Auto Manifesto

June 22, 2008

F1: French Grand Prix

Qualifying

Not that interesting of a session other than the unofficial rule (?!) that cars cannot put all 4 wheels onto the green strip approaching the finish line. Apparently drivers (e.g. Bruno Senna in GP2) are using the last lap of their sessions to gain a time advantage by passing the line there without slowing down, and risking impact with the wall.

How silly is this? If it's been a problem for over 15 years then either move the finish line further up or extend the wall back like Montreal's "Wall of Champions" to discourage such driver behavior. It's not that hard to change.

The other item from qualifying is that "Quick" Nick Heidfeld now appears to be just Nick Heidfeld. He didn't do too well and ended up 12th, and has struggled mightily to keep up with his teammate.

Race

The Ferraris were in a league of their own with Kimi Raikkonen leading Felipe Massa from the start, and probably would've finished that way instead of vice versa but for Raikkonen's exhaust breaking, slowing the car.

Jarno Trulli did well to bring the Toyota home 3rd after all the dicing he had throughout the event with Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, and Robert Kubica. His race engineer also wins the award for "Most Obvious Advice" over the course of the season thus far, with gems like "Push! Push! Kovalainen is right behind you!"

Nelson Piquet finally started turning his season around. Qualifying wasn't great but he managed to finish the race ahead of his teammate and both were in the points.

Lewis Hamilton started 13th due to his 10 place penalty for causing the pitlane accident in Canada. His driving on this day can best be described as ragged, bumping his teammate in the early laps, missing the chicane when passing Sebastian Vettel (and earning a drive-through penalty for it), consistently locking the left front at the 180 hairpin, and generally sliding all over the road. He's a fast driver with good luck but has a tendency to compound his problems when things aren't going well.

Between the struggles of the two McLarens today, team principal Ron Dennis was sweating like a SWAT team bomb technician on the job.

Kovalainen also made a great move by going around Piquet at the pit exit. Surprisingly, he wasn't penalized for it as he crossed the white line to the right of the lane. This is something that has been enforced further up the exit "ramp" let's call it, but circumstances might have required such a move.

Honda has had the same story every year for about the past 2 years, no improvement. Ferrari is now well clear of its rivals in the Constructors Championship and Massa leads the Drivers Championship, with Raikkonen third.

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