2016 European Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Whoever heard of Baku? Whoever knew anything about Baku? Whoever said anything nice about Baku? Paying big money for major international sporting events does work as a means of advertising your city and/or country. Too bad, a lot of times this method involves oppressive regimes.
TRACK: Definitely, one of the most interesting, street or otherwise, tracks to come around in a long time. It had everything, but paradoxically, maybe it had too much of everything.
EVENT: There were grandstands built to handle 20,000 spectators and 8,000 general admission tickets available. The meager grandstands weren't full, and it was hard to determine how many people were wondering around the track (though, plenty had a great view from their apartment balconies). The event may have been a "success," but it doesn't mean anybody went to it.
QUALIFYING: Rosberg regains the top, Hamilton messes up (many times) all on his own this time, Perez is amazing, Ricciardo shocks the Ferraris, and Renault is slower than the Manors.
RACE: What promised to be an exciting race turned into a "contest" of the teams trying to get a grip on the tire situation at a brand new track.
START: The most shocking part of the race was the field getting through Turns 8-9-10 clean. Heck, the whole start was relatively clean.
ROSBERG: Never put a wheel wrong. Knock Nico for his faults, but his absolute strength is the ability to completely control a race when he is in front.
FIA: Amongst many assinine rules by the FIA, the radio ban is amongst the top. As a fan, it was frustrating as hell (though fun to listen) knowing drivers (Hamilton and Raikkonen) could be competing with other drivers if the teams could tell them how to fix their cars' electronic woes. The radio ban does not add to the show ... at all.
HAMILTON: Having said that, one has to wonder if Lewis' self imposed lack of time in the simulator hurt him. Simulators can ... well ... simulate all kinds of situations and teach you how to handle them. Instead of learning on the fly at over 150 mph.
MERCEDES: The top power unit plus a 1.4-mile straight equals untouchable.
VETTEL: Sebastian's call to override his team's strategy call paid off.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi's penalty and electronic issues made his fourth place finish quite admirable.
PEREZ: Sergio continues to be on a roll.
FORCE INDIA: Vettel may have finished second, but Force India was the second best team of the weekend.
HULKENBERG: Wrong strategy.
MASSA: Felipe continues his streak of being the only driver on the grid to score points in every race.
WEHRLEIN: Pascal looked very impressive for a short while there.
MCLAREN: Another race. Another mechanical DNF.
HAAS: They are in quit a quandry now. They set themselves up with such high expectations after the shocking start to the season. Now that they are placing in a more reasonable part of the pecking order, it seems more disappointing than realistic.
RENAULT: Another miserable weekend.
KVYAT: Even when Daniil doesn't crash out, he is the first one out...
LE MANS: One of the most heart wrenching, dramatic endings in Le Mans history. Toyota had it. Without a doubt. Then they didn't...
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Radio.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 0 -- The number of cars crashed out on the first lap when everyone was expecting a record number.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Sergio Perez tied Pedro Rodriguez for most F1 podiums by a Mexican. Pedro and his older brother, Ricciardo, are absolute legends in the Mexican motorsports world. Pedro not only got seven podiums, but also won two grands prix -- the 1967 South African GP driving a Cooper-Maserati and the 1970 Belgian GP at Spa driving a BRM by just 1.1 seconds over Chris Amon. Thirteen months later, he was killed in a sportscar race at the Norisring.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: After Lewis Hamilton says he is going to try to change everything to fix the problem, his engineer said, "Erm, we don't advise that, Lewis."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Both Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in exasperation pleading with their engineers to at least provide them an affirmative answer, "Surely you can say yes or no," "Can I make suggestions and you say it's okay or not?"
SCHEDULE: Now for the real European swing.
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