Hamilton lays down the hammer in Hockenheim, Rosberg relegated to 4th by mistakes; Ricciardo & Verstappen P2 & P3 for ascendent Red Bull
Nico Rosberg desperately needed everything to go right for him at his home Grand Prix in Germany to stanch the hemorrhaging of his once-dominant tally of championship points. Instead the Mercedes driver frittered away a hard-fought pole position with a dreadful start off the line as the lights went out, muffing his clutch bite point and bogging down. He was then overtaken not only by his hard-charging teammate and archrival Lewis Hamilton but also by the two surging Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Once again on the back foot, the would-be contender compounded his difficulties by obviously pushing Vertsappen off track on Lap 29 while attempting to claw back a position and the stewards handed down a 5-second stop-and-hold penalty. With an extra-conservative Mercedes team seeming to hold Rosberg even longer than the penalty demanded, the German’s race was effectively destroyed and he was unable to drag himself any higher than fourth for the rest of the 67-lap race. Despite threatening skies towards the end, no rain fell to shake things up and give Rosberg a chance at redemption. The German will no doubt be mulling over this poor performance — the latest in a recent sequence of disappointments since an aberrant win in Baku — for the entirety of the long upcoming August break.
For Hamilton, his results and momentum have been the complete opposite, as the English defending World Champ swanned away from the rest of the field in Germany after his excellent getaway and stayed ahead for the rest of the race. In truth the Red Bulls had nothing for Lewis and with his teammate self-destructing behind him, Hamilton was free to fly home for the victory, his fourth win in a row and remarkable sixth victory in the last seven contests. Ever since the two Mercedes took each other out in mid-May in Spain, another incident where the majority of commentators put the blame on Rosberg, Hamilton has seemed to grow in determination while Rosberg has seemed to crumble under the pressure. When push came to shove earlier this month in Austria and the two Silver Arrows came together again in the dying laps it was Rosberg who came off second best in an attempted blocking move trying to hold on to to a win but instead losing a sure podium while Hamilton sailed away unscathed to the victory. And while early in the season Hamilton suffered mightily with his starts now it is Rosberg who seems to have the yips when the lights go out. Continue reading →
Rosberg grabs pole with last gasp run in Q3, pipping Hamilton; Ricciardo P3 for Red Bull in Hockenheim
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg took pole for Saturday qualifying at his home Grand Prix in Germany, hooking up the best lap of the day after he had been unable to bank a timed lap in Q3 due to electrical issues. That put it all down to the last 3 minutes of the session and with the pressure on Rosberg came through, pipping his teammate and archival Lewis Hamilton by 0.1 seconds. Rosberg desperately needs a good result after a string of dominating performances by Hamilton saw the Englishman wrest the championship points lead from him so he can take some momentum and confidence into the upcoming August break.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was right behind Hamilton and his wunderkind teammate Max Verstappen took P4, showing once again that the Red Bull chassis-engine combo is the most improved in the paddock, outstripping Ferrari for the claim of second best to mighty Mercedes. As if to prove that point, the Ferrrais of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel lined up behind the Red Bulls in P5 and P6 respectively. Force India continued to show renewed strength, with Nico Hulkenberg grabbing P7 and Sergio Perez taking P9 on the grid. Perez split the two Williams, a team that has definitely taken a step back this year, with Valtteri Bottas only fast enough for P8 and Felipe Massa back in P10.
Tomorrows race airs live from Hockenheim beginning at 8AM Eastern on NBC Sports Network here in the States. Can Rosberg put a stop to Hamilton’s blistering momentum before the summer break? Hope to see you the to find out!
On offer as we wind down July is an always in-style classic vintage Rolex Datejust in steel. Only this one has a special twist — a very uncommon textured blue dial. Dating from the early 1970s, this is a reference 1603, which means a Datejust with steel “Castellated” patterned engine-turned bezel, and it come from an era when Rolex simply didn’t produce that many DJs in blue. Relatively common in 35mm Date models but not a lot of Rolex’s full size 36mm flagship model had them for whatever reason.
Like a lot of blue dials from back in the day, this beautiful pie-pan shows signs of oxidation and reaction to the Tritium luminous plots. But that only adds to the overall vintage charm of this handsome and versatile watch. Built Rolex tough, I don’t really think the stainless steel case has ever been polished. Well worn, yes, but polish is not really evident, as it features thick lugs, undistorted lug holes and sharp edges.
It comes on its original Rolex USA-made Jubilee style bracelet and better yet, the great caliber 1575 workhorse movement has just been fully overhauled for years more faithful service. If you’re seeking the classic look of a vintage Rolex Datejust but one with a dial color that elevates it to something a little more special, you may well have found your watch.
Hamilton overhauls Rosberg with victory in Hungary; Ricciardo 3rd for Red Bull
In something of an anticlimactic procedural of a race, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton jumped his pole -sitting teammate Nico Rosberg right at the start and then drove flawlessly to take victory at the Hungaroring. Hamilton’s third victory in a row and his remarkable fifth in the last six contests saw the current World Champion leap past Rosberg into the points lead for the first time this season. Rosberg, who had never been out of the top position in 2016 and trails Hamilton by 6 points, did come home P2. But now he will now have to face the psychological pressure of once again finding himself behind his nemesis and archival just as he has the prior two campaigns when he was runner up. After getting off to such a blistering start by winning his first 4 GP, Rosberg’s season has foundered amidst controversies and internecine warfare between the two Silver Arrows in which Rosberg always seems to somehow get the blame and the short end of the stick. He will be desperate to get a decent result in Germany next week to regain some sort of momentum to take into the long. lonely August break.
Further back in the field, the two Red Bulls diced all race long with the two Ferraris, with Daniel Ricciardo able to hold off Sebastian Vettel for the last podium spot and wunderkind Max Verstappen playing rough with an increasingly irate Kimi Raikkonen to best the veteran Finn, P5 to P6. Fernando Alonso did excellent work for McLaren with a solid P6, finally showing signs of the legendary F1 powerhouse getting back towards the top with a solid P7. But his teammate Jenson Button was plagued by mechanical gremlins and had a nightmare race, running 60 laps at the back of the field before retiring, so reliability on the Honda-powered McLaren MP4-31 chassis remains a serious issue. Carlos Sainz was string again for Toro Rosso, coming home P8, while Valtteri Bottas had to settle for P9 in his rather uncompetitive Williams, a team which has definitely taken a step or two backwards this year after a couple of improving seasons. Nico Hulkenberg grabbed the last points paying position for Force India with P10 and his teammate Sergio Perez might also have been in the mix had the team not inexplicably been caught unprepared on a pit stop for tires.
The next race is in but a week, the German Grand Prix from Hockenheim. It’ll be the last race for nearly a month as the F1 circus gets ready for its enforced summer break. Hope to see you then to find out whether Rosberg can recapture some of his mojo or if Hamilton will keep laying down the law!
Rosberg nabs pole as Hamilton catches ill-timed yellow, Ricciardo starts P3 for Red Bull in wet & wild qualifying
On a wet and wild qualifying contest Saturday in Hungary featuring multiple Red Flags and crash outs in the first session and rapidly drying conditions in Q3, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg pipped his teammate for the pole when Lewis Hamilton came upon a yellow flag in Sector 2 when McLaren’s Fernando Alonso spun, forcing the Englishman to lift. By the time Rosberg came to the scene Alonso had got back underway and the yellow flag was gone, enabling the German championship points leader to go flat out for the entire lap and beat Hamilton to the pole by half a second. It was a much-needed boost for Rosberg whose luck turned after his sterling start to the season and who saw his once-might points lead dwindle to a measly 1 after Hamilton’s victory two weeks ago at Silverstone, England. But come Sunday, the two Mercedes combatants will find themselves in the familiar position of duking it out from the front row and, should they make it through Turn 1, likely all race long. With this contentious dynamic duo’s history of contact throughout the 2016 season, is it so far-fetched that we might see another race-altering donnybrook in the second-to-last last race before the long August break?
The Red Bulls once again showed that they have succeeded Ferrari’s early season position as Mercedes’ main competition, with Daniel Ricciardo besting his teenage teammate Max Verstappen, P3 to P4. As if to prove how much their own luck has done a 180, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was also slowed by Alonso’s spin and was only able to muster P5 in his Ferrari. Meanwhile his teammate Kimi Raikkonen got caught out by the rapidly drying track in Q2 and could do no better than a disheartening P14 for the Scuderia. On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was an impressive P6 and both McLarens made the Top 10 for once, with Alonso’s earlier pre-spin Q3 time still good enough for P7, bettering his fellow veteran teammate Jenson Button by one grid spot. Rounding out the upper echelon, Nico Hulkenberg was fast enough for P9 in his Force India and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas took the last top 10 starting spot.
The first quali session was delayed by deluge of rain, interrupted by 4 Red Flags and disrupted by day-ending accidents by Williams’ Felipe Massa, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Manor’s Rio Haryanto. Hopefully the weather on race day will be better, although the sketchy conditions made for an exceptionally exciting and scrambling qualifying session.
We’ve all seen every James Bond movie multiple times and have our own firm opinion on who is the best Bond — Connery? Moore? Craig? Brosnan?? But how many have read the original Ian Fleming novels? Well, if you’re a true Bond aficionado you really should check them out. And if you’re looking for enjoyable, action-packed summer reading it’ll be a win-win. While the films jump off to an entirely more fantastical level and become their own distinctly grandiose vision of 007, the stripped-down genesis of the Bond phenomenon is in the books. There isn’t close to the gadgetry in Fleming’s original conception, although there are some impressively explosive high-concept climaxes, and the bon mots are a little more subtle. Bond himself tends to be more grim, fallible and vulnerable and less of an glibly unstoppable killing machine than in the films. He comes across as a diligent, well-trained espionage professional with above average self-defense skills and an expert with firearms, a top agent with a sharp, opportunistic mind and a cold reserve covering up signs of doubt and melancholia. It’s a definite key to Daniel Craig’s success that his Bond hews more closely to Fleiming’s original dour conception.
The first novel in Fleming’s massively successful opus is the notorious Casino Royale. I say notorious primarily because the film rights were tangled up for so long that it was the only Bond novel not to make it to the big screen… in recognizable form — the very poor 1967 Woody Allen-David Niven parody shares only the name. It took more than half a century for it to be properly adapted for the cinema via 2006’s explosive blockbuster, Craig’s excellent debut and a film many Bond fans consider one of the best in the franchise. Coming as it did after the ever more elaborate and bloated Brosnan films (although one could see some darker foreshadowing in his last, Die Another Day, where Bond is subjected to harsh torture at the hands of the North Koreans), it was no accident that finally having secured the rights to Fleming’s elusive first work, Broccoli & Co.’s franchise reboot would also try to stay true to the elements that made the start of the Bond story so special. But Casino Royale was also notorious when it was published in 1953 for its violence and sexual content, as well as the very frank and graphic way Fleming approached both issues, with many critics lining up to deride it as pornographic garbage. More than 60 years on it’s Fleming who has the last laugh because his debut novel still holds up very well.
In Casino Royale the novel we meet Bond for the first time, a WWII naval veteran (presumably an ex-commando) and now an agent in England’s Secret Service with a Double-0 classification, which, as we all know, is a license to kill on behalf of the British government. Continue reading →
Hamilton triumphs for 3rd straight win at Silverstone; Rosberg loses P2 to Red Bull’s Verstappen on radio penalty
In a remarkable race in front of his countrymen and with typically rainy English summer weather as a key subplot, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton triumphed over the elements and his rivals, taking a remarkable third consecutive victory at the historic Silverstone circuit in Great Britain. Not only did Hamilton beat his points-leading teammate, Nico Rosberg, but he continued to ratchet up the pressure on the German contender by taking victory in four out of the last five contests. Hamilton even got a bonus — and Rosberg another psychological blow — when the stewards penalized Rosberg and his race engineers for disclosing too much “driver coaching” information over the radio late in the Grand Prix when he had a problem with 7th gear. The 10-second time penalty subsequently imposed meant that P2 went to Red Bull’s wunderkind, Max Verstappen, rather than to Rosberg’s true positional second-place finish, doubly galling for the Mercedes driver, as he had spent so much of the second half of the race trying to get by Verstappen. After his win at the British GP, Hamilton now sits only one slim point behind Rosberg in the Drivers’ Championship and also seems to have the lucky breaks back on his side again. With only two contests remaining before the long August break, Rosberg has got to try to recapture the momentum that propelled him to four straight wins to start the year, lest his fragile psyche crumbles in the face of Hamilton’s typically ruthless onslaught.
For Verstappen and Red Bull, Rosberg’s technical misfortune was their boon. The 18-year-old Dutchman and his RB-12 chassis excelled in the wet conditions that prevailed in the early part of the contest. With a little more oomph from the “Tag Heuer” (really a beefed-up Renault) engine, it’s possible that the Red Bulls could be a legitimate threat for victories against the mighty Silver Arrows. And Verstappen is certainly living up to the hype despite his tender years. With more wet weather performances like the drive he put in at Silverstone, Verstappen could well inherit the “Rain Meister” title that has been in mothballs since Michael Schumacher’s retirement. Daniel Ricciardo was again not as fast as his precocious teammate and something about his demeanor seems to have darkened considerably since his massive disappointment at Monaco this year when poor pit work by the team literally threw certain victory away. The normally ebullient Aussie did manage a solid 4th-place finish but his 18-second deficit to Vertappen extinguished his normally electric smile.
Ferrari had another tough race weekend and must be wondering if their early season improvements have been caught up by the other teams. Continue reading →
Gucci Nobile is a prime example of a discontinued cologne becoming a cult object, right up there with the original M7 by YSL (one of Tom Ford’s most influential early efforts) and the beautiful Krizia Moods Uomo. There are others, of course, like Guerlain’s original formulation of Derby and the highly sought after Jean Patou Pour Homme that go for even bigger bucks on eBay and the secondary market. But in terms of relatively recent offerings that have gone extinct there are few if any that inspire the hushed reverential tones of awe that Gucci Nobile’s ultra-green juice does.
So then the question becomes, is everybody so taken with Nobile simply because it is no longer readily available or is it actually worth the $200+ bucks sellers are asking for a full sized 3.4oz EDT bottle? First off, Gucci Nobile is one of three men’s fragrances that were abruptly discontinued when Frida Gianni became creative director of the house in 2006, along with 2003’s ultra-woody Gucci Pour Homme and the equally beloved Envy for Men from 1998, both of which also command high prices on the secondary market. And one can see why a new creative chief might ditch these three classics in one fell swoop, especially a female one: all three are different facets of old school men’s fragrances, miles away from sweet, loud things like One Million and Versace’s Eros. In the case of 1988’s Nobile, it is quite simply an archetypal Aromatic Fougere with a scent as green as the juice in the bottle.
It opens with a refreshing blast of herbal high notes, including rosemary, lavander, bergamot and a distinctive, unusual hit of tarragon. Interestingly, most reviewers do not mention much in the way of animalic qualities in these top notes but combined I get a strong civet-like slap (i.e. a bit like urine), one which took me a while to come to grips with. It’s not quite the nose-singeing effect of a Kouros but I definitely get a touch of that sharp, tangy sting. And so while almost all reviewers will call Nobile smooth and discreet, I have to put it a little more into the Drakkar Noir powerhouse category. Yes, it’s more subtle and brighter than that dark legend but still there is something… pleasantly unsettling and animalic there, especially when first applied.
This cologne is also so smoothly blended that while you’re getting those sharp top notes the middle of masculine flowers, a little piney fir and the basenotes of crisp vetiver, musky oakmoss and a rather rough-edged sandlewood are likely to bubble to the surface and join the party almost from the get go. Continue reading →
Mercedes lockout front row at Silverstone as Hamilton tops Rosberg for pole; Wunderkind Max Verstappen qualifies P3 for Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton continued applying the pressure to his points-leading Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, with a blistering lap to take pole late in the third Qualifying session on Saturday at legendary Silverstone. Performing in front of his English countrymen in the stands, Hamilton scrambled for the top time after seeing his previous fast lap deleted for exceeding track limits. That issue seems to bedevil both stewards and drivers with certain efforts being penalized for the track limits violation while others went unscathed for seemingly the same infraction. In any event, Hamilton pulled one out of the bag late in Q3 and pipped his teammate for the top starting spot in tomorrow’s race. Coming a week after the two Silver Arrows came together on the last lap of the Austrian GP and Rosberg saw victory slip away to his archival, Hamilton will be looking to pull ahead of his German teammate in the points and earn his third straight victory at Silverstone.
Red Bull’s wunderkind Max Verstappen out-qulaified his more senior teammate Daniel Ricciardo, P3 to P4. Newly re-signed Kimi Raikkonen bested his Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel, P5 to P6 and worse for Vettel, he faces yet another 5-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change. After a bright start, Vettel’s 2016 season has devolved into a long, tough slog with a series of crashes, technical DNFs and other issues hampering the 4-time world champ’s aspirations to take it to Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas ran well enough for the seventh-fastest time despite the Williams’ chronic lack of downforce. Carlos Sainz took P8 for for Toro Rosso, Nico Hulkenberg was P9 for Force India and Fernando Alonso qualified P10 for improving McLaren. All three of those drivers will move up one spot due to Vettel’s penalty, with Sergio Perez of Force India inheriting the last top 10 starting spot on the grid.
Marcus Ericsson of Sauber had a scary crash in practice that necessitated a trip to the hospital for further evaluation. Ericsson is questionable for tomorrow’s race start pending more medical tests. Continue reading →
Mercedes’ Hamilton & Rosberg come to blows again — Hamilton emerges victorious; Red Bull’s Verstappen, Ferrari’s Raikkonen pounce to take P2 & P3
Nico Rosberg thought he had a brilliant come-from-behind victory in the bag at the Red Bull Ring in Austria this Sunday. After being pushed back 5 spots on the grid from a qualifying effort that should have been good enough for P2 when his Mercedes team had to heroically rebuild his car and gearbox following a crash in practice, the German championship points leader made an excellent start, rushing by the two Red Bulls into fifth place. Rosberg continued to methodically work his way up, eschewing an early pit stop and making his tires last while others around him pitted. With Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel running P1 and also on a long tire stint, Rosberg was right behind his countryman to see the Ferrrai’s rear right tire disintegrate on the start-front straight on Lap 27, ending the 4-time World Champion’s race. That left Rosberg, whose Silver Arrow picked up a lot of Vettel’s shredded rubber, leading the race under the Safety Car and upon its withdrawal. Hamilton shadowed him from P2 and the two Mercedes’ aces traded fast laps for much of the middle part of the race.
When Rosberg had a superior pit stop to his teammate on Lap 56, it looked for all the world that he would keep his edge because Hamilton was now stuck behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. But working diligently, Hamilton finally managed to get by Verstappen and into P2 on Lap 63 of the 71 lap race. And the drag and damage on Rosberg’s car from Vettel’s tire debris seemed to tell over time with Hamilton steadily reeling him in as the laps wound down. On the final lap Hamilton made his move into Turn 2 with a wide outside passing attempt and abrupt reentry on to the racing line that clipped Rosberg’s front wing, causing it to collapse as Hamilton sailed towards victory. Not only that but Rosberg lost his chance at a podium, as first Vesratppen then Raikkonen flew by his wounded Silver Arrow. While Rosberg was later found at fault by the stewards for the crash and given a time penalty, he managed to hold on to his P4 and his Championship lead. And it appeared there was plenty of blame to go around with Hamilton’s aggressive overtaking move vs. Rosberg’s defending. Afterwards Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was fuming at both of his drivers for once again losing out on maximum points, threatening to impose the dreaded team orders. One thing is for certain, the Hamilton-Rosberg relationship is arguably the most toxic since Prost and Senna… or at least Vettel and Webber. And with only three tightly-packed races remaining before the summer break and a mere 11 points separating these Mercedes title contenders don’t look for any cooling of this white hot intrateam rivalry in the weeks to come.
Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com
As mentioned above, Red Bull’s Wunderkind Max Verstappen drove an excellent race to be in position to capitalize on Rosberg’s misfortune and take P2 on the team’s home track and in front of a delighted Red Bull impresario Deitrich Mateschitz himself. Continue reading →