Formula 1 Insight

Qualifying in Canada
I can hear the Brit media's screams of delight from here - Lewis Hamilton makes it to pole position in only his sixth Grand Prix. What a shame that his unquestionably brilliant performance will be soured by the exaggerated hype to follow. The plain fact is that McLaren have two excellent drivers and either of them could win the race tomorrow.

Speed at Monaco

Scott Speed in the Toro Rosso

If that seems like overconfidence, it is justified; the McLarens looked unbeatable at the Montreal circuit, their drivers hurling the cars through the chicanes at impossible speeds, missing the walls by millimeters and generally giving a demonstration of utter superiority. In contrast, the expected threat from the Ferraris never materialized and they will have to look over their shoulders at the BMWs from now on - Nick Heidfeld managed to beat them both with his final timed lap.

After my doubts this morning, Kimi Raikkonen came through in fine style, always looking the greater threat to the McLarens. Is it possible that he thrives on pressure and is only getting into his stride now that the Ferrari appears to have dropped off the pace a little? The man is an enigma.

Of course, the truth is that Ferrari have not really lost their speed; McLaren have upped the ante and the chasing teams begun to close the gap at the same time. BMW managed to get Kubica into the top ten with Heidfeld but the others could manage only one car each, Webber for Red Bull, Rosberg for Williams and Fisichella for Renault. I suspect that Trulli's tenth spot owed more to his amazing qualifying skills than the car's ability - and Ralf needs to think of some better excuses than traffic to explain his dismal showing this season.

Both Toro Rossos made it into Q2 this time, Scott Speed with a banzai last lap that was quick enough to put him twelfth on the timing sheets. Until then he had been last but the tactic of the last minute run deserted him in Q2 - Liuzzi's last lap stole 12th spot while Speed found himself at the tail of a string of cars and unable to improve on 16th. I wish he'd just get out there and put in the laps rather than rely on a final dash to the line; it would be easier on my nerves, too.

The unlucky ones were Kovalainen and Wurz, unable to get beyond Q1. Alex is worth his drive for his car sorting abilities but Heikki should ponder on Piquet's hankering after a racing seat for 2008. As things are at the moment, it won't be Fizzy who will be leaving the Renault camp next year...

And so to the Spykers. Their problem is that, as fast they improve, so do the rest. But they look good and, in Adrian Sutil, they have a rare talent, I think. One can only hope that they survive long enough to climb into the midfield as the season progresses.


I have to drag myself, kicking and screaming, into the hoards who are confident that Hamilton's amazing record is no fluke. I must yield... he's amazing... robot-like in a very Shoomy way. I hate the team you love 'cause I've been a Ferrari fanatic since Mr. Ferrari split off from Alfa Romeo, but this kid is astounding.
Date Added: 09/06/2007

Gone Away
Just as reluctantly, I have to agree, Barry. It really does look as if Mr Hamilton is something very special. I'm still backing Alonso to beat him this year, however.
Date Added: 09/06/2007

I'm torn between wanting Lewis to do well because I think he is a brilliant driver, and not wanting him to do so well because of the nonsense that will spring up around him if he does.

He did well yesterday, but Alonso's mistake literally handed the pole to Lewis - just have to strap myself in and see what happens in the next couple of hours. It may not be safe to open a newspaper or watch any TV for a couple of weeks if the result goes a certain way...
Date Added: 10/06/2007

I think every British F1 enthusiast must agree with you, Craig - the media hype surrounding Hamilton is so exaggerated that we're heartily sick of it already. The only thing to do is to try your method: ignore the hype, enjoy the races and hope Hamilton does well. He is an astounding talent but there are others in F1 who would do as well, given the right car.
Date Added: 10/06/2007

Dan M
Race just ended..... Wow!

Ironiclly Hammy's first win isnt even close to the biggest story.
Date Added: 10/06/2007

Dan M
I totally take that back. Fox coverages was horrible! The race coverage was bad enough, but with all that action I expected things to be missed. They failed to catch, Hamiltons first stop which he breifly lost the lead and missed Rubins last stop.

Then to top it all off they ended things in right after the race with no interviews or information to speak of. Finally someone other then McLaren and Ferarri and I can't even see it! Horrible!

Hopefully Kubica is OK it hasnt been confirmed yet.
Date Added: 10/06/2007

What a race, Dan! How on earth can I describe that series of mishaps, blunders and accidents?

Two things I'll say right away: Lewis drove faultlessly (which is easier to do from the front, admittedly) and everyone seems to think that Heidfeld's equally impressive race was nothing special - I'm guessing that it indicates that BMW have caught the Ferraris.
Date Added: 10/06/2007

I thought Fox did a reasonable job in spite of the things they missed. Adverts covered Hamilton's first stop and they did eventually show it to us (after it was obvious that he'd been in) and I suspect they did the same for Rubens. We have to remember that the pictures are supplied by F1 - each TV station can only add their commentary to the live feed. So, if the F1 director decides to follow a local boy all through the race, there's nothing the TV station can do about it.

The brief time at the end was caused by the safety car periods slowing up the race so much. F1 races are just short of two hundred miles or two hours, whichever comes first (usually it's just Monaco that gets close to the two hour limit and then only when it rains). So the TV channels allow two hours for the race and expect there to be enough time for the celebrations at the end. In this case, there wasn't time and no doubt Fox schedules insisted on the program ending on the dot.

I admit that I prefer SpeedTV to handle it, however - they seem to time their ads better (or maybe they haven't had such an incident-packed race to cover yet!). Same old commentary team, though, and they do a better job than ITV in Britain...

Last I heard, Kubica has a broken leg but is okay otherwise. Quite surprising that he even managed to do that much inside that carbon fiber tub.
Date Added: 10/06/2007

Dan M
After that accident I really thought we were going to have another Senna-esque incident where they would continue the race in spite of his condition. Thank god he is alive after such a hard hit. Has there ever been any talk of a SAFER barrier being installed?, granted that is the first time Ive ever seen an accident in that area.

As for Fox coverage, yes, maybe they only had a two hour window. But when they do Nascar coverage they will stay LIVE through a 5 hour rain delay and give you completly useless info to kill time. On top of the 4 hour pre race coverage and post race celebration regardless of time. Poorly done Fox, they certainly wouldnt have lost any casual fans but they did tick of the die-hards.... I already had issues with the live feeds, Fox just made it that much worse.

Its too bad Speed didnt pick up coverage after Fox dropped out and showed the interviews and give everyone an update on Kubica's status..... There not the majority, but I belive alot of F1 fanatics dont have the internet or wouldnt know how to use it to get information.
Date Added: 10/06/2007

To be honest, I wasn't worried by Kubica's accident. Although he barrel-rolled in most spectacular fashion and managed to wipe off all four corners of the car, it was possible to see that his head never came into contact with anything and the survival cell stayed intact. Those cars are unbelievably strong these days. If he has even a broken leg (and it now seems that he doesn't), I would wonder how he managed to achieve it, since the front of the cell was not damaged at all.

Fox get another go next weekend - let's hope they manage it a bit better for the USGP.

Oh, and the thing about walls is they make for a more spectacular race. Half of those reshuffles called safety car periods wouldn't have happened without the walls. They keep the drivers honest, too, and the really good drivers ensure that they make their mistakes where there aren't any walls... ;)
Date Added: 10/06/2007

Dan M
Well I dont expect them to move the walls out further, but what I meant was the barriers used in Nascar with the dual wall with foam in the middle to take some of the blow away.
Not all the walls would require this but certain areas of the track. It would still wreck the car and thus be just as dangerous from a race point of view. I know the cars are safe, but Im sure the drivers wouldnt mind a little extra padding.

What scared me about Kubica's accident wasnt that he didnt hit his head but that he hit at such a high speed. I was more concerned about hit brain hitting his skull then hit helmet hitting anything. Luckily he kinda scrubbed the side of the wall as opposed to putting all his energy right into the wall. Also those martials should be thanking the lord.... That must have been quite a view coming at them.
Date Added: 11/06/2007

I believe the FIA have a new design of wall that sounds similar to the one you describe, Dan. No doubt all the circuits will be expected to have this type in the near future.

That's true about the brain being shaken up during the crash - fortunately, it seems Kubica's fine apart from a sprained ankle.

I don't know if things have changed over the years, but marshals used to be volunteers - they did the job for nothing and, in return, had a close up view of the race. Yesterday, I think they got more than they bargained for!
Date Added: 11/06/2007

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