Sep. 28, 2008

Hitting the Streets

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon finishersThis morning saw the ninth running of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and simultaneously the first running of street circuit the new Singapore Grand Prix.

I ran down to City Hall with some friends to watch the race for a bit and to try to spot my friend Brian who was racing in the half marathon. I arrived just in time to catch him running the last 200m and got a couple of snaps. He was digging pretty deep... It was a great day for a race, dry and cool. After chatting with Brian for a minute and with other friends I ran into, I turned around and ran back home. Clicking out my run on gmap-pedometer.com I discovered that my run was just over the half marathon distance! So I ran one too and in about the same time...

Brian and I have a decades long tradition of watching Formula One races together. We've missed quite a few this summer, but got back on track this afternoon after we'd both recovered from our exertions. The new Singapore Grand Prix was run this morning, which meant a first-ever night race so the European TV audience could watch in their usual Sunday afternoon time slot. It was an eventful race, even though street circuits are hard to pass on.

The Ferrari's were up front again, with Massa on pole and Kimi in third. Between them was Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren, and notably in 15th place was Fernando Alonso who had been fast in practice but had technical problems during qualifying. The start was smooth, with Massa pulling slowly away from Hamilton. Kimi lost a place and struggled to stay in touch at first; he soon came right though and was closing in on Hamilton. But when mid-fielder Nelson Piquet crashed on lap 15 everything changed.

The safety car brought everyone back together. Several cars running out of fuel had to pit during the attendant pit lane closure, this meant that they had to later take a ten second stop and go penalty. When the pit lane reopened most of the remaining cars dove in to refuel while the safety car was still circulating. Massa pitted from the lead, but accidentally left before the fuel rig had been removed. It snapped off and was dragged like an enormous snake to the end of the pit lane where Massa had to wait for his pit crew to run up and remove it. This left him suddenly at the back of the entire field. Just when he seemed to have the race sewn up he went from hero to zero.

On the other side of the coin was Fernando Alonso, who had started in 15th. He was suddenly in the lead, with only the drivers who had to come back in for pit lane penalties ahead of him! He managed to stay comfortably out front for the rest of the race and had his first victory in over a year. Hamilton lost few places during the same safety car period, but was able to get back up to third by the finish. Kimi also recovered ground, but a brief loss of control in the closing stage of the race led him to bounce of the wall exiting turn ten and put him out.

Big week coming up: shooting two TV commercials and doing another day on The Shopping Channel. If only every week could be like that.

Listening to: Here's Where the Story Ends by The Sundays from Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

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