Friday, August 12, 2011

Exert from My Blog about the Canadian GP 2011

Originally Published June 13th 2011

As for the F1 race... Clusterfuck doesn't even begin to describe it. By this point in the day, it is drizzling fairly heavily. The driver's parade (not in their cars, but being driven around the circuit in old British ragtop sportscars. The actual rain started when they were about halfway around the track. Dad and I thought we were ready for the rain (him moreso than me). He put on his rainpants, and I dug out my poncho and wrapped it around my legs (and foamy chair thing). There was still about an hour before the beginning of the race. The rain got a little heavier, and I got a tweet from my friend Jay that the race was going to start behind the safety car (He was watching from home in England, we'd been tormenting each other all weekend over twitter). That wasn't announced to us until about 1/2 hour later.... so much for keeping the crowd informed.

The rest gets a little foggy... so just bear with me, if you are even still reading...

The race does start behind the safety car (meaning no high speeds, no passing, no fun....) for about 10 laps it was out there, with the cars, trying to dry off the track. at about 10 laps in, it finally came in, and the race had a rolling start. About 5 laps after that, there was a major accident that caused the safety car to come out again (Hamilton tries to pass Button, crashes into the pit wall, breaking some other team's pitboards, then tries to continue racing, and his car conks out about 12 way around they track. YAY!!) (trying to clear the car, and get the debris off the track). This went on (while it was still raining), for about 3 laps. The safety car comes in, we start racing again... what do you know, another accident... (This time Alonso was trying to pass Button, and they bumped wheels, spinning Alonso into the wall, ending his race. Not so Yay.). Safety car comes out again. We've hit downpour, and "apparently" it wasn't safe to have the cars on at high speeds, so the damn thing stays out for another 10-ish laps.

Next up, the rain gets even heavier, snuck between my coat and poncho, even though I had the poncho tucked under the bottom of my coat, and starts dripping onto my chair/chairpad, and jeans. The race gets red-flagged*. We were about 25 laps in to a 70-ish lap race. The clock stopped at I think about 78 minutes remaining. (meaning we'd watched about 30 minutes behind the safety car (boring), and 12 minutes of racing.

We waited in a downpour for over an hour waiting for any information about the race (the announcers gave us NOTHING). Jay (in England) kept me informed as to what the BBC was saying. (Dad had bought me a drybag for my phone that is really amazing, and it meant that I didn't wreck the phone in the rain). We finally got word about an hour into this storm that they wanted to restart the race once the rain stopped, and that the track was less full of puddles. An hour and a half passes... I'm now pretty much soaked to the skin from my belly button down, and from my hands to my shoulders (from being on the phone), and am freezing cold. We hear again, that they want to restart the race, but don't know when that will happen. They joke that it doesn't really get dark early in Canada, so they could wait forever.... (we then started booing the announcers, as they were warm and dry in their booth, and we were the ones dripping wet). The cameras start panning our stands, and we get a little rowdy. Probably because a lot of the people in the stands are drunk... what else was there to do? We all start singing (Ole, like they do at the hans games), and the camera quickly cuts away from us (wusses). I'm waiting to watch the race to see if you can see Dad and I in the stands. Two hours pass... the rain starts to slow, and we get a restart time. I've started shaking I'm so cold, but don't really want to move, because then my seat will get wet. The stewards have brought over a septic pumper truck to try and deal with the lake that has formed on the track in front of our stands

Two hours and 5 minutes after the race was red-flagged, we start again behind the safety car. (BOOOO). It stays out for far too long... we all start booing at it. You can likely hear us on the feed (at least I hope so, most of the stands were booing). The safety car goes in, and 8 cars (of the 22 that are running) all jump into the pits to switch out of full wets, to intermediate tyres. This says that it was out for WAY too long. Button gets a drive-through penalty** for speeding behind the safety car, and because of this drops from near the top of the grid to dead last. It looks like he's out of it.

Then there is more blur (for me, I was so cold....) Button starts fighting back, and makes it up to about 10th. Another safety car, as the cars are switching from intermediate tires, to the slicks that they go on in dry tracks. This causes them to slide all over the track if they go off the racing line (racing line: the quickest way around the track, the line all the drivers take unless they are passing someone. The driest and grippiest part of the track). Another crash (can't remember who goes out), safety car comes out again.... we all boo, but there is a lot of debris for the stewards to clean up. Carbon fibre is really sharp, and just shreds through the tires causing them to go flat.

Somehow after the restart (less than 10 laps left, and the two hour limit is almost up...the BBC says time will be up before the laps are...ending the race early. Button jumps to 4th. Vettel is still leading, has for the whole race... and hasn't really done much. Schumacher is having an amazing race, with Webber in 3rd. Schumacher makes a mistake, and both Button and Webber pass him (Vettel in 1st, Button in 2nd, and Webber in 3rd). Really nifty move. In the last 5 laps, Button is catching Vettel at an alarming rate (Vettel had been about 10 seconds ahead and in F1 times it is about 5 years ahead). Alarming, like 2 seconds a lap... Button is inching closer and closer, and on the last lap Vettel zigged when he should have zagged, and Button passed him for the win in the last corner. The press called it the race of his life, and I am inclined to agree.... Apart from all the safety cars (which made the race be more like 6 small races, and the long storm, it was a really amazing race. One of the best I've seen.

*Red Flagged: An F1 race has a maximum time of 2 hours. A red flag means that the race is stopped, and so is the timer. This way the race can restart when it is deemed safe, and have the race clock start again.

**Drive-through penalty: Driver has to drive through the pits (100 km/h speed limit), adds about 15-20 seconds to your lap time

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