Bleacher Championship No. 4 at Time to Play the Game (Part 2)

Clan Bleacher Report BATracerdotcomContributor IFebruary 17, 2009

Hello and welcome once again to the review of this thrilling F1 championship happening at, participated by Bleacher Creatures and their friends. From here on, I will go race by race....

Race 1: Albert Park, Melbourne


Right from the word go, the season started to turn the heads....with an unexpected Toyota on pole and that of Das sharing front row with Nick Auty in a Red Bull, people including the Toyota team mates are baffled by the pace provided by the car. With Williams and McLaren in close pursuit it was sure to be a blast of an opener.

The race started off with Nick Auty straightaway beating Das to 1st corner. But then the weather started to turn wet and every one was trying hard to hold on to their positions.

By halfway Shakeri and Burgess were out with Das still holding on to P1. Later stages saw emergency pit stop from Das, both Force Indias go out and Payne taking the lead. The final podium summary looked like this:

1. Arijit Payne

2. Colin Nevett

Toro Rosso

3. Prasenjit Das


4    Sammy Boyman    Williams    +10.529
5    Ryan Wood    Renault    +20.272
6    Steve Saquella    Williams    +21.935
7    Billy Sexton    Ferrari    +22.864
8    Sam Devereaux    Toro Rosso    +23.228
9    Michael Griffin    McLaren    +31.017
10    Adam Flinn    BMW Sauber    +35.149
11    Andrew Damico    Renault    +35.357
12    Ibo Montoya    Red Bull    +36.668
13    Phil Mitchell    Ferrari    +36.872
14    Daniel Chalmers    Force India    Lap 50
15    Paul Murtagh    Force India    Lap 45
16    Nick Auty    Red Bull    Lap 36
17    Sheiban Shakeri    McLaren    Lap 26
18    L J Burgess    BMW Sauber    Lap 26


Race 2: Sepang, Malaysia

After picking up right from where they left after No. 2, the unbelievable success of the Toyota was even more exhilarating for Das and Payne. But nobody was complacent because everyone believed that this joy can be very very short-lived.

The Ferrraris, McLarens and BMWs will be very tough opponents to tackle and considering low race finishing consistency of the Toyota, people were in general thought Melbourne to be a "one-of-the-case" incident.

Then came the Sepang qualifiers...and wham the Toyotas were again 1-2 after Q3!!!! Billy Sexton in a Ferrari and Adam Flinn in BMW were very close in pursuit but still it was unbelievable.

The fans were perplexed, the competitors baffled with such a result. Again everyone was pretty sure that with good setups it will be easy for Billy and Adam to dispatch the Toyotas.

In the meantime the Red Bull of Ibo Montoya was steadily improving (It got P1 in both Q1 and Q2!!!), and, the experienced Daniel Chalmers was closely watching from the Force India paddock....

Raceday. Adam Flinn and Billy Sexton clearly the favourites for this one. The lights go off and we are away.....

Consecutive mishap for LJ in BMW, another bad start and drop to the last. Flinn within 10 laps was breathing down the neck of Das after cleanly dispatching Payne.

Remarkably, Daniel with his Force India was setting fastest laps!!! but consistency and Force India are still very separate and he succumbed to mechanical soon.

With pitstops Das and Adam drop down the field and Payne takes lead, with Wood, Sexton and Montoya in close pursuit. By lap 35 Das(P3) was constantly harassing Flinn (P2) while Payne held the lead.

A stall in pits sees Das drop way down the list...moments later Sexton has a mechanical problem and pits! probably losing all chances of a podium finish. But even after setting fastest lap after fastest lap...Das has to contend with fourth...with Payne netting second consecutive win.

Now the Toyotas were leading both championships by handsome margin...which was nowhere meant to be!!!....the final podium was like this:

1.Arijit Payne


2.Adam Flinn

BMW Sauber

3.Sheiban Shakeri

4    Prasenjit Das    Toyota    +9.168
5    Ibo Montoya    Red Bull    +10.490
6    Steve Saquella    Williams    +15.932
7    Colin Nevett    Toro Rosso    +16.239
8    Billy Sexton    Ferrari    +20.390
9    Ryan Wood    Renault    +24.104
10    Andrew Damico    Renault    +41.738
11    Michael Griffin    McLaren    +41.976
12    Sammy Boyman    Williams    +52.371
13    Sam Devereaux    Toro Rosso    +93.228
14    L J Burgess    BMW Sauber    +93.657
15    Nick Auty    Red Bull    +147.788
16    Paul Murtagh    Force India    +184.770
17    Phil Mitchell    Ferrari    +299.280
18    Daniel Chalmers    Force India    Lap 10


Race 3: Bahrain


After an eventful Malaysian GP the show moved on to dry n' dusty Bahrain. By now there was enough indication given as to how tumultuous the season is going to be. All teams were scattered around the grid with no clear supremacist team emerging out.

Both championships were being led by Toyota, but the margin was very small. Williams surprisingly joined league with BMW and Red Bull/Torro Rosso in chasing the titles.

The biggies McLaren, Ferrari and Renault nowhere to be seen nearby!!!! There could have been no predictions for Bahrain if I was asked to write any.

Then came the qualifiers. It was also a stirred qualifiers as no domination was observed ...with Q1 being topped by Chalmers in a Force India!!! The Toyotas never found the consistent pace whereas BMW improved and Williams joined the party.

The results of Q3 saw only Toyota, McLaren, and BMW having double drivers in the top 10!!! The pole position went to Ibo Montoya in Red Bull and the top row was completed by Force India.....with Das in Toyota at P3.

Whatever calculations and speculations you do, every thing leads to the raceday....the final judgment. So there we were at a race which was to have two possible outcomes: 1. The stronger teams in top 10 i.e. McLaren and BMW would clearly tell the field of their power and streamline the score board, and, 2. Red Bull, Force India or Williams pull off a great race, utilizing their good Q3 positions and end their dry patch..but destiny had already calculated and written down a result totally different from fathoming.

At the start which was very messy Montoya (P1) and Shakeri (P6) made bad starts and dropped down the field. The start marked another gloomy outcome for Ferrari, who had probably lost their way out there.

But the fight at the top of the field was growing interestingly. With Chalmers in the Force India still holding on to P1, Das in close pursuit at P2 and Flinn giving a hard time to Payne, race was already eventful by Lap 5!!!

By 8th lap a collision between BMW of L J and McLaren of Griffin put them both out of contention at least for now. Lap 25 saw the 1st set of pit stops get over and a driver error making Payne drop down to eighth place,whereas rest of the field remained more or less the same order.

Shakeri and Sexton both go for pits and in that time Payne starts charging up the field. Lap 44. Race was pretty monotonous till now but a mechanical issue in Chalmer's Force India makes him do a emergency pit stop, handing the lead over to Das.

("I was extremely lucky there...though its unfortunate for Daniel...", said Das at the post race press conference.). Chalmers only dropped to third whereas nothing could move Adam Flinn from P2.

Adam's teammate L J Burgess commented "Another 1/4 lap Flinn...", whereas after getting the first win of the season, Das was cautious,"well Toyota is good till now.... let's see", he said. This is how the final podium summary looked like:

Prasenjit Das

Adam Flinn

BMW Sauber

Daniel Chalmers

Force India
4    Ryan Wood    Renault    +18.531
5    Ibo Montoya    Red Bull    +21.331
6    Arijit Payne    Toyota    +29.971
7    L J Burgess    BMW Sauber    +31.433
8    Paul Murtagh    Force India    +32.010
9    Steve Saquella    Williams    +34.875
10    Phil Mitchell    Ferrari    +40.729
11    Sheiban Shakeri    McLaren    +56.402
12    Billy Sexton    Ferrari    +59.301
13    Colin Nevett    Toro Rosso    +59.502
14    Michael Griffin    McLaren    +60.327
15    Sammy Boyman    Williams    +216.217
16    Sam Devereaux    Toro Rosso    +233.541
17    Andrew Damico    Renault    +354.240
18    Nick Auty    Red Bull    Lap 49


So here we are at the end point of the second of the multi-edition review. By this time Toyota was still leading both championships with Das edging past Payne for P1.

BMW and Torro Rosso were looking deadly in performance with McLaren not getting the sync right and Ferrari way behind.

The battle has started and for now the contenders are Das (Toyota) , Flinn (BMW) , Payne (Toyota) and Ibo Montoya (Red Bull).

So stay tuned folks and watch this column as I will be back with more action, more drama at batracer Bleacher Championship No. 4.....

[to be continued....]


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