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Chinese Grand Prix 2012 - Race Day


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#1 D.M.N.

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 20:03

Links
- Qualifying Results
- Championship Standings
- Weather Update

UK TV Times
- 07:00 to 10:15 - BBC One
- 06:30 to 11:30 - Sky Sports F1
- race start 08:00

Just under 12 hours to go until the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, and what a fascinating race lies in prospect. If the grid is anything to go by, it should be a cracker. The grid is slightly mixed up, not necessarily the front row, but behind. Rosberg absolutely blitzed his final lap, and credit to him, but I think people expected him to be near the front. What was more surprising for me, was Kobayashi and Raikkonen getting onto row 2. Behind them two, you have the more familiar sight of Button and Webber. So, how will the race go? One thing is for certain, the surface will be green come tomorrow afternoon with the overnight rain wiping all the F1 grip off the surface. This is potentially bad news for Mercedes, as a lack of grip could make their degradation even worse than what it has been previously. To Rosberg's advantage though, he saved a set of tyres in Q3, which could prove critical in the outcome of this race if he happened to be in a race winning position towards the end, and counter any disadvantage he had with degradation. Time will tell if they have sorted out their problems since the first two races. If they haven't, then can the conservative Sauber's pull off a one or two stop strategy and be in contention for a win? We've seen them pull off great strategies before because of how conservative their car is on the tyres, and we could see similar tomorrow. Can Kobayashi do what Perez could not do in Malaysia? A Japanese driver has never won a race before in Formula One, could that change tomorrow?

Of course, I haven't mentioned the oldest man on the grid - Michael Schumacher. I would love to see him win tomorrow. Realistically? Well it could happen. But is it likely? Admittedly, no, unless (as above) Mercedes have improved the degradation, but a podium cannot be ruled out. Same with Kimi Raikkonen, but we haven't seen him in a Lotus up front in real race trim. Australia he was further back and Malaysia we had wet weather, so those two races did not tell us much. Will tomorrow tell us more about Lotus' and Kimi's potential?

Behind the first 4, you have Button, Webber and Hamilton. It would be foolish to rule any of these three out of a victory or podium tomorrow if the front four have troubles. Behind them though, you have Perez, Alonso, Grosjean and Vettel. Looking at the top 11 on the grid, it is not difficult to see why this is one of the most competitive grids in history, being separated by a few tenths, if not that. Unfortunately for Vettel, he happened to be at the wrong end of the top 11, but with a fresh set of tyres from not getting through to Q3, he could "do a Webber" from last year, and get a podium. It's quite possible, and it will be fascinating to see Vettel potentially racing with Hamilton, Button and Alonso. Behind them, is Massa. Why haven't I included Massa with them? I think Perez, Alonso, Grosjean and Vettel could very easily get podium's if the race falls their way. I don't see that with Massa though. Maybe a few points, but I don't see him challenging for a podium.

Behind the front runners, Williams, Force India and Toro Rosso have been left by the side. I wouldn't bet against a Williams mixing it up in the mid points at one stage or another, but I think the best they can hope for is a fringe points. One thing is for sure - in my opinion, even without rain, any one of the first 11 guys on the grid could win the race. I think it'll be a cracker. Bring it on! :up:

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#2 GeorgeCartwright

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 20:32

I would dearly love to see a first-time race winner tomorrow but being fond of both Rosberg and Kobayashi, I dare not hold out much hope. Being realistic I expect a Mclaren to take the win tomorrow.

#3 Dunder

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 20:36

As I mentioned in another thread, I wish I could just watch this race with the attitude of a neutral observer. It's a fascinating grid and I have no real idea what is going to happen in the race. A win for any one of the top 4 on the grid would be quite a story.

#4 Disgrace

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 20:59

It's an interesting grid, and the first stint will be all action, but I suspect the usual suspects will find themselves at the front. Two McLarens on the podium with a Red Bull or Raikkonen.

Edited by Disgrace, 14 April 2012 - 21:00.


#5 korzeniow

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 21:06

I think weather and temperature will deal the cards more that ever. If it will be cold McLaren won't win, Lotus neither. Sauber is competitive in lower temperatures, thus Kamui should be favourite in such conditions, if only he won't cook it up. Colder weather also suits Ferrari.

With warmer track it will be between Kimi and McLarens

Edited by korzeniow, 14 April 2012 - 21:07.


#6 Pamphlet

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 21:17

Holding out for a miracle here.

In the form of a Schumacher/Raikkonen win, that is. Schuey's Merc eats tyres for breakfast and Kimi's not confident in his car this weekend. :(

#7 joshb

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 22:24

Vettel to win

Well, someone has to have the glass half full.

#8 HuddersfieldTerrier1986

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 22:30

I'd like to see a surprise winner and a good race. Simple as that really.

#9 BigCHrome

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 22:32

I think the prime will be the better tire over a stint, so having an extra set of softs won't be that much of a help.

#10 Bartel

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 22:50

Has anyone factored in the extended headache for Vettel being Massa? Off the line Ferrari's are fast, but Massa in particular is always a bullet off the line, I think Vettel will have his hands full looking behind him rather than looking ahead, and turns 1 and 2 in the mid pack in china is dangerous and if Massa get's ahead we all know how hard he defends positions. And with Webber being particularly weak off the start line I expect Lewis to get him off the line, but I also expect Alonso to get another fast start a possibly end up behind the two McLarens. I don't think the Mercedes will be that great in the first stint while fuel is heavy, and I think Kimi will be troubling them early.

All in all I think this race has the potential to be one of the greats, all the 'usual' contenders off the first few rows and a wildcard like kobayashi starting 3rd only adds to that, and then, you could factor in the possibility of rain also! Can't wait for this one :)

#11 Dunder

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 23:33

Has anyone factored in the extended headache for Vettel being Massa? Off the line Ferrari's are fast, but Massa in particular is always a bullet off the line, I think Vettel will have his hands full looking behind him rather than looking ahead, and turns 1 and 2 in the mid pack in china is dangerous and if Massa get's ahead we all know how hard he defends positions. And with Webber being particularly weak off the start line I expect Lewis to get him off the line, but I also expect Alonso to get another fast start a possibly end up behind the two McLarens. I don't think the Mercedes will be that great in the first stint while fuel is heavy, and I think Kimi will be troubling them early.

All in all I think this race has the potential to be one of the greats, all the 'usual' contenders off the first few rows and a wildcard like kobayashi starting 3rd only adds to that, and then, you could factor in the possibility of rain also! Can't wait for this one :)


Vettel might well start on the prime tyre.


#12 John Player

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 23:58

Kobayashi for the win.

#13 midgrid

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:06

I'm very excited about this race, as although McLaren has to be favourite to win, it's by no means a foregone conclusion. I think Webber, Raikkonen and Kobayashi all have a genuine chance to contend for the victory, and perhaps Schumacher and Rosberg will also be able to stay in the frame if they can get their tyes to work. It's all very open at the moment!

#14 Bartel

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:07

Vettel might well start on the prime tyre.

I don't think it will matter much, he will be a long day down the field and I don't think he will be doing this race in 2 stops vs the other's 3. Also, he doesn't have the car advantage over the rest of the field that Webber had last year. I don't believe he will make the podium and if he has 2 Ferrari's infront of him he will have a major headache, not to mention Maldonado on his tail, could very well punt him off lol!

#15 BigCHrome

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:09

My top 5:
Button
Hamilton
Webber
Rosbert
Schumi

#16 KinoNoNo

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:12

Just pop into any of the driver threads here, and you can sense the anticipation.

I've got my fingers crossed for Kobyashi to really put the cat amongst the pigeons and come up victorious.

But whatever happens, I've got a feeling it's going to be epic. :clap:

#17 harrys

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:23

Why do so many people believe that McLarens will have a 1-2 in this race? They will lose too much time in traffic in the first stint. Look at Hamilton's race pace so far this season. Failed to convert either of two poles into victories. I don't see how he cruises to victory from 7th on the grid. Small matter of Webber, Button, Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Schumi and Rosberg to pass

There is not enough evidence about Mercedes race pace since they have been affected by spins/accidents in both the first 2 races. If Kobayashi is slow earlier on in his stint he could hold up the chasing pack allowing Rosberg & Schumi to build a lead.

Don't be so sure that the Mercs will destroy their tyres in these conditions tomorrow.

#18 ryan86

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:31

Yep, I have no idea who will win.

You start with Nico and Schumi, but then you have your doubts over their tyres. We know the Mercedes is a quick car, but it's not proven successful in the races yet, so you move to Kobayashi, but Sauber and Kamui have never won a race and though the team has shown good pace for two races now, can he keep it up for the whole race, so you move to Kimi, who had had a troubled weekend, but is a winner as are the team. Problem is those wins came 4 years ago, so you think maybe it's Jenson Button, but Hamilton is just behind him and much quicker all weekend, so you'd probably believe the best McLaren will be Hamilton. Red Bull were stronger in the race in Australia, but Webber is a notable poor starter, so you think he'll be behind Hamilton after the start, so he'll now be behind a driver that is probably faster, but surely Hamilton couldn't win because there's 6 cars in front, all genuinely competitive and they all can't hit problems.

I've put £5 on Kobayashi, would personally like to see Schumacher 2nd and Raikkonen 3rd.

#19 KavB

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:31

Why do so many people believe that McLarens will have a 1-2 in this race? They will lose too much time in traffic in the first stint. Look at Hamilton's race pace so far this season. Failed to convert either of two poles into victories. I don't see how he cruises to victory from 7th on the grid. Small matter of Webber, Button, Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Schumi and Rosberg to pass

There is not enough evidence about Mercedes race pace since they have been affected by spins/accidents in both the first 2 races. If Kobayashi is slow earlier on in his stint he could hold up the chasing pack allowing Rosberg & Schumi to build a lead.

Don't be so sure that the Mercs will destroy their tyres in these conditions tomorrow.

I agree. The McLarens will need to have a great start to win. They have the pace, but they don't have the track position to back it up. I think tomorrow will see either a maiden winner or a comeback victory.

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#20 rodlamas

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:31

Podium

Hamilton
Kobayashi
Button

#21 PRCandME

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:34

I'm here at the race (been the last 5 out of 6 years since I live in China). Was at qualifying yesterday and am sitting close to the hairpin. A few comments/observations.

- There were more people in the stands for qualifying than last year it seemed. Possibly due to better transportation to the race. There is a Shanghai metro stop directly at the track but in past years it as been closed on the race weekend due to security reasons. This is the first year it is open and I only discovered this yesterday. So instead of taking a taxi, which can take an hour to get to the track, my friends and I are taking the metro to the track today.
- The Mclaren sounds very different to all other cars under breaking and downshift. It sounds incredibly throaty. I was surprised by the difference to the other cars. Didn't hear anything similar on the Redbulls.
- Chinese people still love Schumi and Kimi. All the girls are carrying Finnish flags. When they showed Schumi's face on the circuit TV screens, a huge cheer went up.
- It was a shock to all the fans 'in the know' around us when Vettel was eliminated in Q2. You could tell who follows F1 closely because they were the ones displaying shock and awe after the end of Q2. Everyone else didn't even notice.
- At the very end of the grandstand closest to the hairpin is the Russian section. They were here last year and this year they're back in force, syncing Russian anthems and waving their flags. It'a a fun group to watch.
- I miss the Renault front exhaust. Last year it sounded like a fart every time it went by.

I am a deeply loyal Mclaren (bought all the new merchandise yesterday) but I hope Kobi does something special today. Supposed to be dry, but very overcast/foggy/smoggy looking out the window of the hotel room. Hoping for a Mclaren/Kobi podium. I would try to give updates while at the race but the cellular internet slows to a halt because of all the traffic...

So cheers and have fun watching. Should be a good race and hoping for some good action at the hairpin.

#22 rodlamas

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:35

Why do so many people believe that McLarens will have a 1-2 in this race? They will lose too much time in traffic in the first stint. Look at Hamilton's race pace so far this season. Failed to convert either of two poles into victories. I don't see how he cruises to victory from 7th on the grid. Small matter of Webber, Button, Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Schumi and Rosberg to pass

There is not enough evidence about Mercedes race pace since they have been affected by spins/accidents in both the first 2 races. If Kobayashi is slow earlier on in his stint he could hold up the chasing pack allowing Rosberg & Schumi to build a lead.

Don't be so sure that the Mercs will destroy their tyres in these conditions tomorrow.


The main reason Rosberg blasted the 0.5 on anyone on Q3 was that the temperatures dropped down. While everyone else lost performance due to not putting the tires on the tire temps, the Mercedes put it on the right window and did not destroy them until the end of the lap.

Hamilton was P5 with 25 laps to go last year and still won the race. Overtaking at this track is pretty easy, mostly because there is normally a headwind into the big straight, and with DRS this puts the car defending as a sitting duck.

Speang cannot be taken as a normal race so you cannot judge Mclaren's pace there and at Melbourne, slight mistakes made the 1-2 not feasible.

Nevertheless, Button is struggling this weekend but I still think he can get P3.

Hamilton will show his class with a win.

#23 Sof1

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:39

I personally would like Schumi to win. However i doubt that any of the Mercs would be able to hold their own when it comes to race pace. Unless some miraculous development has occurred the past 3 weeks, Mercs are bound to go backwards at least 2 or 3 spots from where they are now.

Other than that, one of the Mclarens should win the race, unless a surprising Koba or Kimi have a say in it.

#24 gm914

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:39

McLaren 1-2, Webber or Kobayashi 3rd. rakkinen stalls on the grid, Grosjean crashes into the back of him and that fat tub of lard Boullier chokes on a donut at the pitwall.

:p All you're missing is the color of said donut.

#25 harrys

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:41

Also, look at it this way. Rosberg had a 0.5 second advantage over Hamilton (and Hamilton had two flying laps in Q3). How much extra does Mercedes benefit from use of DRS in qualifying compared with other teams? Most estimates are 0.2 - 0.3 seconds. That still leaves Rosberg with a 0.2 - 0.3 second advantage, and also a fresh set of option tyres. In Shanghai the option tyre is forecast to be 0.25 seconds a lap quicker than the primes over a 20-lap stint.

All in all, this has to be Rosberg's best chance of victory so far. I also reckon Rosberg and Schumi have the car set up differently - don't rule Schumi out here.

Got a feeling that Hamilton will bump into someone at the start. Hopefully not his teammate!

#26 Bartel

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:46

Also, look at it this way. Rosberg had a 0.5 second advantage over Hamilton (and Hamilton had two flying laps in Q3). How much extra does Mercedes benefit from use of DRS in qualifying compared with other teams? Most estimates are 0.2 - 0.3 seconds. That still leaves Rosberg with a 0.2 - 0.3 second advantage, and also a fresh set of option tyres. In Shanghai the option tyre is forecast to be 0.25 seconds a lap quicker than the primes over a 20-lap stint.

All in all, this has to be Rosberg's best chance of victory so far. I also reckon Rosberg and Schumi have the car set up differently - don't rule Schumi out here.

Got a feeling that Hamilton will bump into someone at the start. Hopefully not his teammate!

I think, at this track in particular, it is more. They can run more wing for sectors 1 and 2, and still be on par down the straights, that explains why nobody could get near Rosberg in S1 and S2 and why Mercedes SUPER DRS didn't give them a profound advantage on the straights, it simply brought them to level terms with the competition but gives them a great advantage at the beginning of the lap to hopefully get them out of DRS fire down the straights. So I think the Mercs will be quite slow down the straight without DRS being activated, so I'm still expecting them both to go backwards during the race, maybe for a 5th/6th finish or thereabouts. Kimi is the dark horse for me.

#27 skinnyman

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:47

Would sign top 5 for MSC and few points for Felipe right away.

But with Merc eating its tires, a very unbalanced F2012, usual lack of luck and so mixed-up grid who knows what will happen.

#28 Bartel

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:48

ps did anyone else realise the relative closeness of teammates around this circuit? After Massa the grid lines up in team formation.

#29 X61

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:49

But with Merc eating its tires, a very unbalanced F2012, usual lack of luck and so mixed-up grid who knows what will happen.

That's what makes me so excited for this race. There doesn't seem to be any way to make a logical prediction about what the podium will look like.

#30 Dave P Fanclub

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:06

Anyone know of a decent site with today's weather forecast? Last I heard it'd been raining but was set to dry out later in the morning.

#31 Bartel

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:08

Anyone know of a decent site with today's weather forecast? Last I heard it'd been raining but was set to dry out later in the morning.

A few posts above someone staying in Shanghai said it was overcast and smoggy but not raining as yet.

#32 pinkypants

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:19

I'm hoping for a Hami win with Schumi / Kobi / Rosberg don't mind which on the podium :)

#33 aditya-now

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:30

.....One thing is for sure - in my opinion, even without rain, any one of the first 11 guys on the grid could win the race. I think it'll be a cracker. Bring it on! :up:


With that grid and with the two races so far, 2012 could well turn out to be another 1982 - minus the tragedies, I do hope.
We could well do with a season sporting 11 different winners, and a very tight run to the championship, with an unexpected
WDC.

To top it off, the WDC could be one Nico Rosberg, 30 years after Keke Rosberg - anything can happen in F1 and it usually does.

One thing's for certain: it is a cracker of a season, already now, with the most competitive and varied field in ages.


#34 Doughnut King

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:59

I'm here at the race (been the last 5 out of 6 years since I live in China). Was at qualifying yesterday and am sitting close to the hairpin. A few comments/observations.

- There were more people in the stands for qualifying than last year it seemed. Possibly due to better transportation to the race. There is a Shanghai metro stop directly at the track but in past years it as been closed on the race weekend due to security reasons. This is the first year it is open and I only discovered this yesterday. So instead of taking a taxi, which can take an hour to get to the track, my friends and I are taking the metro to the track today.


That's good to hear.

#35 Kelateboy

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:05

First turn mayhem taking out half of the front runners.....


#36 kosmos

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:06

Looks like a McLaren win to me but it will be awesome if Kobayashi wins it.

#37 itsademo

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 03:05

Why do so many people believe that McLarens will have a 1-2 in this race? They will lose too much time in traffic in the first stint. Look at Hamilton's race pace so far this season. Failed to convert either of two poles into victories. I don't see how he cruises to victory from 7th on the grid. Small matter of Webber, Button, Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Schumi and Rosberg to pass

There is not enough evidence about Mercedes race pace since they have been affected by spins/accidents in both the first 2 races. If Kobayashi is slow earlier on in his stint he could hold up the chasing pack allowing Rosberg & Schumi to build a lead.

Don't be so sure that the Mercs will destroy their tyres in these conditions tomorrow.


I think you must have missed FP when lewis was head and shoulders faster than any other car when doing race sims.
he balanced his car more towards the race rather than qually because he knew he would never start on the front 2 rows no matter how fast he went in Q3 due to the 5 place penalty for the gear box change.


#38 BigCHrome

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 03:54

The main reason Rosberg blasted the 0.5 on anyone on Q3 was that the temperatures dropped down. While everyone else lost performance due to not putting the tires on the tire temps, the Mercedes put it on the right window and did not destroy them until the end of the lap.


Raikkonen did his lap before Rosberg and was much slower.

#39 MP422

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:09

I can't wait for this thriller !!

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#40 pinkypants

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:54

I can't wait for this thriller !!


me too :) worth waking up ealy for, although I suspect Hami to be out on lap 1!!

#41 jjcale

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:08

I can't wait for this thriller !!


Me too... havnt been this excited since ... well... Australia :lol:

#42 Andrew Hope

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:16

Been awake for nearly 24 hours now, and only 2 hours left until the race starts. Gone through 5 of my 6 energy drinks, 3/4s of my bottle of brandy, and half my pack of Camels, but God damn, I'm going to stay awake from green to checkered.

'But Andrew, why didn't you just take a nap before the race?'

Because, myself, I bailed out of an all nighter before an F1 race once before and missed Spa 2009. Waking up during the post-race celebrations was the first time in my life I genuinely felt I'd rather not have woken up at all. Never again!

Edited by Andrew Hope, 15 April 2012 - 05:18.


#43 Kvothe

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:19

me too :) worth waking up ealy for, although I suspect Hami to be out on lap 1!!


Waking up! Some of us haven't gone to sleep, I apologise in advance for any unintelligible comments. :smoking:

#44 AFistfulofEastwood

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:22

Is there any smog about today? Or just acid rain.



#45 X61

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:28

Waking up! Some of us haven't gone to sleep, I apologise in advance for any unintelligible comments. :smoking:

Same here. It will be about 24 hours when the race ends. It's amazing what we will do to our bodies and sleep habits to watch cars drive in circles :drunk:.

#46 Andrew Hope

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:37

I know some people really need their sleep, but speaking only for myself I can never sleep before an F1 race. In Canada they always start around 8am (but some, like today, at 2-3am) and it's never been worth going to sleep and risking snoozing over your alarm clock. As tempting as even a 2-hour nap always seems to be, if you spend two weeks aching over every second until an F1 weekend starts, why would you risk it over a few hours sleep? Just crack open a bottle of something and staying up is a good strategy and it hasn't failed me yet.

#47 SparkPlug

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:46

Kobayashi. I think he's had some of his thunder stolen by Perez since Malaysia. He'll be out to prove a point, so expect him to stick his nose in somewhere expecting the other car to yield.

The only problem is, he might end up sticking his nose up the inside of Schumacher, and we know that cant end up well !

#48 X61

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:55

Vergne will be starting from the pits since several parts were changed after qualifying.

#49 undersquare

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:06

I can imagine a lot of excitement if Schumi's leading an F1 race again...

#50 jrg19

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:11

Button, Hamilton, Webber.

Going to be a thriller!