What have I been watching?
I usually catch one or two live races per weekend and spend time in the week catching up on other things.
Week 12: 18-24 March 2019
Formula E – R6 – Sanya ePrix
Mostly uneventful by Formula E standards, ’til the crash at the end. The track was fast and flowing yet only seemed have one racing line. Yet from the overhead pictures it was hard to see how they could’ve done a better job with the available space. And the backdrop looked amazing, I’d never heard of Sanya, now I want to go to the beach.
It livened up later, after a slow period there was a little bit of side by side racing especially from those in Attack Mode versus those not using it. Otherwise there wasn’t a lot of overtaking. It was more interesting for who was fast and who wasn’t.
Oliver Rowland set a good early pace in the lead, just as he did in Hong Kong. Later it became clear he was saving power, Jean-Eric Vergne overtook him and opened a gap. This bit was fun, as Rowland tried to hold off a hard-charging pack of 5 others, and succeeded!
There was contact. The BMW Andretti of Sims had steering damage after being squeezed between wall and Lotterer. This put him out on the spot. But the clear up took ages. After several laps under local yellows then a Safety Car, the race got red flagged. It looked like flatbed trucks were available, perhaps none had cranes, so they eventually deployed a tractor which apparently couldn’t be done quickly.
I know this is street racing and in places not accustomed to racing, but this is one area the FIA will need to tighten up.
After the restart there was a clash between Frijns and di Grassi. It looked like Frijns rammed LdG out of the race but on replay you could see Buemi had knocked Frijns out of control. This incident caused the race to end under Full Course Yellow. Just 13 cars finished the attritional race, a lot of cars pulling up with problems.
Buemi crossed the line 6th but was penalised to 8th for causing the collision, di Grassi later tweeting to point out Buemi was 8th anyway when he hit Frijns so didn’t lose anything. Buemi though shouldn’t have been there in the first place, he was penalised to 6th in qualifying, but the stewards took so long to make the decision there wasn’t time to charge the car before pitlane closed for the grid, so he started from pitlane and raced his way through. (Presumably through overtaking I missed…)
An underwhelming end to an underwhelming race. It happens even in Formula E. And perhaps my lack of tea or coffee at 7am added to that sense.
JEV won and dedicated it to Charlie Whiting who we sadly lost in Melbourne. In doing so he jumps into third overall. Rowland 2nd in this race but not yet in the top 10 in points, and I get the sense he’ll move up quickly too. Antonio Felix da Costa finished 3rd and takes the points lead. Bird, di Grassi and Mortara all with no-scores.
And we have tie for the lead of the Teams Points! A no-score for Virgin means the others close up, four teams covered by two points. Outstanding.
|62||15||Ant Felix da Costa||BMW Andretti|
|54||26||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah|
|52||0||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport Abt|
|44||10||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport Abt|
|41||12||Andre Lotterer||DS Techeetah|
|96||10||Audi Sport Abt|
Next: Rome ePrix, 13th April.
I had last week off and spent a lot of it catching up on the rest of the 2018 MotoGP season.
I watched Misano, Aragon, Buriram, Motegi, Phillip Island and Valencia. Not Sepang, which failed to record. It’s not too bad when the races are only 45 minutes, although I did watch some of the excellent BT Sport pre-race as well.
[Yes they got the number of the last race wrong, Valencia is Round 19.]
Misano, San Marino & Rimini GP (Sept.). After the initial skirmishes this was another tremendous battle between Marquez and the two Ducatis. Dovi pulled away and the other two fought – until Lorenzo crashed! The bike folded under him as he tipped it, nothing he could do. That gave Crutchlow 3rd.
Aragon GP (Sept.). This time Lorenzo crashed at the first corner of the race, over the top of the bike, causing enough damage to himself that he’d be out for over a month. That left a fight between Marquez and Dovizioso, again what a fight it was, couldn’t take your eyes off it! Marquez took his 5th win of the year and a sizeable points lead. And a good day for Suzuki too, Iannone getting amongst the fight and Rins 4th.
Buriram, Thailand GP (Oct.). The inaugural Thai GP. Car races I’ve seen at this venue have been rubbish, but not MotoGP. Dovizioso, Marquez and Rossi traded the lead. Pedrosa was working his way up, after some lacklustre races in his final season he looked on for 4th or even a podium, but then he crashed out. Vinales joined the top 3. I’m amazed how it comes to a fight between Marquez and Dovi nearly every race, here diving past each other at the final corner and driving for the line ON THE FINAL LAP. Marquez another win, by inches.
Motegi, Japanese GP (Oct.). Another race, another Dovi vs Marquez battle, this time with Dovi ahead and Crutchlow in close attendance as Marc’s wingman, Cal even ahead for a while to try and pressure Dovi. A little behind, the Suzukis were having fun racing Rossi. Marquez got to the lead. But then… Dovizioso was out! His bike folded over like Lorenzo’s had in Misano. Marquez race winner and Champion. (Crutchlow 2nd, Rins 3rd).
Phillip Island, Australian GP (Oct.). A favourite race for everyone. But Crutchlow was out in free practice and he’d be out the rest of the year. Lorenzo still away. A nasty crash too for Zarco as he touched Marquez’s bike, which also put Marc out with damage. Thankfully both riders were OK. Vinales fell back but he raced through and cleared the pack by a clear margin to score Yamaha’s first win for 2 years! Iannone for Suzuki just beat Dovi. Oh and Bautista, on Lorenzo’s bike, had a sensational race to 4th – why wasn’t he hired for it for 2019?
Sepang, Malaysia GP (Nov.). I didn’t see this one other than the above highlights. Rossi actually led a race again and it looks like by quite a gap – until he fell! That gifted it to Marquez, who took his 9th win of the year. Dovi down in 6th. Rins took 2nd for Suzuki, Zarco 3rd for Tech 3 Yamaha.
Valencian GP (Nov.). A wet race with a red flag interruption when the track got waterlogged. Rins got an early lead. There were a lot of fallers through the first half, Petrucci, Miller, Bautista – and Marc Marquez, who landed on a shoulder he’d dislocated before. Vinales went down too. Dovi, Rossi and Rins were racing closely when the red flag came, rightly so. The race resumed with a grid start, Rins on pole on countback, but he’d lose out to Dovi and Rossi. Then Rossi fell, but he got back up to roll in 13th of just 15 finishers. Oh Lorenzo was there too but never troubled the top ten, still injured. Dovizioso won from Rins, with the KTM of Pol Esparagaro in 3rd!
That was fun. When you watch a race per day you get a much better sense of storylines through the season. Marquez vs Dovi. The improving Suzukis and resurgent Yamahas. But all change for 2019, Lorenzo to Honda alongside Marquez, Petrucci to the works Ducati, Bautista to World Superbike. You’ll have seen Qatar, I’ll be watching that next.
Monday 25th to 31st March. I’ll have Sky installed so will be watching the Bahrain GP, plus I’ll be catching up with two IndyCar races and the Qatar MotoGP. Let’s hope I have room for all this in next week’s post.