Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Motor Sport Sunday

What a super motor sport day last Sunday was. First of all we had a Formula 1 race at Hockenheim – one of those few tracks which seems to actually encourage overtaking. Lewis Hamilton won despite McLaren making a cock-up of the pit-stops. A brilliant follow-up to Hamilton’s win at Silverstone. Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr. was a surprise second and Felipe Massa of Ferrari finished third behind Hamilton, whose fourth season win was the first for McLaren-Mercedes at Hockenheim in a decade.

Then we had an Indy car race – not on the ovals but at Mid-Ohio – another track with good overtaking opportunities. For those who don’t follow Indy Car racing it uses cars similar in appearance to the 1990s F1 cars and has a mix of oval races (including the Indy 500) and circuits. Regrettably the folk I was rooting for – Danica Patrick (about whom I shall do a posting one day) and Marco Andretti came 12th and 25th respectively.

Marco, in fact, crashed out through no fault of his own coming upon an accident involving half a dozen vehicles and having nowhere to go. Normally I wouldn’t root for Marco but if he had won it would have made the Andretti family the first to have grandfather, father and son winners in open-wheel racing as he is Mario’s grandson and Michael’s son.

And finally we had a brilliant MotoGP race at the best circuit of all – Laguna Seca whose corkscrew is one of the best features (if not the best) on any motor racing course.

Poor Jorge Lorenzo highsided on Lap 1 and with his bike going backwards and him going skywards it was a spectacular incident. Sadly he’s broken a couple of bones in his foot – and that after only just recovering from broken ankles, etc.

Virtually the whole race was a Rossi / Stoner battle – and what a battle. Very hard but, in my view, fair. Casey wasn’t too happy but I think the incident that concerned him was one that happened because Rossi bounced off the kerb and Casey didn’t realise that was what had happened. By the time they were on the podium they were shaking hands and friends again. From lap 1 to lap 23 there was never more than a couple of bike lengths between them and on some laps the lead changed two or three times. They were in a class of their own and the guys behind were having a separate race in a different Zip Code.

Then, with nine laps to go Casey went off line and off track and almost in slow motion dropped the bike in the gravel. Despite this he got going again, only losing sixteen seconds in the process and keeping his second place. The advantage of Casey dropping the bike on Lap 23 was that we were then able to cut away to all the other battles taking place right through the field.

Chris Vermuelen on his Suzuki was a creditable third.

What a fantastic sporting day – and I haven’t even mentioned the Open at Birkdale – I taped that and I still didn’t know the result by Monday evening.

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