Tag Archives: Jeremy Clarkson

2012 Canadian Grand Prix Results

Well, the one-stop strategy was tried and in full effect… it just failed miserably for a few of the front runners and predicted winner especially. In the end, it was Lewis Hamilton, whose record in Montreal is either a win or a DNF so far in his career, meaning that I really should have picked him to win as he had a pretty good shot. This makes it seven winners from seven races and means that the championship is still wide open and anyone can take it in the remaining 13 races.

Usually, Canada provides some good racing, and it provided some good moments to be sure, but not if you are a fan of the Prancing Horse. With Felipe Massa spinning out of his own accord and Fernando Alonso trying to nurse some very well worn tires for over 45 laps, neither of the two I picked to have good results finished that well. Alonso’s tires fell off the cliff in the final three laps, making him easy prey for Hamilton, Perez, Grosjean and Vettel, all of whom passed the struggling Ferrari in the last few laps of the race. To his, and his team’s, credit, the McLaren driver had the right strategy for the day called all along. Even when Hamilton came in for his second stop and both Alonso and Vettel stayed out, it looked like the race would be over for him. Either they would put in a few fast laps to come in and stay ahead after the pit stops, or they would stay out and just run out the few remaining laps to the checkered flag. However, the team must have known something – or got very lucky – as they were adamant that Alonso and Vettel would be stopping again before the end and that Lewis would catch them in the rotation. However, the longer they stayed out, the more Hamilton had to push, and the faster he wound up catching them both as their tires began to fall apart. As Kimi Raikkonen proved earlier this year, when the tires fall of the cliff, they fall off hard, and both Red Bull and Ferrari made critical errors that they might come to regret later on in the season. Lewis is one of the most consistent drivers on the grid for scoring points, and now leads Alonso in the Driver’s Championship by two points.

Yes, there is a long way to go, but with every point becoming more and more valuable, no driver can ill afford to have a blunder or blown strategy call anymore. Both Ferrari and Red Bull will learn from this, but Hamilton is going to only find strength in this win and it could be a three horse race as they start to come down to the wire. Look for these three to lead the way and start to pull clear of the rest of the field soon enough.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Romain Grosjean

3. Sergio Perez

4. Sebastian Vettel

5. Fernando Alonso

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Mark Webber

8. Kimi Raikkonen

9. Kamui Kobayashi

10. Felipe Massa

 

In other racing news, the next race is one of my most detestable: The European Grand Prix in Valencia. And it comes as no surprise to me that the race is struggling to find an audience. As I have said before, it makes no sense for one country to have two races, and even Bernie said as much, then went ahead and did the damn thing anyway! Now, the director of the circuit was quoted as saying, “Two races for Spain is meaningless. Like everything, you have to rationalise.” If that isn’t proof enough of what I had been preaching since this race’s inception, nothing is. Bernie, stop lining your goddamn pockets, pull your head out of your ass and either alternate the race (bad idea) or get rid of the parade lap that lacks the pomp and theater of Monaco (best idea) known as the Valencia circuit.

All We Know Is….

He is still called “the Stig.” Of course, no one really knows who he is in real life, but all that may change if he gets his way. Apparently, Stiggy is working on an autobiography, which most likely will result in the reveal of the man behind the helmet. The problem here is that this has happened before. In 2003, Perry McCarthy revealed that he was the original, black-suited Stig, and was subsequently killed off from the program. If, in fact, the white Stig does go through with it and releases an autobiography that included human language, will he also be killed off of the show? Most probably yes. So why now? It all has to do with money. It seems that Stiggy does have a use for the green stuff, and doesn’t get paid enough of it. His flat fee does not have any riders for side profits from sales of his likeness (which would be huge) and so he is in a battle with the BBC to try and add more funds to his bank account. Because this is currently one of the most closely guarded secrets in all the world – there could be up to four separate Stigs – the BBC is trying to block the autobiography so as not to lose some of the appeal of the most watched motoring show on the planet. Will the actual person behind the mask be revealed? Only time will tell.

The Stig

All we know is... he's called The Stig!

Top Gear 15.1

A new, more sensible and grown up Top Gear premiered a few weeks ago. Because I don’t have the Internet at my place yet, I cannot get the episodes as they come steaming off the airwaves like a fresh pile of…. well, not crap, because they are better than that, but something that steams and forms piles… you can figure it out for yourself. Anywho, the first episode of the new series featured a Bentley, a new reasonably priced car and a car that loves to just roll over. The Bentley Continental Supersports is the latest of the Conti breed. It features a gigantic W12 engine making a fairly hairy-chested 621 horsepower and 590 ft lbs of torque. This may not seem like a whole lot to power a car that weighs as much as a bus or three, but, in fact, it does go from 0-60 in only 3.7 seconds! And, it will go on to a top speed of 200 and some miles per hour. It also features carbon ceramic brakes and an improved all wheel drive system that features a 40:60 power split. What this means is that this is one Bentley that doesn’t handle like a boat. It actually steers around corners as well as it wafts down the country lane. This is no simple feat, and I really like the car, but it costs waay too much and there are better cars out there that can do the same thing, and look better doing it (read Aston Martin). Then The Stig took it out for a lap and it actually performed fairly well for how big it is. It was about as fast as an original Koenigsegg, which is probably down to the ridiculous speed and ability that The Stig has more than the actual vehicle.

The next segment saw the boys welcome some new guests to try out their new reasonably priced car. If you didn’t know, the old Chevy Lacetti was killed off (by crushing it under a huge tower that was being toppled) and so they went out and chose a new reasonably priced car. I have to say that the choice of getting a Kia Cee’d is an inspired one. I actually don’t mind how it looks, and it is a departure from the normal 4 door car they have had in the past, because its a 5 door. So not only is it reasonably priced, but it will also haul all of your stuff and look ok doing it. Of course Clarkson hung out with the hot chick who showed up, while Hammond was forced to fend off a flamer who was probably about to set the ground he walked over on fire.

Then, James undertook a task wherein he drove to an active volcano in Iceland. This was before one of those same volcanoes shut down all of European air travel, but it was still something very cool. Using a modified Toyota from their trip to the North Pole, James took up the task of driving up to a live volcano and trying to scoop up some of the lava before being killed to death somehow. The task of actually getting to the mouth of the volcano looked like an adventure in itself and was probably more dangerous than actually being there. Of course, that’s before Jame’s tires started on fire… In the end, he got his new piece of earth before being incinerated.

Then, this new series of helpful and more stoic and classy Top Gear got down to business and let the viewers in on some useful car information. For instance, that the Reliant Robin is probably one of the most terrifying and dangerous cars on the road. This is because it was built with a few flaws. The first one was that it was built with three wheels. It was constructed this way because it could be classified as a motorcycle, and the original buyers didn’t have to get a full car license to drive it. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the wheel was in the back, but the genius designers decided that the wheel should be in the front of the car. This produced the horrific consequence of the car tipping over on its side whenever you took a turn at speed. And at speed means anything above about 15 miles per hour or so. In essence, it would be faster to bike somewhere than have to constantly think about where to crash your car next. The other flaw as that the engine was in the back, as were you, as was the rest of the weight. When you floored the throttle on the 850cc engine, the car could, and usually would, do a huge wheelie that couldn’t be controlled. You could be staring up at the wild blue yonder one minute, only to come crashing down, try to turn the car and flip it over the next. Thank goodness Clarkson had on his crash helmet and four-point racing harness, otherwise he could have been hurt. More Top Gear will come along in the following weeks, and I can only assume that they will be very quick weeks, as the series usually only last for seven episodes. But I will cover them all as I get them.

Amazing Car Light Art

This was found on the Top Gear blog via their Twitter page and I have to say that I find it amazing that this stuff can be done. Whoever was the first person to leave their camera lens open for a long time and run around with a source of light to create wire frames and words and pictures is a genius. Here is what one artist created. I believe I have all the vehicles correctly identified, but the artist obviously loves the work from the boys over in Woking at McLaren. I sort of find it odd that he left out any sort of Ferrari or Lamborghini, but its amazing nonetheless. Check out the light show below.

BMW Z4

BMW Z4

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

Koenigsegg

Koenigsegg

McLaren F1

McLaren F1

Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

Mercedes McLaren SLR

Mercedes McLaren SLR

Mercedes AMG SLS

Mercedes AMG SLS

Clarkson, May, Hammond and gWhiz

Clarkson, May, Hammond and gWhiz

Volkswagen Microbus

Volkswagen Microbus

Pagani Zonda R

Pagani Zonda R

Absolutely spectacular don’t you think? And as a reminder, again, new Top Gear at the end of July!

Top Gear 14.7

Top gear 14.7

The last episode of this series has now come and gone. And with it we learned about the new Lexus LFA, the BMW X6, the Vauxhall Insignia VRX as well as a musician called Seasick Steve.

As with most Top Gears, the main test was for a supercar. But this is not just any supercar. In fact, it was a test of the new Lexus LFA; the supercar from the automaker who knows nothing about them. The facts are these: it has a 553 horsepower V10, does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 202 mph. It is also made mostly of carbon fiber and the engine is a technological marvel. Not only is it as compact as a V8, it weighs about what a V6 would. This means that Lexus has figured out a way to improve performance while limiting weight and making a very exciting car in the process. That process, however, has its drawbacks. The major one is price. With this car being produced in numbers not exceeding 150 in total, the price is about $500,000+. This is way too much money for something even wearing a Ferrari or Lamborghini badge, let alone a Lexus one. But if you are serious about getting a car that is impeccably made, undeniably fast (having set the fastest wet lap ever around the Top Gear track) and will be ultra rare, then this is the car for you.

A car that should never be for anyone, as Jeremy Clarkson explained, is the BMW X6. Personally, I don’t understand this car, and neither does Clarkson. It is big, heavy, ugly, uncomfortable and thirsty. Oh yeah, and it costs a bunch of money and can only seat four people. There really isn’t a good reason for this vehicle to exist. If you are looking for a vehicle that can do both the on road and the off road respectably well, then go for the Range Rover. Hell, even and X5 will be better. The X6 is only for people who want to show off that they have a BMW badge and are good at wasting money. Avoid this land cow at all costs please.

The star of the day was a man named Seasick Steve. He is a phenomenon in Britain and plays Southern-style Blues. How he does it though is what is amazing. He plays by himself and uses a box as a drum and a three-stringed guitar to play his songs on. The stuff that comes out of his guitar is astounding to be honest and you should check him out if you haven’t ever heard of him. His lap time, though slow, was still respectable for someone who doesn’t normally drive on that side of the car and drove a wet lap. It was a 1:51 something, which was faster than Tom Jones in the dry… which he was damn happy with.

The final segment involved James driving around in the new Vauxhall Insignia VRX. The car has a great turbo V6 and four wheel drive that can propel it to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The car is actually a bargain for all the performance that you get from it stock and would be a good pick up if you were in the market for something a little outside of the box.

They also held their annual Top Gear award ceremony on this show and they could do an actual Car of the Decade. Their choice? None other than the Bugatti Veyron. This shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anyone who knows anything about cars though. There will probably never be anything quite like this ever again. Not only is the price astronomical and the power astounding, but the vehicle includes so much technical innovation that it is insane to even think that they were able to put it into production in the first place.

So there you have it. The final Top Gear of this series. Now everyone will just have to wait until the spring for the show to return. I can’t wait for them to finally drive the 458 Italia and all of the hot new cars that will be coming out next year. It should be another quality run that sees the boys get in a ton of trouble and put cars to the test.

Top Gear 14.6

Who doesn’t enjoy a good road trip? I love them. And, as it turns out, so do the boys on Top Gear. They have been on road trips to the Arctic Circle, across the American South and even across Africa. This past week, they showed their latest trip, traversing through the Amazon rainforest, Andes Mountains and a desert in South America. The scenery was spectacular and the places that Clarkson, May and Hammond went were just as awe inspiring.

Frankly, I’m not up on my South American geography. If it doesn’t happen at the end of the F1 season in Brazil, then I don’t know if it really happens; or exists for that matter. But South America is so huge that there is more to the place than just a race. For starters, there is the Amazon rainforest and the Amazon River. As the show started, the boys were being rafted down the Amazon toward their drop off point. They then got off the boat and had to wait for their vehicles to arrive. These they bought off the Internet, so had never seen them in person. All were told to get four-wheel drive vehicles and so Hammond bought a Toyota FJ, James May got himself a little Suzuki SJ, while Clarkson went for something undeniable British and picked up a Range Rover. The vehicles then showed up on the shore next to them, where they found that May’s was a different color, Hammond’s didn’t start, and Clarkson’s had a different engine in it. They then took a bunch of time to get off the boat and made their way through the rainforest, and back toward civilization.

I will skip ahead a bit here and say that the boys had a big feat ahead of them to try and negotiate what is considered to be the most dangerous road in the world. It runs from La Paz toward the coast and is literally a one lane dirt track that is supposed to house two lanes of traffic. However, the dangerous part comes from the fact that the road has no guard rails and runs along the edge of a cliff that features shear cliffs that drop hundreds of feet to the ground below. If that weren’t bad enough, the road isn’t limited to just cars. Buses and large trucks frequent the road, and drive at incredible speeds. You know that Clarkson comes out the other side alive, but there is still a nail-bitingly tense moment in the show that really should be seen to be believed.

The boys then ventured to heights that they never imagined they would ever get to in their lives by trying to cross the Andes in their cars. However, as they got up into the 17,000 foot range, they found that their lungs, and their vehicle’s engines, began to not work. There was so little oxygen up at that height that they had to turn around before they all passed out from the lack of air. After chickening out and turning around, they kept heading toward Chile and the Pacific Ocean. On their way, they went through a desert where it has never rained and nothing, not even bacteria, can survive there. They also had to descend a huge mountain of sand that stood a couple of thousand feet high just to reach the end. However, Hammond jumped out of his vehicle and it ended up being destroyed. So James and Jeremy finished the journey and found that the Range Rover, considered to be probably the most unreliable car in the world, was actually the right vehicle for the job.

Top Gear 14.5

With only two episodes left, the boys put an actual supercar on their track, had an actual star in their reasonably priced car and did some mucking about at an art gallery. In all, a perfectly solid episode that featured some good laughs along the way.

Whenever there is a new supercar on the Top Gear track, there is a sprinkling of excitement that runs through me. I’m sure the same is true for Clarkson, as he was power sliding a Noble M600 all over the track and running it flat out. The noble is a car that can suit just about anyone as well because you can tune the vehicle to suit your driving style by dialing in more or less horsepower depending on your abilities. For example, if you are a hooligan who wants to outpace other supercars at the track, you can simply turn up the power to 650 horsepower and when you drive home, you can have a more docile car at your fingertips by turning the engine down to around 450 horsepower. If you want a supercar that will outrun the others, the Noble is your car. In fact, the M600 can accelerate from 60 to 80 in second gear in one second. It can also go from 100 to 130 in three seconds. The vehicle is devastatingly quick no matter how you look at it, and is probably worth the $200,000+ price tag that it commands. However, I do have to say that the styling of the vehicle is not my favorite and that it looks like some sort of insect, especially from the rear. But it is also said to be more comfortable seating wise and the ride won’t destroy your backside. If you want a supercar for the power and the speed, the Noble is the way to go, but if you value looks, there are probably better choices out there.

The star this week was recently crowned Formula One World Champion, Jenson Button. He was at the Top Gear track to be interviewed and see just how fast he could be against the clock, and against his new teammate, Lewis Hamilton, in the Suzuki Liana. With the track being slightly damp, much like Hamilton’s, there was a lot of pressure on the new champ. He ended up being only two tenths of a second slower than Hamilton, though that may be down to the fact that he slid the tail out in the last two corners. It’s amazing to watch these guys take the reigns of this car though. They are just so smooth and composed. Obviously they have had a lot of training, but it is still something to see just how much more composed they are behind the wheel than a more normal driver. If this proves anything, it is that the coming Formula One season will be something to watch as Hamilton and Button go head to head as teammates and rivals.

In the long segment, the boys cleared out an art gallery in the North of England to see if they could make more people show up for an art exhibit featuring cars and car related art than the art that is normally featured. They mucked about like normal by making distracting audio tours and crashing their centerpiece art car and forgetting to promote the show. However, they did get their attendance figures up and the art show was a success.

In all, a fairly entertaining show that sets up next week’s episode to be a doozie. In it, the boys will be traveling across South America, and it is one of those extended shows that should be very entertaining. Unfortunately, next week’s show also marks the second to last episode of this series already. Hopefully the boys go out on a good note and really pour a lot of stuff into these next two episodes.