Monday, 30 March 2009

Australian GP

Formula One is back on the BBC but they cannot have been thrilled to have had qualifying interrupted – even if it was only briefly.

It was good to have proper introductory music back. Music like The Chain and ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ summarise Grand Prix racing for me. The commentators include David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan and Martin Brundle.

Honda have disappeared but a buy out by Ross Brawn brought Brawn GP with Jensen Button and Rubens Barrichello to the grid. Virgin has bought into the Brawn with a sponsorship deal and Richard Branson was to be seen in the pits.

The new rule changes mean the ugly side pods (seen above on last year's McLaren) have gone. Instead we have front wings that are the whole width of the car – bound to be plenty of them lying on the track before the race is over and they are so ugly Martin Brundle suggested they should be covered with brown paper bags.

There is a diffuser on the back of three of the teams that is allegedly giving them such an advantage that the other teams are upset and have complained – tell us the old, old story...

Sebastian Bueni is the only rookie on the grid – driving for Torrio Rosso. Mark Webber returned after a crash when his mountain bike hit a car. He smashed up his leg and shoulder. He is still limping badly but he looked quick in the car during practice even if not when limping down the paddock or when his car was limping after a first lap crash initiated by Kovaleinen.

In qualifying one Hamilton could only manage 15th – one place above dropping out... In the end his car packed up and he had to change the gear box so he dropped back to 18th any way! Both Force Indias dropped out in the first qualifying and the Toyotas were put to the back for rule infringements.

The Renault looks more attractive when not in the gravel. Alonso in the attractive looking Renault went out in the next round of qualifying as did Kovalinen showing the McLaren is not a good car at the moment.

Button and Barrichello locked out the front row in their new Brawns. The last time a new team on the grid made it to pole in its first Grand Prix was the Tyrrell team in 1970. The only other team ever to do it was Mercedes in the 1950s.

The race was quite exciting and there was plenty of overtaking suggesting that they have, at last, found rule changes that make for enjoyable racing.

Button led from start to finish but Barrichello looked set to come in fourth after his anti-stall kicked in on the grid. Then three laps from the end Kubica and Vettel had a coming together that put them both out and made it a fairy tale ending for the Brawn team.

Ferrari came nowhere with Massa’s car packing up and Reikonnen having a brush with the wall. Kovaleinen’s car also proved unreliable but Hamilton came from the back to take fourth behind Trulli.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The Kop

One of THE great sounds in Football – Liverpool’s Kop in full voice singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

Last night Liverpool played Real Madrid. Liverpool carried forward a 1 - 0 lead from the away leg and added another 4 goals on the night making it a resounding 5 – 0 defeat on aggregate.

This was the fourth goal being scored by Dossena.

The other goals were by Torres and, of course, Steven Gerrard (2). The score hides the fact that the Real goalkeeper, Casillas, made any number of magnificent saves and was undoubtedly their man of the match.

So we are into the quarter-finals of the European Champions League (yet again).

The singing at the end of the match was even louder!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Pink Iguana

A pink Iguana, disovered on the island of Volcan Wolf in the Galapagos in 1986, is causing an evolutionary stir.