2016 F1 Grand Prix of the United States — Results & aftermath

Hamilton storms to much-needed victory in America, Rosberg limits damage with P2; Ricciardo strong again for Red Bull with 3rd place

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finally had the end to a race weekend he was looking for at a track he absolutely owns. Facing a victory drought dating back to Round 12 in Germany that also saw his championship lead ceded to his teammate and archrival Nico Rosberg over the course of those five winless Grand Prix, Hamilton was peerless in the USGP at the beautiful Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. After setting a blistering pole time on Saturday, Hamilton finally made a good start when the lights went out, avoiding his chronic clutch-bite problems and warding off his nearest challengers, Rosberg and the two chasing Red Bulls, as they all climbed the iconic hill into Turn 1. The Englishman was never seriously challenged for the rest of the race and flew away to an unsurmountable lead free of any pit dramas or mechanical gremlins that might cost him this certain victory. In the end it was a drama-free and flawless run for Hamilton’s 50th Formula 1 victory, which also put him the exclusive 50-win club that heretofore counted only Alain Prost (51) and Michael Schumacher (91) as members. Even more mind-blowing, it was Hamilton’s astounding 4th victory in five races at COTA and his 5th overall US Grand Prix win in 6 contests dating back to 2012 at Indianapolis. Rarely has driver been so simpatico with a circuit and a country as Hamilton is with COTA and the USA. Truly, racing deep in the heart of Texas was the tonic the Briton needed to get him back on the front foot in his quest to overhaul Rosberg and take his third world title in a row. Hamilton now trails his German teammate by 26 points in the Drivers’ Championship with three races left to be run.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Facing a Hamilton utterly in tune with a track and his car, the day for Nico Rosberg was one of damage limitation. While the current points leader had nothing for his Silver Arrows squad-mate, Rosberg drove a very solid race and avoided problems and contact that might have cost him valuable positions and points. Using matching tire strategies, Mercedes was able to correctly anticipate Red Bull’s plays and match them, using a Virtual Safety Car to quickly pit for fresh rubber and their chassis’ overall superiority to run a very long closing stint on the Medium tires, the hardest compound on offer this weekend. That kept Rosberg safely out of the clutches of Daniel Ricciardo and allowed him to score a valuable P2 that limited Hamilton’s gains and kept Rosberg looking like the favorite for his first-ever title.

Red Bull’s Ricciardo was foiled by that VSC period and must have been doubly flummoxed when he found out it was produced by his teammate Max Verstappen’s on track engine failure on Lap 31. Until then it looked like the smiling Aussie had a decent shot to fight it out with Rosberg for the second step on the podium. But with Mercedes capitalizing to make that quick pit stop and Ricciardo still out circulating at reduced VSC speed Rosberg came out well ahead. Ricciardo would never again have an opportunity to make it close and finished 15 seconds adrift of Rosberg. Still, it was good run for Red Bull’s veteran driver and a solid P3 for the team. Unfortunately, they had to reckon with Verstappen’s DNF and even before that the young phenom had inexplicably pitted without the team calling him in. So the Dutchman’s race would have already been somewhat undone by the time his engine expired, though he almost certainly would have scored points.


Fortunately for Red Bull and their goal of second place in the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari had problems of their own. Looking to capitalize on a strong run at Suzuka two weeks ago, the Scuderia instead scored an own goal when the team botched a pit stop for Kimi Raikkonen and failed to properly tighten a wheel nut. The Finn, who had been running very strong and might even have had something for Ricciardo at the end, instead had to stop at pit out on Lap 38 with a loose right rear wheel, backing in ignominiously to retirement after that unsafe release. That left it to Vettel to fly the flag for the Prancing Horse and the former 4-time World Champ was able to manage his tires well enough to take P4.  But with Verstappen already out of the race on Lap 31 this was a golden opportunity to make up ground on Red Bull with a strong double-points finish and Ferrari frankly flubbed it. With only three more contests remaining in the 2016 season Ferrari now trail Red Bull by a seemingly insurmountable 53 points.

McLaren saw some promising glimmers of hope at COTA despite a mostly dismal and desultory year so far. After being shut out of the points at their engine supplier Honda’s home track at Suzuka two weeks ago, Fernando Alonso showed real pace in Texas and was able to dispatch with some competitive cars and capitalize on retirements to take a hard-earned P5. Better yet, Alonso’s teammate Jenson Button clawed his way up from way back in P19 after a frustrating qualifying to come home a remarkable P9. It was only the fourth time this year that both McLarens finished in the points and the strong result gave the team hope that the future could well be brighter than these last two subpar rebuilding years.

Torro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz also got a superb result for both himself and his beleaguered team when he gave a very strong effort to take P6 at the checkered flag. While he was overtaken late by a storming Alonso, Sainz still had to be well pleased at being able to show his quality again on such a big stage and giving the disappointing Toro Rosso team valuable points and a much-needed lift. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa managed to come home P7 in his last USGP but he was the sole Williams to finish in the points, as Valtteri Bottas was undone by a first lap puncture from which he could never recover. The Finn could never really recover and finished a disappointing P16, another poor result for a 2016 campaign that underwhelming Team Williams would like to forget.

Force India’s Sergio Perez was also forced to fly his team’s colors all by his lonesome in the Lone State State, coming home an acceptable P8 after his teammate Nico Hulkenberg was taken out in a Lap 1- Turn 1 melee with Vettel that was also responsible for Bottas’ puncture at the start of the race. The normally steady German has now retired in three consecutive F1 Grand Prix at COTA and has never finished higher than P6 in the US Grand Prix. He’ll be hoping for better things in the USA when he’s driving for the factory Renault team next year. Romain Grosjean took the last points-paying position with P10 in his Haas. It was nice moment for the French driver and his American team, as Haas were able to score in their maiden run at their home GP. It also broke an 8-race scoring drought for the first-year team.

Top 10 finishers in the United States Grand Prix:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 56 1:38:12.618 25
2 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 56 +4.520s 18
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 56 +19.692s 15
4 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 56 +43.134s 12
5 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 56 +93.953s 10
6 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 56 +96.124s 8
7 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 55 +1 lap 6
8 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 55 +1 lap 4
9 22 Jenson Button MCLAREN HONDA 55 +1 lap 2
10 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 55 +1 lap 1

Complete race results amiable via Formula1.com.

The next race is but a week away — The Grand Prix of Mexico from the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Hope to see you then to find out if Hamilton can keep up the pressure on Rosberg and keep his championship dream alive for another week!


2016 F1 Grand Prix of the United States — Qualifying results

Hamilton dominates with blistering lap for pole at COTA, Rosberg P2; Ricciardo P3 for Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton served notice that he is not ready to relinquish his championship just yet with a blistering lap at the Circuit of the Americas good enough not only for pole but also the F1 record at this relatively new circuit. After a string of disappointing results and bad mechanical luck, Hamilton’s stunning 1:34.999 time earned him the top starting spot for Sunday’s Grand Prix and reaffirmed his mastery at a track where he has always seemed to have a special affinity. Remarkably, Hamilton has won three out of the four F1 contests ever held at COTA. His Mercedes teammate, archrival and current points leader Nico Rosberg was just a blink beheind at 1:35.215, proving once again that there is very little to separate this dynamic but disparate duo. Hamilton must, repeat must avoid the clutch-bite issues that have plagued him and ruined so many of his starts this season if he is to regain momentum and get himself back into championship contention. One slip and Rosberg has shown repeatedly that he has what it takes to capitalize and drive perfectly from the front to victory and one step closer to his first-ever and much coveted Drivers’ Championship.

The Red Bulls showed the next best pace in the field, with Daniel Ricciardo pipping his younger teammate Max Verstappen, P3 to P4. Verstappen was nearly 4-tenths faster than the nearest Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen in P5 and the other Prancing Horse of Sebastien Vettel was another 2-tenths behind that. The fabled Scuderia looks to have essentially conceded second in the Constructors’ Championship to surging Red Bull and will probably shift to expending their considerable resources on next season’s much changed specification.

Nico Hulkenberg was very strong for his soon to be former team, Force India. It was announced after the Japanese GP two weeks ago that Hulkenberg will be leaving the overachieving little Indian team for a factory drive with Renault next year. The two Williams had a reasonably encouraging day with both Valtteri Bottas (P8) and Felipe Massa (P9) sneaking into Q3 for a change. And Carlos Sainz finally gave badly underachieving Toro Rosso a small glimmer of hope by taking P10 on the starting grid.

Top 10 qualifiers for the US Grand Prix:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:36.296 1:36.450 1:34.999 13
2 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:36.397 1:36.351 1:35.215 13
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:36.759 1:36.255 1:35.509 12
4 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:36.613 1:36.857 1:35.747 12
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:36.985 1:36.584 1:36.131 12
6 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:37.151 1:36.462 1:36.358 13
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:36.950 1:36.626 1:36.628 12
8 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:37.456 1:37.202 1:37.116 12
9 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:37.402 1:37.214 1:37.269 12
10 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 1:37.744 1:37.175 1:37.326 14

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s US Grand Prix airs live at 3PM Eastern tomorrow on NBC. Can hamilton convert pole into a much needed win to keep his championship hopes alive? Or will Rosberg foil him yet again en route to his his first title? Hope to see you then to find out?


tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — October selection

Up for sale this month is this uncommon late 1960s Omega ref. 145.020 Seamaster “Soccer Timer” chronograph with beautiful original cream-white dial featuring high contrast red/black sub registers and an inner fixed Tachymeter ring. While it was originally believed that these chronos were manufactured for use in yachting regattas the accepted wisdom now is that they were designed for soccer trainers and referees with the addition to the minute register of a figure for 45 minutes, the length of a football half.  Either way, it is an awesome looking watch and in fact the dial design was so striking and distinctive that recently Omega reissued some modern versions of it.


This fantastic and ultra-cool Soccer Timer features sharp chamfers and essentially perfect sunburst satin finish on top of the large 40mm case. Even better, though, is the gorgeous original creamy-white Omega Tritium dial featuring a finely articulated dark gray minute track and red/black sub-registers, with the oversized minute counter specially marked to easily read 45-minute intervals. The dial has a delightful textured matte finish, shows very few signs of age and all Tritium lume plots are present and have acquired a pleasing patina. The bold matching hour and minute hands and fluorescent orange chrono sweep seconds just complete what is simply a terrifically pleasing and unique original Omega Seamaster Soccer Timer layout in top condition.


Under the hood is the redoubtable Omega manual-wind caliber 861, the same workhorse as found in their famed Moonwatch after they phased out the legendary cal. 321. With a 27 million serial number dating it to circa 1968 and looking very bright and pristine, this classic chrono movement had a complete service at Omega UK in 2013 and so is running like a champ, with all timekeeping and chronograph functions operating flawlessly.


When you look at how the prices of vintage mechanical chronos have skyrocketed in the past few years, the Omega Soccer Timer remains a premium piece that is still reasonably affordable for both the aspiring or experienced collector. If anything, a beautiful example like this one has got upside potential once people figure out it’s a better quality watch than many others currently in its price range. For style, functionality and pure funky cool you can’t go wrong with this beautiful cream dial Soccer Timer. You’re sure to be noticed in the best possible way.

Check out the complete ad with many more pictures and full condition report over at the excellent OmegaForums.net’s Private Watch Sales forumON HOLD


2016 F1 Grand Prix of Japan — Results & aftermath

Rosberg sails to victory at Suzuka after another poor Hamilton start; Mercedes claim 3rd consecutive title; Verstappen powers his Red Bull to P2

A week after his engine blew up en route to a sure victory in Malaysia, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton went back to having only himself to blame for his on-track misfortunes. Starting alongside his pole-sitting teammate Nico Rosberg on the front row in P2, Hamilton once again got a very poor getaway from the line as the lights went out and saw himself swamped by nearly all of the rest of the top 10 starters before he could recover. Meanwhile, Rosberg swanned away and instantly began pulling out a gap on his nearest pursuer, Red  Bull’s Max Vertstappen. Starts have been Hamilton’s unexpected bête noir this season and as has often happened after the summer break, he found himself fighting back furiously to recover from his own unforced error. But fight back he did, scrapping with and passing Ferraris, Red Bulls, Williams & Force Indias to claw his way back from a seemingly perilous points deficit. In the end, Rosberg scored an easy maiden victory at Suzuka, his eighth victory of the 2016 season, while Hamilton was able to salvage a hard-fought P3 for some level of redemption for his poor getaway. The high finishing places also insured the Mercedes factory team’s impressive third Constructors’ Championship in succession, a remarkable feat for any F1 team.

But for their battling drivers, everything remains to be settled. With only four Grand Prix left, Rosberg stretched his points lead to 33 over his teammate and arch-nemesis. The German looks well-poised to take his first-ever title from current champion Hamilton but, as the old saying goes, anything can happen in motorsport. One thing’s for sure: Hamilton will never quit and if he is going to go down, he’ll go down swinging. So Rosberg had better be prepared for the four toughest races of his career if he’s going to grab that elusive first Drivers’ Championship.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Splitting the two Silver Arrows, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen drove a superb race to come home P2. The Dutch phenom fought his way forward after Hamilton’s initial slow start and was able to use solid tire strategy and determined driving to outpace both Ferraris, fight his way through stubborn backmarkers and then hold off a charging Hamilton as the laps wound down. His superb effort culminated with making himself just wide enough to thwart Hamilton’s optimistic passing maneuver on then penultimate lap, sending the Englishman down an escape road when he overcooked the overtake. While Mercedes and Hamilton complained that Verstappen made an illegal block at the time, replays showed no such excess movement and eventually the team dropped their protest. It was another sweet podium for Verstappen, his 6th so far in this his breakout year, and an amazing 6 podiums out of only 13 starts with the big Red Bull team.

All was not as joyful for Verstappen’s senior teammate Daniel Ricciardo. A week after his lucky victory in Malaysia, the Aussie had an uncharacteristically poor start from the wetter side of the track and had to fight for the rest of the race just to stay in reach of the leaders. In the end, Ricciardo finished well back in P6, a sure disappointment to him on a day when his precocious teammate thoroughly outscored him. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel could never quite make his tire strategy work even after looking very quick and battling back from a 3-spot grid penalty that saw him start from P7 instead of P4. Try as he might he could never close down Hamilton late in the race and had to settle for P4. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who also was penalized for a gearbox change and had to start from P8 drove with controlled aggression to work his way up to P5, decent if unspectacular day at the office for the Scuderia.

Rounding out the Top 10, the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were P7 and P8 respectively. After the race rumors swirled that Hulkenberg would be jumping from Force India over to Renault, something of a surprise when it seemed his ride was already settled for next year. And both Williams managed to score points after neither made into the third round of qualifying on Saturday. Felipe Massa was P9 and Valtteri Bottas was P10, as Williams’ race pace proved superior to their nearest competitors, the American Hass F1 team, even after they were comprehensively out-qualified by them.

Top 10 finishers at the Japan GP:

1 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 53 1:26:43.333 25
2 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 53 +4.978s 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 53 +5.776s 15
4 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 53 +20.269s 12
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 53 +28.370s 10
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 53 +33.941s 8
7 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 53 +57.495s 6
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 53 +59.177s 4
9 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 53 +97.763s 2
10 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 53 +98.323s 1

Complete results available via Formula1.com.

The next race is in two weeks — the United States Grand Prix from COTA in Austin, Texas. With the weather predicted to be much better than last year’s soggy affair, the beautiful purpose-built track should get back to delivering excellent racing and plenty of passing. It’s also a circuit that Hamilton loves, having taken victory in three out of the four GPs held there. With time running out on the season, he’ll be desperate to take the fight to Rosberg and salvage his aspirations of a championship 3-peat. Hope to see you then!


2016 F1 Grand Prix of Japan — Qualifying results

Rosberg pips Hamilton for pole at Suzuka; Raikkonen good enough for P3 for Ferrari

Nico Rosberg kept his recent positive momentum going by nabbing pole in Saturday qualifying at Suzuka in Japan. The Mercedes championship points leader pipped his nearest pursuer, teammate and archival Lewis Hamilton, by a mere .013 seconds as time wound down in Q3 and the checkered flag flew. That excellent performance capped off a terrific first two days in Japan that saw Rosberg fastest in every session and gave the German continued confidence in his quest to secure his first career F1 championship and take the title belt from his gifted English teammate. Despite his disappointment at being bested in quali all is not lost for Hamilton. The battling Briton was victorious the last two Grand Prix at Suzaka after starting from P2 and there is really nothing between the two Mercedes’ aces. But with the races running out and following a mechanical failure last week in Malaysia that cost him a sure victory and precious points Hamilton needs a good finish tomorrow and a sub-par performance or perhaps a reciprocal mechanical problem for Rosberg.

As he has so frequently in the second half of the season Kimi Raikkonen carried the fag for Ferrari with a lap good enough for P3. But while his much-vaunted teammate Sebastian Vettel was also quick with a P4 effort, the 4-time World Champion will be assessed a 3-spot grid penalty after last week’s first lap collision with Rosberg. An while the Red Bulls move up because of Vettel’s punishment, the team its drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have to be puzzled at being out-paced by Ferrari after making such great strides in their battle against the Scuderia. A week after a 3-4 finish at Sepang, Verstappen qualified only P5 and Ricciardo was P6. Rounding out the Top 10, the Force India team was once again impressive, with Sergio Perez quick enough for P7 while Nico Hulkenberg nabbed P9. And Haas F1 got both their drivers into Q3 for the first time in this their inaugural season, with Romain Grosjean a solid P8 and Esteban Gutierrez over half a second behind but still starting from P10 on the grid tomorrow.

Despite high expectations and recent signs of improvement, McLaren was back to being  completely adrift only this time at their engine supplier Honda’s home track. Fernando Alonso could do not better than P15 and Jenson Button couldn’t make it out of Q1 and was way back in P17. It was a sobering reminder that the team still has a long way to go to get back to the Olympian heights of their storied past. Williams was also out to lunch and neither Valtteri Bottas (P11) or Felipe Massa (P12) could make it out of Q2.

Top 10 qualifiers for the Japanese Grand Prix:

1 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:31.858 1:30.714 1:30.647 13
2 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:32.218 1:31.129 1:30.660 13
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:31.674 1:31.406 1:30.949 12
4 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:31.659 1:31.227 1:31.028 12
5 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:32.487 1:31.489 1:31.178 14
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:32.538 1:31.719 1:31.240 14
7 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:32.682 1:32.237 1:31.961 12
8 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:32.458 1:32.176 1:31.961 17
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:32.448 1:32.200 1:32.142 12
10 21 Esteban Gutierrez  HAAS FERRARI 1:32.620 1:32.155 1:32.547 15

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix airs live in the wee hours here in the States — coverage starts at 1AM Eastern on NBC Sports Network. Hope to see you then for all the action from Suzuka!


Men’s Cologne — Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior is one of the grandaddies of men’s cologne, right up there with other classic masculines like Rochas’ Moustache, Chanel’s Pour Monsieur and Guerlain’s Habit Rouge. Created way back in 1966, Eau Sauvage has probably aged better than those others and smells as modern today as when it was created. Like any other perfectly classic architectural or fashion execution it’s timeless. It opens with a refreshing hit of citrus — a very limey bergamot and waves of sweet lemon to be exact — that some people characterize as “fruity.” It’s the ideal way to start the day after a shower and shave but even if you’re growing a beard it’ll still get you going on the right foot. Eau Sauvage is definitely one of the great eye-openers in cologne and an ideal everyday scent. It’s my second favorite daily wearer just behind the great Lauder for Men. But if I’m honest Eau Sauvage is just a little sweeter and user-friendly, a little more smoothly blended, as well, even if I personally prefer the slightly sharper, greener character of the Lauder by just a scosh.


Jumping off from that wonderful fresh citrus opening, classic fougere notes emerge in the heart phase as the scent develops: a wonderfully well balanced melange of rosemary, basil and a subtle but pervasive jasmine in the background (Hedione?). In the current formulation I don’t really get the patchouli or caraway listed in the notes but I don’t miss them at all. If I want real patchouli I’ll reach for Givenchy’s Gentleman and if I feel for spicy caraway there’s always Azzaro. Eau Sauvage is what I reach for when I want to smell impeccably clean and fresh. There are still undertones of good quality sandalwood, coriander, amber and masculine flowers like rose and carnation in the dry down, all held together by gentle orris root. (Orris root is the root of the iris flower and key component in perfumery — it is used as fixative but also brings that distinctive violet-like “powdery” or even waxy “lipstick” accord that is so common in well-made fragrances.) I don’t get a ton of oakmoss in the modern version though I presume it was more pronounced back in the pre-IFRA reformulation days. Again, I don’t really miss that either.


Smell Eau Sauvage once and you will remember it forever and you’ll also swear you’ve always known what it smells like. That’s how unique and plugged in to the olfactory synapses it is. Through its masterful blend of bright fresh citrus and warm herbal-floral notes it evokes an aura of unforced masculinity, pure class in a bottle and very European in the best, most restrained sort of way. It was created by the great Edmond Roudnitska, one of the legendary noses in the perfume business, and was one of the first fragrances to make use of the synthetic fragrance booster Hedione, which purportedly also has pheromone-like powers. Normally I don’t give glassware too much import but the beautifully faceted flaçon (bottle) with magnetic cap is also a minor work of art and will look great on any man’s shelf or medicine cabinet. It too was created by a perfume legend, the great designer Pierre Dinand, which only ads to the sense of holistic excellence surrounding this Eau de Toilette’s execution.

Eau Sauvage is one of the very best of the classic male scents and as good or better than anything made today 50+ years on. It’s certainly one that every man should own and use regularly. There are a lot of complaints that it lacks longevity but I get a good 6 hours out of it and certainly longer on clothing, although it is never going to be mistaken for a powerhouse. It sits close to the skin in a dignified and alluring way with always moderate sillage, inviting others in and never pushing them away with any sort of brashness or aggression. Not to be confused with its more recently released flanker, the gorgeous myrrh bomb that is Eau Sauvage Parfum, or the brand new Sauvage, Dior’s attempt to match the mass-market success of Chanel’s Bleu, I can’t think of an environment where the original Eau Sauvage wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s great for work, family functions and first dates when you just want to smell like a classy guy and not a horndog on the make, which you would if you wore something like Aramis. It’s especially good in warm weather and is so good and flawlessly appealing I’d say that if you’re getting married Eau Sauvage should be a serious contender for the big day. It won’t upstage you but always enhances your better qualities. Simply put, if you had to choose only one cologne, Eau Sauvage would be all you’d need. It might be a bit conservative for the true frag head but it never puts a foot wrong and it’s really all a man needs to smell good, confident and, well, manly. Eau Sauvage is essentially the perfect cologne and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even though I often enjoy stronger, ballsier scents, I’ll still never be without a bottle of this Dior masterpiece. And neither should you.


2016 F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia — Results & aftermath

Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia — Ricciardo wins & Verstappen places; Hamilton undone by late engine failure, Rosberg fights back for P3

After a string of poor results things finally seemed to be going all Lewis Hamilton’s way this race weekend at the Sepang Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. The Mercedes’ driver was the fastest in two out of three practice sessions and then set a blistering lap for pole in Saturday qualifying. Hamilton even made a clean getaway with no hint of the clutch-bite problems that have plagued his starts recently. Better yet, his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was tagged by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel early in the opening lap, spinning the German points leader and dropping him down through the field. After that Hamilton sped away and controlled the race from the front with only the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen & Daniel Ricciardo giving even token pursuit. He appeared on his way to a sure victory.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

But on Lap 41 Hamilton’s luck ran out. Out of nowhere his nearly new Mercedes engine gave up the ghost, coughing out flame and fluid and bringing his usually impervious Silver Arrow to an abrupt stop. As the Englishman held his head in disbelief, his mechanical misfortune gifted the race lead to the twin Red Bulls, with Ricciardo having assumed the dominant position after a side-by-side dice with his precocious junior teammate, Verstappen. Meanwhile, Rosberg’s chassis had survived not only the opening lap belt by Vettel but also a rash challenge into the side of the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, earning Rosberg a 10-second time penalty for avoidable contact. Nonetheless, through dint of good fortune and persistence, Rosberg not only fought his way through the field lap after lap at this most sweltering of tracks but pushed clear enough of Raikkonen at the death to negate his penalty. In the end, it was Ricciardo’s victory, the affable Aussie’s first in two years, with Verstappen falling in line after the earlier challenges for an obedient P2. Rosberg came home a remarkable and oh-so-valuable P3 after what could only be described as a Hamilton-esque drive back from adversity. Meanwhile, the man himself could only rue his ill fortune and vent his spleen at such a flukey mechanical failure. Hamilton scored zero points with his DNF after looking like a sure winner and saw his deficit to Rosberg balloon to 23 points. With only 5 contests left in 2016, Hamilton’s task is daunting but not impossible. He can only be hoping that the reliability gods switch sides and bite Rosberg next time.


All credit to Red Bull despite the somewhat gift-like nature of the win. Since about the first quarter of the season the team have made tremendous improvements to the car and bringing Verstappen over from the junior Toro Rosso team now looks like a stroke of genius. Verstappen’s unbridled ferocity and ambition have pushed Ricciardo to up his game and after coming up just short in Singapore two weeks ago, the talented Australian is showing once again why he is so highly regarded in the paddock. The 1-2 in Malaysia was Red Bull’s first in three years, the amazing Vettel-Mark Webber salad days, and the massive points haul put them 46 points up on Ferrari for second in the all-important Constructors’ standings. With a lot of hard work and clever in-season development, as well as wringing ever more power out of the much-maligned Renault engine, it is Red Bull that have put themselves firmly in position to capitalize on days when things go wrong for Mercedes.


And that has been at the expense of Ferrari. It was another disastrous day for the Scuderia and another early lap exit for their putative team leader Vettel, as the damage on the front suspension after his first lap clout into Rosberg was instantly terminal. That left it once again in the hands of Raikkonen to fly the colors for Ferrari and the veteran Finn did the best he could to come home P4. Ever since he re-signed with the team, Raikkonen has driven steadily and with poise, salvaging good points and keeping the car out of trouble while his much vaunted teammate has frankly had an erratic campaign. Perhaps the pressure from Maranello has gotten into Vettel’s head somewhat because he has not always been the icy cold killer that he was when he was winning four consecutive titles. On the contrary, the German has often been impetuous and sometimes unlucky, getting caught up in shunts on track that are sometimes his fault and sometimes not. It all points to overdriving a car that has not developed as Ferrari had hoped and has waned as Red Bull has waxed ascendent. While Raikkonen seems to drive within himself, fighting when necessary but bringing the car home safely and in the points, Vettel seems to be trying to manufacture performance from the SF16-H that simply isn’t there. At this late date in the season Ferrari just look like the third best team in F1 and sometimes one has to accept the results. Obviously the team will keep fighting until the end but there’s a fine line between valiant and desperate and Vettel appears to be on the wrong side of that line all too often this year.

Williams got a decent and much-needed result when Valtteri Bottas drove very well to take P5. But after being shutout in Singapore all was still not terrific for the team. Felipe Massa had a disastrous day when his car wouldn’t fire on the reconnaissance lap and then suffered further misfortune after starting from the pits with an early puncture. Needless to say Massa did not finish in the points so Williams’ disappointing season continues. On the flip side, Force India continued to impress with Sergio Perez coming home P6 and Nico Hulkenberg P8, a strong points haul that kept the little team just ahead of mighty Williams for fourth in the Constructors’. Adding further cause for optimism, Force India announced that it had re-signed Sergio Perez for next year, adding welcome stability to the team by holding on to the talented Mexican driver alongside the very good German ace Hulkenberg for much-needed consistency in their driver line-up.

McLaren also had an encouraging day with Fernando Alonso good enough for P7 and Jenson Button finishing P9 in his 300th Fomrula 1 start. That puts Button third all-time amongst divers and sets the Honda-powered team up nicely for next weekend in Japan at the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit. You know McLaren will be wanting a strong showing there at their engine suppliers’ home court, as will Button at what looks to be his final Japanese GP. And after an up and down weekend Jolyon Palmer had a wonderful end to it all with a surprise P10 for beleaguered team Renault. Utilizing a bold one-stop strategy, Palmer drove beautifully, managing his tires until the end and taking the last points-paying position. After suffering a fuel fire on the sister car in Friday practice the team did yeoman’s work to get that Kevin Magnusson chassis ready for quali. And while Magnusson did not finish on Sunday, Palmer’s point seems a just reward for the entirety of the Renault team’s hard efforts this weekend, so kudos to them.

Top 10 finishers in Malaysia:

1 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 56 1:37:12.776 25
2 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 56 +2.443s 18
3 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 56 +25.516s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 56 +28.785s 12
5 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 56 +61.582s 10
6 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 56 +63.794s 8
7 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 56 +65.205s 6
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 56 +74.062s 4
9 22 Jenson Button MCLAREN HONDA 56 +81.816s 2
10 30 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 56 +95.466s 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

The next race is but a week away from the storied Suzuka course in Japan. Can Hamilton get back on track and cut Rosberg’s lead back down to a manageable size? Will Red Bull continue to thrive on Mercedes’ misfortune? Hope to see you then to find out!


2016 F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia — Qualifying results

Hamilton lays down blistering lap in Malaysia for pole, Rosberg salvages P2 at last moment; Verstappen P3 for Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton responded to the loss of his championship points lead two weeks ago in Singapore with a blindingly fast lap for pole at the newly re-surfaced Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Hamilton was the only driver to break into the the 1:32s with a stunning 1:32.850, over half a second ahead of his teammate and closest pursuer, Nico Rosberg. That puts Hamilton in prime position to get back on the front foot in tomorrow’s race and try to overhaul Rosberg one again for the Driver’s Championship lead after a string of excellent post-summer break results from his German archival . To his credit, however, Rosberg was able to vault himself up to P2 from deep in the pack with a solid run after the checkered flag had fallen in Q3, ensuring the first-ever Mercedes’ team front row lockout in Malaysia. Victory could come down to the start of the race for both drivers and lately Hamilton has had crucial difficulties getting away cleanly when the lights go out, costing him valuable finishing spots and championship points.

The two Red Bulls proved once again that they are Mercedes’ nearest competitors this year, continuing to show marked improvement from the beginning of the season and rewarding the big team’s decision to promote wunderkind Max Verstappen from Toro Rosso, their B-squad. Verstappen showed outstanding pace yet again, with the now 19-year-old taking P3 and his more senior teammate Daniel Ricciardo slotting into P4. So once again Ferrari find their aspirations impeded by Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel only good enough for P5 and Kimi Raikkonen P6. The fabled Sucderia has got to be praying for rain to shake up the field come Sunday but in truth that could help Red Bull’s supremely balanced RB12 chassis more than Ferrari’s faltering SF-16H.

Force India continued their strong showings of late and saw Sergio Perez grab P7 and Nico Hulkenberg fast enough for P8. Jenson Button was impressive for a man who is not going to race in F1 next year, putting up a P9 time in his McLaren. And Felipe Massa came home P10 in his Williams. His teammate Valtteri Bottas was only good enough for P11, however, and the team desperately need a strong result tomorrow after scoring zero points at the last race in Singapore.

Top 10 qualifiers in Malaysia:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:34.444 1:33.046 1:32.850 11
2 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:34.460 1:33.609 1:33.264 12
3 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:35.443 1:33.775 1:33.420 15
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:35.079 1:33.888 1:33.467 12
5 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:34.557 1:33.972 1:33.584 17
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:34.556 1:33.903 1:33.632 16
7 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:35.068 1:34.538 1:34.319 17
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:34.827 1:34.441 1:34.489 15
9 22 Jenson Button MCLAREN HONDA 1:35.267 1:34.431 1:34.518 17
10 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:35.267 1:34.422 1:34.671 13

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race airs live at the ungodly hour of 3AM Eastern here in the States on NBC Sports Network. Either brew a lot of coffee or set your DVR and hope to see you then!


tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — September selection

Well here’s something you don’t find every day: a 55-year-old watch with its original boxes and papers! But that’s the case with this classic gold-capped vintage 1961 Omega Constellation that I’m offering this month. Not only is it in truly Excellent and unmolested vintage condition with no signs of polish, an all-original non-luminous crosshair dial and its original plated Beads of Rice bracelet but it’s also accompanied by its original double box-set and matching guarantee papers. And that turns an already cool vintage watch into collector grade just like that.


Under the hood is the fantastic Omega automatic caliber 561, arguably part of the best family of mass-produced movements in the history of horology. It features 24-jewels, a semi-quickset date function and has 5 positional adjustments and one for temperature. This fine tuning enabled the 561 to pass its time-keeping tests with flying colors and that’s why it was such a successful movement for Omega’s flagship line, the always Chronometer-rated Constellation.


Take affordability, elegance and mechanical precision along with classic early-60s Gerald Genta-designed vintage style and add then hard to find pieces of original provenance and you’ve got a special package for the discerning collector. That this Connie has survived for so long in such great original condition and still is paired with its factory packaging and paperwork is nothing short of magical. At least that’s the way I look at these sort of wonderful vintage watch finds. And if you’re reading this I bet you do, too.


Check out the complete ad with many more pictures and full description over at the excellent OmegaForums.net’s Private Watch Sales section. ON HOLD


2016 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Results & aftermath

Rosberg edges out Ricciardo for victory in Singapore, reclaims Championship lead; Hamilton only good for enough P3

Nico Rosberg continued his run of fine form and drove a flawless race from pole to claim victory at the beautifully lit Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore on Sunday evening, holding off the surging Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo by just half a second as the checkered flag flew. While the Mercedes driver dominated for most of the day the pace of Riccardo in the closing stages of the race forced Rosberg to forego a final pit stop and nurse his older tires to the end, which accounted for much of Ricciardo’s late-race gains. Regardless, Rosberg has now won three races in a row after the summer break, regaining his previously stalled momentum and recapturing the Championship points lead. With his victory, Rosberg vaulted past his teammate and archrival Lewis Hamilton and now leads the chase for the title by 8 points with only 6 Grand Prix remaining.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Rosberg’s win capped a frustrating weekend for Hamilton. Not only did he see his points lead evaporate but he could never really overcome his disappointing qualifying effort after technical issues in Friday practice. In the end Hamilton couldn’t make any real headway against Ricciardo but held off the competitive Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and finished where he started, P3, flummoxed by his inability to wring any more speed from his usually nonpareil WO7 chassis, as well as persistent brake overheating issues. After winning 6 of 7 contests before the break, Hamilton has now lost that superb momentum through a combination of technical issues, misfortune and his own mistakes, particularly his poor start at Monza two weeks ago. Now that fortune seems to have returned its favor to his teammate in this back-and-forth season, it is now up to Hamilton to somehow try to wrestle back the lead from Rosberg. With Hamilton seeking his fourth title and Rosberg still hunting his first both drivers will be amply motivated for the closing contests. Whoever takes the crown will certainly have earned it and so evenly matched are the Silver Arrows teammates in their supreme cars that it may come down to a simple stroke of luck for one or the other.


For Ricciardo and Red Bull it was very good race that saw their always aero-efficient chassis excel on the tight and twisty Marina Bay street circuit. Riccardo drove beautifully and even made Mercedes nervous with his closing pace. His eventual P2 helped the team stay 15 points clear of Ferrari in the all-important Constructor’s standings. His teammate Max Verstappen was not as successful, once again struggling to get away from the line, where he started from P4, and getting somewhat caught up in a big shunt by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg as the race got underway. The wunderkind had to battle back all race long with the likes of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and eventually finished a decent but somewhat underwhelming P6. The Dutch phenom has now struggled to some degree in the last three races as the reality of just how difficult attaining consistent success in F1 sinks in. But to his credit he kept it out of the wall and raced cleanly despite his frustrations so that bodes well for his maturity going forward.


The two Ferrari’s split the Red Bulls with Raikkonen driving well to take P4 just a little over 2 seconds behind Hamilton, although he might have been even closer to a podium if the Scuderia hadn’t opted for a late tire change, and Sebastian Vettel making a brilliant run from all the way in the back of the field to capture P5. It was an astonishing drive for Vettel on a track where passing is notoriously difficult, as he used smart tire strategy, patience and opportunistic overtaking to overcome mechanical problems that doomed his qualifying and show once again how good the 4-time world champ can be when he has the bit between his teeth. Fernando Alonso also drove extremely well bringing his McLaren home an impressive P7, while Sergio Perez carried the flag for Force India after his teammate Hulkenberg’s first lap crash out to take a valuable P8. Daniil Kvyat rediscovered some of his 2015 form at his favorite venue and drove an excellent race, coming home with much needed points for Toro Rosso in P9, the team’s first score in 4 races. It was a pivotal confidence boost for the much-maligned Russian whose F1 future appears very much up in the air. Kevin Magnusson got the last points-paying position with P10 despite starting from P15 in his Renault. With decisions about next years drivers’ line up also hanging over the Dane that was also a key result and an exemplary drive in the usually pokey Renault.

Top 10 finishers in Singapore:

1 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 61 1:55:48.950 25
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 61 +0.488s 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 61 +8.038s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 61 +10.219s 12
5 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 61 +27.694s 10
6 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 61 +71.197s 8
7 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 61 +89.198s 6
8 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 61 +111.062s 4
9 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO FERRARI 61 +111.557s 2
10 20 Kevin Magnussen RENAULT 61 +119.952s 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

The next race is in two weeks time from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. With the championship tight as a tick and the season down to only 6 more races every lap is ever more crucial. Hope to see you then!