Oct. 1, 2006


I watched the Chinese Grand Prix this morning with my friend Brian. What a great race! Changing conditions meant lots of action as different drivers had the advantage at different times. But first, some local news...

Brian has been taking names and kicking butts lately on two inquiries. The Arar Inquiry published it's conclusions a little while ago and was very critical of the RCMP, which gave incorrect information to the USA that resulted in Maher Arar's unwarranted detention and transfer to a Syrian prison, where he was tortured on America's behalf. Brian is also involved in a new inquiry into the Air India Bombing. This is a sad issue that has been bubbling away for over twenty years now.

My son told me this morning about a school scandal. Four thirteen year-old students got into a parent's liquor cabinet over lunch last week and returned to school drunk! Two of them needed to be taken to the hospital and all four were suspended. I hope Chris has learned from their example.

Back to motor car racing. Qualifying in Shanghai took place in very wet conditions, which favoured cars running on Michelin tires. The two Renaults, on Michelin tires, started from the front row with the two Hondas, also on Michelin tires, following. Michael Schumacher started his Bridgestone-equipped Ferrari back in sixth, sandwiched between the McLarens (yes, on Michelin tires) of Kimi Raikkonen and De la Rosa.

During the race traction proved to be the key issue. Fernando Alonso's Renault sprinted away from the field, but on his first pit stop the decision to put new tires on his front wheels proved unwise. Kimi also had a great start, climbing from fifth to third on the first lap. Unfortunately his engine failed on lap eighteen while he was in a strong second place.

The best tire choice for most of the race proved to be "worn out" intermediate tires. In this state they approximated the performance of ungrooved racing slicks, which are currently banned. New intermediates were too cold and slippery in the damp conditions, as were normal "drys", which have four grooves. For example, Robert Kubica had a great race in his BMW Sauber, fighting up to fifth from ninth until he was the first to try dry weather tires. He slid all over the place and had to return to the pit to change back to intermediates. In the end he finished thirteenth, but it looks like he'll be a driver to watch.

Michael Schumacher, on worn intermediates, was able to catch and pass Alonso, who had slipped behind his teammate, easily. Later in the race Michael, now on drys, took the lead while Fisichella's drys were still warming up. A problem changing Alonso's right rear tire on his second pit stop compounded his troubles. Although he was once again the fastest car he was unable to pass Michael and had to settle for a close second.

On the last few laps things started getting wet again and there was a lot of jockeying. Jenson Button managed to scramble from seventh to fourth in the space of a lap! Michael Schumacher is now tied with Fernando Alonso for first place, with two races left.

Listening to: Wonderful World, Beautiful People by Jimmy Cliff from Jimmy Cliff.

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