Wade turns on the Heat!!

A finals that is comparable to the legendary movie itself. Miami Heat came from behind after being down 0-2 in the series to wrap it off in the sixth game and win the finals 4-2.

The Mavericks won the first two games with such ease that many feared that the finals would be over by Game 4 itself. Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki put up sterling performances that left the Heats frustrated and gasping for breath. The finals then moved from Dallas to Miami and the Heats got their acts together and won the next three at home to go up 3-2 in the finals. Game 3 was not easy but the Heats rallied from behind and erased a 13 point deficit with 6 minutes to go in the fourth quarter to take the game. Game 5 was another nail biter with Wade taking the game into overtime and then taking the game winning shot 1.9 seconds from the final buzzer.

The finals will be remembered for coming of age of Dwayne Wade. It is not easy to overshadow the 7 feet 1 O’Neal, but Wade did that with such ease that he was an easy choice for the NBA Finals MVP. In the crucial Game 3 he scored 42 points and took 13 rebounds. 15 of the 42 points came in the fourth quarter where the Heats erased a 13 point deficit to finally win the game. He again proved his value in Game 5 where he scored 43 points and also a record 21 from 25 free throws including the game winning shot. He averaged 34.7 (third best behind Allan Iverson and West) in the finals and also became one of the five youngest players ever to have scored more than 40 points (he did it twice!!) in the NBA finals.

Also remembered will be the flagrant use of the infamous Hack-a-Shaq by the Mavericks, which resulted in the suspension of Jerry Stackhouse from Game 5. Arnold has a great piece on it (here). Game 5 also left a bad taste in the mouth with Nowitzki kicking the ball in the stands and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being fined for “acts-of-misconduct”.

Veni, vidi, vici

It is the proverbial rise of the phoenix from the ashes. After a very forgettable 2005 and not so rosy first 3 in 2006 most F1 pundits had written off Schumacher as well past his prime. But a new engine and 2 successful racing weekends the champion is back and up to all challenges coming in his way. Imola was described as a flash in the pan by most but after Nurburgring, the tifosi is up in arms and the Ferrari F1 team looks like a strong contender for the season once more. The Renault, led by Alonso is still doing well but now must divide its attention between Kimi and Schumi.

Schumacher seemed in sublime form as put in a lot of consecutive fastest laps to over take Alonso after the second pit stop. He kept Alonso under pressure right through the race and never let the difference grow more than 2.5 secs. Thousands of Schumacher fans were probably praying hard for the second race engine of the Ferrari to last through the entire race and if that happened they knew there was no overtaking the master. Thankfully, it did and Schumacher took the chequered flag with ease. Alonso did well, however, to see off the challenge by Massa (who took his first podium) during the last few laps and keep his second place and gain a valuable 8 points. Life wasn’t easy for Massa too with Kimi breathing down the neck of the Brazilian till the end but Massa held his nerves and saw the both the Ferrari cars on the podium, a sight that most F1 fans had almost forgotten.

Another interesting fact in the race was that 9 out of the 22 on the grid did not finish the race. 7 of them retired from the race with engine problems, which to me raises a lot of questions about the two race engine policy of the F1. Also disheartening was watching both Alonso and Schumcher drive well below what they can because both of them carried a race old engine and did not want to push it too far. Combined with a four race gearbox policy this could seriously hamper the speeds of F1 cars with people not wanting to push the car out of fear of the engine giving away!!

Last but not the least, one of the best parts of the race was watching the young Nico Rosberg giving a lot of seniors a run for their money. To me he seems a great up coming talent and given a good car I have not doubt he will soon be a regular on the podium.

On another note, I read “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” over the weekend. It is a short and sweet book and extremely well written. Also came across this awesome quote that I have fallen in love with.

“I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

I loved the novel and recommend it highly.

Surely you’re joking, Mr. Ecclestone

The following post has been cross posted on the Pavilion Seat blog.

Formula 1 has seen such a deluge of rule changes over the past couple of years that it has left many fans (including yours truly) greatly miffed and confused. The qualifying session has been changed so often that I am sure the drivers must be confirming the rules before every race. Moreover, an F1 car with a 2.4lt V8 engine is a joke! This one gives 750 bhps compared to the 950 of the V10s. F1 is the only sport that is stepping back on technology. Also, teams are now trying hard to push the V8s to their limits for more power which I think increases the risk of an engine (that is supposed to last for 2 races now) failure.

When I sit down to watch F1, I want to see the fastest cars being driven around by good guys to the limit where speed is all that matters. All the rule changes are being made to make the game cheaper and safer. Cheaper! I don’t think that these companies care about a few million here and there. They say that it will attract more companies to race as costs go down and the competition becomes close. It’s like telling Superman that you have the cape but you are not allowed to fly because others can’t fly as fast. And safer. F1 has the most stringent laws concerning driver safety. What was the last accident you heard about in F1? I think it was Ralf Schumacher at the US Grand Prix in 2004. That was due to a split tyre, and he still missed some 6 races only. The crash was one of the worst ever in the F1 history, but the car kept him safe. These cars are safer than any other road cars.

Here are a few (ridiculous to say the least) rule changes F1 is about to see.

– Same car for the years 2008-2010. A tech freeze. There goes the entire development concept.
– Four race gearbox.
– Single tyre supplier (Bye-bye Michelin! We will miss you.).
– Testing limited to 30,000 kms per year.
– No tyre warmers. You want to save money by doing away with them? Seriously!
– No spare cars.
– Entry fee lowered from USD 48mn to 300,000 Euros.

I say give them the fastest cars and let them race. Also there is a talk about reducing the downforce (technically F1 cars can race upside down on ceilings!) on the cars for more overtaking. But then again that increases the risks. Wait! FIA has a solution. Keep the drag force the same. Which basically means you will have to slow down the car to make it stable. Sucks!

But the good news is that with the entry fee cut down and performance being no criterion, we might once again see our very own Karthikeyan back on the track.

What did you say? Indicators on F1 cars! Well, you never know.