F1 – Japanese Grand Prix – Recap

It happens every single year Formula One goes to Suzuka.  We, as a racing community, spend a week talking about how much we adore the track, the fans, and the atmosphere.  Drivers talk about how great it is to drive and then everyone falls in love.  Then, about halfway through the race, we all remember…  This track sucks to pass on.

Just a Little Bit More!  

Verstappen could have done it.  It would have done it if he had one more lap.  I don’t care if there was a blister on his tires!  He would have caught Hamilton in one more lap.  Or, more realistically, he would have caught him under regulated time if Alonso had gotten out of the way of him through the hairpin.

Now, there are plenty out there blaming Alonso for blocking Versappen, and I can’t necessarily disagree with them, although I will not go so far as to put on my toil foil hat and say that Alonso is shilling for Hamilton as some kind of weird penance for what he did in 2007.  Seriously, that was ten years ago.  Get over it people.

Alonso did block Verstappen.  But Alonso was also in the middle of a heated battle with his former teammate, Felipe Massa.  And by moving out of the way to allow both Hamilton and Verstappen through, he allowed for Massa to pull out just enough of a gap to prevent the two time champion from scoring a point for McLaren.

Regardless of Alonso, Max was right there with Hamilton through most of the race.  He kept him within distance and didn’t let him pull a John Wayne and ride off into the sunset.

Once again, the W08 was flustered by the heat.  Yes, Toto, we know it’s a ‘diva.’  But until I see that car sit down in the middle of the road and cry out that it “Just can’t right now,” I refuse to call it a diva.  I live in Los Angeles, dammit.  I know what divas.  The W08 is a pain in the ass, bordering on prima donna, but it ain’t no diva.

Force India Plays Nice

The Pink Panthers, as we’re apparently supposed to call them now, banged out yet another double points position this weekend, solidifying their claim that they are best of the rest.  They did it, however, under severe team orders imposed after the ‘disagreements’ the team encountered after Baku and Belgium.

Is it sporting?  Maybe.  Is it what the fans want to see?  Hell no.  Did it work?  Okay, yeah, they didn’t crash into each other, so it did technically work.  And that’s all that matters.  The team brought home two undamaged cars in the points and is well on their way to their second consecutive 4th place in the championship.

It should also be noted that Ocon continued his impressive streak of finishes, closing in on the record set by Max Chilton (awwww, remember when he drove in F1?).

While we’re at it, let’s also commend the young Frenchmen for one of the best starts of the year.  Jumping up to third before falling to the clutches of the surging Ricciardo and Bottas, he proceeded to hold position and bring the car home in front of his teammate.

So while Ocon may have only ‘technically’ beaten Perez via team orders, he still put in one hell of a race.  And, frankly, gave us some of the best whining over the radio since the last time Alonso got passed on a straight.

The talk all around the paddock this weekend was where Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo being courted by both Ferrari and Mercedes, if Ocon continues on like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes doesn’t decide to opt in on him instead of the Australian, unless Mercedes wants to sign Ricciardo strictly for the amusement of a watching a bunch of Germans try to figure out this thing Ricciardo has called, “humor.”

Bye Bye Joylon

The prayers of a grateful community have been answered.  Walking personification of nepotism Joylon Palmer has been given the axe four races before the end of the season.  Carlos Sainz Jr. will replace him.  All is right with the world.

Except that Sainz’s departure from Toro Rosso means that, much like Godzilla, the monster that just wont die, Daniil ‘I Will Break You’ Kvyatt will be returning to Toro Rosso.  May God have mercy on the midfield.

Ferrari

I’m won’t say anything outside of this.  YOU DONE MESSED UP, FERRARI.

Seriously, how do you not know how to fix a spark plug?  I can do that on my car and I’m about as mechanically literate as…  Well Ferrari mechanics, apparently.

 

 

F1 will be back in action in two weeks time at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX.  As most other decent forms of racing are wrapping up their seasons, I suggest to any of my European viewers to watch a little bit of the NASCAR Playoff Series brought to you by Whatever Ridiculous Corporation Wants to Appeal to Trump Voters.  Please tune in to where they are just so you can understand the kind of suffering the happy few of us who live in North America and follow Formula One are compared to any time we say we love motorsports.

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