Monday, April 24, 2006

Imola conjures the same drama...roles reversed

There's something about imola and a shumi-alonso fist fight. I would gladly rate the last ten laps of imola last season as the most exciting segment of that season. This time was no different. It lasted longer, was more intense and had more drama as imola 2006 produced an even better screamer than its 2005 predecessor. This time it was alonso chasing schumi - a mirror image of last season - and this time it went on for more than 20 laps. Alonso stuck behind schumi like his tail for about 20 laps trying his best look for a minor glitch, a small opening that would let him go through. But it was schumi in front and you dont see him screw up chances. The pressure would have been intense but schumi showed no signs of it as he kept his smooth line across the chicanes, driving on the limit but not once faltering.

Alonso faltered at times, trying too hard and braking late, bumping over chicanes in a desperate attempt to overtake schumi. But ultimately schumi was just too good and imola is not an overtaker's paradise. Like last season the 1-2 remained till the end and schumi was jumping in joy. He is back. As for alonso, he stretched his lead further comfortably and would not be too worried about the 2 point loss. He is still the man to beat, simply because he is so damn consistent and fights to the finish. If ferrari's form continues from imola then he has a fight on his hands

Friday, April 21, 2006

For want of an eye scorcher....

Treats are always given for the most arbit of reasons. But i crossed new thresholds today with a treat for a whooping 1500 bucks for a reason as simple as not wearing a tangy orange t-shirt. Well, the story begins much earlier in mumbai a week back. HLL's induction session was just winding up and we were asked to take t-shirts. I didnt need a direction to where they were kept coz there was a bright glow on the ceiling. Curiuos, i walked up to the pile and was blinded by a brilliance so pristine and blinding that i was in a haze when i picked up the t-shirt and walked out. I have done several stupid things in my life and this must perhaps rate among the best. A couple of days later back in coimbatore, when i opened my bag, i was struck by the same brilliance, the same blinding glare. Quickly grabbing a pair of coolers i investigated the source and found that the t-shirts were emitting those bright rays. It was of a luminiscent orange not very dissimilar to those radium traffic signs. Like an alien piece of equipment it was sending rays of colours that - as my friend described it - could be best described as 'retina scorchers'. The story stops there and continues about a week later in the small cafeteria in HLL's office several hundred kilometers away in bangalore.

It was a serene wednesday morning and we(the summer interns) were having a nice hot cup of cofee. As the discussion meandered it fell on the fateful topic of friday dressing. HLL allowed casual clothes on friday and i did another one of my stupid blurts then, saying perhaps we should all wear those tangy t-shirts and scare the hell out of the hll employees. I was obviously kidding but like many of my jokes this was badly interpreted and taken seriously. Aalap(a fellow IIMBian) was taken in by the idea and when we later sat in our conference room where we sat all day, an ordinance was passed! Everyone wears that tee to office on friday. He who does not wear it treats those who wear it! I was one of the earliest supporters.God!, I was on a stupidity spree!

Come friday i woke up as usual by 7 am to begin the long journey to the office. Disaster struck at 7:04 when i realised that i did not have the tee with me. Although elated on one side i realised that i was going to be the treat scapegoat. A quick flashback confirmed the worst of the fears. I remembered cursing the t-shirt and throwing it. I remembered the t-shirt splayed open some where below my desk (ya my room was horribly un-clean). I also remembered that i forgot to pick it up when i returned to bangalore. Well, the treat did happen. We caught a rick to ITPL to find a crowded pizza hut, we waited half an hour for the pizzas and had the treat. 1500 bucks for 7 people all because of a stupid t-shirt. Well 600 of that was consumed by aalap alone. Remember the name. If you ever come across it, run, dont ever treat!!

Well, the whole of pizza hut was staring at us, like zombies in bright red costumes. People on the road looked in awe at the moving red signs. Hundreds in HLL office went colour blind. Anyways, the only good thing that came out of it was that i managed to looked the sanest among the lot of bozos (a new thing in itself!) coz i was wearing a more mundane colour. A colour that does not turn heads only to scorch the cones and rods in the eye.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Albert park turns into a destruction derby but Alosno is in the 'zone'

Well after the australian smash derby other races might seem a tad too boring. But if imola repeats anything close to what happened last year i'll trade it for a thousand albert parks. At least the last 10 laps had me on the edge of my seat or rather squirming on the floor my eyes wide open and my mouth shut tight in a nervous clench. It was the most amazing ten laps of 2005. Schumi and alonso head to head screeching along vying for the victory. They had more than a victory at stake - both had points to prove. It was the acid test of 2005 and alonso came out of it unscathed.

The situation is not very different this season. Alonso is again leading the ranks and fisi is close behind. Schumi is looking for an improved performance and what better place to do it than in front of a million screeming red-clad fans. Imola is ferrari's stronghold and last season alonso got away with the attack into its very heart. That the climax was a one on one ( like in a movie climax) between the two heroes (yeah dont wanna call one of them a villain) was the perfect finish for an unfinished story. The story will continue this time around. Only now the master of the castle will have to recapture his rightful place, his fortress. Only time will tell as always.

Well honda did it again, in australia. They 'advised'jense not to complete so that they could avoid the down grid penalty in the next race. They certainly are thinking about the future and maybe that is where their problem is. Australia was a huge dissapointment, no doubt. Jense was expected to end at the podium, may be even win the race(not by me!) but ended up coming to a halt 75 yeards from the chequered flag. Had some grip problems during the race that had alonso and kimi overtake him at will although they were helped immensely by the safety car. I still fail to comprehend this hue and cry about jense not getting his first win yet. Jense is one the most overrated drivers in the circuit. How can he win when he has neither the fastest nor that most reliable car on the circuit. He is not special. If you really want me to rank racers i would place jense on step two, below racers like alonso, kimi and schumi.At least in this season, for him to win, the renaults and the mclarens have to perform poorly or have dnfs. Of course, he can end up on the podium. He is good enough for that. He might do it in imola and i am willing to take a bet on that. But i am also willing to risk a bet that jense might never get to win once this season with kimi and alonso on track. Meanwhile barri is enduring a painful transition. The fact that he had to be happy about ending in points in Oz reflects the current state.Serious problems for honda.

So what can we expect at imola. A ferrari resurgence? Quite possible. Schumi showed some serious race pace in his brief stint in albert park. So the car is still competent enough and imola is a ferrari's circuit. So will this homecoming be a happy one? We'll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile yet again kimi sets the fastest lap at the last lap. I keep wondering why he does that time and again. I understand that he will have the least fuel then but more than a second faster in the last lap is not just fuel load. Why should he wait till the last lap to do it? Well kimi is a total enigma more so his partnership with Mclaren. So where will they be in imola? Its a big puzzle and with mclaren its better to stay out of predictions a win as well a big zero are equally possible.

Renaults, ever so reliable and oozing performance will be the favorites more specifically alonso. He just carries on as if nothing is happening around him. He is in what i call the 'zone'. Sportsment occasionally do fall into it and you see performances that are totally out of league of the others. I've seen aussies do it, i've see tendulkar do it and also laxman during one of those knocks. They seem totally self assured, peaceful and ruthlessly dominating all the same time. He is the 2006 champion too! Oops there i did it again..Too early to call?..Lets wait and watch how this drama unfolds.

Albert park turns into a destruction derby but Alosno is in the 'zone'

Well after the australian smash derby other races might seem a tad too boring. But if imola repeats anything close to Posts