So as any followers of my ranting and raving about various disciplines of motorsport will be aware, my viewing of NASCAR started over a month ago, with the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida. That season is already 5 weeks old and, while my driver (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) hasn't won a race yet, he's one of the hottest races on the circuit, with 4 top-10 finishes. He would have had a clean sweep of top-10s, if it wasn't for some incidental contact with his spinning teammate, Casey Mears in the second race of the season at Califonia. He got the car repaired and ran race-pace with the rest of the pack, even though he was 30-something laps down.
Still, I managed to cost my lovely girlfriend more sleep than myself this morning, as I got up at 0430, local time to watch the Australian GP. A lovely sunny day, where the brightest talent in the long line of British F1 drivers for a very long time was taking his position at the front of the grid. Lewis Hamilton drove a near-faultless race to lead the standings, while most of his rivals came into trouble of some sort. You've got to laugh at the Ferraris, as they really had a torrid time, despite the fact that all of the pundits were saying that it should be their race today.
Reigning world champion, Kimi Raikkonen wasted a great opportunity, by passing Hamilton's McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen down the inside with far too little braking space. Kovalainen just eased off, letting his countryman overshoot the apex and dive into the gravel trap. You would have thought that the McLaren Driver was the reigning world champion and that Raikkonen had just started only his second season in F1.
Felipe Massa in the sster McLaren fared slightly better, picking a fight with a grizzled veteran, David Coulthard. He scythed up the inside and Coulthard didn't see him until he had made severe contact with the sidepod of the Ferrari (see the image for further details). Massa continued, only to have his suspension fail later on.
Rubens Barichello almost killed one of his refuellers, Jock Clear (who is no stranger to getting mown down in the pits - something similar happened last year, I believe). Barichello's lollipop man, who tells him when to leave the pit stall lifted the lollipop when Barichello was still taking on fuel.
As if that wasn't enough drama for the first race of the year, Timo Glock, driving the Toyota had a nasty incident, when he caught some air (only a couple of feet, but that's plenty) and literally tore the suspension off the car as he landed. I suggest that if you want to see any of that, check YouTube for some highlights!
I returned to bed at around 0630 to catch up on the sleep I'll need to get me through the last 4 days in the office until Easter. Woke my girlfriend up getting back into bed and she didn't get much sleep at all, but she's up now, playing Guitar Hero at almost 11pm, so she's still doing alright :P