When I first became interested in Formula One, motorcycles and other forms of open wheeled racing, "John Surtees" was a house-hold word, at least at my house. While I was piddling my life away in high school, John, here, was becoming a world motorcycle champion. In 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 he became the world 500cc motorcycle champion. In '58, '59 and '60 he was also a world champion in the 350cc class. Then he moved on to Formula One with a world champion season in 1964. By 217 drivers he was considered to be number 23 on the best of the best list. There were other drivers from the motorcycle field, but he was the only one to be champion in both fields. The motorcycle people test for Formula One, but none seem to the teams up on it any more. When I was in Cyprus his son Henry, who was 18 at the time, died in a very freak Formula Two crash in England. There can't be many drivers older than he was hanging around.
LEWIS HAMILTON (2), SEBASTIAN VETTEL (1) AND VALTTERI BOTTAS (3)
2017, my sixtieth year following Formula One. Almost as long as Ferrari has been in it. Finally their season begins. New cars, new driver movement, new paint, no reining champion, new stories to tell and no Bernie Ecclestone. So, the season is starting pretty much where it left off last year. I was hoping that we would get some front end changes....new blood in the leadership. Again, it was not to be. The venue at Albert Park is usually an exciting race, a decent track and fans excited it have a new racing season under way. Unfortunately, this race lacked the action I was hoping for. Sebastian Vettel did pull off the win and I was fairly happy with that...even though I hated it when he was winning race after race. Lewis Hamilton came in second and his new teammate Valtteri Bottas came in third. Bottas moved from the Williams team to replace champion Nico Rosberg after his untimely retirement.
Bernie Ecclestone is still in the 'building,' so to speak, but he is not running the show anymore, after 40 years. He is always a little shady, but I don't think anyone can run Formula One like he did. He kept it together and the teams in line. Formula One paid him back very well making him the fourth richest man in the United Kingdom. At 87 we may not see much more of him, but maybe we will, he has already out-lasted all of the people involved with Formula One.
The cars are better looking this year, lower looking, tires are 25% wider, much faster with strange paint jobs. Worst is the pink paint for Force India. Maybe it will make sense, but for the moment they look like a couple of Avon ladies out selling their wares. Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest lap with 1'26.538, but short of the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004. Some records take a long time to break.
Still liking my underdog favorites, Nico Hulkenburg has moved from Force India to Renault and Felipe Massa came out of retirement to return to Williams. Hopefully it is a decent year for both of them. This race.....Hulkenburg 12th and Massa 6th. Both cars for the Haas Team failed to finish.
Some people have asked why I started posting online auctions along with the regular auctions. I always did post online auctions, but during the winter there seemed to be a flood of them. Mainly from BNO (Bid Network Online) and Catawiki. With Catawiki being, by far, the most aggressive I have ever seen. It didn't seem likely that they could keep up the pace. So far I have been proven wrong. In February I took a chance and bid on something which I ended up with the winning bid. I liked the way that it was handled, very timely and clear, and I was pleased with my win. Until I hear some totally negative feedback I will continue to post their offerings. I go to many auctions throughout the year and this was the first time I tried an online auction. I am pleased. Check them out.
Hooray! The racing season is open. Not only did Sebastian Bourdias win, but he had the drive of the day. From last place (21) to first...not an easy task. I was very happy for him because he has had a few tough years, but has a great racing history. Following in second was Simon Pagenaud, last year's champion. Third went to Scott Dixon, always a top finisher. Jumping back to Bourdias for a minute, he switched teams this year going to Dale Coyne Racing. Coyne rarely hired drivers for the full season, but took the chance to hire Bourdias for this season. I'll bet he is happy now.
Still liking Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan. Kanaan ended up in 12th and Sato, who had a good day, ended up in 5th. Sato also changed teams this year and is now one of the Andretti drivers.
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