from 1st practice session on Friday till the penultimate lap when Kovi slowed down allowing Alonso to get one more point, I enjoyed every bit of it.
Talking about the 1st 2 practices on Friday, I thought the 1st one was used by the teams to gauge their performance, and the 2nd was used to play around with fuel strategies. With Kimi and Lewis heading the times, the surprises were the high finish of Webber and bad performance by Nick ( I don’t know why I like ‘quick’ Nick still! I have him in my Fantasy F1 team). Fisichella was driving again for the same team after 1997, 2002,2003 (Jordan, Midland, Spyker and now Force India). This was their 50th start.
The cars were just sliding all over the chicanes, notably Adrian who spun more than once, Fisichella in the 2nd practice. Lewis himself slid his McLaran as though he was driving a street car.
Come Saturday and the last practice session was very surprising, the bimmers were on top. Kubica with 1.25.613, I was just thinking what’s gotten into him? I love the BMW street cars, albeit lower than the Ferraris and Porsches. Nothing would give me more pleasure if both them bimmer cars finished in podium. Nico and the two Red Bulls were also very strong. I was just waiting for the qualifying to start.

The following were my favorite qualifying scenes
• Kubica’s passionate driving that made BMW match McLaran, he’d have been on top if only he had not slid on the last turn
• Fuel pressure problems with Ferrari that made Kimi start from 16 (he would eventually go to 15th due to double penalty for Glock)
• Webber losing his right rear brake not allowing him to clock a time in Q2
• Vettel, Truli and Nico’s results (10, 6, 7)
• Nelson Piquet’s appalling driving
What was Piquet thinking? Did he purposefully do this so that he started from the same position as his dad, 30 years ago? I don’t think so. Flavio has to do something about this kid or else consider himself owner of a one-car team.

The build up to the race was excellent. Before I tuned to Speed TV, I was watching Australian Network 10 on SOPCast. The interviews with Ross Brawn , Barichello and the introductions by new drivers were good. I thought Brawn would be asked about his feelings on the color of the teams pants, no, the interviewer was not funny.
Barichello was asked about his reasons for jumping into Honda for which he quoted Senna telling him that Honda engines were the best he had driven. I thought this was one of the worst answers, coming from a man having his 251st F1 start. Brawn came into the team after the car’s design was over, even then, made good improvements with it. Barichello’s happiness was partly due to his experience in working with Brawn in Ferrari and partly because he knew the confusions with the team will lessen (he quoted that once last year he could hear the engineer on the radio asking him to come into the pits, and loud sounds behind the engineer asking him not to. I can understand the man, just tell the drivers exactly what he needs to hear, nothing more, nothing less).
Then the race coverage in Speed TV started.

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