Sometime last week, I thought that It’ll be a good idea to pen down my thoughts and tabulations of the events in the past year according to the broad Genre they were part of. So that would mean a review of the personal as well as public events that unfolded in the past one year. And since there’s nothing much personal about me to reminescent about, lemme start off with Sports and the fastest motorsport at that – Formula One! For many a reason, 2006 can be said to be a watershed year for Formula One. Whilst it always will be remembered as the swansong year of Michael Schumacher – arguably the greatest driver ever to have held an F1 steering wheel – it also marks the successive defense of a F1 championship by a 23 year old known as Fernando Alonso. After having followed the sport from the confines of my home and more often than not, on borrowed time for the past few years, this year I got to buy my very own TV which meant an uninterrupted viewing of the racing!
As the adage goes – a job well begun is half done – Renault got off the blocks real quickly at the start of the season with three successive victories – two for Alonso and one for Fisichella. But Ferrari came back strongly with Michael winning the next two races. Then began a dominant run by Fernando Alonso who notched up four victories on the trot and garnered a healthy lead in the Drivers’ championship! But boy oh boy! Was Ferrari ready for a comeback or what! Michael absolutely stamped his authority all over the next three races by winning them and poor Alonso had to settle for two fifth and one second position. Suddenly the championship came very much alive and kicking. Jenson Button won his first F1 race after more than a 100 starts and he alongwith Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa were the only winners apart from Michael & Alonso. Massa won at Turkey and the last race at Interlagos to keep Ferrari very much in contention for the Constructors’ title. The last three races of the year were absolute nailbiters as it was evident that the winner would be decided in these very races. Michael drew first blood with wins at Imola and Shanghai which drew him level with Alonso in the race for Drivers’ title. But things came to a head at Suzuka when the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher let go in the 36th lap to hand over the race – and the title – to Fernando Alonso. Massa won the last race of the season but couldn’t stop Renault from winning the Constructor’s title as well.
Driver of the Year : Fernando Alonso. A wonderful start coupled with strong performances in the middle of the season – and some luck – were enough for Fernando to successfully defend his Drivers’ title and become the youngest two-time winner. We’ll surely see great things from him in the future.
Rookie of the Year: Robert Kubica. Though he joined the Sauber-BMW team late in the season, he impressed with his stunning pace and aggression. Hopefully we’ll see more of him next season.
Disappointment of the Year(Team): McLaren Mercedes. After their sterling show in the 2005 season, where they had the fastest car and were very much in the title race, their show this year dipped to new lows. They did not win a single race and only a string of good performances by Kimi Raikkonen kept them in the third place in the Constructors’ title.
Disappointment of the Year(Driver): Kimi Raikkonen. A driver is only as good as his car and with a mediocre car, Kimi Raikkonen was nowhere close to his last year’s performance. Though luck deserted the poor guy for most of last season and spoken of as a better driver than Alonso, he never lived upto his lofty expectations. Hope he will come good at Ferrari next season.
Bye – Byes for the Year: Montoya and Villeneuve. Juan Pablo Montoya left F1 for NASCAR in the middle of the season and Jacques Villeneuve had to say farewell following an accident and poor form and probably a lack of motivation. F1 will miss these colorful characters.
Shameful Act of the Year: Michael Schumacher at Monaco. Altough he argued that it wasn’t intentional, Michael Schumacher’s act of ‘parking’ his car at the tight corner of Monaco during Qualifying when a roaring Alonso was coming behind, should rank as the eason’s most shameful act.
Unpredictable Win of the Year: Jenson Button at Hungaroring.The Briton won his first race of his career at his 113rd attempt and was totallu Jubilant. Coming from 14th place on the grid and after a tenacious battle with Alonso, Button finally managed to win.
Race of the Year: Hungarian Grand Prix and Japanese Grand Prix.Though I vividly remember Suzuka,I had to read through my previous post to recollect Hungary! Both memorable races, they truly stood for what F1 is all about. Tenacity and Pugnaciousness came to the fore in Hungary where Button clawed to the top steadily. Luck had the final say at Suzuka where Ferrari’s engine blowout meant that Michael would take zero points and Alonso almost wins the Crown!
Picture(s) of the Year:
Car of the Year: McLaren Mercedes’ MP4-21.With its slivery finish and razzmatazzy look, this was one car which a F1 fan can never take one’s eyes off!!!