Saturday, March 11, 2006

Entetaining Formula 1 Qualifying Sessions are Back!!!

The Formula 1 qualifying sessions have gone through too many changes these past years (from 12 laps in an hour to parc ferme single-lap qualifying to two parc ferme single-lap qualifying sessions and back to single single-lap qualifying, only a F1 fan can understand and tolerate this ranting!). Well, they've finally got it right this time:)

As I've explained before, now there's 3 sessions and the cars can go out on unlimited amount of laps (but they have to conserve the engine and tires). Sure enough, within the first 15-minute session, drama unfolded. Kimi Raikonen crashed!! It was either due to mechanical failure (faulty rear right suspension) or too many belly-dancing sessions last night for Kimi. Whatever it was, first major scalp claimed in the first new qualifying session of the first race of the season and Kimi will start last on the grid. Ralf Schumacher of Toyota didnt fare too well as well. The session was red-flagged and thank goodness for the rest of the top drivers who were still in garage, the timing stopped as well. 4 minute 34 seconds left. The moment the debri were cleared, there was a massive traffic jam at the pit lane exit as all the drivers rushed to do a lap to get into next session. What a sight! That's the most expensive traffic jam I've seen so far! Nice!

Second session was a bit less dramatic but just as entertaining as the drivers once again come out during the last 3rd-4th minute to do just enough to get into the top 10 for the last session. Final session was interesting as the 10 cars left have to go out in race fuel (i.e. the fuel load that they will start in the race tomorrow. It was all probably calculated using massive supercomputers in the team garages). It was a mini race in itself as drivers then started to go on many laps to burn off the fuel so that the car's weight will reduce again to produce fast laps. Now, this is where F1 becomes a bit too indulgent for my taste. With oil price shooting up like nobody's business, here are 10 cars going round and round achieving no purpose but so they can start in the front row of a race tomorrow. Multiply that by 18 races we're having this season and things dont look too good. However, all in all, there were plenty of action going on in this qualifying. Best I've seen for a long long time! Btw, it was also Schumacher's (the better Schumacher, I mean) 65th pole, equaliing Ayrton Senna's record, which has stood since 1994. Formula 1 is definitely back in the black again!!

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