May 26, 2005

Ah, Monaco!

Last night my friend Brian came over for our ritual of watching the Formula One races together. Usually we watch live on his high-definition big screen TV, but this time we watched a tape of the race on my "civilian" equipment because he had been out of town on race day.

Watching the F1 races has become a bit of an ordeal this year. In past years the qualifying has taken place during the days before the race, and I could ignore it. This year though final qualifying happens an hour before the actual race. The TV coverage is continuous which means I have to stay propped in front of the TV, usually in the early hours of Sunday morning, for an extra hour. Fortunately Brian and I are both athletes in our own right...

Brian has been running seriously for a while, running several marathons a year. As I recall his times are in the 3:20 range. He gave me a bit of advice last night and warned me that Sunday's RUNTO race on Toronto Island, which I've entered, has a lot of changing surfaces.

As far as this year's Monaco Grand Prix goes, it was surprisingly interesting. The Monaco GP is run on the slow and twisty streets of town. There are no decent straight-aways so the cars can't get anywhere near their top speeds of 300 KPH and visibility of the track ahead is terrible, so it's very difficult to pass. This means that at Monaco the fastest qualifying car usually wins because no-one can get past. That's what happened this time, go Kimmi, but there were a number of interesting developments in the pack.

At one point a Minardi spun in tricky location and effectively blocked the track. The five cars immediately behind had to brake hard and come to a stop for thirty seconds. Must have been startling from their perspective. Two cars were damaged and one couldn't continue. Later Jarno Trulli got creative in his Toyota and passed in a place I've never seen a pass work before. It didn't pay off though, as he damaged his suspension in the process. In the closing stages the Renaults, who are leading in the points but now struggling, were losing grip badly (no tire changes allowed this year) and half a dozen cars were able to squeeze by them. There was a particularly interesting battle between Mark Webber's Williams and Fernando Alonso's Renault just at the end. The fourth through eight place drivers ended up less than two seconds apart!

Canadian driver Jacque Villeneuve raced fairly well, but came into a corner a bit hot late in the race and plowed into a wall. Almost took his teammate out too. His ride might be in jeopardy unless he can get some more points.

Listening to: Don't Let It Bring You Down by Annie Lennox from Medusa.

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