Fernando Alonso won the first-ever night race in F1 while starting from 15th on the grid in a topsy-turvy Singapore Grand Prix which saw no less than two Safety Car periods. Ironically, it was the crash of teammate Nelson Piquet which brought out the safety car in the first place which saw Alonso leapfrog many of the front-runners since he had already made a pit-stop before the accident. Both the Ferraris – and especially pole-sitter Felipe Massa – lost out massively in the first safety car period. Massa’s race and effectively the Drivers’ Championship chase was compromised when the fuel-nozzle got stuck while he made his first pit-stop and he was released with the nozzle still stuck into the car. Kimi Raikkonen was waiting behind and though his stop was not compromised that much, it delayed him enough so as to drop the pair to 16th and 18th places. It turned from bad to worse as Raikkonen crashed out four laps from the end, thus effectively ending his Championship defence. Massa finished 13th to signal the worst race for Ferrari this season!
Williams’ had a good race as Nico Rosberg finished in a creditable 2nd after running as high as P1 after the first safety car incident but had to serve a stop-go penalty for pitting when the pit lane wasn’t yet opened. Robert Kubica also had to endure a similar penalty which saw him drop out of the points contention altogether. Lewis Hamilton drove an almost inconspicuous race involving only one overtaking move over David Coulthard and finished third, which sees him open up a 7 point gap over Massa in the drivers’ championship. Toyota would be sad and happy at the same time; sad to see Jarno Trulli retire from a possible podium place with a one-stopper strategy and happy to see Timo Glock finish fourth. Sebastian Vettel, Nick Heidfeld, David Coulthard and Kazuki Nakajima finished in the last four point-scoring positions.
Force India had a glimmer of a hope in finishing in the points as single-stopping Giancarlo Fisichella was running as high as second after the first safety car period but a lack of pace meant he steadily dropped down the order and eventually finished 14th. Teammate Adrian Sutil was the casualty which saw the second safety car period as he smacked into the barrier at turn 17. This time around, there was no impact on the race except getting the front-runners to bunch up closer than they were before. From thereon, it was just a matter of holding onto the lead for Alonso and holding Hamilton behind for Rosberg and they managed to do that effectively.
The one team that will love to forget the Singapore Grand Prix will be Ferrari. A small electronic connection between the fuel nozzle and the stop/go red n’ green lights might have played the most crucial part in deciding the 2008 Drivers’ Championship yet! In Massa’s defence, the lights did go green for a split second before turning back to red again but in that split second, he had lifted off and was off…taking the nozzle with him! And what on earth is the matter with Kimi Raikkonen? It is the fourth consecutive race in which he has failed to finish which doesn’t bode too well for a defending champion. All he had to do was to hold onto his fifth position but a wobble over the kerbs meant he went straight into the wall at turn 10, drawing the curtains on a miserable weekend for Ferrari. To make matters worse, they were overtaken by McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship – though by just one point.
The F1 caravan now moves eastwards for the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix and looks like McLaren and Hamilton have it nicely sewn up, unless Ferrari and Massa can pull off something special. Sigh! Time to switch over the support to Massa [as one guy over at BBC Sport pointed out, he's the Tottenham Hotspur of F1 ]
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa put his car on pole position for the first-ever nighttime F1 Grand Prix at Singapore with a storming drive that left title contender and Championship leader Lewis Hamilton high and dry in second place. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica were 3rd and fourth fastest. So we have a situation wherein the top four in the Drivers’ Championship occupy the top four starting slots in the Singapore Grand Prix! Awesome! What was NOT awesome was Star Sports’ decision of not to telecast the Qualifying session Live…even though its being held in their own backyard EPL is of more interest apparently! Anyways, there are other means to catch the action and I did just that [Or maybe as it happened last time around, it was only my DTH provider who's not getting the live feed for the Quali!]
There was bad news for Force India fans even before the Qualifying started as Giancarlo Fisichella suffered a crash in free practice after hitting the kerbs on turn 10. A lot of repair-work later, he did emerge for the session but was out again almost immediately. Sebastian Bourdais was the surprise dropout after Q1 alongside Rubens Barrichello, Nelson Piquet and Adrian Sutil. Meanwhile out at the top, after some scrappy runs, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen did a flyer of a lap to be P1 in the first session & Heikki Kovalainen bettered the lap set by teammate Lewis Hamilton to be P2.
Q2 started in terrible fashion for Fernando Alonso as his Renault was crippled with a fuel transmission problem and wasn’t able to post a time. Felipe Massa was the quickest in this session and Raikkonen was running second fastest until Kovalainen placed his McLaren in between them. Hamilton had a scare as he wasn’t able to set a time until just five minutes were left in the session and even then, could manage just 8th fastest…and then dropped to 10th and was in danger of missing the cut for Q3. But as luck would have it, the Red Bulls of David Coulthard and Mark Webber and the Honda of Jenson Button couldn’t squeeze past him and dropped out of the second session along with Alonso and Jarno Trulli.
Hamilton put that disappointment behind him as he went quickest in Q3, only to be pipped by Massa almost immediately! Kimi put in a quick lap but that wasn’t enough to trouble the championship leaders as they yet again exchanged fastest laps. Hamilton went quicker again but Massa was in no mood to be left second-best and his response was a stunner of a lap that was almost five-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton’s and thus grabbing pole position. Raikkonen and Kubica were 3rd and 4th respectively with Kovalainen 5th, Heidfeld 6th, Vettel 7th, Glock 8th, Rosberg 9th and Nakajima 10th. We are in for an exciting race as the two Championship leaders are at the head of the field with Kimi & Kubica lurking behind in the second row. Gonna be a cracker of a race tomorrow!!!
Our favourite search engine turns 10 today. To commemorate this milestone, Google have put up a new logo, designed in the font of the first-ever logo and also have kickstarted a pretty nifty initiative. Named Project 10100, its a call for ideas which can change the world by helping as many people as possible. After a shortlisting and voting process, the 5 best ideas will be chosen and Google will help bring these ideas into reality by providing funding to the tune of $10 Million. Read more about Project 10^100 here.
Apart from the announcement on the official Google blog, there also is a neat webpage outlining Google’s timeline, right from how Larry met Sergey to Google’s 1st employee to its 1st April Fool joke to the launch of several key products such as Picasa and GMail and Chrome to its 10th birthday announcement. Check out the randomly-displayed informative tidbits, interesting pictures and videos and lots of statistics over at Google’s Tenth Birthday page or if you want to explore the timeline right from the beginning, head to the start page.
Happy Birthday Google!
Oops! Two ‘rejected appeal’ posts one after another
FIA’s International Court of Appeal has dismissed McLaren’s plea against the 25 seconds penalty accorded to Lewis Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix on the grounds that it is “inadmissible”.
The Court rejected McLaren’s right to appeal, citing Paragraph 5 of Article 152 of the International Sporting Code, which states: “Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.” The Court’s decision means Hamilton’s championship lead remains at just a single point over Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who inherited the victory at Spa.[Formula1.com]
That was what many pundits had foreseen but back then, my immediate thought was that the penalty would be overturned! As it turned out, mine was one of the very few opinions in favour of McLaren/Hamilton . Most of his racing colleagues were also against him and supported the penalty, albeit somewhat mutedly.
The F1 season is now moving into its home-stretch, with just four more races remaining and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa trails Hamilton by just one point. As ESPN’s Sporstcenter showed earlier tonight, if the remaining four races go the same way as last year, Massa would win the Drivers’ Championship by 4 points! The onus is now upon Lewis to lift himself up for the immediate Singaporean Grand Prix. No doubt, the news would have come as a shot in the arm for Massa and he also would look towards maximising the results from the next races. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica would be ever eager in the background to snap up the points in case the leaders trip up. Exciting days (and the lone night) ahead for F1.
…in the Hari Puttar Vs. Harry Potter battle that I was talking about some days ago. The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea by Harry Potter copyright owners Warner Bros. against Mirchi Movies, the makers of an upcoming Hindi movie titled Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors.
Dismissing the plea against the Hindi-language film, the court said Warner Bros., which owns the rights to Harry Potter movies, had made a “belated attempt to trip up” the film.
“Justice Reva Khetrapal said the class of viewers was such that they would not get confused with the title of the film,” Pratibha Singh, the defence counsel, told Reuters. “A Hindi-speaking, rural child would not have heard of Harry Potter, while the English-speaking, urban viewer would be so well versed with Harry Potter that there would be no reason for them to be confused,” Singh quoted the judge as saying. [Full Report]
Well, if you see the comments on my earlier post you’d notice that Liju had prophesied it spot on . But whilst it may be true that a “Hindi-speaking rural child” may not know who Harry Potter is, he is not the target audience of the Hari Puttar movie. It is the multiplex-going, popcorn-and-ice-cream-loving, pogo-and-cartoon-network-watching urban kid that the makers might wanna woo into persuading their parents to watch the flick whose name sounds like a desi version of the famous boy wizard!
That’s that then. Meanwhile, the fans of the boy wizard (including some grown up ones at the FreeHyderabad discussion boards) shall have to wait till 2009 for the next movie instalment. The studio have postponed the theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince from a November 2008 release to sometime in mid-2009 . Whilst I speculated it might have been done to avoid a clash with Quantum of Solace, other wiseheads are saying that the studio has already attained its financial targets for 2008 (owing to a certain Joker and a caped crusader) hence the postponement so as to ensure a rosy 2009 as well!!!
Sundays are reserved for Sports and Sleeps. Well, if I say I play some Sports and then catch on the Sleeps, I’d be fibbing! Its the Sports on the telly that take up much of the viewing space and the Sleeping time table is fixed to fall before and after the telecast. F1 rules the roost on alternate Sundays (not always though!) but it is Soccer (the EPL especially) that occupies the rest of the weekend.
And this Sunday was no different…with F1 not on the calendar until the next Sunday, the Soccer was to get my full attention. And there was a biggie match too: Manchester United vs. Chelsea to enhance the viewing pleasure. Man U have had a horrible start to their season, winning one, drawing one and losing one of their first three EPL matches. And that loss came against one of the Big 4 – Liverpool last week. So it was a must-win match for them. Chelsea were boosted by the appeal win over John Terry’s suspension but they were dealt a moral blow before the start of the match with Deco ruled out with an injury he picked up in training. It was Man U who begun well and their urgency almost bore fruit when Rooney’s attempted lob off a Berbatov high pass from Cech’s clearance falling inches wide. There was no almost a second time as Cech spilled a save from Berbatov’s weak shot from Evra’s pass right onto the path of Park Ji Sung, who struck home the goal in the 20th minute. Chelsea stepped on the pace and created some chances but couldn’t convert them into goals. Their relentless pursuit bore fruit in the 80th minute, when substitute Salomon Kalou headed in from a free-kick. Thus the match ended in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea moving onto joint second in the table alongside Liverpool and one point below Arsenal. Man United languish in a lowly 15th place with just 5 points from four games!
The other match that I saw (albeit in bits n’ pieces) on Sunday was a goalfest…to put it mildly! Wealthy Manchester City turned up with a scintillating display of attacking football against Portsmouth and slotted in 6 goals past a hapless David James. And each of the 6 goals came from six different players – Jo, Richard Dunne, Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Chad Evans and Fernandez. In other matches, Tottenham continued their dismal start to the season with a draw against Wigan; Aston Villa came out 2-1 winners against West Bromwich Albion & Hull City and Everton played out a 2-2 draw. In one of Saturday’s matches, Arsenal played some very attractive football to beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1. I’m normally not a fan of ARSEnal but I’ve to admit they played well yesterday. Came close to Chelsea and Man United’s playing style, I should say
Well, that’s one more Sunday gone…next one will be an exciting one, what with the first-ever nighttime F1 race coming up in Singapore. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve to get back to the second of my Sunday pastime….sleeping! Yawn!!!
Remember MTV? The Music Channel. Remember the spoof-y programme that used to air on it – Fully Faltoo? A series of mini-movies which spoofed the popular and cult movies and genres and characters and sportspersons and whatnot…Chhole, Ghoom, Sachin Childulkar, Makdimanav and others included. Now its come up with not one, but three spoof movies based on three popular hit movies. Called the MTV Fully Faltoo Film Festival, it will telecast the three mini-movies starting this Saturday. You can guess the originals from the spoof names – Bechaare Zameen Pe, Cheque De India and Jadoo Ek Bar
I came across the ads a few days ago and the web is full of news article and announcements and photographs of the launch so I won’t write much else, except that out of the three, Bechaare Zameen Pe sounds the most er…um…promisingly funny (duh!) what with Cyrus Sahukar as Pareshaan Awasthy! One interesting tidbit I noticed is that the actress playing Jadoo in the spoof of Jodhaa Akbar is Shambhavi Sharma…she of the MTV Roadies (in)fame(y)! The telecast’s at 7 PM every Saturday, starting the 20th September, on MTV.
Drat! I can’t believe I missed it! Season 3 of The Amazing Race Asia had kicked off last week itself and I missed the first episode! I had noticed the initial promos and the ads announcing a September telecast but I must’ve missed the ads where the actual dates of telecast were announced. Turns out it started on the 11th of September with the usual 10 teams of two members each. There are two teams each from India, Thailand and Malaysia and one each from Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. And guess what….the first ones to be eliminated are the cousins team from India – Neena and Amit! Tough luck! Hope the other Indian team does better. Read about the teams here.
I first started watching The Amazing Race when the original series was in its 2nd season and have followed it since – although I did miss season 6 and 7 – and have also converted few of my friends into fans of the show enroute. When the Asian edition kicked off, I did manage to catch up with most of the episodes even though the schedule was not too favourable for me. Season 2 was one which I can claim to have watch fully and the grand finale was a memorable one (also because the blog post of mine about that was my most-visited post back then ). There’s something about the show that keeps you riveted and makes you look forward to the next episode. The competition, the travelling, the locales, the trials and tribulations of teams in foreign countries, the moments of bonding and fighting between team members, all makes for excellent reality tv…a lot different and much more better than the other so-called reality shows on TV nowadays!
I’ll remember to catch up with the remaining twelve episodes of the Amazing Race Asia – Season 3. Make sure you do too…every Thursdays at 2200 HRS IST only on AXN (repeat telecast the following Friday at 1400 HRS, Sunday at 1900 HRS and Monday at 0700 HRS IST).
More: AXN India | Amazing Race Asia Website | Wikipedia Entry