Sunday, 27 March 2011

Maldonado at Melbourne (and other stories)

So, today was his first race. And he made it past the first corner!! Phew.

From what I could see, it looks like he was slow off the start, BUT he kept out of trouble (unlike his teammate, who gave me near heart failure as I saw a Williams trundling across the gravel in the background, it took a few seconds before I could figure out which one of them it was).

The slow start meant that Pastor lost a few places off the line, but the good news is that he started making them up. He zoomed up to and past Kovalainen with ease (admittedly the Lotus is a lot slower than the Williams, but still!) and around lap 5 or 6-ish he was over 2 seconds behind Perez. He just ate this time up, cutting around a second a lap out of the gap, and then was past him before you could blink an eye and pulling away immediately. Brilliant.

And then disaster struck. The next thing we saw, his car was stopped out of the way at the side of the track. The good news is that he hadn't done anything wrong. But the car had just stopped working. Transmission failure on lap 9. Rubbish :-(

If the car had worked and he had kept out of trouble, it would have been a decent result I think.

Unfortunately, instead he'll just show as a DNF, and the folks on the TV just glance over how he "didn't finish" which makes it sound like he screwed up. Brundle's complete disregard of him was really winding me up this weekend. I guess I'd better get used to it though.

What we need is just a few quiet, solid results under everyone's radar to start with, to build up his skill and confidence, and then we'll be alright. I have no idea if Pastor will be able to live up to my faith in him. But I hope so. I've stuck by him for several years and he's only got better and better so far, so fingers crossed. I know he's not perfect, but perfect's boring...

Meanwhile, Rubens had a mixed race. His bounce across the gravel dropped him down, but he stormed through the field.... until he then stormed into Rosberg, whoops! The Williams was strong enough to keep going after a quick pit, but eventually they retired from suspected transmission failure too. Hmmm - not good on the reliability front today, boys! BUT we've seen that the Williams has got some pace, which is a good start for the season.

Pastor: Quali 15th / DNF (Transmission failure)
Rubens: Quali 17th / DNF (Transmission issues again!)

Thanks to the Williams website for providing info (as the BBC didn't give a damn what had happened to Pastor's car).

(Apparently I care an awful lot about Williams now.)


In other news from the race....

  • People on Twitter are blaming Johnny Herbert (the Driver Steward this weekend) for JB's drive through. Gah. I'm pretty sure he wasn't the only person involved in that decision. I also don't think it was the wrong decision. (Sorry Jenson, love you, but...!) 
  • Di Resta did good, which is nice
  • Sauber's one stopping was a bit of a surprise, eh?? I wonder if there's something special about the Sauber or whether the other teams will have a big re-think about the tyres now?
  • DRS looks a bit of a crock. Jenson was activating it to pass Massa, but then Massa was just KERSing to get away again. Hmm. It looks cool when the wing flap opens though. But less cool when nothing visible then happens.
  • Massa needs to get out of Ferrari. I feel very sorry for him being a #2 driver as if it's the Schumacher era all over again. Also, it's sad that the BBC have seemingly lost all interest in him - no Rob Smedley this weekend!
  • I enjoy JB going back to the clean-shaven look. A beautiful boy, inside and out. 
  • DC's dislike of EJ seeping into on-screen mockery is more embarrassing than entertaining/funny. Especially with EJ's over-reations to everything DC teases him about.
  • Eddie Jordan being BBC's "Chief Analyst" is an utterly ridiculous situation. "Well I think he COULD find the button. I think he was joking." - said with total seriousness in response to Vettel's blatant cheeky comment about why he hadn't used KERS. Or "They've got KERS. I don't know why they've got KERS but there you go." Calling him a chief analyst is a bit of an insult to the viewers, really. I don't particularly mind having him there as an adding bit of entertainment and fun, but c'mon - chief analyst?!?
  • Why did Webber's car stop straight after he crossed the finish line??? Does anyone know??? Why did the BBC post-race coverage not even mention it?! It shows a chink in the Red Bull armour - I was a bit fed up they didn't find anything out about it.
  • Talking of Webber, as I said on Twitter - he must be annoyed today. Vettel even beat him to the first on-screen swear of the season!

OK, I think I've brain-dumped enough. That's how for now!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Next stop, Melbourne.

So the final winter test has just finished and now everyone heads out to the best place in the entire world, Melbourne. As always, I am jealous of all the F1 folks getting to go to the most glorious city ever. *sigh*

And that nice man Mr Pastor Maldonado will be sat on the F1 grid at Albert Park! I am very excited about this. Excited and terrified. Part of me is trying to come to terms with the fact that he might not make it to the second corner of the race. (If this happens, I will cry. You have been warned.)

But he's done good during testing. OK, he did smash his car up rather a bit - but I'm a firm believer that if you don't smash things up a bit as a rookie then you're just not trying hard enough. I'm sure it was Bob (aka Jaime Alg) who crashed and his team boss actually said that he'd prefer him to make a few mistakes like that because it showed he was trying. As long as it doesn't happen too often, and as long as the driver learns from them...! (And of course if a driver I'm not fond of crashes, I will always claim it's because he's clearly rubbish instead!)

But yeah, in general the boy has done good. It sounds like he's fitting into the team and Frank Williams says he's been told that Pastor is doing very well. Hooray! And he's taking it all seriously, training hard, losing weight, eating better (other than the massive chocolate cake for his birthday this week and all the steak of the world! But you can't blame him for cake and steak! ....I wonder if all the food he eats rhymes? Pasta bake? Milkshake?)

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed the rankings at the end of today's test.... you gotta take the minor victories when you can! (Yes I know there's all sorts of other factors that come into play, shoosh about that, let's just look at the final times...)

Faster than Lewis in the rain. Not a bad start.
I will of course be terrified about Pastor during every race. I want him to do well, in a realistic way. I want him to make it to the end of races. I want him to not make too many big mistakes that make people go "Oh well, he's a pay driver, whinge whinge whinge." (Yes, he's brought a lot of money with him. But he's also the reigning GP2 CHAMPION. Gah.) I want him to learn from Rubens and get on with Rubens and occasionally outshine Rubens. Please.

So yeah, I'll just have to wait and see how it goes. I am continuing to put my faith in him, and I hope he makes me proud. I think he will, though. In fact, he already has.

(In other news: I worry that the McLaren might struggle... although it looks like maybe Jenson will do better with the tyres than Lewis, which is a nice start. I also worry about the Merc suddenly looking faster in testing. Hopefully that's just a case of not being able to trust testing though. Thumbs pressed!)