Sunday, March 14, 2010

It has begun...

Know those days when you change the batteries to your TV remote? Suddenly your thumb screams thankyous. Likewise those days when you're in a hurry and you try to lock your door and the exact right key turns up? It's weird how these tiny things end up making your day. You mouth a thank you to the cabbie, smile as you get your coffee, and some pleasant song like say Enya's 'The Memory of Trees' resounds in your head. (Pic courtesy Ben Curtis/ AP)

Why am I describing this? Because I find it hard to believe that one event has that effect on several others. Those in the know would know that today, March 14th 2010 marks the return of the King to the wonderful world of F1. The king did indeed return, only this time, with the star and not the prancing horse. The race was rather mundane. The rules have changed a bit. Pit timings now show an aggregate total from entry to exit and not the usual under-10-second count showing how efficient the pit crew is. Now point scoring positions are not the top 6 or 8, but the top 10. Team names are all different now. We have Lotus racing, Virgin racing and Virgin now means that there are two airline magnates involved in F1 - Virgin and Force India, since Force India has a co-ownership by Vijay Mallya, of Kingfisher beer and airlines fame. Deadly combination, I know. This race also marked Karun Chandok's debut in F1 and yet again we see the tricolor on the circuit, painted across a car. Godspeed that he lasts longer in F1 than his predecessor.

The race began strongly, but the deadly hand of luck and fate again came up, when Vettel who so far had a strong weekend, began slinking back. I remember the team radio comment that was aired, where an exasperated Vettel poignantly asks his mechanics if anything can be done, and the response is that he suffered a mechanical failure, because of which two prancing horses and a McLaren lapped him up like a dollop of ice cream. So Alonso won, followed by Massa and Hamilton. Massa's return was indeed momentous. The chap was on track after almost being killed last year. Despite that, he returned and that too very strongly! If there was any fear or apprehension in his mind surrounding how his profession almost killed him, he sure has overcome it, and for that - RESPECT!

Schumi started seventh and ended sixth. Big deal you say? I disagree. The chap is 41. He has nothing to prove. He is driving more as a hobby. The car is different and new. And he gained a position with no one retiring. Alonso was second, and he won, because the winner slinked back because of a technical glitch. He did not win because of sheer overtaking and driving magic! There is no need, according to me, to exult and thump one's chest in a victory gained out of a race leader's loss, caused by events beyond his control.

So now, the dynamics are weird. Ferrari is strong, as usual. But my star driver is driving for a star. And a chap I don't really have too much respect for is driving in a scarlet garb. Life would have been a lot less complicated if only Michael had returned to Ferrari, as before... But then, he entered Ferrari and turned their fortunes around, through his sheer hard work, tuning the car and pushing it and himself to limits. I wouldn't be surprised if he does the same turnaround for Mercedes as well, making it a strong and powerful team, a force to reckon with and then slink back into retirement. Well, till then, he has a job to finish and people like me have a fun Sunday evening to look forward to.

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