Thursday, September 08, 2005

Miracle!

I'd recently explained to Matt what a miracle is, i.e. some act of God that we simply can't understand, like how God made each of the animals, different flowers etc. This was after he asked how God could raise people from the dead.

Well he's so caught up now he thinks that anything he can't figure out is a miracle. Like, we got a free pair of 3D glasses with a kids' magazine, and he couldn't figure how the green and red lens stayed in the cardboard frame, so he immediately concluded, "It's part of the miracle, right?"

I had to literally peel back the cardboard and show him the sandwiched lens and explain that it's no miracle.

On another note, there really is a miracle happening in our lives right now. A little person just made his way into the world! I hope he hangs on tight inside me until it's time he sees daylight. I'm putting my feet up these two weeks for him to stabilise, and keeping fingers crossed that we hear his heartbeat at the next doctor's visit, or the one after that.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Game over?


Say what you will about Kimi Raikkonen, but you can't accuse him of not trying. At the just-concluded Italian Grand Prix in Monza, all kinds of things conspired to ruin Kimi's weekend. First McLaren had to change his engine as a result of an offending inlet valve on Friday. F1 rules being what they are these days, this meant a ten place demotion down the starting grid, regardless of qualifying position.

So McLaren changed their strategy. Monza is a high speed track that usually demands 2 fuel stops, but banking on the car's and Kimi's pace, they went for a risky one stopper. Risky because it makes the car heavier, more difficult to handle and thus slower throughout the duration of the race. And this is where Kimi's scorching qualifying drive made the difference. Driving by far the heaviest car on the grid, he somehow put his McLaren on pole, beating even his own team-mate Montoya by nearly 0.2 sec in identical (bar fuel) cars. Regardless, the penalty meant that he started in 11th position, but you just knew there was more to come.

Kimi spent the first part of the race itself stuck behind Jacques Villenueve's Sauber in the same position he started, but he bided his time until the first pit stops. Then when the drivers started diving into the pits and with relatively clean air in front of him, he turned up the wick. In nine laps he moved from 11th to 2nd, until he was just behind leading man Montoya. And even after pitting on lap 25, he came out in fifth position. With his one and only stop done with, and everyone else needng to make another, it was not inconceivable that he could actually win the race.

Then fate, lady luck or the race gods stepped once again, as they have done so often this season with Kimi (but for some reason, never championship leader Fernando Alonso). His left rear tyre began to delaminate, which required an extra stop that dumped him back to 12th and once more behind Villeneuve. Alonso would have given up there and then, and I wouldn't blame him, but Kimi began his second, even more impressive charge.

One by one he started reeling the other cars in, driving on the ragged edge and using all the track plus a little more. And we saw how much he was pushing, when after despatching Trulli to take 4th and hunting down 3rd place Fisichella, he spun at the second chicane. Now some people say that this cost Kimi a podium finish. Nonsense. Had he not given 150% and every ounce of his fibre to the job, he would have finished well out of the points. As it was, 4th place earned him 5 points, a result that does no justice to a truly heroic drive, evidenced by a fastest lap that was 0.3sec quicker than anyone else.

Sure, Alonso drove a drama-free race to take a well-deserved 2nd place. Then again, he could afford to take it easy, having the most reliable car this season under him, and a seemingly-unassailable 27 point cushion over Kimi with only 4 races to go. In all probability the Finn's title-hopes are over. But I don't watch F1 for play-it-safe tactics - I would much rather support someone who goes down fighting, than one who basks in glory while benfiting from others' misfortunes.

So bring on Spa! (That's the next race at Belgium, in case you're wondering...)