Race 10: Hungary

            I’m sorry for not posting my predictions on Friday like I said I would. Not only was it really hectic around here, but, let’s be honest here, they would have been way off anyway. Also, I would like to express my well wishes for Felipe Massa and his family. I hope that he recovers fully and that we can see him back in a car as soon as possible. For those who don’t know, this weekend in Hungary was filled with surprise, shock and a very somber atmosphere. It was only a year ago that Felipe’s Ferrari engine blew up with three laps to go and, all things being equal, effectively lost the championship.

All was fine on Friday as Hamilton claimed the fastest time of the day. On Saturday though, things took a turn for the worse on the weekend. During Q2, Felipe had just turned in a good lap to move him into Q3. He was on a cool down lap when he inexplicably drove head first into the tire barriers with the throttle pinned. It was a very odd thing to see happen and it turns out that he was hit by a piece of debris that flew off of another car. In fact, that piece of debris turned out to be a rear spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn Mercedes. It had fallen off the car, bounced along the track and struck Felipe as he drove by at 160 mph. the force of the impact from that light piece of metal caused him to black out and he drove head-on into the barriers. He had emergency surgery performed to relieve swelling of his brain. His skull was also fractured from the accident and he is currently in a Hungarian hospital where doctors are saying that things are looking up, but that he had his eye injured and will not be back for the remainder of the 2009 race year. Get well soon Felipe.

As far as the race goes, it went well for the Ferrari camp and they even dedicated Kimi Raikkonen’s second place finish to Massa. The winner of the race was none other than Lewis Hamilton. He came from fourth on the grid to claim the victory after Fernando Alonso came out of his pit stop with a wheel not securely attached to his vehicle. Both the McLarens and the Ferraris would probably have shown very well considering the pace of both Kimi and Lewis. Third place belonged to Mark Webber, who leapfrogged his teammate to take over second place in the driver’s championship. Button finished down the order in sixth, but is still leading by a wide margin. However, it has come to light that the Brawn’s pace has been significantly reduced. Either that, or the other teams have actually caught up with them more than they have outpaced the rest of the field. The rest of the races will be interesting because as the field catches up with the Brawns, they will be more and more desperate to keep their positions in the title fight.

The problem is that the next race isn’t for another month. And once that race comes up, the next problem is the crowd; or lack thereof. When the Renault team let Alonso return to the race without securing his right front wheel, the stewards penalized them by banning them from the race in Valencia. The problem with that, though, is Fernando Alsono is the main draw for that race. If he isn’t there, the crowd won’t be either. Take a look at last year and you will see what I mean. Alonso’s car stopped running only a few laps in and then the crowd washed out of the place like the tide going back to the ocean. It was almost a mass exodus. If the Alonso train isn’t there, don’t expect there to be too many shots of the crowds, because there won’t be any. Instead, the cameras will be lovingly focused on the port and all the beautiful cargo ships that are there. Valencia is one of those races that shouldn’t be on the calendar and I will stand by that until it gets taken off.

Top Gear review is coming up and I’m sure there will be much more news out of the Formula One camp in the month to come before the next race.

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