Too bad that Lewis and Nico can’t be best pals, play nice, and get along better. Mostly the latter would be a refreshing change of pace. Their animosity towards each other really wouldn’t play all that well in NASCAR where even though teammates are just as much in competition with each other, they still are more affable and cooperative with each other than these two are. Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Kesolowski are top of the pops at the moment, and while both want to win the title, you don’t them going at each with purses and handbags ((unfortunately quasi-sexist football punditry term, but apropos in this case sorry to say) week in and week out. Though Bad Brad has down to 10th coming out of Kansas, and Joey still tops the table, you just aren’t going to see the bitchy little soap opera with those two like you see with Nico and Lewis.
So this week, the soap opera continues at the Russian Gran Prix in Sochi. And yes, the Sochi Autodrom is on the waterfront at Olympic Park ((or Olympic Parkski would you focking comedians and Port of Hamburg refugees down at The 1851 Landmark in Milwaukee over by the airport once there now who might see later this week if I get down there, maybe)). But Nico and Lewis are the only real contenders there, and yes, they qualified 1st and 2nd as per usual, with Vitalli Bottas joined them in 3rd for the qualification festivities. The only unanswered question is if Bottas will also be joining them on the podium at the conclusion of the race. Daniel Kiivat, who races for xxxx, qualified 6th, which is the highest a Russian driver has ever qualified for a F1 race.
Now regarding last weeks Japanese Gran Prix….a more somber note.
Near the conclusion of the race, a crane was removing Adrian Sutil’s car from the track when Marussia driver Jules Bianchi approached the scene of the earlier wreck. His car fishtailed and slammed into the crane at speed. He was extracted from his car, airlifted to a hospital, and at this writing he is in critical but stable condition with severe head injuries and brain trauma. In honour of and out of courtesy to Bianchi and his family, Marussia will only field one car this weekend while Bianchi’s car will remain at ready in the paddock. The situation with Bianchi is touch and go at the moment. The last time a team only fielded one car in an F1 race was in 1994 at Monaco following the death of Ayrton Senna.
The question of safety during cautions, and the very nature of how cautions are handled in F1 are being raised. With the exception of Juan Pablo Montoya crashing into a jetdryer when a tire blew as he was catching up to the tail end of lead laps cars under a caution, the Bianchi wreck just would not happen in NASCAR. It wouldn’t. The pace car (safety car in F1) would be have everyone lined up safely behind it a they’d be proceeding around the track at a safe pace. Or, as would be more likely in the Sutil/Bianchi inceident, the race would have been red-flagged so the wreck could be safely cleaned up. Felipe Massa was, in fact, calling for the Japanese Gran Prix to be red-flagged.
F1 will be instituting a caution speed limit for the Russian Gran Prix. But obviously more work needs to be done with how cautions and on track incidents are handled. F1 might have to cutting edge technology, but some of their rules are procedures are out-dated and archaic. NASCAR is a miles and miles ahead of F1 in the safety rules and procedures department.
Keep Jules Bianchi and his family in thoughts, and also if it is your proclivity, in your prayers, this weekend.
Tomorrow morning at 5:30 AM CDT they tee it up again, and the only questions that remains is who will be joining Lewis and Nico on the podium. It could very well end just as it begins, with Lewis, Nico, and Bottas 1,2,3. But it would be nice if Kiivat, the young Russian driver, could join them on the podium. He’s a good lad, and a driver with a bright future ahead of him. I’ve got nothing against the Russian people per se. Except for Putin, who we all know is a dickweed. And any of the Russian soccer fans and others who are homophobic racists, but other than that, nothing against the Russian people.
So Kiivat for the podium then. Root for him.
It’s the International Break® which my wife thought meant that there would be NO soccer ((which would please some of you louts no doubt)), but “No sweetie,” I said, “it only means that there is no club soccer, at least in the major leagues of the civilized European world such as the Premier League, the Bundesliga and so on. Which means that your waifu (Zlatan!!) will be teeing it up for Sweden instead of Paris St. Germaine. And Chelsea’s goalie Thibault Courtois will be plying his trade for Belgium 6 Andorra 0….and blah blahblah etc my Euro 2016 Qualifying Fantasy Football is kicking ASS at the moment….I’m the 7th best player in America etc etc inc llc…” Time for a beer.
As for Spain, they used to be a contender, and probably still are. But as they showed at the World Cup, there are chinks in the armour. They are in decline and will be need an overhaul if not a complete rebuild. Xavi, Iniesta y compañía are a few years older and few steps slower than the Invincibles who lifted the World Cup in 2010 and European trophy in 2012. They were boosted from this year’s World Cup group stage, out classed by Chile and Netherlands.
And now, Slovakia….mighty and terrible Slovakia rousts them out of Bratislava. Now mind, Spain will make it out of the Euro 2016 group stage, but I don’t fancy anymore than I’d fancy England to win it all. In fact, I might even fancy England more as long as they keep their focus on their youthful players like Sterling, Chambers, The Ox, Luke Shaw rather then relying on the same tedious old twats they’d featured in the past, including the most recent past.
Football. Blood Hell!
And meanwhile, the “Unidentified Fan“, Robbie Keane, is as happy as a little girl once again as he has, at this moment, a hat-trick as Ireland leads 3-0 Gibralter at halftime. I’m as happy as a little girl too, because it’s Ireland that’s winning and also, I have Keane on my Euro 2016 Qualifying Fantasy Football Team (although I didn’t make him captain, which I should have….I’d made Welbeck my captain and he only scored 1 goal against San Marino, grrrrr). Robbie Keane’s bench coach, Roy Keane (no relation) is also as happy as a little girl, but that is a thought too frightening to think about, so we’ll just keep moving along.
Tonight, the Bank of America 500 tees off at the Charlotte Motor Speedway…a little over 6 hours and change from now as I write this, and little over 6 years and change ago as you read this.
It’s the 2nd race of the Chase’s CONTENDER ROUND. Last week at Kansas saw the 12 Chase Contenders start at 3000 points each. And when all was said and done, Joey Logano moves on the the ELIMINATOR round with a win, and Kyle Busch leaps up to 2nd place. Kansas was a brutal track for a few of the top drivers. In fact all 4 drivers in the relegation zone are a surprise. Kahne in 9th, Bad Brad in 10th followed by Junior and Jimmie Johnson. Those 4 lads need something big and special at Charlotte tonight, like a win. Or else, it will be squeeky bum time at Talladega next weekend. And more so then usual.
Last night, at Rentschler Field in Hartford Connecticut, in front of 36,265, Landon Donovan hung up his boots for last time. America’s greatest soccer player of all time played his final, farewell match for Team USA. After 41 minutes and change, he was subbed out and left with a standing ovation, retiring from International football forever. And when the MLS season is done, he will retire from the LA Galaxy and call it a career.
It’s been a remarkable one. His legacy as the best is unquestionable. His impact on the game in the USA can’t be measured. He maybe could have done a wee bit more on the international club level, but that’s small-minded thinking in retrospect. His contribution of the American game is beyond reproach. He gave his all for both club and country. No one can question his heart, determination, and dedication to the game.
I wish he’d gotten a goal to capstone his career….Klinsmann left him out there a bit longer than planned so he could get that goal….but in the end, the nearest he got was a sweet shot that clanked off the post.
And at the 41 minute mark, he stepped off the pitch for the final time.