Thursday, July 25, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (July 25th - July 31st)

  • WRC. 2013 action from Rally Greece. Thursday @ 7pm - 8pm (MAVTV) 
  • Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. From Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Friday @ 7am - completion ( live; replay @ 7:30pm (SPEED(HD))
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Hungary; from the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. Practice. Friday @ 8am - 9:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Hungary; from the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. Qualifying. Saturday @ 8am - 9:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Mini-marathon. Saturday @ 7pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Hungary; from the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. Race. Sunday @ 7:30am - 10am (NBCSN(HD)) live - replay Sunday @ 12:30pm
  • Top Gear (UK). Season 20 - Episode 4. Hovercraft Car. Monday @ 8:30pm - 10pm (BBCAmerica(HD)) new
  • Motorweek. Ford Fusion Energi. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Packards. Tuesday @ 10:30pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Wheeler Dealers: Trading up. Japan. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) new
We have a good weekend ahead. WRC, Top Gear and Grand Am racing to name a few. We're also back after a three week break for F1 after the GP of Germany. To recap where we left off...

Pirelli brought out last years Kevlar-belted rear tires to fix the problems from Silverstone, as the drivers were united in threatening boycott of the German GP if nothing had been done. Pirelli also says that there will be a new tire debuting at this weekends Hungarian GP which will be a Kevlar-belted design that will also meet the 2013 requirements spec. It will also not be asymmetrical, which theoretically allow teams to swap rears (which seemed to be popular for some teams this season). Speaking of which, swapping rears, along with front camber angles beyond -4*/2.5* f/r are no longer allowed. Tire pressures are also now regulated. Pirelli made sure to accept blame for previous incidents with a caveat that they should have done a better job enforcing how their tires were used. The asymmetrical tire design and swapping rear tires, which is effectively running both rears in the wrong direction, is suspected to be the cause of the exploding tire incidents.

Qualifying started up with runners struggling to get heat into the Kevlar-belted rear tires. It was taking so many laps to get proper heat in, that cars were going from front end push to oversteer as the fronts were warming up before the rears. The rear story of qualifying came when Nico Rosberg missed Q3, by being content with a time that was no where near good enough in Q2; starts in 11th. Talk about bone head team decisions. On the other side of the AMG Petronas tepee, Hams pulls a tenth and change out of his ass to take Pole over Vettel in the last seconds Q3. Kimi/Grosjean showed their solid pace, taking P4/P5 respectively. Lastly, Ferrari decided to use the medium tires in Q3 as they wanted to run them to start the race. Logic being they would last many more laps at a comparable pace to the softs with full fuel load.

The race started with both Red Bulls jumping Hams' AMG into turn 1. Massa spins and stalls out and retires on lap 5. What wasn't clear at the time was that after locking the rear tires and spinning out, he stalled the car in 5th gear and couldn't restart it. Meanwhile Red Bull pit screws up Webber's first pitstop on lap 8 when he was changing onto the mediums; RR wheel guy fails to get the tire off, but the rear jack guy lets him go and the wheel pops off before he left the pit. Kevlar-belted wheel goes awol, Lotus pit crew members dodge it, but the F1 camera guy doesn't as he's filming in the other direction -- takes it right under the chin.Camera goes flying, but he got up and walked away on his own feet some time afterwards.

Rosberg gets team orders to not hold hams up on lap 12. Hams being held up is opening him to Raikkonen's advances. Gets by in lap 14. Grosjean makes a great stop and gets out in front of all three of them, in second position. Webber goes purple on lap 12, working to make up for the time loss in the pit. Hulkenburg's tire strategy of running the mediums 18 laps is paying dividends so far. Ferrari/Alonzo only took their mediums 12 laps before pitting for some reason, meaning their initial strategy has gone up in smoke. By lap 19 Hams' mediums have gone off. Raikkonen passes him and walks away, now Alonzo is up his ass in lap 20. He pits on lap 23.

Grosjean is chasing down Vettel in lap 23. It seems only the Lotus is managing these tires well. Then Jules Bianci's Marussia goes up in smoke, engine going up in flames. He gets out of the car unharmed, but then the car magically starts rolling backwards across the track (down hill) when the track crew goes to tow it away...and keeps rolling. Safety car comes out. Hams just changed tires, giving him a major advantage. Webber uses this Safety Car to get back to the lead lap. The Safety Car lap is still running through lap 29. Vergne retires with mechanical issues in lap 30. Lotus begins to chases down Vettel in lap 34. Grosjean is within 1sec of Vettel and Raikkonen is within 1sec of Grosjean. Meanwhile Webber is having trouble workin his way through the field like he's done in races past. Hulkenberg's pit asks him if he has another 12 laps in his mediums; he says no.

At this point in the race the rumor is that Vettel has KERS issues. His team engineer encourages him, letting him know that Grosjean isn't within 1sec for DRS. Grosjean pits on lap 41 for new tires as he's racing for the last 19 laps on this set. Comes back out in 6. Vettel boxes in response on lap 42. Comes out right in front of Grosjean. Raikkonen is still in 1st, but will need to pit soon. It's starting to look like he'll stay out to run softs through the finish to have the speed advantage. Around lap 45 Hams gets passed by Vettel and pits. He comes back out in 11th. Raikkonen's deltas are now looking close enough to come in to pit and possibly beat Vettel around the track. Jenson pits and comes out in 8th in lap 48. Hams pits and comes out in 11th for his final stop. lap 46. Raikkonen pits on lap 50 for softs. Alonzo pits right behind him to do the same. exits in 3rd. Word is Raikkonens' new softs already have six laps on them from qualy; Alonzo appears to have the advantage. Jenson takes 5th from Perez. Kimi is chipping away at Vettel, going purple. Alonzo is chasing Kimi down, matching him with fastest laps. The German fans are getting anxious.

Nail biting stuff through the finish, last lap with Kimi finally within a second, but not close enough to catch Vettel. Vettel wins his home Grand Prix for the first time. Hams passes Jenson on lap 59 to take 5th, Alonzo crosses the line in 4th, behind Vettel, Kimi and Grosjean (respectively) and immediately loses power and shuts it down...looks like he ran out of fuel. Probably the best result for McLaren all year. Mark Webber came from dead last to make 7th, passing Perez on the last lap. Rosberg finishes up in one spot, in 9th. Top five driver standings are as follows: Vettel, Alonso (-34), Raikkonen (-41), Hamilton (-58), Webber (-64).

The action at the Hungaroring is going to be something else; new tires and plenty of drivers with something to prove at the halfway point of the season. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Rallyelange.

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