Sunday, 29 July 2012

Hungarian GP - Qualifying

Olympics or Formula 1? No medals or a Brit on pole...its off to Hungary we go!

Confession time. I am officially a sports addict. Its likely that I might need some kind of therapy before the summer is over. Before qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix had even begun, I had been gorging myself on Olympics coverage all morning – rowing, cycling, swimming, archery, gymnastics. One of the things I love most about the Olympics is that you end up watching all manner of obscure sporting events that you don’t normally have a scintilla of interest in (or indeed any understanding of).

It is totally off topic (still that has never stopped me before!) but the Olympics Opening Ceremony was one of the ALL TIME best things I have ever watched on TV. It was simply epic and a gloriously uplifting (and at times very moving) celebration of all things quintessentially British.

The Red Arrows, the Tolkein-esque shires, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (aka Kenneth Branagh) reciting Shakespeare, the dark Satanic mills of the Industrial Revolution, an unexpected but powerful tribute to the NHS and Great Ormond Street, a celebration of children’s literature, a genius Mr Bean and Chariots of Fire sketch, a truly terrific music sequence (Bowie, Stones, Sex Pistols, the Prodigy and Muse…though I fear at the End of Time, Macca will be there doing karaoke to Hey Jude), David Beckham driving a speedboat and a marvellously understated performance of Abide With Me. The husband and me were emotional wrecks. Oh yes and the Beeb’s coverage was introduced by Benedict Cumberbatch. Be still my beating heart.

One for the ladies (hey, its topical ok!)

But the single, best stand-out moment was when the Queen turned around and said ‘good evening, Mr Bond’. Just unimaginably brilliant. Mr Danny Boyle, we salute you! Knighthood is in the post.

Anyhoo, there is a Grand Prix this weekend in Hungary. Luckily while I was scripting this marvellous (ha!) intro, I didn’t miss too much from qualifying. Ross Brawn interview (looking faintly disgruntled), Martin Whitmarsh interview (looking faintly depressed) and the first Christian Horner interview of the day (looking his usual chippy, chirpy self). Apparently some of the drivers (ie. Mark Webber) are getting a little miffed about all the plaudits Alonso has been getting for producing blinding drives from a relatively mediocre car. Yes, the Ferrari was utter crud at the start of the season but now it is pretty frigging fast. But, c’mon Mark…would you have got the same scores on the door as Fernando?! We all know the answer to that one.

In other news, since the German GP last weekend, the FIA has rushed through a rule change to close the ‘engine map’ loophole that Red Bull were exploiting ingeniously/deviously [delete as appropriate). Poor old Adrian Newey – his evil genius keeps getting thwarted by those pesky kids at the FIA. Voldemort had the same kind of problems.

The Hungaroring - it doesn't conjure up Eastern Bloc memories at all!
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Two Important Things to note just before the start of Q1: (1) qualifying performance is normally crucial here as like Monaco, this is a very difficult track for overtaking and (2) Lewis Hamilton was looking ominously fast (just as he had in Friday’s practice sessions). So Lewis to get pole and win then?

No mahoosive shocks in Q1. Out went HRT x2, Caterham x2, Marussia x2 and Toro Rosso (Ricciardo). Although Vettel and Webber only just scraped through into Q2 in 16th and 17th place. Hamilton topped the times, with Di Resta and Button just behind him. Go Team GB. Whoop!

Button's first win came at Hungary in 2006 from 14th on the grid.
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Next up, some Q2 action and a fair few surprises. At the absolute death, Pastor Maldonaldo shot up to 3rd place and in the process destroyed Schuey’s final lap by kicking up a heap of dust that made him slightly back off. This meant to the horror of the 5 year old that Schuey will be starting in 17th place tomorrow. I’ve decided to keep quiet about the critical importance of qualifying. The 5 year old knows who is The Rainmeister so he prays for rain at the start of most races anyway.

Other casualties who missed the top ten shoot out were Webber (starts in 11th), Di Resta (12th) and Nico Rosberg (13th). Another bad, bad weekend for Mercedes (so far). Congratulations to wee Bruno Senna for making Q3 for the first time this season.

So squeaky bum time aka Q3. Who would get pole? In a not very earth-shattering development it turned out to be Lewis Hamilton by A Country Mile. He is looking seriously freaking fast around here. So the grid lines up tomorrow as follows:

1. Hamilton, 2. Grosjean (that mixes it up nicely), 3. Vettel, 4. Button, 5. Kimi, 6. Alonso, 7. Massa, 8. Maldonaldo, 9. Senna and 10. Hulkenberg.

Lewis is in a happy place these days. Honestly, he really is!

Those who also follow Lewis on Twitter will know that he is channelling a lot of positive energy this weekend and seeking inspiration from Nas and Meek Mill (the world of google tells me they are rappers!). We could be in for a very interesting and emotional race. Time to hit the build-up now!

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