Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Rain in Spain says mainly on the track at the Chinese Grand Prix (A recap of Round Four and comments on Round Five)

First a recap of round four China
Qualifying was entertaining.  Perfect weather great strategy and Vettel sneaking in at the last moment to snag pole position away from Webber.   The real excitement, however, took place on Friday's practice session.

Yeah, I've never seen anything like that either.

The race had drama from the very beginning.   It had begun to rain lightly and the question of "slicks" (the standard non-grooved tires) or intermediate (shallow grooved) tires had no clear answer.  So everyone started on slicks and the fun began when the lights went out.  Alonso jumps the start, moving from 3rd to 1st.   The interesting thing about this was seeing the exponential difference in final speed from such a small (less than a second) head start.  

He rockets ahead as the rain picks up and when people start sliding off the track at turn 4 the teams reassess the weather situation. 

Everyone comes in to switch to intermediate rain tires.   Well, almost everyone.  The big hitters Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, and Vettel all stop for tires but Button again stays out on slicks as does Nico Rosberg.  Nico's inherits first place and Button a not too distant 2nd.

I find myself pulling for Rosberg as everyone figured Schumacher would trample him this season.  It still may happen, but for now, he's doing well. Good on you Nico.

The pit stops seemed to be going on all the time and made for a great first half.   The second half was all about Nico's tires starting to wear out, and Hamilton passing everyone trying to catch the leaders.   He did an admirable job and managed to snag second place.  Nico held on to third (Michael who??), and Button takes another victory in changing conditions.

Good times.

Next up The Formula 1 Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica 2010
Held in the homeland* at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain this race is pretty hard on tires.   It's bumpy and very abraisve.   With the new ban on refuling the first set of laps is going to really be rough on the tires.  If I were to have to pick, I'd go with Jensen on this one for his smooth driving style which is good on tires.  Does it make for an exciting race?  Likely not.

We'll see.

Not sure if it's going to be Wednesday or Thursday but we'll watch as per the ritual.

*If and one of my father's cousin's research is to be believed, we stopped in Portugal and kicked some ass on our way here. "Kicked some ass" could be interpreted as kidnapped some local women so the term "Homeland" is used losely here.

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