I know I've been slacking on the F1 posts lately, but I didn't have much to say about the incredibly boring Monaco GP (and I'm a big fan of Monaco). Canada was exciting, I just didn't get around to blogging about it. The US Grand Prix was another nose-to-tail parade, with the most exciting moments being Alonso's near-passes of Hamilton. That's the highlight of an F1 race. Someone almost passes the guy in front of him. What a sad state of affairs. I'm not sure whether to blame the cars or the tracks or both for the total lack of overtaking at the front of the field, but whatever the cause, it detracts from the excitement of a Formula 1 race.
None of this should take anything away from Lewis Hamilton's accomplishments. Alonso may have looked faster on the track on Sunday, but Hamilton dominated qualifying (again) and rode the advantage all race. F1 definitely has the stars in Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, and Raikkonnen to replace Michael Schumacher. I'm sure that the Hamilton-Tiger Woods comparisons will be flowing freely, especially now that the American press has discovered him. That's almost certainly overstating Hamilton's impact, but it's tough to deny that this is the most impressive showing ever by an F1 rookie.
Now that we're halfway through Fox's 4 races coverage, I feel like I can give a fair assessment of their coverage. I'm very happy that Fox chose to keep the Speed announcing crew intact. Last season's races on CBS were almost unwatchable because of the announcers. In Canada, I thought the Speed crew tried to dumb down the coverage a bit too much. They assumed that none of their viewers had ever watched an F1 race before, so they attempted to explain a lot more of the basics than they normally do. It was a decent thought, but I think it would just have been more confusing for an F1 newbie. Varsha, Hobbs, and Matchett are at their best when they seem to be just talking to each other about the race.
The one thing that drives me crazy about the Fox coverage, though, is the timing. The race broadcast starts as the cars are completing the formation lap. This means there is a grand total of about 90 seconds of pre-race. I really enjoy Peter Windsor running through the starting grid and throwing a microphone in the faces of drivers and engineers. I know Fox probably wanted to cut out the pre-race due to ratings concerns, but they could have at least given me a half hour of pre-race on Speed and then switched over to Fox for the race itself.
There's one week off, and then the F1 teams will be in France for the final race of the first half of the season. I'll try to give a mid-season report after the race. Hopefully there will also be some overtaking to discuss.