Gameday 3: ManU (0) vs. Liverpool (1)

Wonderful start to the season continues. Fantastic game by Liverpool even tough we just about held on with a lucky early goal.

Cautious optimism, yes but three 1-0 wins with each game having 60mins of defending and not crumbling shows something. In this game especially, we did not lose the formation in the second half where we had meagre possession but the fact that there was just one shot on goal proves how well the back 4 are working and this without Kolo Toure.

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Game Day 1: Stoke (0) v. Liverpool (1)

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Another season, great expectations and a promise to return the club to the heights that they truly belong at. All optimism aside, its not going to be a easy season and we are not going to win the league and all we should look forward to is to play some good possession football, make no mistakes and look for some luck to push up to the top 4.

If the stoke game is anything to go by – the passing was excellent in spurts in the first half. We put up 15-20 pass clutches 2 or 3 times and one of them led to a goal. But if we are truly going to be in the running for top 4, we need that all important second goal in the first half and not give away the ball cheaply. And Agger style mistakes are what we really need to avoid.

We will loose on the road to the likes on Man U, Man City & Chelsea and we will drop points on those winter nights at Villa or Sunderland but if we can close out Anfield games with 2 goal margins and then keep the ball and not make mistakes in our half; the points are only ours to loose. Big clubs do this well and they do this consistently and a 2 goal lead will shield us against the mistakes that are bound to be made. We are a Big Club!

Good start; scrappy at times but good start.

League of two

Game day 1 in la liga and the score lines read a 6-0 win for Madrid and a 5-0 win for Barca. And there are 37 game days left. Begs to be asked, what’s the point of the spanish league anymore?

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Yes there is hope that one of these teams will slip up once or twice and there is a chance for one of the better teams like Valencia to make an impact but when you see Villareal who has qualified for Champions League concede 5 goals, why would you even bother to watch? 6 goals for Messi already this year so is it all about better 53 that he made last year? Or for Ronaldo to break 40 goals again?

The la liga money allocation is a joke at best. Yes, the top two teams bring in the most audience but there surely an audience for other teams too? Last year Athletic Madrid had Aguero and Forlan, now one is in City and the other is about to leave for Italy. To keep afloat, if the teams have to sell there star players, why would you even bother? And the strike was about players compensation when surely the club owners need to be one to strike to maintain some semblance of competition alive in the league. There is an urgent need to hand these clubs proceeds from TV revenues otherwise there is a real chance that the league may shrink as the years progress.

This is really bad for the game when the only competitive match this year will not take place till december when Madrid and Barca meet and till then the only reason you tune in is to watch Barcelona display its passing brilliance or Madrid to show their striking powers. Thank god for EPL on television!

Senna, The Movie.

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I never knew Senna except for the fact that Michael Schumacher kept getting compared to him a lot. Bogus. There is no comparison.

During my early introduction to Formula 1, I kept hearing about this legend who was a wizard on wet tracks and a genuinely good guy who jumped off his car mid-way during a race and helped a fellow injured driver.  Problem with Star Sports in the late 90’s was Formula 1 was mostly live and hardly had any footage of era’s gone by. And with Ferrari winning and all (including my bias), whenever I would hear of Senna being the greatest, I always thought it was these McLaren-ites mouthing-off as most of them could not have seen anything more than a montage here and there.

The movie I thought did a good job to refrain from attaching too many adjectives to Senna like the best, the greatest, the fastest which was refreshing, a change from many of the tribute films that are out there. The limited presentation of his life in and outside the sport can only be attributed to the fact that there was a lack of material as the whole fim is either from home videos or tv footage. For that kind of editing and writing, Asif Kapadia & Manish Pandey – hat’s off. I can only imagine how many months these guys must have sat before hours and hours of raw footage!

I left the film feeling bad that I did not get a chance to see this guy live in action. Probably those were really amazing days when there was much less perfection and cars did blow up all the time and there was a chance for other teams/drivers to catch up. Or I could be wrong and this era maybe really one of the best. Look at 2010. 5 Wins for Alonso and Vettel and 4 points is all that separates the two.

That Senna was loved and a genuinely good guy is beyond question. That he helped a lot of poor, needy people in his home country is without question. But isn’t that a matter of chance/fate? Is MS less deserving just because he cannot help a lot of poor people in Germany? Is it for Alonso in spain?

Nevertheless, decent watch. More racing action would have been good. Awesome to see Ron Dennis and Frank Williams speaking so highly of Senna.

Beautiful Games, Dirty Games, Worrying Games

So both of the football teams I support had 2 games so far and the feelings are mixed all around. Madrid played an amazing first game with an intensity that Barca could only break by 2 lucky breaks and flashes of genius. Second game Barca realized who they are and played amazing football only  to go down disgracefully off-field.

What were you thinking Jose? Pep is right when he says the images speak for themselves. Get off your high horse and find a way to beat them otherwise just be graceful in your lose and praise your opponents. Barca is no small team and you are making Madrid even smaller by making great players behave like arrogant kids. And all this before the season is yet to start!

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Now Liverpool is a whole other story. The first 30mins of the Sunderland game got my hopes up! Maybe we can get the 19th this year but there was still something missing in the mid-field. May be Gerrad, maybe Carol and Suarez need time to speak the same language but Daglish has work to do.

And today in the Arsenal game, the kinks came to the forefront. Against a team like Arsenal which probably is going to have the worse season in a decade, we could not keep possession in the mid-field. The right wing was being closed off again and again and we just seem to get the ball holed up there. A crappy win but a win! Hopefully it will get better.

Now time to sing “You will never walk alone”.

Engine Blow-up’s

Watching the Hungarian GP, was just thinking that there are no more of those amazing engine blow-up’s anymore due to amazing engine technology these days and then goes Nick Heidfeld’s car up in flames reminiscent of those old days… enjoying F1 again, wet weather, fire, MSC leading briefly!

On Le Tour and the Lord’s Test

“When he gets a four off a thick edge, you assume he meant to steer the ball between second and fourth slip” – Stephen Fay @ Independent on Sachin Tendulkar.

I don’t watch a lot of cricket these days so in the world of self anointed patriots & pundits, I have no credentials to speak of Dravid’s ton yesterday or about what I hope to be a thrilling day of India’s batting. But can I say it was soothing to watch test cricket after a long time and that it is at lords with India on the ropes is even better. We will fight back and the prospect of watching Dravid, Laxman & Sachin partner for a day to take the match away from England is enough to wake me up at 3AM and relax in front of a live feed.

Plus its great to listen to Harsha Bogle doing what he does best. His prediction on twitter was spot on with he giving India 130overs to bat and the declaration coming right around that time. Plus he taking on Saurav behind the mike while watch Dravid and Laxman bat is as close we will get to hearing gentleman’s cameradrie.

Cadel Evens wins the tour this year. Congratulations for a deserving win and also to the Schelck brothers to take 2nd & 3rd. No mean achievement this, the fight up Alp’du Hez was really grueling. Sad to see Contador finish 5th but I think winning the Giro just took away that little bit out of him. He will be back next year but I am sure Andy Schleck will be right up there to challenge him.

5 for Barca Win!

Barca are the champs and what a way to do it. Fantastic final!

My 5 reasons for supporting them in the final –

5. Destroying Man U

4. Eric Abidal

3. Soccer’s Holy Trinity – Iniesta, Messi & Xavi

2. Humility & Grace – Win or Loose

1. For a season of beautiful football without any ego (ok, giving a pass for the Madrid Semi)

 

Now for 2011-2012. Go Liverpool! Go Madrid!

Tour de France ~ 2009!

Alrite baby! Lance is BAYK on the BIKE! Tour de France starts in < 6hrs and me, am ready to cheer. To all the naysayers – THERE IS NO WINNER OR LOSER IN A BIKE RACE. There are the mortals, and then are the cyclists! For the next 20days, a few hun100,000 fans will line up the alps of france to cheer the 200 odd men who battle their demons to pedel beyond what man was ever supposed to. I can’t be there, this yr but I will cheer – cheer cos THE SPORT IS STILL ALIVE, and cos, IT IS A SPORT WORTH GETTING PAINED FOR!

To LANCE and the rest of the PELETON Viva la TOUR!

Ronnie, the world champion

Watched Snooker after ages today after some discussion on club. So much has changed… Hendry looks more and more tired, Williams has put on too much weight, but Ronnie O Sullivan seems to have taken off to be the best player around.

Back to back world championships, top gear – not bad! And the highest number of 147’s beating Stephen.

147 break in the Championships…

On Top Gear…

Missing this sport to… on telly and actually.

And the WC show begins!

WC begins and here i am, yet to see how the new Indian team looks like. The pics are all of bowlers with menacing looks and the batsmen full of concentration but haven’t seen a ball being bowled or a boundary being hit in ages. No TV, no cricket.

 

Cricinfo 3d link is awesome but no the real deal. Need to find a streaming link soon, anything close to $10 is fine by me to get the rights but can’t afford more than that.

West Indies Vs Pakistan on now. Smith’s done it for WI huh! Read a few days back abt India cruising to a victory over WI and that WI looked pathetic. Is it that or is the Indian team really that good. Any of you really informed cricket pundits who follow the game and know about the present team care to enlighten me about our chances?

For now, GO WI. My Jamaican friend is all excited about the whole of India talking about Jamaica and how cool their dances are… she chatters a lot about it and now her dream of showing off is coming true…

India Aus and India Pak will be in April if what i heard is right… looking forward to them…

Adios, Schumi!

What started out as a way to kill time on Sunday afternoons about 8yrs back grew to being a passion that was fuelled by hrs of strenuous analysis, fanatical cheering and jealous wonderment of craftsmanship of a man who in spite of all the bad-press that the so called purists try to attribute to downplay the greatness of a man who truly is a hero in the truest sense of the word – Michael Schumacher.

About six yrs back in spa when all the drivers chickened out to change to oil slicks to get grip in a downpour, there was one man who stood out and challenged the elements to outrun all the others lap after lap on hard compounds to win an inconsequential race and when asked why the risk the man replied – its all about racing wit oneself in one’s own terms, the opposition is but an excuse. Such was the arrogance of a man who knew he was good and had no regard to the idiocracy of the rules framed by incompetent men who had big bucks.

My dad and I supported rival teams but after every masterstroke of MS, when my dad would smile at the sheer genius of this man, I knew my worship of this man was no futile. I have not been able to watch F1 after coming to the US so when I called my dad todey, the first thing he spoke to me was abt MS retiring.

It’s sad in way that F1 has changed forever it’s funny that the image’s of the climax of the movie – Truman Show come into my mind where after the show goes off air, the audience ask “ All right, what else is on television”. Without schumi, F1’s just another race.

Kimi is to replace MS but I still hope that someday Jenson Button races in the great man’s place. For me he is the only one who come’s close to Schumi in both attitude and arrogance. I won’t be able to watch F1 for a while here so am not bothered but for all great hours of racing that I have watched, its Schumi who made all the difference.

For one last time – Go Schumi!

Le Tour after Stage 16: Alpe d’Huez

Traditionally the first day in the Alps is considered the day when the race leaders go for the kill to assert their supremacy. It is generally the day when the riders who are in the contention for the top honors in the General Classification take the climbs seriously and put on a show of their life. After all the Alps are the toughest mountains in the sport and when it is Alpe d’Huez, no one can afford any letups.

On the final climb of the day, the tough Alpe d’Huez with an average gradient of 10d and the avg. speed not exceeding 8m/hr, the serious contenders of the race finally came to the fore to show why they are the best in the field. With the peleton breaking up at the start of the mountain and all the riders in the initial break falling away the leaders – Landis, Sastra, Leipheimer, Menchov, Evens and Kloden put up a show worthy of the best of the tours.

Even though the day was won by a relatively young rider named Frank Schleck, who by the way is a rider of the future, the leaders came home close on his heels to set up the race for the final showdown in its last week. 6mins is all that which separates Landis, who is leading the race, to Leipheimer who is currently in the 9th place. All the above leaders are in there and with 2 more days left in the Alps, it’s anyone’s tour now.

Landis looks like the firm favorite as he is yet to crack in any of the stages. He was rather unfortunate in the individual time trial last week when he had to change his bike but expect for that he has looked totally in control. His only weakness could be his team who cannot support him in chasing down break-aways but if the peleton decides to give him a hand, he could take the tour easily.

With none of my favorite riders in the tour this year I am backing Leipheimer to take the yellow jersey at the Champs-Elysees. Even tough he is quite down in the overall I think he has what it takes to spring a surprise in one of the remaining mountain stages. He has the Vinokourov style of riding which appeals to me and his composure is a sight to watch. Had he been lucky in the first week he would have been in the top 3 now but that’s what makes this tour so amazing.

Once again the tour showed why the sport takes men of out of world character to compete in it. Jens Voigt, who has already won a stage in this tour, sacrificed himself on the Alpe d’Huez to the extent that even after an accident which injured his shoulder, he got back on the bike to set up Schleck for the victory. Such is the courage and strength of character of the men in the tour that when Voigt finally finished the day the whole tour stopped to applaud him. It’s a great race, this Le Tour and its sad that so few people follow it in India.

Every race is a story worth repeating a zillion times for the sheer strength and courage of all the 190 riders in the tour where each and every rider is a true hero. Anyone who can ride 3500 miles in 21days, in hot sun and bone-chilling cold showers, without breaking any rules, sitting up for riders who have fallen off even when there is a chance to win and having the camaraderie of waiting up when the opponent is lagging behind in order to beat each other in a fair sprint is something that needs to be applauded in the highest of decibels. It’s unfortunate that the skeptics of this sport are so many. I just hope that they realize what it takes to do what these riders do in 21days.

Tour de France 2006

The first real mountain stage of this year’s tour is complete and the leader board has finally corrected marking the favorites in the top slots. It took 11 stages and 5 different yellow jersey holders to finally have this year’s top-guns in the top slots but when the big stage finally happened, after 5 horrendous climbs in 6hrs, the men who will take the race home have stamped their authority.

This year’s tour is quite different from the ones we had for many-many years as the last minute pull outs of the biggest names meant the whole pack and the individual teams were confused as to who will tame the peaks and who will break the timing bars. For 11 days the teams struggled without leaders who they can ride for and quite a few times the break-aways never succeeded because of the chaos at the tete de la course.

The crown tournament of the toughest sport in the world began this year amid horrendous controversies. 24hrs prior to the start at Strasbourg, some of the biggest names in the sport and serious contender’s to this year’s tour bowed out due to alleged Operacion Puerto where 23 riders were black listed on the account of doping.

This year with no Lance Armstrong, the loyalist’s of cycling finally had a chance to see if the likes of Ivan Basso, Alexander Vinokourov, and Tyler Hamilton along with the favorite Jan Ullrich would fight out for the coveted title, the champion of the canal le tour. The turn of the perennial second had come, for Jan had a chance to prove once and for all that his triumph in 1997 was no fluke and that he was justified for his 5 second place finishes, and claim that he is the best after Armstrong.

The Black Friday operation that opened the flood gates of allegations against team managers and rider’s alike after the Giro d’Italia, the signature street race of Italy, where in the final time trail Ullrich decimated all competition by winning 28secs ahead of Ivan Basso who is considered the best sprinter in the world of cycling. Also the above mentioned front runners notched up some unbelievable time that sent controversy hunters into frenzied activity and they were rewarded well after unearthing some compromising conversations between team doctors’s and dope suppliers.

All this meant that the top cyclists were forced to withdraw from the signature event in the world of cycling while the teams were left with no choice but to let the riders of the teams fight out among themselves to elect a leader whom everyone would rally around.

The race with the likes of Landis, Menchov, Evans, Sastra, Hincapie, Moncutie, Leipheimer and Kloden never really lacked the drama but by not having Lance and Ullrich, the peleton was scattered like a bunch of amateurs for a long time. The flat stages hardly saw any break-aways succeeding with the sprinters like Boonen and McEwen always finishing off in style. But as always the real test lay in the mountains and today the leaders finally got there act together.

Five Category 1 climbs meant that the peleton would dissolve by the last climb and that’s exactly what happened. In the end, the big 3 and the favorites, Landis, Leipheimer and Menchov came home to give some semblance to the race. The tour is all about working collectively together and kicking in the last possible minute and for these 3, today was that chance. There teams, Phonak, Gerolesteiner and Rabobank have finally found there men and the next 12 days will be all about bringing these 3 men out in front on every climb. Team T-Mobile will join them soon am sure but if there is one team that’s finally cracking after years its team Discovery, the former team of Lance Armstrong.

Unlike many years where Armstrong and Ullrich rode days after days in amazing tandem and sticking together when all the other 188 riders have fallen by to decide the better one in the final gradients of the Pyrenees and the Alps, the likes of Landis, Sastra, Evens and Kloden have to work very hard to get the camaraderie among themselves going and trust each other to be together to the final lengths in the mountains. It’s like that Lance and Jan dominated the race and sport providing some of the greatest displays of human strengths, character and quality that the tour is famous for.

I have followed this sport for a while now and every time when I watch the races this year I could hardly stop myself from thinking how the race would have been in Ullrich and Basso were around. Such was the strength of these guys along with Lance that they made this sport such a pleasure to watch.

The rivalry of Lance and Ullrich may no longer be there but by the end of this race I am sure there will be there worthy successors in place who will make this tour simply the greatest tournament of human spirit in the world.

Kirimakki

Ok, before I start, I want to say that I was never a big fan of WWF or WWE. Yes, as a kid I had my days of playing those superstar’s cards where we would pit the statistics of a wrestler against the other to win the entire pack from our opponents, but that was it. I haven’t watched a match for ages now and I have no clue what’s happening in there.


But this guy, “The Great Khali” as WWE christened him, made me think as to whether India is the biggest market for wrestling audience so much so that Indian Wrestlers are making an impact on two federations.


Can you believe this man! He stands 7 feet 2 inches tall and weighs a whooping 191 kilos.



Dalip Singh Rana, his original name, hails from Punjab and is a former constable.

He moved to the US in 1999 where he became big in the local wrestling scene from where he moved to Japan to compete in the wrestling tournaments.

This guy also acted in a movie where he played the role of a maniac with limitless energy.



He’s been in WWE only for a couple of months now but has apparently taken smackdown, an event in WWE by storm.

He’s said to have defeated The Undertaker, someone I remember from my childhood for his rituals – and am honestly surprised he still around, twice already and is tipped to be the next champion.



I guess after Sonjay Dutt, whose mannerisms I have seen in the ads of TNA wrestling, The Great Khali is the second Indian in professional Entertainment Wrestling.


Just look at this guy man, what a build. Cha…



Hoping that he learns English real soon and kicks some ass real bad.

World Cup Diary – 1

1) France will not win this time too.

2) Brazil is not invincible.

3) Stars, irrespective of their status in club football will have to build up a reputation in the world stage.

4) EPL employs the worst type of football; the “beautiful” game is still European and Latin American.

5) Patrick Vieira, Lillian Thuram, Emerson and Ronaldo should think again about donning their nation’s colors.

6) Henry will not walk away with any golden stuff, neither will Ronaldo.

7) There is every chance of a minnow reaching up to the semi-final stage and it would be wonderful if it is an impoverished African nation.

8) In 10yrs one will be able to count the number of non-blacks in the international game with a pair of hands.

9) The language spoken on the field when the referee is an Egyptian, the teams are soviet and Latin American countries are either Spanish or French; but never English.

10) Argentina Vs Côte d’Ivoire is still the game of the tournament; Brazil’s game comes in a close second.

11) Cafu at 36 can today beat Marc Overmars when he was 20.

12) And finally we have Harsha Bhogle, Ranvir and Vinay doing what they do best.

vivo en futball

Federer misses, Again!

I was reading this article in Haftamag last week about Sampras being the greatest player ever to have played the game. The article also talks about how this guy’s ability to mask all emotions on court, dedicate himself to winning and his religious fervor towards the game made him an icon for all the aspiring people who want to achieve such greatness in their lives. It was a nice article but I was just telling myself that only if the author would have waited till the end of the French Open Finals before publishing it because this one time I felt Federer would dethrone Sampras as the player with the near complete game. I was wrong as Federer will have to wait for a while before that can be said of him.

Federer Vs Nadal, French Open Men’s Final. 2006. This would have been the match of the year. This would have been the game in which Federer would have been crowned the undisputed champion of the open era. After the first set, he was almost there. But one magnanimous gesture on his part and Nadal came back. And once the return began, there was absolutely no looking back.

Tennis on clay is a tricky business. It’s not a Pre-Eminent Championship like Wimbledon (or so they claim, BRITISH!!!), neither it’s an all guns blazing tournament like the US Open, but French at some level constitutes the real challenge because how much ever skill or finesse one possess, it come down to stamina, hard-work and perseverance. That’s why some of the most wonderful exponents of the game, so they are called – like Sampras, fail at Roland Garros.

Clay court play, unlike grass or hard-court requires patience. Here the rallies are long, almost entirely on the baseline and never ever quick. When the average rally on Clay is 9 strokes, one can imagine how much preparation and strength is needed to win here regularly. That’s the reason why, except for Bjorn Borg, no other player has managed to win more that twice here on a trot. In Contrast, the Wimbledon, U.S. and Australian have been won time and again by loads of payers consecutively for years.

In yesterday’s game, after the first set demolition of Nadal, Federer looked like he finally broke the code of Nadal and found a way to win. 12 unforced errors from Nadal was unheard of especially on his favorite surface, such was Federer’s domination. But the moment the second set began, Nadal had the edge because of the heat, which Federer is not used too, and the pace of the court which was decreasing by the game. And the moment the court started to break into dust, Nadal’s resurgence began.

All through the remaining sets, Federer was forced into corners by long rallies, some of them crossing 20 strokes frequently, rallies which only one player could win. The only time when Federer looked like taking control was when he finished the point in 2 or 3 strokes. But such chances were far and few and by the fourth set, unforced errors read 40-18 Federer. No one can recover after hitting such a low in such a match.

Like Sampras, Federer has only the French Open left to win to stamp his authority on the game. Sampras’s remark once about exchanging a couple of grand slams with French Open may be true for Federer too. All through the final set when he was loosing, there could have been only one thing that Federer must have been saying to Nadal. “Dude, come onto Grass and I will show you”. A face off between the two on grass is out of question as Nadal will not survive for so long in the tournament as these two players are ranked 1 & 2 in the world. It will be the French again next year and another chance at the Open for Federer.

On a different note, what a day at sports it was yesterday. Tennis, F1, Football. And all at the same time. At one point, I was toggling between three channels, all with nail-biting stuff. Total paisa vassol. And yes, there was cricket too…

The R E D S!!! R U L E!!!


It’s a beautiful game this! It really is… and if you have had any doubts abt it, then you should watch the game that was tonight.

FA Cup is generally given a step brotherly treatment due its history or the lack of it and also its dubious ways of throwing up teams for the final that certainly are a no contest from the beginning. And today’s game was no different when it was generally regarded that Liverpool just had to step onto the pitch and take the title home.

It certainly wasn’t the case and far from it, till the man called Gerrard stepped in to fire one last bullet right at the whistle form miles away from the goal, West Ham and Teddy Sherringham had it in the bag. 3-2 it read in the 91st minute.

The leveling by the Liverpool captain made it his date with destiny and it looked like he was bent upon presenting his new born son with the hard fought silver.

The two sessions of the extra-time seemed like eternity where the players of both the teams barely managed to walk let alone run after the ball. After all, their bodies can take only so much and the heart stopping goals made it only worse.

It’s a cruel way to decide games of such caliber with penalty shoot-outs and a replay is what you cry for but then there would be a few causalities if the fans were to be put through another evening of such high intensity football.

 

As expected Gerrard delivered and the REDS picked up their 44th Championship and cementing their place as one of the greatest teams in football.

On paper, this no contest was at booked at 5-1 Liverpool, but honestly West Ham played like true Champions. Take a bow WHU!!!

Gerrard and his boys will again be coronated as the Champions of England for the 7th time and someday he will be the captain of England. What does seem to many as another night in FA Cup actually will go down as a contest that could in the future change the perspective of English Football to the entire world. For once, I truly enjoyed a beautiful game played beautifully, even though I am not a great fan of EPL and would any day prefer La Liga, Serie A over it.

 

And, I shall gloat all day tomorrow with my LiverPool T-Shirt and paint the town RED!

Extra: Schumi on 2nd row for the Spanish GP. Make my weekend RED Michael! Go….

Battle Royal

The Master’s back!!!

It all started at the end of the last race in Australia when a disappointed Michael shot back at a journo saying that Ferrari will be back and that too very soon. And the prophesy came true in the very next race.

Throughout the entire race week, the whole motoring world was abuzz with only one topic – the resurgence of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. Alonso in all the interviews was playing the game of lowering the expectations least he were to be caught with a red face if Schumi were to take him on go past him at the Acque Minerali, the same corner in which Alonso got past Schumi in the last year’s race.

The whole week the entire media were trying to compare the test times of the Bridgestone’s to the Michelins to see if the former’s hard compounds were better suited to the hot conditions and if the restricted V10’s could match the improved V8’s. But all the press got was stoic silence from the Ferrari garage and usual smirk from Michael when ever he was in the public.

The qualifying was but a prelude to what was coming on Sunday and all that the fans hoped was a clean getaway at the first corner where the maximum accidents occur. But Schumi it seemed was in a different mood all together and it was one of those races were he was not bothered about mistakes or accidents.

The race began with Michael pulling away from the word go and from then on it was just time that he would put in the required 62 laps and go home. The safety car did curtail him but in the end it proved to be for his own good as he could stay on for an extra lap before fueling that got him the much needed positional advantage. But the drive that the master put on is what has been missing from F-1 for quite a while. The drive was neat, well timed and above all was very controlled. Clearly, the Ferrari 248F1 lacked the pace of the Renaults but Schumi got the overall package right.

But what the race will be remembered for and what it will stand out for was the duel between schumi and alonso in the last 20 laps. The whole time Alonso was pushing hard to get past Michael, the whole time was Michael soaking it all up and driving better and better. 168 race starts is something for any driver and all that experience can never go waste. Michael drove a slower car with such perfection that in the end Alonso was forced in a corner braking too late and veering of into the chicane. Such was the composure of Michael and the zeal to win that he held of Alonso for 20laps and went on to win.

The battle was a pure delight to any motoring enthusiast.

In the recent times, given to the domination of Ferrari and now Renault and the race being more than just driving but the actual setup, engines and budget the quality of F-1 in display has been debated on its loss of charm and intensity. But I really believe that a race of this kind where there is a challenger and a conqueror, a race which is decided on the track and not in the paddock and a race that enthuses a lot of energy into the audience is what will make F-1 the sport that it truly is.

And it would be wrong not to mention Jenson Button here as the most unlucky driver in F-1 today and there is nothing one can do but feel sorry for this amazingly talented driver. In the racing world for me if there is a driver who comes close to Michael, it’s Jenson. I still remember the first race in Australia in 2000 when as 20yr old he stunned the whole world when he finished 5th on his debut race and finished 7th overall in that season beating his Williams team mate Ralf by a good dozen points. Here is a guy who has the skill, the attitude and the tenacity to hold his own on the track but has been beaten back from success partly due to politics, stupidity and misfortune.

When Ferrari were scouting for a replacement for Ruben’s they should have grabbed Jenson with both hands but the politics of money and power saw that the contract of Jenson being renewed by Honda and instead Massa being signed on. Today, if given a reliable car and a pit crew that do their job, Jenson has the talent to take on any driver and win in any conditions.

It’s sad to sometimes see really talented drivers like Jenson being given a raw deal when totally pathetic drivers like Raikkonen, inspite of an awesome car, an amazing crew and a near perfect strategy just wasting away opportunities because of gross negligence and super heated ego’s. I meet so many Mclaren fan’s who act haughty and feel they are blue blooded and when they loose – which is almost every time – because of stupidity, they arrogantly console themselves saying that the gods and the entire mere mortal populace conspired against them. Common guys, you just need to drive to win. Insolent attitude and Slick packaging will not get you anywhere.

Last heard that Kimi is moving to Ferrari next year and I believe that will be the time when he will truly live up to the expectations of the “royal intelligentsia fans” that he has. But it will not be for his talent only, but will be for what Ferrari are and what they bring to the sport – a humble nature where the fans are given what they demand and the paying audience are treated to some quality action.

Looking forward to…

Now that the formula 1 season has begun and the championship is finally wide open this year with Jenson also matching up to expectations, there is finally some respite from boredom.

Having successfully completed the entire Oscar nominated movies, most I must add have been a let down except for GN, GL., I was fearing boredom that would eventually grip me.

T.V has effectively become a medium of non-entertainment with nothing but Amitabh re-run’s and Amitabh’s ads all around.

Now that cricket’s telecasting right’s will never be given to ESPN-STAR, the only channel which has commentator’s who can speak with some conviction about the game, looking forward to the day’s highlight’s or re-run’s is also not an option. I would rather follow it online through blogs or cric-info. Atleast I will have some humor to keep me going.

Also coming up are the finals of Champs League that are turning out to be interesting. Real’s out (SAD!), but more importantly, there is no MAN U and a host of other English Clubs, so that will make the game beautiful rather than fast and furious. Also my Pondy trip yeilded loads of 3-in-1 dvd’s for as cheap as 40 bucks, so that should be enough for a month or so.

All in all, looking forward to some entertainment… atleast till the Set Top Box rule is not here in HYD.

On a totally different note, following the war for news blog has really enthused me to follow all the three english news channel’s frequently, or atleast I try. Heard that in the coming weeks, all the 3 channels are going all out for some pretty amazing exclusive coverage’s about some really interesting facets about India. That should also be interesting…