Thursday, September 29, 2016

What to watch this weekend (Sept 30th - Oct 5th)

  • V8 Supercars. Sandown. Thursday @ 9pm - 10pm (CBSSN(HD)) delayed airing from 9/18
  • WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. Petit Le Mans. From Road Atlanta. Saturday @ 11am - 12pm (FS1(HD)), 12pm - 6pm (FS2(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - Malaysia Grand Prix; from Kuala Lumpur/Sepang International Circuit. Practice. Friday @ 2am - 3:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - Malaysia Grand Prix; from Kuala Lumpur/Sepang International Circuit. Qualifying. Saturday @ 5am - 6:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - Malaysia Grand Prix; from Kuala Lumpur/Sepang International Circuit. Race. Sunday @ 2am - 5am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • World Rally Championship. France. Sunday @ 6am - 7am (MAVTV(HD)) live
  • Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2016. Sonoma. Sunday @ 4pm - 6pm (CBSSN(HD))
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 7pm - 7:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Motorweek. Tuesday @ 7:30pm - 8pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Garage Squad. Wednesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
We have a loaded motorsport weekend to look forward to this weekend, with the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship finale, the Petite Le Mans from Road Atlanta, V8 Supercars action, WRC action, Monaco Historic GP coverage from earlier this summer and the F1 2016 season continues in Malaysia.

Where we last left off, it was hot and muggy in Singapore two weeks ago. Hams was holding on to the championship lead with his fingernails, and Mercedes was looking forward to trying to rectify the mysterious problems they had last year in SG, where Nico finished off the podium and Hams DNF'd. This year Mercedes seemed to have figured out how to work with the 2016 Pirelli compounds, living towards the top of the order all weekend. Ferrari got the win last year and looked to repeat if possible, and Red Bull was looking for an initial win of the season. Qualifying was a good sign of what was to come in the race; Nico was the fastest, followed by Ricciardo and Hamilton, who struggled a bit with some of consistency in some of the technical sections. Vettel had to start from the back as he suffered a broken rear suspension in Q1 which forced him to retire. Given his ability to chose his fate, he switched power units (negated penalty since he was in the back in the first place) and started on the Softs to get the longest first stint possible. The race start was eventful for all the wrong reasons; Nico Hulkenberg was clipped during a quick start, attempting to split the two Toro Rosso's, resulting in a broken rear suspension. The collateral damage was extensive as the activity resulted in some broken front wings, punctures and other damage, which made the initial trip through the pits for the entire field a mandatory pit stop area for some. From that point forward it was a tire strategy exercise. Rosberg was in clean air so things didn't really get interesting for him until late in the race. Both Mercs were dealing with brake temp issues, and the other front runners worked to exploit that where ever possible. The initial idea for Mercedes was to run a two stopper UltraS-Soft-Soft and Red Bull were to run SSoft-SSoft-Soft or similar. As the race developed however, with the brake issues rearing their head, Ham's was passed by Raikkonen on track while trying to get a new strategy from the team, but he didn't get a new strategy until relatively late; instead of going two stop, Hams and Ricciardo went onto SSofts with about 17 laps to go, which changes the dynamic of the two stop strategy completely. Raikkonen pitted shortly afterward for UltraS's which painted the final laps as ones where Ricciardo, Hams and Raikkonen would be up Rosbergs' transaxle. Due to the pit delta and other factors, and the slow reaction by Rosberg's pit, he stayed out on the Softs and Daniel got within a half second of him on the final lap. The strategy Red Bull employed (and Hams' pit in reaction), almost paid off, but it wasn't quite enough. Perez finished in 8th, doing Sahara Force India's constructor's points well despite Hulkenberg's retirement on Lap 1. Button DNF'd, but Alonso finished 7th for Mclaren's sake. Verstappen recovered from a bad start in 4th, and a near miss with Hulkenberg's quick trip into the wall, to finish in 6th.

With the checkered flag dropped, the top three finished in the order they started, followed by the Ferrari's of Raikkonen and Vettel, respectively. The current Driver's standing are as follows: Rosberg, Hamilton (-8), Ricciardo (-94), Vettel (-120), Raikkonen (-125), Verstappen (-144). Malaysia should be another good one; if teams and drivers want to make an impact it'll have to happen now.

Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of MotorTrend.

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