The end of an era

So Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement at the end of the season. During today’s Italian Grand Prix, the commentators seemed to spend more time speculating about this than they did actually describing the race….
I’ve never been to Monza, but some day…. When I think of Formula One, the first image that comes to mind is of a gaggle of cars, shimmering in the heat, streaming out of the Parabolica onto the start/finish straight. There have been more Grands Prix at Monza than at any other circuit, and even though I have a soft spot for Silverstone, Monza is the track.
Today’s race was more interesting than I expected. With Alonso banished to the 5th row of the grid, and with the Renault looking more and more underpowered compared with the competition, I expected the McLaren to falter and the Ferraris to run away with things. Instead, it was a close-fought competition throughout, even after Alonso’s spectacular departure. The star of the day was Robert Kubica, who followed his impressive debut in Hungary by taking third place today. Felipe Massa may have been the darling of the crowd two weeks ago, but today he seemed very tentative, and never looked likely to overtake Kubica or Heidfeld.
And after Michael had won, there was the post-race interview, and he ended the speculation. I thought he was unusually eloquent.
[When I got up to watch the race, it was still dark, but Elliott Bay was ablaze with lights as two huge cruise liners and a hulking great OCL container ship were all heading into port. Tugs fussed around them, while the ferries continued to criss-cross the bay as though they owned the place. By the time Michael Schumacher took the chequered flag, it was a soft-grey pearly pre-dawn, and now it’s a gorgeous, sunny Sunday morning. with a hazy Mount Ranier just visible. Time to get dressed and hunt down some breakfast!]