Thursday, June 20, 2019

What to watch this Weekend (June 21st - June 26th)

  • Formula 1 - French Grand Prix; from Circuit Paul Ricard, France. Practice 1. Friday @ 4:55am - 6:30am (ESPN2(HD)) live 
  • Formula 1 - French Grand Prix; from Circuit Paul Ricard, France. Practice 2. Friday @ 8:55am - 10:30am (ESPNU(HD)) live 
  • Formula 1 - French Grand Prix; from Circuit Paul Ricard, France. Practice 3. Saturday @ 5:55am - 7am (ESPN2(HD)) live  
  • Formula 1 - French Grand Prix; from Circuit Paul Ricard, France. Qualifying. Saturday @ 8:55am - 10am (ESPN2(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - French Grand Prix; from Circuit Paul Ricard, France. Race. Sunday @ 8:30am - 11am (ESPN(HD)) live
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 7pm - 7:30pm (MotorTrendHD) replay
  • Motorweek. Tuesday @ 7:30pm - 8pm (MotorTrendHD) replay
  • Bitchin Rides. Tuesday @ 8pm - 9pm (MotorTrendHD) replay
F1s last race in Canada was quite the controversial weekend. First things first, it looked like Ferrari was at a track that suited their car. Vettel and Leclerc were quick, Hamilton looked like he was going to take another pole and Vettel nipped him by 2/10ths. Hamilton split the Ferraris for the race though, Bottas had a bad Q3 and wasn't able to tuck another car into the first two rows, starting 6th. Meanwhile, the Honda powered teams looked good in FP3, but Qualy didn't work out as well, with Gasley of RBR being the only one able to get into Q3. That would be flipped back into their favor in the race though, three Honda powered cars finishing in the top ten, only Albon in the Toro Rosso DNF'ing and not scoring any points. In the void of the top runners not making Q3, including Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo qualified 4th. This shows some significant improvement from Renault after the rough start; they've determined some of their core issues and have worked through them with powerunit upgrades. The race started off frantic as usual, but Hamilton and the remainder of the top few rows maintained positions and settled into race and strategy. Verstappen drives the wheels off once again and goes from 11th to 5th in the race. Stroll comes in 9th in his home grand prix. Kvyat shows another strong showing and takes the final point in 10th. Bottas salvages a not so great early race and finishes in 4th behind Leclerc. Vettel crosses the checkered flag first, but comes in second -- this is where the controversy comes in. On lap 48/70, Hamilton's reeling Vettel in, bit by bit, when Vettel loses the rear heading into turn 4 and cuts the grass in order to avoid needing to take the turn with no control. In rejoining the track the car drifts right; Hamilton, seeing the error is attacking the gap which is closed by Vettel who gets back on the power and corrects the slide, pinching Hams at the wall and forcing him to hit the brakes hard. In real time it looks a little rough, but happens really quickly. The stewards reviewed the incident and eventually, at the end of lap 57/70,  gave Vettel a 5sec penalty because of a specific rule about unsafe returns to the track which essentially isn't up for interpretation. Hamilton's chase was halted by the incident and even though he tried passing Vettel through the final 22 laps, but he was unable to pass him, finishing a bit under a second from Vettel. Leclerc was working hard to try nipping second place as Vettel's tires fell off late, but couldn't quite get inside the 5second window. Vettel was furious, obviously, looking to boycott the podium, but he was notified of further penalties that would come by not speaking to the media and he worked his way back. Hamilton looked to try letting Vettel stand on the top step of the podium with him, but Vettel declined. Vettel spoke to Martin Brundel and explained the issue, but walked off afterwards. The race crowd booed Hams even though he didn't make the decision and cheered Vettel as the true winner of the race. Vettel also put the #2 placard in front of Hamiltons car on the way to the podium. Quite the scene, quite the wet blanket ending to a GP, as good hard racing is good for the sport and spectators. The counterpoint is would Ferrari be asking for this same penalty if the roles were reversed? So what we seem to have is a rule that should have some wiggle room built in so that the stewards have the power to interpret (or the penalty at least - swap positions potentially on the grounds of gaining advantage) based on circumstance; but that'll have to be a target for another season. Oh and Magnussen giving his Haas team crap for having a poorly setup car on race day after he destroyed his previous car in Qualy. Poor form, wtf. They had to build a new car from scratch, overnight, with a brand new chassis. I'm glad Gunther told him off.

In the end, Hamilton took his 7th win in Canada, equaling Shumi's single track win record. Vettel and Ferrari curse the call by the stewards and looked to appeal it, but as of today the result still stands. This would've been Vettel's first win since Belgium 2018, but he'll have to settle for his first pole in 2019. The Driver's Championship standings are as follows: Hamilton, Bottas (-29), Vettel (-62), Verstappen (-74), Leclerc (-90), Gasley (-126). The constructors championship gap between Merc and Ferrari is 123 points. The French GP has arrived just in time for Renault to get its act together; they finished 6th and 7th in Canada. We'll see if they can deliver the fans what they'd like to see.
Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Peterwindsor.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Track Pron: McLaren Senna vs 650S GT3 | Chris Harris Drives (TopGear)

Chris puts the McLaren Senna against a proper McLaren 650S GT3 car at Silverstone. Oh yes.

Video courtesy of TopGear.

Monday, June 17, 2019