Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

My fave Drive to Survive Season 2 moments

My fave Drive to Survive Season 2 moments
By Rick Olivares

No sooner than Formula 1 Drive to Survive Season 2 was on Netflix, I binge watched it.

I have been a fan of Formula 1 racing sine I was a kid. It started out when my father took me to this car event in Makati back in the 1970s. A large stretch of Ayala Avenue was closed down for this car show/race and stunts (I cannot remember the name of the event for the life of me, but I do remember being transfixed by this yellow car that its rear raised and was doing stunts. 

I’ve been to a couple of F1 events and that’s in nearby Singapore (am thinking of going to the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi this April but the Corona virus has me thinking several times over). I have followed the careers of Michael Schumacher, Mario Andretti, and Sebastian Vettel, and several years ago became a fan of Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo. 

Standing next to Ricciardo’s Formula 1 car on display prior during a European tour is such a fond memory. I saw both Vettel and Ricciardo race in that car!

As much as a fan I am, only twice in my life have I bought an F1 magazine. Seeing Drive to Survive on Netflix last year and the new Season 2 this year (detailing the 2019 season) has been a huge treat for F1 fans. Now, you get an insider’s look at what goes on behind each team and I have to admit that it’s even more riveting.

What I liked about Formula 1 Drive to Survive Season 2:

1.    Finally, Mercedes and Ferrari gave us an insider’s look. After not participating in Season 1, the top two constructors of the last several seasons have seen how this can really be a boon for their teams so they finally opened their paddocks, headquarters, and even homes up to Netflix.

Seriously. How can you not feature the best F1 driver of recent years and perhaps of all time in Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel?

It was nice to see what F1 great Niki Lauda meant to Mercedes, its principal owner Toto Wolff and Hamilton himself. 

2.    Redemption for Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman started out as the second driver for Red Bull Racing behind Max Verstappen who became the lead driver when Ricciardo bolted for Renault. Gasly was unable to perform and he was released in favor of young Thai-Briton, Alex Albon, who gave a very good account of himself. All this while losing his best friend, Frenchman Anthoine Hubert who was killed during a car crash during F2 racing at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Gasly returned to his former team, Toro Rosso, where he finished ninth in the driver’s rankings and second in the Brazilian Grand Prix.  

3.    More Guenther Steiner. The Italian motorsport engineer and manager for Hass racing was the unlikely star of Season 1 for his quick and acerbic wit and screen presence. And once more, underperforming driver Romain Grosjean is the target of his barbs; funny and all.
Best line? “We’re (Renault) not bankrupt. Well, not yet. It depends on how many cars you destroy this year.”

5.    Alex Albon’s call up. The man is so humble and likeable. Here’s a rising star who still lives with his mom and siblings.  

6.    Nico Hulkenberg’s trials. The driver with the longest tenure in F1 without a podium finish misses his one last chance for glory and is subsequently dropped for Esteban Ocon. Nico knows his shortcomings and handles it well in spite of being grilled by American kids prior to the American Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. By season’s end, he poses one last time with his Renault team that brings out Hulkenberg wigs for the photo op. It’s a nice touch. But bittersweet for the German.

7.    The podium celebration of Carlos Sainz. Gasly wasn’t the only one to get a podium finish in the final race of the year. Spaniard Sainz had a very good season and had several fourth place finishes. 

In Brazil, he finished fourth but was advanced to third when Lewis Hamilton was penalized for clumsily taking out Albon’s car. 

What makes this special was how the Netflix team captured Sainz’s nervousness waiting for the decision, the discussion of his manager with McLaren personnel about going to the podium that the latter deemed an act of desperation and celebrating with the whole team when the announcement was made that he is declared the third place finisher.

8.    Williams Racing at a crossroads. They were once on top of the F1 world, but have really but hard times. They have been terrible delivering substandard cars in spite of having good drivers. It was painful to see this team struggle as they missed two days of testing at Barcelona. And during the season, the car kept giving up on its drivers, the rising British driver George Russell and veteran Robert Kubica. This 2020 season is surely intriguing.

I’d say that this Netflix series is one of the best. Am looking forward to Season 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment