Malaysian GP 2011

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Practice

The Good
you’d almost think Webber and Vettel had simply switched cars from Australia.  Webber was on top for both P1 and P2 in front of the 1 McLarens and Vette following them up in 4th.  Further down the order.  Michael Schumacher expressed his satisfaction in the progress made by Mercedes GP.  In the Torro Rosso garage, reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest time for that outfit.  Expect to see him in as a race driver before the year is out.

The Bad
Under the 107% rule 3 cars (1 from each of the 3 new teams) would have failed to qualify based on P1 and P2 times.

….and the Ugly
-Renault had a double suspension failure because of a bad material batch.
-HRT had a “stupid” switch problem leaving Liuzzi stranded on the side of the track.
-D’Ambrosio missed P2 while Virgin attempted to repair his car following a suspension failure on P1

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Qualifying

– First of all, everyone qualified for the race.  Beyond that nothing of particular excitement happened.  Red Bull is still at the front although McLaren is right on their heals in what is building into an exciting rivalry between Hamilton and Vettel.   Ferrari are closing up, but the F150/F150th/150 isn’t quite up to speed yet.

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Race
From the start, Vettel was in his usual form leaving the rest of the field behind. His teammate, Webber on the other hand had a horrible start. This has become almost a regular problem from Webber and considering that he is in the best car in the field, Red Bull should expect better from their drivers. granted, he had a KERs issue, but that’s still only worth .1 – .2s/lap at most.

The surprise of the day was the jump for the 2 Renault (Lotus Renault GP) on the start. They were quick in pre-season testing and at one point i expected Kubica to be challenging for the championship, but following Kubica’s accident, I expected them to be a  solid mid-field team at best, however with Petrov’s podium finish in Australia and a phenomenal start from both cars this weekend, these guys could be challenging for wins this season…..IF Petrov can hold himself together and not fall back into the inconsistency that he showed so often last year and unfortunately, this GP seemed more like the Petrov from last year with a minor mistake sending his car airborne.  Hiedfield answered the criticism of his performance in Australia this weekend and with an undamaged car we was able to bring home a very solid 3rd place finish.  I do still think we’ll always be left with what could have been if Kubica had been their driver this year, but if Renault can continue to develop the R31, they might still have the potential to be a player in the championship

McLaren…..it was almost painful to watch.  For what is supposed to be one of the premier, they can make some of the most amateur mistakes.  Fortunately Jenson had a little luck and put 1 car on the podium to help balance out Lewis’ horrible race, which marked is 73rd Grand Prix with McLaren making him the most loyal driver in F1 history.

Williams: Just like Red Bull, they’re 2 for 2, unfortunately, that for double DNFs not race wins, but if you build a “radical” car, expect reliability issues. 

Torro Rosso/Sauber: Buemi lost body work during qualifying and again during the race on Sunday this time hitting the floor of Pérez’ car and knocking out his electrical system and setting off his fire extinguisher.  Fortunately Kobayashi was able to bring home some much needed points after the DQ from Australia. 

In the back of the pack, the usual suspects filled out the back 3 rows of the start, but considering that HRT didn’t make the field in Australia, this was an improvement.  Given a few more races, they should be able to finish, and hopefully the “your ad here” logos will be replaced with something more dignified.   Team Lotus (the green ones) had a pretty good showing for their “home” race and at one point, i saw them as high up as 13th.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Team Lotus actually take home a few points this season, although that’s still a ways away for HRT and Virgin.  As always remember that Stewart GP (now Red Bull) took almost 15 years and was sold and renamed twice before winning a championship, so these things take time.

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Politics

There is coming from Austin this week related to the 2012 USGP.  Unfortunately, there have been no indication of what it is going to be, so i’m going to avoid just wildly guessing.

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~ by lancer033 on April 11, 2011.

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