Monday, May 01, 2006

San Marino

Having wallowed in my misery and overindulged in chocolate and two many past M&B novels over the weekend, my rejected writer's mind received its final cathartic exercise - spending a very wet and dreary Sunday afternoon on my own watching the the sun shining brightly and the Italian tifosi suitably attired in red t-shirts and designer shades at the San Marino Formula 1 Grand Prix in Imola, Italy. I have to say there is nothing like watching beautiful cars being driven by very sexy men hurtling around a scenic Italian track at 200 mph. Talk about fantasy...anyway despite my drooling the fourth Grand Prix of the 2006 calendar proves to be an absolutely superb race, despite the fact that for most of the race there seemed to be only two drivers in contention.
The race starts and immediately the safety car is dispatched as Christijan Albers crashes his Midland race car rounding the Villeneuve chicane. Unharmed but with a trashed car he is out of the race. By lap 7 Trulli is also out due to steering column failure. Schumacher is already leading the pack at this point and although Fernando Alonso is showing some impressive driving Schumacher’s Ferrari team-mate, Massa is exercising Ferrari’s lucid tactical moves as he slows down to keep Alonso’s Renault at bay. At lap 20 Schumacher goes in for his first pit stop and Alonso kicks up the heat by eating up some serious track to lessen the 13 second lead owned by Schumacher. Alonso still needs to go in for his first pit stop but Renault’s delayed stop shows foresight as Alonso comes out of the pits just behind Schumacher to take second place to the German’s lead.
I am literally on the edge of my seat with an incredulous smile on my face as I watch Fernando Alonso desperately trying to get past Schumacher. A mere 0.346 second gap separates them and in the 37th lap Alonso makes his tenacious move at the Tosa corner. Schumacher retains pole position despite Alonso’s efforts. The tension is truly unbelievable as in the 41st lap Alonso takes his second and final pit stop early in an effort, perhaps, to outwit the Ferrari team. The Renault's change of tactics forces Schumacher to take his car in for his second pit stop in the 42nd lap and in a feat of luck (there has to be an element of it in F1) and an obviously impressive strategical move the Ferrari car pulls out literally a wheel revolution in front of Alonso's Renault. It was incredible. A heart-stopping wonderful piece of Formula 1 driving. Alonso must have been absolutely kicking himself seeing the red car slide onto the track in front of him and knowing that the chances of overtaking on the tricky Imola track were now unlikely.
With still 20 laps to go Alonso just cannot get past the Ferrari but sticks to the heels of the prancing horse like the truly skilled driver he is. Sadly with all the down wind and dirty air from the Ferrari, the Renault finds itself struggling and towards the 58th lap, it's pretty clear that Alonso is going to have to settle for second place, his tires losing grip and the car severely over-exerted. An absolutely fabulous race, Schumacher pulls in for first place with Alonso and the Renault team coming in second. McLaren’s Juan Pablo Montoya takes third, Felipe Massa of Ferrari fourth. Raikkonen, Webber and Jenson Button come in fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
While I am of the firm opinion that Schumacher is, quite frankly, a bit of an arrogant tosser I have to admit that the man can drive and I suppose it is only fitting that Ferrari should take pole position at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. I mean really, it would be a bit embarrassing if they didn't. But Alonso's driving was excellent even if the Renault later tactical move not so hot and it sure made for some serious suspenseful television watching.
I am hoping that this Sunday's race at Nurberg will be equally as exciting. I do wish that Fisichella would get his arse in gear and commit to a decent race. The man is just too darn sexy to be such a bad driver. He's got the skill just not the balls. But maybe he'll surprise me...
Now that the sports commentary's over I'm going to get the little boy up from his afternoon sleep and prepare myself for Monday night at the Literacy Alliance. I do hope it's not maths tonight. It may be good for my brain and a good challenge in taking me out of my comfort zone but I wish someone needed help with English!

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