You are never too old to throw a tantrum. They are a part of life. They mean you care deeply about something that is (probably) being taken from you. It is okay to care. You can yell. You can stomp around in random directions you don’t need to go in. You can be petty. You can even have it televised.
That’s right, kids. TELEVISED. Dream big.
Oh, what’s that? We have footage? That’s odd. We don’t normally do this…
ROLL IT! (You might have to refresh the page or view this post on my blog, as opposed to your Reader, to see the embedded tweets)
I think it’s time to provide context.
If you read my post on Friday – Canadian Grand Prix Weekend – you’d be aware that there was a Formula 1 race happening in Montreal this weekend.
In that post, I talked about how this season has been boring and nothing exciting has happened because Mercedes has won every race. I was begging the universe for some excitement. Some drama. Something that makes the race worth watching.
That was risky because sometimes if you say something out loud, it’ll never happen.
Fortunately, the universe delivered and I didn’t even have to pay a shipping fee.
It started on Saturday, where Sebastian Vettel put his Ferrari in pole position for the first time since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was in theatres. Okay, maybe not that long ago, but it had been awhile.
17 races. It had been 17 races. I know my numbers, but my mind’s default setting is obscure references.
Finally, something different happened this season! Yes! A nice change.
Change is good, as long as you like it.
Sunday arrives and Ferrari has two cars starting in the top three on the grid. The optimism heading into this race was like the groundhog running around the track – it could not be contained.
Lights out and away they go. A few minor things happen, then it gets boring for a bit. However, Vettel is still out in first and Lewis Hamilton is following closely behind in his Mercedes.
Fast forward to Lap 48 and Vettel misses a right turn and goes across a small patch of grass. He rejoins the track and places his car in a position that squeezes Hamilton against the wall, preventing him from passing.
What’s that? We have footage?
ROLL THE TAPE!
As you can see, WE HAVE A COMMOTION AFFECTING THE LOCOMOTION.
Vettel (red car) goes over the grass and comes back on the track, clearly without much grip, and puts his car in a logical position because where else is he supposed to go?
Hamilton (silver car) gets blocked. Why? BECAUSE THERE IS A WALL THERE.
I didn’t put the wall there. Vettel didn’t put the wall there. The wall put the wall there. It’s a wall. HA-URGH.
That was my wall impression. Walls say, “Ha-urgh”, according to me. I guess.
Side Note: In the “F1 Challenge ’99-’02” video game for N64, Eddie Irvine’s red Ferrari would always cause a crash on the first lap of the Canadian Grand Prix at the exact spot that Vettel went off. I swear, it was programmed into the game. I’d restart the race just to see if it would happen again, and 95% of the time, it happened all the time.
So, of course Mercedes is mad about this incident. About ten laps later, it’s announced that Vettel has received a 5-second penalty.
You gotta be kidding me.
We’re not at the Petty Vetty (Vettel) part yet, but I feel like I need to see it right now.
ROLL THE FILM!
If that 14-second clip were oxygen, I’d breathe it for the rest of my life.
Obviously, Vettel isn’t happy about the penalty. He gets angry on his radio and makes valid points like, “I had grass on my wheels.”
Yeah! He’s not driving a tractor out there. Imagine, though.
The 5-second penalty would be added after the race, so if Vettel finished more than 5 seconds ahead of Hamilton, he’d still win. However, that wasn’t looking likely.
Personally, I think it was a dumb decision to give a penalty. It was a racing incident. There have been more egregious moments in the history of this sport that went unpenalized.
If the FIA looks the other way and does nothing, no one is complaining about it.
This is Formula freakin’ One (say that out loud, feels good). This isn’t a parking lot where you wait for everyone to move before backing out of your spot. This is a race! Last one there is a rotten egg.
Mercedes does not need any help winning races. They do it in their sleep. Heck, they do it in my sleep. That’s technically factual. Time zones.
This was the one time in seven races that someone other than Mercedes was going to win. It was going to be great! Everyone in the crowd was already wearing red. The popular vote had spoken.
And then the electoral college took it away from us.
Hold on, I need to breathe in some Petty Vetty before continuing.
ROLL THE VHS!
The race ends and Vettel crosses the finish line first, but Hamilton is within 5 seconds of him, thus giving Hamilton the win.
They’re calling this the: Five Seconds of Summer Montreal Screwjob
No. No one is calling it that. That was just for my own…never mind.
They’re actually calling it: Skip To My Lew
Because Skip To My Lou refers to a dance where you steal the partners of others and Lewis Hamilton stole this race.
GET IT? IT MAKES SENSE TO ME.
DISTRACTION VIDEO, PLAY IT!
When the race ends, the top three cars normally go off and park somewhere that showcases them. Sometimes, it’s on the grid – in Canada, it’s at the end of the pit lane.
Vettel pulls into the pits and stops his car at the beginning of the pit lane, where all the non-podium finishers park.
Oh, what’s this? Does he not know where to go?
OH, HE KNOWS WHERE TO GO. HE’S JUST NOT GOING THERE. OH MY GOD, HE’S MAD. YES. BRING OUT THE PETTY. NOT TOM PETTY.
Sebastian Vettel and The Heartbreakers, coming to a Casino Rama about 90 minutes from you! (I can’t help myself)
He then left his car and walked briskly through the paddock and the chase was on! A cameraman followed him in and out of every room.
It was as if the OJ chase and the Colton fence jump from The Bachelor, had a kid and this was it. Sebastian Vettel was running away from his responsibilities, which included a post-race interview, and podium festivities, because he was mad.
It was such a Canadian way to get mad. Don’t say anything, but move with purpose, and send a message with your actions.
I think everyone watching was riled up. We wanted Vettel to win. Anyone but Mercedes, really. In that moment, we were all Vettel. We all understood why he was storming off and throwing a tantrum.
As he was on his romp, in and out of buildings, the commentators were talking about how he could be fined for skipping post-race commitments.
Somewhere along the way, someone probably told him to think of the sponsors (and maybe the fans) and go join the other two on the podium.
Before he did that, though, he walked down to where Hamilton and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari driver, finished 3rd) parked and switched the 2nd place board, with the 1st place board because he was the rightful winner and we all knew it!
ROLL THE PETTY VETTY!
And then he waves to the masses! What a hero.
This moment made my heart sing. I think two doves flew out of my ears, too.
In recent years, Formula 1 has felt too chummy. There hasn’t been any real rivalries among drivers. Everyone is hyperaware that everything they say, can and will be used against them behind closed doors.
Nowadays, you get more road rage in a Costco parking lot than on a Formula 1 track.
Every so often, sports need something to spark drama, hatred, brouhahas – anything to get the blood boiling a little bit.
I’m hopeful this controversy has lit a fire that will carry on the rest of the season. Let’s see more aggression, even if it’s passive aggressive aggression.
My dad commented during the race, “Remember when 10 cars wouldn’t finish a race, and now it’s only one or two?”
I REMEMBER. The first corner was always a mess.
Vettel said in a post-race interview that they’re becoming too much like politicians and it’s taking the fun out of it. I agree.
Speak your mind, sir. Race with your elbows out – it shouldn’t be hard, the cars are already wide.
Oh, what’s that? It’s been too long since a video clip?
ROLL TIDE! (I was running out of ways to introduce the same clip)
We interrupt coverage of Vettel moving signs to provide an update on the lone Canadian in the field – Lance Stroll. It’s a segment we call, “Just Strollin'”
Lance qualified 18th because that’s what he does. Sunday comes after Saturday. Stroll qualifies 18th. It’s just a thing.
Well, Canada’s favourite son and local hero, finished the race in 9th place! Wow! So great.
And that concludes this edition of, Just Strollin’. Next time, Lance will be navigating the streets of France. (This is the part where you make the Lance Armstrong and Tour de France connection and commend me for my play on words).
After the race, Ferrari filed an appeal of Vettel’s penalty. They have nothing to lose. If anything, the FIA has now seen the public outcry to the decision and may want to win some fans back by overturning the call.
I doubt they will, though. It would set a precedent they could never recover from.
Anyway, Vettel should’ve won the race. I know it, you know it, the A&W guy knows it.
This race is one that will stand out in my memories. When I watch sports, that’s all I want. Do something I’ll remember, so decades from now I can start stories with, “Hey, remember that time…..” and end them with endless options.
This is one of them.
I’ve written too much. The band is playing me off stage.
Thank you for reading!