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September 16, 2005

Formula Blog: Round 16 – Belgian Grand Prix

Drivers

10pts Jenson Button: Anyone who overtakes is okay in my book. A dubious performance in qualifying – not that I saw it, I sat in a café in the Peak District at the time. If anything interesting happened like a herd of wilderbeast invading the track please let me know. But it meant he had to race hard and that was good for us the viewer.

8pts Mark Webber: It must have been a brave decision to go on to grooves when previous attempts by drivers to do so had resulted in pirouetting of the sort that would make a ballet dancer look on with envy of such abilities. It was odd how the track refused to dry. My best guess was that it was suffering from the same curse that my clothes have after being to the laundrette when I desperately want them to dry for the following day. I don’t suppose ironing a racing track to speed up the process would be much help.

6pts Jacques Villeneuve: I had’t realised how old Jacques Villeneuve was looking these days until he was offering his comments on Alonso. So credit (Suisse) where credit (Suisse) is due, the reputation of elderly drivers is not the best, Jacques may not seem as quick as he was but he’s still a damn sight quicker than the OAPs you follow at thirty miles an hour along country roads.

5pts Tiago Monteiro: F1s most improved rookie of the year showed again some real skill. Remember how utterly bad he seemed at the start of the year? Jordan would have been better off with Chanoch Nissany. Yet he’s now scored some real points, you can’t help but be impressed.

4pts Giancarlo Fisichella: After his qualifying third and then making great progress in the race after an engine change, you couldn’t help but wonder if the old “fisi” was back, alas for Eau Rouge, though I blame Renault for making him have to push harder to make his way up to somewhere useful.

3pts Michael Schumacher: He was making Rubens Barrichello look like a clown, unfortunately Sato showed us that there’s only one real clown (okay, two real clowns – I was forgetting Montoya) in F1. I’d like to know why there was such a huge gap in front of Schumacher after the safety car went in, there was another after the first six or so cars too. It’s the sort of bug that ruins otherwise good computer games, maybe it’s a case of real life imitating (electronic) arts.

2pts Fernando Alonso: He’s making the most of a points system that differentiates so little between finishing first and second. As early as seven rounds into the championship he could have finished second from then on and still been assured of the title. Though if you do the maths his lead at this stage would still be a commanding twenty points.

1pt Ralf Schumacher: For a while it looked like we were going to be treated to a show of brilliance by fast-Ralf (as opposed to sulky-let-his-teammate-do-all-the-work-Ralf). But then came that silly decision to put on slicks. Naturally if it had worked it would have been pure genius.

-1pt Christian Klien: I’ve been saying throughout the year how under-rated he is but then he puts in a performance every bit as damp as the Spa weather. On the plus side it proves my theory about his improved driving being related to the threat of losing his drive on account that he’s surely got a drive at one of the Red Bull teams.

-3pts Rubens Barrichello: Rubens seems to have entered the zone of “got a drive for next year, can’t be arsed with Ferrari anymore”.

-5pts Antonio Pizzonia: What was he thinking? You have to wonder if there’s some sort of pact between the drivers to punt Montoya off when they’re being lapped by him. Pizzonia and Monteiro would do well to top Verstappen’s effort in Brazil 2001 – that sort of idiocy takes some beating. To Pizzonia’s credit he did at least have the decency to say sorry.

-6pts Kimi Raikkonen: Not content with messing around with inflatable toys during the off season he was found half naked (I don’t know which half, the left?) in a garden near Monza and received a written warning from Ron Dennis. Rumours that this garden belonged to a taylor specialising in red racing overalls have yet to be confirmed. I had to laugh when on the ITV pre-race show there was a feature going through Raikkonen’s diet, they missed out the beer! I bet he has cheeky fry ups when Ron’s not looking too. In all fairness a “wild” lifestyle doesn’t seem to slow him down.

_-10pts Takuma Sato: It just gets worse and worse for Sato. The phrase “it ain’t happening” springs to mind, along with “here’s your P45”.

Drivers Standings

With just three rounds to go the alternative championship is much, much closer than the real one. The fact that Kimi Raikkonen, who looked likely to storm the title, had six points taken off for dubious reasons is of course not related to trying to fix the scores so the title is decided as late as possible, another difference from the real championship. And while we’re on the topic, is anyone else concerned about Bernie Ecclestone? What was that about him wanting the title to go as far as Japan? Correct me if I’m wrong (I’m not by the way, it’s just a turn of phrase) but isn’t the last round in China? Poor bloke doesn’t even know which race to go to next, I do hope he doesn’t end up in Adelaide in the middle of October.

40pts Mark Webber
36pts Fernando Alonso
35pts Nick Heidfeld
34pts Kimi Raikkonen
32pts David Coulthard
31pts Giancarlo Fisichella
26pts Christian Klien
24pts Jarno Trulli
22pts Christijan Albers
18pts Juan Pablo Montoya
18pts Michael Schumacher
15pts Jenson Button
14pts Robert Doornbos
10pts Narain Kathrikeyan
9pts Felipe Massa
9pts Pedro de la Rosa
6pts Patrick Friesacher
5pts Antonio Pizzonia
2pts Vitantonio Liuzzi
-1pt Tiago Monteiro
-3pts Takuma Sato
-6pts Rubens Barrichello
-6pts Ralf Schumacher
-32pts Jacques Villeneuve

Constructors

10pts Toyota: I walked past a panasonic shop and in the window was a TV with a Toyota F1 car going round a track, finally this is a good thing, rather than an "Oh my God! Panasonic are associated with Toyota, bugger this I'm buying a Sony" type thing

8pts Diet Red Bull (aka Minardi): Oh come on, it was too easy a joke to leave out. It’s a sad day for Formula 1 with the last vestige of true independence leaving the sport, though with Dieter Mateschitz seemingly hell bent on buying the whole grid what chance did they have? I’m surprised the manufacturers haven’t cottoned onto this yet, though apparently McLaren are considering running a “B-team” in 2007, Maccy Bs perhaps? What next, the prancing ponies? Oh, I’m on fire today!

6pts Red Bull: There are rumours that Minardi will become Red Bull Team USA. Which is quite exciting if your name is Scott.

5pts McLaren: McLaren and their sponsors have a carefully thought out image they want to convey, they don’t need Raikkonen spoiling it by exposing more flesh than is absolutely necessary. That’s not what companies like Mercedes, Johnnie Walker and Hilton hotels are about. Hmm, the name Hilton and nudity? Nope, can’t think of any jokes there.

_4pts Sauber:_If it weren't for putting slicks on Massa's car they could have been on the podium, or at least maybe in fourth, which is Sauber's favourite best-result-of-the-year position.

3pts Williams: They might be very qucikly running out of sponsors but at least the on track performance is improving.

_2pts Jordan:_The team's first genuine points since Monaco last year at their "favourite" track. Maybe it's got something to do with chips. Belgians like chips. Chips are yellow, Jordans are yellow. I'm not sure where I'm going with this.

1pt BAR: Disappointing in qualifying, much better in the race. Given McLaren's performances in the first three races of the season this might bode very well, or it might mean bugger all. I know which I'm going for.

-2pts Ferrari: Before the Belgian Grand Prix you’d have thought Ferrari’s best chance of winning a real race would be if it were rain affected, preferably with as much as possible being run on intermediate tyres. Well, that appears to be nonsense, though without out Sato’s assault on Schumacher’s gearbox then maybe it could have been a bit better.

Constructors Standings

58pts Red Bull
56pts McLaren
56pts Minardi
53pts Toyota
48pts Renault
25pts Sauber
15pts BAR
-7pts Williams
-14pts Ferrari
-19pts Jordan


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