Monday, 25 November 2013

Brazilian GP – The Race

Farewell to a bloody good bloke!
Farewell to a bloody good bloke

Ladies and Gentlemen. This is it. The final race of this F1 season. It doesn’t have quite the same unbearable nerve-jangling tension of last year’s epic showdown in Interlagos. It seems to have a real end of term, demob happy kind of feeling. Not overly surprising when all the important stuff like who won the driver’s and constructors’ titles were decided a gazillion light years ago. I’ll be honest - a lot of the races this season blur into one giant ball of Vettel nothingness. I sort of accidentally forgot to do a blog on the US Grand Prix (unless you count this!) partly because I sort of accidentally forgot to watch the race. Ok I didn’t really forget. It was vaguely on in the background while scenes of carnage and mass destruction were raging in Power Towers (anyone with small children will know the horror of the Witching Hour). Then I just couldn’t be bothered to waste one of the very few pockets of free time in the week to watch the race properly especially when I had two new episodes of Borgen to catch up on.

The utterly awesome Birgitte
The utterly awesome Birgitte Nyborg

The main highlight of the build-up coverage was a quite brilliant chat between Ted and Rob Smedley who was on hilarious form.  “Ted, I just want to win” (with some fruity language thrown in!). In a parallel Rose Tyler kind of universe I would be married to Rod Smedley. Or would it be David Tennant? Nope, think Rob might win this one based on the company car.

Rob and Felipe - a great partnership

Anyway back to the important stuff. Today is Mark Webber’s last race in Formula 1. Five Live asked on Twitter for people to describe Webber in 3 words and someone said ‘bloody good bloke’. Simply the perfect description. I almost feel quite emotional.

Its also Felipe Massa’s last race for Ferrari (after 8 years!) and if Webber can’t win today, I would love to see Massa win for Ferrari. Actually I would love either of them to win. So I can confidently predict that neither of those things can happen. Mainly because Sebastian Vettel will win. Gah.

Felipe Massa bids Ferrari but not Formula 1 farewell.
Felipe Massa bids farewell to Ferrari but not Formula 1

It could well be Ross Brawn’s last race with Mercedes but is it his last in F1? I fervently hope not. There are teams crying out for Ross’s genius leadership. I would love love love to see him at Williams. We shall see.

And if you are the husband the huge significance of the race today is its the last one with ‘normally aspirated engines’. He’s all heart the husband.

It was a frenzied start to the race
It was a frenzied start to the race

Time for the start and its Go Go Go! And ROSBERG HAS PASSED VETTEL. This house has rarely seen such excited scenes of rejoicing since Vettel bombed out of Silverstone. But Nico is coming under The Most Immense Pressure and on lap 2 Vettel bludgeons his way past to retake the lead of the race. Oh well it is was fun while it lasted for all of 15 seconds.

A great scrap between former bitter rival team-mates Hamilton and Alonso for 3rd place but Fernando seized back position before gobbling up Rosberg for 2nd place. Noooooo Romain Grosjean’s engine has spectacularly blown up on lap 4. One of the great stories of the 2013 season has been how Grosjean has silenced his critics. Dear normally aspirated engines, you suck.

And Mark Webber pulls a lovely move on Rosberg to move into 3rd place. The husband wondered whether Vettel would give Mark the win if it came down to it. Can’t see it myself especially with Vettel homing in on his latest entry in the F1 record books. This time out it is The Most Consecutive Race Wins In A Single Season.

Red Bull dominating in Brazil.
Red Bull dominating in Brazil. At least this time we get to see a great skyline.
And on lap 13 Webber is through on Alonso to move into 2nd place. If only we could have another normally aspirated engine conk out, preferably on the Red Bull that Webber isn’t driving, then we would all be happy. Except for any Vettel fans I guess. Still they can afford the odd crumb of glory to go the way of someone else for once. But it won’t will it? <Whacks head on table>

So lap 17 and Vettel has a 10 second lead over his team-mate. Brundle remarked that it would be brilliant to do away with practice sessions as the cars are all over the place today because teams didn’t know how to set them up with the classically unpredictable Brazil weather. Oooooh Weather Monitor of Doom Alert. No rain expected in the next 30 minutes but showers on the NE corner of the track. Confused much?

Just as the world and their dog are passing Bottas, well ok Kovalainen at any rate, is it a good time to mention that Williams have amassed a jaw-droppingly awful 5 points ALL season? They are languishing behind Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso. Wow how the mighty have fallen. <Unhappy face>

A superb ballsy move by Jenson Button on Gutierrez on lap 23 to move into P7. The last time I said early doors in a race that Button was one to watch, it all promptly fell apart Murray Walker-style so I have learned my lesson. The commentators are genuinely ecstatic about what an exciting race this is and dudes you are not alone. The drivers bloody love driving here because it is a brilliant track with such a rich F1 history. How many epic races have we seen at Interlagos? How many great races have we seen in…(plucks one out of thousands)...Bahrain? There are depressingly way too many Hermann Tilke-bot tracks on the F1 calendar these days.

The incomparable Ayrton Senna winning in Interlagos in 1993.
The incomparable Ayrton Senna winning in Interlagos in 1993.

Oh pants – a rubbish pitstop for Mark Webber (why always Mark?) – meaning that Alonso has closed right back up behind him.

STOP PRESS. There have been spots of rain. Oh the spots have now stopped. Bad news for poor old Mercedes who were on weather watch and holding off on pitstops. I think its time for a running order update: 1. Nigel Mansell, 2. Webber, 3. Alonso, 4. Massa, 5. Hamilton and 6. Button.

The commentators have really got the bit between their teeth about ditching these practice sessons. Anyone would think they have found lots of the races boring this season.

Massa has a problem with his KERS (possibly) and is under investigation. Way to endear yourself to the thousands of Brazilian fans at the race by penalising the one Brazilian driver. Just chillax and give Felipe a break. Nope, he has got a drive-through. And safe to say that Felipe is very unhappy. Lots of hand gestures as he strops his way through his drive-through.

The least popular drive-through in the history of drive-throughs.
The least popular drive-through in the history of drive-throughs

Can I just say HOW much I’m loving this race? Please don’t say they’ve all been secretly this brilliant for the last few races and I’ve been missing out. Nah don’t think so. Maybe its such a done deal that Vettel will win these days that I’ve managed to perfect the art of erasing his ongoing participation in the race from my mind and am just enjoying the goddamn show. Applauds Interlagos for yet again giving us superb and entertaining racing all over the track.

Hehehe a very amusing little exchange between Jenson Button and his race engineers where he shat all over them for giving him instructions in braking zones. How very Lewis Hamilton!

Lap 44 and still NO rain. And time for the next glut of pitstops. Perez has impressively fought his way up from to 8th from 19th. Ah yes I forgot to mention it was Perez’s last race for McLaren today. That didn’t work out very well did it. Oddly enough I actually rate Perez but think McLaren was possibly too big a team for him. Or maybe the McLaren car they gave him was just utter crud.

And DRAMARAMA as Bottas crashes out of the race having lost his wheel (what? where? why?) and now it looks like Lewis Hamilton has had a tyre delamination. This is like Silverstone all over again! What the hell is going on?

And that's what happens when you tangle with a half-concentrating Lewis Hamilton
And that's what happens when you tangle with a half-concentrating Lewis Hamilton

Vettel has now suddenly pitted and his team aren’t even ready for him. And in comes in Mark Webber. Double-stacking. Wtf? Apparently they were expecting Webber so had the wrong tyres ready. So did Vettel pinch Mark’s slot or what? The commentators have now started speculating whether Vettel will gift Webber the win. I’m with Brundle on this. No. On lap 54 out of 71, the gap between 1 and 2 is just five seconds. Interesting times. Ish.

Ah Hamilton has got a drive-through for causing that collision which resulted in a trashed wheel for Bottas and a puncture for Lewis. He’s not happy either. The stewards are now investigating Giedo van der Garde and have given him a drive-through as well. Blimey the clipboards are in overdrive today.

Who knew that Brazil would be the race of the clipboard?!
Who knew Brazil would be the race of The Clipboard?

AND APPARENTLY THE RAIN IS COMING. But when? There’s only 14 FREAKING laps to go. Is that rain on the camera? Yes it is. Right lets do this. Multiple pit-stops, double-stacking, aqua-planing, Spa 1998. Faints. Ok maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. It does look quite wet out there but the drivers are hanging on in there. Boo.

Perez is now 6th. Wow how did that happen? And HANG ON…Button is 4th – I would love to see JB on the podium after lets be honest a pretty crud season.

And Charles Pic’s season has come to a sad end. He has a broken car (insert ‘no difference to normal’ joke here – ok you don’t have to). Apparently we have Peter Kay’s Fine Rain That Soaks You Through. We don’t want fine rain. We want biblical torrential downpours. Bugger.

You can shove your fine rain. This is what we wanted to see!
You can shove your fine rain. This is what we wanted to see.

Ooops. Vergne tries to take Maldonado on the inside and Pastor is having none of it and they clatter into each other. To be investigated after the race. Meanwhile the 6 year old has made a track out of lego. Apparently its neck and neck between Vettel and Button at the front. I’m liking the idea of a Lego GP. Someone have a word with Bernie please.

So two laps to go and we are riding with Sebastian Vettel who is on the verge of winning his ninth consecutive race of the season. And he crosses the line first to seal his 13th win of the season. That is properly insane. Let the eulogies commence but I’ll leave that to the commentators.

Ah Webber is driving his final in-lap without his helmet and it really is the end of an era. He started in Australia driving for Minardi in 2002 and is bowing out 11 years later. *wipes tear from eye*. And we hear that Marussia have finished 10th in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Caterham – brilliant news for the lovely and well-run Marussia team.

Congratulations to Marussia on finishing 10th!
Congratulations to Marussia on finishing 10th!

And so here are the results from the Brazilian Grand Prix of 2013:

  1. Vettel

  2. Webber

  3. Alonso

  4. Button

  5. Rosberg

  6. Perez

So that’s it folks. We’ve reached the end of the road for this season. It wasn’t a vintage one but it had its moments of drama, controversy and excitement all the same – I feel a blog coming on with my season highlights. Next season it is all change – driver line-ups, new technical regulations, new engines, new tracks and Raikkonen driving a Ferrari again – I feel like I have been waiting for the 2014 season for pretty much most of the 2013 season. I genuinely CANNOT WAIT...!

All it remains to say is goodbye Mark Webber. F1 will miss you!


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