Monday, October 23, 2006

We are the Champions...and it's snowing

We are the Champions, we are the Champions...
Super congratulations to Fernando and Renault (Fisi and Heikki) for winning both the Driver's Cup and the Constructor's Cup of the 2006 F1 season. The Brazilian Grand Prix was fantastic and a suitably fitting end to a wonderful season.
It seems, however, that the 25 year old Felipe Massa has me hook, line and sinker. Yet again when he won I was in floods. Oh, the emotion of it all. He is the first Brazilian to win before his home crowd since the late, great Ayrton Senna. And what a win. He was pole on the grid from Saturday's qualifying and maintained pole position for the entirety of the race. As he said afterwards "The car was perfect, the Bridgestone tyres were perfect, I drove an impeccable race and all of this at my home grand prix!". It seems that my beloved Renault and dare I say, Signor Fisichella may be in for some competition next year from the Ferrari driver.
And, in the Ferrari vein, of course it wouldn't be right to not mention that it was Schumacher's last race in Formula 1 yesterday as he takes his retirement from the world of racing. I watched an interesting tribute to him yesterday on Speed that commented on the fact that Michael was such an incredible driver that the foolish moves and unsportsmanlike decisions he had made during his racing career were unnnecessary. The guy didn't need to gain the oneupmanship because he already had it. And while there are drivers I much prefer I know that Formula 1 will not be the same without Schumacher next year. His drive at Interlagos was typically impressive and even though he didn't win he proffered a race that was testament to his skill and unwaivering determination. From 10th place on the grid, due to mechanical problems in Saturday's qualifying, to 6th and then 4th only to receive a left rear puncture that stripped the rubber from the tyre, forcing him into 19th position after the pitstop. And then as only Schumacher can, he battled and cajoled his way up the field to finish in 4th! As I said he may not have won but he continued to entertain and impress even as the book was closing on the story of his F1 life.

Final Standings
F.Alonso 134
M.Schumacher 121
F.Massa 80
G.Fisichella 72
K.Raikkonen 65
J.Button 56
R.Barichell 30
J.Montoya 26
N.Heidfeld 23
R.Schumacher 20

Renault 206
Scuderia Ferrari 201
McLaren-Mercedes 110
Honda 86
Sauber-BMW 36

And so as I'm sure the party continues in Sao Paulo, we start the haitus between seasons and prepare ourselves for changes abound. I know it'll take some getting used to, seeing Alonso in the black and silver of McLaren and Kimi in Ferrari red. The new rules and regulations set by the FIA and the introduction of "one" tyre (Bridgestone) for 2007 will bring new dynamics to the already unpredictable world of F1. But there's a new lot of young, brash and incredible drivers making their way up the ranks and I'm looking forward to the likes of Hamilton and Nelson Piquet Jr debuting and injecting new blood into a sport that has caught this proverbial fox right between its jaws.

Oh, yes and it's snowing today. I suppose it was wishful thinking that it would never come but there it was as I was driving to work this morning - little light feathery flakes descending upon my windshield. Winter. It's here.

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