Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Exciting …

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in change there is power.
Alan Cohen



Yes it was! The title is the antonym to the title of the previous post, and has been chosen deliberately.

The sheen of the rain on the track was an indicator that this race, Melbourne, Sunday 28th March 2010, would live up to expectations. Whether you are a racing aficionado, a clock-watcher (the clocks went forward an hour), or whether you have religion (Palm Sunday), you somehow felt that the entertainment this Sunday morning was going to be of the highest quality.

Despite the wretched early hour in the northern hemisphere!

The fun began in earnest at the very first corner. Who could have put money on the fact that THREE champions would mix it so early in the race? Button (McLaren), Alonso (Ferrari) and Schumacher (Mercedes) flexed their motoring muscles resulting in a brush or two, and it was fortunate that all three emerged from the tussle unscathed. Not so lucky for Kobayashi (BMW), Buemi (Toro Rosso) and Hulkenberg (Williams) at turn six of the very same lap. Their race was over in a tangled mess of rubber, metal and fibreglass.

Safety car - 4 laps.

The drivers appeared to have discarded the 'first night nerves' that they displayed a fortnight ago in Bahrain; they drove their cars as if they meant it. Lap after lap I, and I suspect millions of others, sat glued to the screen. Even the paid-for channel on which I watched this spectacle appeared to get caught up in the excitement. They only put out TWO commercial breaks during the whole race!

The Red Bull team appears to have shrugged off their 'comic'Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world, according to market share. Red Bull is an adaptation of the Thai energy drink Krating Daeng, which means 'Red Bull'.

Red Bull's slogan is "it gives you wings" and the product is aggressively marketed through advertising, tournament sponsorship (Red Bull Air Race), sports team ownerships and celebrity endorsements.

In 2009 it was discovered that Red Bull Cola exported from Austria contained trace amounts of cocaine.

Red Bull has also been the target of criticism concerning the possible health risks associated with the drink.

Red Bull Art
(... counting their chickens?)

image and are by far and away the fastest cars on the track. Young Vettel started in pole position and wasn't about to give way. He continued to increase the gap between himself and the rest of the field (except for Button) with each lap, until lap 20, when his car suffered a brake problem and he ended up in the gravel at Turn-13. Poor sod, I actually felt sorry for him. Fast, yes. Reliability still a bit of a problem!

Button (McLaren) made a brave choice (I emphasise, HE made the choice, not the team in the pits) to switch to slicks in lap 6, because he felt the track was drying out, and the move paid dividends. He changed tyres about three laps before the others wised up, and that was all he needed to be able to close the gap even more on Vettel before that unfortunate's race ended prematurely. Now leading the pack, Button didn't put a foot (or wheel) wrong, and any decreases in his speed due to fuel or tyre conservation were being mirrored by the rest of the drivers behind him.

There were other cameo roles played out by the competitors, too many to enumerate, but all were enjoyable. The one that brought a huge grin to my face was the tussle between young Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso - first season) and Michael Schumacher (Mercedes - 7 times world champion), where it appeared Alguersuari was handing out a lesson in 'Driving-101', only for Schumacher to outbreak him at a corner, sending him off the track. Old dogs know all the tricks.

I could have posted many pictures to substantiate what I've written, but the official Formula 1 site are rightly reticent about allowing their excellent photography to be replicated by the likes of me. If you want to feast your eyes, click on the link above. It will open a new tab, or new page, depending on the browser you use.

Finally, my early morning tryst with this magnificent sport ended on a high when I observed that the chequered flag was waved for Jensen Button by no other than John Travolta.

You might have an image of the actor as the greasy kid from 'Grease' who ended up pawing Olivia Neutron-Bomb, but I have followed his career with interest and I am convinced that he is probably the most underrated actor of the modern genre.

Oh, he also owns and flies several aircraft, and probably piloted his 707 to make the trip ...

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