On a day like this, I have to talk about sports. First, yesterday's Turkish GP.
First of all, Felipe Massa will never win the drivers' championship. The way he just let Lewis Hamilton pass him was unbelievable. It still remains my opinion that Massa is the wrong driver for Ferrari. They need either someone who can challenge Kimi for the title, or someone who can help him to another one. If Massa hadn't just let Hamilton dash past him, Kimi might well have finished second as the margin by which Hamilton got in front of him after his last pit was so small. It's typical of Massa to not care and only drive for the win. This, together with the fact that he's consistently shown himself to be incapable of taking the heat, means the sooner Ferrari can jettison him, the better. I dream of Nico Rosberg driving a Ferrari.
Yesterday's first sports jaw-dropper was the McLaren tyre strategy. What was going on? Later they explained that Hamilton had to use a three-stop strategy because his driving style chews up the tires so badly. Bridgestone points out Hamilton is the only driver in F1 "with this problem", i.e. the only one who doesn't know how to drive without destroying his tires. It puts the wipeout in last year's Chinese GP into clearer light.
That being said, it's hard not to think McLaren deliberately ruined Heikki Kovalainen's race. I know that doesn't make any sense, but I can't think of any other explanation for his race strategy. Let's recap. Right after the start, Kovalainen collides with Räikkönen, and Kimi's front wing punctures Heikki's tire. He comes in for a pit stop, the car isn't refueled, and he's given a new set of prime tyres. Heikki drives a stint that lasts for half the race, comes in for fuel, and is given a new set of prime tyres and enough fuel to last the rest of the race. However, he's going to have to pit again because he still hasn't used the alternate tyres.
What is going on? For a while before his third pit, I actually thought Heikki was going to finish the race without using the alternate tire. I've seen enough F1 to not be able to put that past McLaren. As it seems Heikki wasn't suffering from rampant tyre destruction like Hamilton, I don't see why he couldn't have driven a long stint on the alternate tyres. Couldn't he at least have tried? For once, I agree with Oskari Saari, who says in a column on mtv3.fi that McLaren could at least have tried to get points; now they played it safe and went for 12th place.
First Heikki's chances of winning were ruined by a puncture; then his chances of getting points were ruined by a lunatic strategy. I'm not a Heikki Kovalainen fan, but the guy got screwed.
I'm not really an Oskari Saari fan either, and he regaled us with more of his endless loyalty to McLaren. Before the Grand Prix, Ilta-Sanomat wrote about what, in my opinion, any discerning person can tell anyway: Heikki Kovalainen is McLaren's number two driver. They drew attention to the fact that after Heikki finished above Hamilton in qualifying, he was again given a much heavier car, so that Hamilton got to start on the clean side fo the trak with a lighter car.
I don't know if that's exactly clinching evidence that Heikki is their number-two driver, but on the other hand, I don't understand how anyone can seriously believe McLaren is ever going to treat another driver equally with Lewis Hamilton. He's their superstar, whose career Ron Dennis has nurtured for years. How can anyone think that he'll get the same treatment as a Finnish driver they've signed on as a free agent? Come on.
Nevertheless, Kimi still leads the drivers' championship, and Ferrari leads the constructors'. So all is well.
Then some hockey. Back when Jarkko Ruutu hit Jaromir Jagr at the Olympics, some fool at jatkoaika.com wrote a column about how Rudi makes him "ashamed to be Finnish". I think that's ridiculous, but I watched yesterday's Finland-USA game, and now I'm more than a little ashamed.
First and foremost, Ville Koistinen's goal. There is no way that was a goal. It's unbelievable that it was allowed in the first place, and totally unacceptable it was allowed after a video review. The IIHF has confirmed that it was a bad call, and the video referee who made it has been fired.
That doesn't really help right now, though. It was a huge goal because it turned the momentum of the game. That call was about a lot more than just allowing or disallowing one goal; it could be argued it turned the whole game around. And it was a goal that should never have been allowed.
To make things worse, the refs sealed the deal by calling an unbelievable spearing penalty on Adam Burish. He tapped Niko Kapanen with the butt-end of his stick. From the IIHF rule book:
“Butt-ending” identifies the act of a player who uses the shaft of the stick above the upper hand to check an opposing player.
If what Burish did is checking your opponent, I'm writing this blog post by checking my keyboard. That was a completely ridiculous call, especially since it meant that Team USA had to play short-handed for the rest of the game, effectively destroying their chances of tying the game.
Antero Mertaranta, and others in Finland, cried a river about Olli Jokinen's match penalty. Watch the check on YouTube here. There's no two ways about it: that's a check from behind. When the player being checked is injured on a check from behind, the IIHF rulebook only leaves referees with one alternative:
b) A player who injures an opponent as a result of checking from behind shall be assessed, a:
➤ Match penalty
It was the right call. And it doesn't compare in the slightest with Dustin Brown's supposed "hit to the head" at the end of the game. Brown is coming in to hit Jokinen, who ducks to take another check. This is why Brown hits him high. To call that a dirty hit is beyond ridiculous.
The only reason so much noise is being made about it and the Jokinen penalty is because the refs so blatantly gave the game to the Finnish team, and Finnish people can't take it without having some example of how their opponents were horribly evil and the refs screwed them, too. It's classic nationalist myth-building, and it's totally false.
Yesterday was a landmark day. I've never seen the kind of officiating in a hockey game that I saw yesterday, and I've never seen the kind of F1 pit strategy lunacy that I saw at the Turkish GP. It was a crazy day. Finland-Canada is up today, and I don't even dare to begin to think what's going to happen there. Instead, I'll think about Yoko Matsugane.