Posted on August 19, 2014
Nico Rosberg won the Brazilian Grand Prix after team mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton’s error allowed him to cruise home and collect 25 valuable points against Hamilton’s 18 points ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi which has been dubbed Abu Dhouble because of the double points on offer.
Mercedes were once again untouchable despite their claims that Williams could give them a run for their money. Rosberg and Hamilton got off the line well and that was the closest any other driver got to the duo. Positions 1 through 5 remained unchanged, while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel made a bad start allowing Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso to move up one place to 6th and 7th while Vettel fell 2 places to 8th immediately in front of team mate Daniel Ricciardo who maintained his position.
Felipe Massa picked up a 5 second stop/go penalty for speeding in the pitlane when changing from option to prime tyre on lap 6, which gave me hope, being a Jenson Button fan that JB would be on for a podium finish. But it was not to be, despite Massa driving through the McLaren pit box by mistake, the Brazilian still managed to hold onto the final podium position leaving Button out in the cold in fourth!
Massa’s Williams team mate Valteri Bottas also had issues which meant he finished in 10th place after starting from fourth on the grid. During his second pit stop, there was some sort of issue with the Finn’s seatbelt which took some time to correct, dropping him back to 15th place while the high tyre wear at Interlagos limited his ability to use his Williams inherent speed to move further up the field.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel recovered from his bad start to finish in fifth place, following Jenson Button through as he passed Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Button upto fourth and Vettel fifth. Fernando Alonso, after a battle with his Ferrari team mate also passed the Finn for sixth place, Raikkonen eventually finishing in seventh place, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo DNF’ed with suspension failure.
McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen struggled with tyre wear all race long eventually finishing the race in ninth place down two places from his grid position. Nico Hulkenberg had a decent day in Brazil taking the chequered flag in eighth place, up four places from where he started ahead of the recovering Bottas.
As Brazilian Grand Prix go, I thought that this one was rather dull, not very much drama at all, but this result does set up a great finale in Abu Dhabi in two weeks time. If Nico Rosberg wins, Lewis Hamilton will need to finish second to claim the world drivers title, if the Briton finishes third or lower, the title goes to Rosberg should he win the race. I hope that for Bernie Ecclestone’s sake, this double points race doesn’t result in Hamilton having the title snatched away, the Hamiltonians will be out for blood!
2014 Brazilian Grand Prix Results
Yesterday we finally received our medical insurance cards eight days after the coverage officially started on Nov, 1 and… what a freaking disappointment! Let’s start with today, generic medications were advertized as costing $15; but when my wife visited the pharmacy to pick up her Duloxetine, the generic version of Cymbalta, she was told it would cost $56. Now here is the stupid thing, instead my wife used a free Android app called GoodRX to get the very same prescription for $34, a saving of $22!
After further investigation, we find out that branded drug, Lyrica still costs over $424, which will not be covered until we pay off our $5,600 deductible. Basically the sort of drugs that are covered for $15 cost less than $30 without insurance for over $460 per month, are you freaking kidding me? We all know that insurance companies pay nowhere near the price consumers pay for the same drugs.
And the actual implementation of the Coventry Healthcare service is poor, for example; to allow my wife access to her own and our children’s healthcare online, we had to create an account for me and an account for my wife and then had to allow access to each others accounts. Why would there not be a single account for the policy holder that allows access to every persons healthcare on the policy?
The other thing of annoyance is that they select your primary care physician for you; you can change it but it wont be effective until the first of the next month. It seems they just decided, oh this [in network] doctor is close to the policy holders address, so obviously that’s who they want to see. To add to this, if you have questions on the weekend, forget about it, office/phone lines are closed.
Bottom line, I don’t recommend Coventry One/Healthcare after nine days without a single claim being filed. The plan is for myself to get employee only insurance through my employer, my wife will do the same when she becomes eligible on January 1, 2015 and the kids will get catastrophic insurance from the heathcare.gov marketplace. The Bronze Plan from Coventry Healthcare is useless to us.
Lewis Hamilton claimed his third race victory in four years at the US Grand Prix in Austin, TX today to extend his World Drivers Championship lead to 24 points over Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, who trailed Hamilton home to secure second place after being passed by the Briton on lap 24.
As expected the Mercedes duo drove off leaving the pack behind to battle it out into the first corner, Williams’ Valteri Bottas bogged down off the start allowing team mate Felipe Massa to pass while Bottas had to fend off an attack from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo got a terrible start, dropping back as far as ninth before recovering to sixth by the end of the first lap.
There was more first lap drama with Force India’s Sergio Perez first ploughing into the back of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, then took out Sauber’s Adrian Sutil with a double hit seconds later, which brought out the safety car to clear the aftermath of Perez’s overzealous actions. On top of retirement today, the Mexican will also receive a seven place grid penalty for the Brazilian GP.
On the restart, Ricciardo was on the move again with a super late move into turn one on Alonso, almost running into the back of Massa’s Williams, but still managed to make the move stick for fifth place. The Aussie then made up a further two places through a better pit strategy to move upto third ahead of the Williams duo; but did have to fend off Massa during the closing stages of the race.
Ricciardo’s Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel had an anonymous afternoon after starting from the pitlane because of a complete power unit change. Running well off the pace in the first half of the race, but came alive during the closing stages to finish the race in seventh passing five drivers in the final five laps, finishing half a second behind the Ferrari of Alonso s as they took the chequered flag.
Williams had a generallly good day, extending their World Constructors Championship lead over the prancing horse by beating both Ferrari’s on the track. Felipe Massa won the intra-team battle today, finishing four seconds ahead of Valteri Bottas, who has bettered Massa for much of the season. You’d have to say that Williams dropped the ball strategically, failing to cover Red Bull’s strategy.
Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado ended up in ninth place behind McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen despite his five second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane, which had dropped him back to 10th place. But Jean Eric Vergne was also given a five second time penalty for his collision with Maldonado’s team mate Romain Grosjean, which meant that the drivers were classified as finishing as they did on the road.
Jenson Button, who is looking more and more likely to be ending his F1 career after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could only manage 12th place after falling backwards with tyre degradation as the race came to it’s conclusion. Earlier on Button was battling for seventh place with Fernando Alonso before the Spaniard finally made the move stick, so 12th is an incredibly disappointing result for Button.
A quick word about the teams that didn’t make it to Austin, Marussia and Caterham who are both in administration. F1’s prize money system seriously needs a shakeup, the gap between top teams and the bottom teams is astronomical, the top teams get $200m while the bottom teams get less than 1/8th of that. Distribution of wealth needs to change or else we could see as few as six teams on the grid in the future; and it seems no-one wants 3 car teams with the exception of maybe Ferrari.
2014 United States Grand Prix Results
I have just signed up for Obamacare because family insurance through my workplace would have cost me 41% of my income, which is definitely not affordable in any way, shape or form. And there are a few major issues with the “Affordable Care Act”, ignoring the the fact that you have two choices, either buy medical insurance or receive a substantial fine per uninsured household member.
The first and biggest thing that I find incredibly stupid, what is the point of open enrollment? Why not just have open enrollment 365 days a year? The only way to get insurance through the marketplace outside of open enrollment for the next year is to apply within sixty days of losing insurance through private or workplace insurance. All this does is lock people out unnecessarily and ends up resulting in people being fined for not having insurance for more than three months in a calendar year. Hang on… I might have answered my own question, it’s a conspiracy to screw everyone!
The second thing is the 9.5% standard for employee only coverage through your employer. Which in simple terms means you are not entitled to tax credits which would lower your Obamacare premium if the cost of employee only insurance is less than 9.5% of your gross income. Which is fine if you are buying insurance for yourself, but if you need insurance for your whole family, the cost difference is massive. For example, employee only insurance is $236, but if I want to add my wife and children, it jumps to close to $850 every four weeks, it really defies logic, it’s like comparing an apple to a brick!
The third thing is the payment method (from my experience); it seems the only way to pay the premium is through automatic bank transfer, so you can’t use a debit or credit card to pay for insurance, which makes it difficult to manage your finances if you are on a tight budget. I like to pay my bills by card in advance of the due date quite often to make sure the bills are paid and the money is not spent elsewhere by accident. Plus in my experience, the due date is not always when the vendor takes the money, sometimes its a couple of days before or a couple of days after the due date.
On a personal note, were are far from living in poverty, we have a nice car and big LCD TV, but have little disposable income after rent, utilities, Cable TV/Internet, car payment, fuel, clothes and groceries for a family of four most months. This massive “family” insurance oversight is scandalous and unforgivable, how can these rich Capitol Hill bureaucrats just let this remain unchanged?
They can do it because government has no direct accountability to the people they represent. These are the same people that think that $7.25 is a living wage and giving massive tax breaks and subsidies to multinational corporations is the way to boost the economy. I can understand what Obama has tried to do and I applaud him for trying, but because he has been blocked at every turn, this is what we have ended up with, a forced healthcare system that fails families in the worst possible way.
Lewis Hamilton extended his world drivers championship lead to 10 points after taking victory at Suzuka on Sunday afternoon ahead of team mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg and current world champion Sebastian Vettel. But the main story of the Japanese Grand Prix is the horrific accident involving Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, everything else seems incredibly unimportant.
The Frenchman lost control of his car as rain fell steadily heavier at the same corner that Sauber’s Adrian Sutil went off on the previous lap and ploughed into the recovery vehicle that was removing Sutil’s car. The force of the impact was so great that it actually lifted the recovery vehicle in the air with Bianchi’s car going underneath. It truly is a horrific and sickening accident, the worst in years.
Bianchi was taken to a local hospital where emergency surgery was performed before being transferred to intensive care where he is on a ventilator, but his condition is said to be stable.
Back to the race itself, it got under way behind the safety car because conditions were considered to be too dangerous to go racing and after just 1 1/2 laps; the red flag was thrown and the grid followed the safety car into the pitlane. The race was once again restarted 20 minutes later once the rain had subsided; again behind the safety car with the race finally getting started on lap 10; but not before Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari lost all power and ground to a halt on track, water in the electrics I’d guess.
There were no notable changes in position off the restart as the drivers felt their way forward on the wet track. But Jenson Button elected to make one of his trademark calls in tricky conditions to come in for intermediate tyres, which by lap 14 seemed inspired as it had catapulted him into a podium position. But it wasn’t to be for the Briton; a forced steering wheel change at this second pit-stop dropped him back to fifth spot, where he finished the race. Team mate Kevin Magnussen had the same problem and a steering wheel change was required, again I’m guessing water in the electronics.
During the middle phase of the race; Red Bull who had elected for a wet setup in qualifying were flying along. Both Red Bull drivers overtaking both Williams drivers in two laps, Vettel passing both Felipe Massa and Valteri Bottas into the hairpin under the bridge while Daniel Ricciardo overtook the Williams duo through the Dunlop Curves on consecutive laps for forth an fifth places, which later turned into third and fourth because of Button’s electrical gremlins causing a steering wheel change.
After following Rosberg around for 28 laps; Hamilton pounced into turn 1 on lap 29 as the German went defensive, Hamilton swept around the outside on the faster line to take the lead. It was quite obvious how much Hamilton was being held up by Rosberg, who was seemingly struggling with tyres, two laps after the overtake, Hamilton had pulled out a four second lead, eventually finishing almost 10 second ahead of his team mate and championship rival as the red flag came for Bianchi’s accident.
It was a good race with all the weather related dramas but there will forever be a dark cloud over the Japanese Grand Prix 2014 because of Bianchi’s life threatening crash; my thoughts are with his friends and family; I hope that the Frenchman can pull through this and come back better than ever.
2014 Japanese Grand Prix Results
Lewis Hamilton took the lead in the world drivers championship after taking victory at the Singapore Grand Prix thanks to Mercedes team mate and former championship leader Nico Rosberg failing to get off the start line with electrical gremlins, which ultimately led to his retirement on lap 14.
Off the line; Hamilton made a great start to lead into turn 1; while the Red Bull duo battled into the first turn with Sebastian Vettel getting ahead of Daniel Ricciardo; but both Red Bull drivers were overtaken by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso before having to give back second to Vettel to avoid a penalty for exceeding track limits and gaining an advantage. I believe Alonso was lucky to only have to give back one place; the pass on Ricciardo was not complete before going off track in my view.
Despite leading for most of the race; Hamilton had to make a third stop for tyres near the end of the race while Vettel and Ricciardo were trying to complete the race with just two stops. The final stop went well for Hamilton, managing to get out ahead of Ricciardo and just a couple of seconds behind Vettel. The Briton soon caught and overtook Vettel, who was on tyres 18 laps older than Hamilton’s.
Fernando Alonso missed out on a podium taking the chequered flag in fourth place. Was the Ferrari just not quick enough or did the timing of the safety car compromise his race? It’s touch and go; but I believe he probably would have finished in fourth regardless; Red Bull clearly have a faster race car.
Williams managed to get a decent result with Felipe Massa using a very aggressive tyre strategy for fifth. The Brazilian nursing his car across the line with 38 lap old tyres. The same strategy did not work out for stablemate; Valteri Bottas, who could only manage 11th place under the lights of Singapore.
Personally, other than the Mercedes reliability dramas I thought that it was a fairly dull race by this years standards, so I will stop here in regard to the actual race action. Instead let’s talk about the new radio communications stupidity. As I wrote previously, there has been a clampdown on car and driving instruction over the radio, which was relaxed somewhat to just driving instruction; but…
McLaren are protesting that Red Bull gave “driving” instruction to Daniel Ricciardo telling the Aussie to stay off the curbs to protect the KERS batteries. Eric Boullier believes this was a coded message to Ricciardo and nothing to do with car reliability. The truth is, it might well have been, but the issue is the rule, it’s always open to abuse, it’s a stupid rule that causes more problems than it solves.
2014 Singapore Grand Prix Results
After the Italian Grand Prix there was rumblings of discontent from fans (supposedly) about the amount of radio chatter in regard to telling drivers how to drive the car, such as settings changes, apex speeds, riding the brake pedal etc. I say supposedly because I never heard any one of my F1 loving friends complain about the broadcasted radio messages during the Monza F1 race.
The simplest solution would have been to stop broadcasting the radio messages, but that is not what happened. Instead the FIA decided to ban most radio chatter, going a step further, banning coded messages as well. Article 20.1 of F1’s sporting regulations states “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.” Which is stupid in modern F1, there is so much to manage in the 2014 spec 1.6 V6 hybrid systems that it’s impossible for a driver to drive when he has to monitor a million different variables.
If we are going down the drive alone and unaided route, we need to step back, have basic engines without fuel limits and let’s make all cars manual transmission as well; seven speed manual H-gate gearbox with foot clutch. Let’s make it about the driver again and not who has the best electronics.
I can understand a ban on tuition of drivers on how to drive over the radio, these are supposedly the World’s best 22 drivers; but stopping the flow of information from the engineer about car parameters is stupid. The FIA wanted this new technologically advanced formula, the added radio chatter is of their own making. If fans don’t like the radio comms, stop broadcasting it instead of punishing the teams who are just trying to get to the end of the race with this brand new engine technology.
I do wonder what effect this radio ban will have on the outcome of this weekend’s race in Singapore? will we see cars running out of fuel or grinding to a halt due to being in the wrong engine mode? It’s absolutely crazy to enforce a rule like this two thirds of the way through the season with a weeks notice, I don’t understand the logic of FOM and the FIA’s decision making process in these matters.
After my wife lost her job; I’ve had to cancel our medical insurance for two reasons; firstly, while she is out of work; we need every penny we can get so $340 extra a month is a lifeline; secondly the insurance premium would rise to $475 every two weeks; which accounts for 41% of my income. Previously our insurance premium was $170 every two weeks, now my wife no longer works for the same company, we’ve lost that perk and thanks to Obamacare, we’ll get fined for no insurance!
The affordable care act works for lower income families; but the middle classes that are 30+ are being totally screwed by Obamacare. More educated people who have higher paying jobs don’t get the subsidy that lower earners do. But even with my wife working; our income is still only about $60k, so after rent, car payment, household bills and groceries; paying $431 for the cheapest available insurance premium is not affordable. I am at my wits-end worrying about this situation!
Not only is insurance prohibitively expensive for the average person; the coverage is a joke; paying $431 for a family of four and before they start covering a cent; we have to pay $12,600 before insurance starts covering anything; under their “after deductible” clause as far as I can determine.
People who complain about the state of the NHS healthcare system in my homeland of the UK should come live in America for a year. They will appreciate a truly socialized healthcare system much more once they see how US citizens get screwed. And now the government are forcing us to buy medical insurance or face a significant fine come 2017. It really is a joke of a medical system!
Addendum: Just to clarify; I am not claiming Obama’s Affordable Care Act is all bad; it’s brilliant for those with pre-existing conditions and those on a low income. But Americans are forced to buy medical insurance or face a tax penalty plus middle class, aged 30+ families are paying more than what is affordable for them, forcing them to make hard choices on what’s important in their lives.
Previously I wrote about how badly my wife was being treated by the now “retired” (read: forced out) regional manager, anyway, you can read about that whole diabolical situation right here. So the new manager comes in and my first impression is that he is a “Special & Spam” kind of manager, one week later, that assessment is proven to be true. Further to that, a temp has more responsibility than my wife, who is the assistant manager, seriously what they actual fuck is going on here?
My wife is being frozen out of everything; no-one is talking to her and as I mentioned the temp who is very buddy, buddy with the manager is doing the assistant managers tasks while my wife is acting as a glorified leasing agent. In the meantime the two new regionals are consistently blaming my wife for things that happened before she became manager and even events from files from a time before the management company had taken over this property. They are constantly cutting my wife off mid sentence and freezing her out, refusing to listen to her despite being the only person who had worked there at the property for more than two weeks, despicable behavior from the managers.
The latest bullshit that the regionals are suggesting is that my wife and the former manager, who had managed to escape to another property had not been adhering to the resident selection criteria. Which is not the case; with the exception of a couple of instances where the deposed regional manager signed off on those exceptions. this has moved from harassment to victimization now!
The situation as I see it is; the property manager and regional managers are trying to discredit my wife, making it look like she isn’t fulfilling her assistant manager duties, so ultimately they can fire her. I was really pushing for my wife to stick with it as I thought that it was an isolated incident with the now deposed regional manager, but I was wrong. My estimation of he company has dropped significantly in the past two weeks. Should my wife find another position; I want her to just walk out with no notice, these people don’t deserve that courtesy after the way she has been treated!
The biggest issue is that my wife doesn’t like confrontation so she is just taking this treatment on the chin. I, on the other hand am the polar opposite, if there’s an issue I will tackle it head on. For example, if someone cut me off mid sentence and refused to share information with me that is vital for me to do my job, I would get in their faces. I am fighting the urge to drive to the corporate office and let rip with both barrels right now, no-one deserves to be treated like this in the workplace.
Guess what? 10 minutes after I finished writing this article; I got a call from my wife saying that she has been fired for a list of reasons which were completely fabricated by the current and former regional managers, like I said, my wife was setup to be fired from the very start. I can’t say too much more as we are investigating the possibility of taking legal action, I believe we have a case based upon the EEOC guidelines. One thing is for sure, we have plenty of witnesses, even the real estate personnel manager had heard what was happening at the property.
Update [Sep, 15 2014, 11:48]: This weekend just passed; my wife kept on receiving calls from the property’s emergency maintenance system, the chocolate teapots at the property had not changed the notification number. The result was that my wife had to log into the system to stop it calling every 15 minutes and chase up the new manager about these calls. I sent an Email to the regional manager and top brass of the company basically saying “my wife has been gone for a week and no-one had the foresight to change the contact number?”, I do not suffer fools kindly, especially when the one of the reasons for my wife’s dismissal was disorganization; while the two regionals and property manager couldn’t organize a contact number change for their phone system.
My dislike of America’s lax gun laws and second amendment rights complete with gun show loopholes has been well publicized since relocating to the United States six years ago. But this story is truly shocking; excuse the language, but why the FUCK would someone pay a reported $200 to allow their nine year old daughter to fire an Uzi, a 9mm sub-machine gun? The end result being a dead instructor and more than likely a deeply traumatized child and the police has decided that criminal charges were not appropriate, gun culture in the US is out of control in my opinion!
The bigger question should be why on Earth does local and federal law allow minors access firearms at all? In 30 US states including the state I live in, Kansas has no lower age limit on shotgun and rifle ownership, yes, you heard that right, a 2 year old could own and fire a shotgun or rifle, what the fuck is wrong with this country’s elected officials? In my opinion, it’s time for a massive overhaul of guns laws, first of which should be federalization of gun laws, then close the gun show loophole and require government mandated psychological evaluations before a firearm is sold.
I truly don’t understand why the second amendment can not be amended further to limit gun access with gun crime becoming more common plus the NRA nutcases stating on national TV that they need semi/auto weapons to defend themselves from the government. Somehow I think the government has something better than a SMG to fight with should the government want to attack it’s own people. In the United States, there are over 11,000 murders (homicide) each year and almost 800 deaths from accidental discharge of firearms, just using those two stats, that’s 32 deaths per day.
It also seems that law enforcement can’t be trusted with guns either with the two needless fatal shootings in the St Louis, MO area recently, Micheal Brown was shot six times in Ferguson, MO, twice in the head and then 10 days later, Kajieme Powell, who was known to have mental issues was shot dead by two officers in St Louis. It’s obvious that guns present a clear danger in today’s society.
As a father of two; every day I seriously consider not sending my children to school for the fear of some gun crazed lunatic shooting up their schools. After the Sandy Hook shooting, the president and vice president promised swift change, but nothing changed. After each school shooting, there is outrage, then the outrage fades and it all gets forgotten, that is; until the next school shooting.
I am still fucking angry about Sandy Hook and all the school shootings that came before and after. Government in this country are pussies; they are afraid of the backlash from the NRA and other idiotic pro gun organizations. C’mon grow a set of balls and regulate gun sales properly federally.
I call on President Obama and Vice President Biden to use some of their executive powers to enforce tighter rules on guns in the United States. The original meaning of the right to bare arms has been twisted by modern society, time for an update to the second amendment to bring it in line with the realities of modern society, 220 years have passed since the second amendment, wake up America!