JB and Lewis – The Fast and the Faster



A sad week with the loss of Jules Bianchi to F1. His death from a brain injury so tragic not only because of his age, just 25 years old, but because of his potential. I’m sure that one day he would have enjoyed the success shared on Sunday by Vettel and Ferrari. It was a nice tribute by drivers standing  in a circle around their helmets for a minute’s silence in respect of the man.

Bianchi, 25, died nine months after he suffered severe head injuries in a crash in last season’s Japanese Grand Prix when he left the track and hit a tractor that was recovering the car of fellow competitor Adrian Sutil.

The Marussia driver, who scored the first and so far only points in the team’s history when he finished ninth at last season’s Monaco Grand Prix, had been in a coma since the accident and never regained consciousness.

Bianchi was seen as one of the most talented young drivers in the sport, having been part of Ferrari’s young driver programme. He had been widely tipped to race for the famous team before tragedy struck.

No 17 has been retired in Jules’ memory.

The race was interesting. An over eager Lewis Hamilton who had dominated practice and taken pole position, made a poor start and some costly mistakes allowing a revitalised Vettel to take the lead and stay there for his second win for Ferrari. It hurts me to say that!

On a really bright note though, the incidents in the race favoured the Mc Laren boys and saw both of them come home in the points. Still not good enough by the teams performances in the past but definite signs of progress and hopefully better things to come. So, well done Jenson (and Alonso).

Well done also to Kvyat who came second in the Red Bull. He was chased hard by Riciardo (last years winner) but he had to make a late stop after a collision with Nico Rosberg and settle for 3rd place.Nico Hulkenberg failed to finish because of the spectacular collapse of his front wing which sent debris all over the track. The incident led to a safety car coming out and after the restart Hamilton had a collision with Riciardo which dropped him back to 12th. Testament to his driving skill that he got his head down and got back in the race to finish 6th. Rosberg had a puncture after a collision with Riciardo and had to make a stop which dropped him way down the field. He eventually finished eighth. So, bizarrely, Hamilton was able to extend his lead in the Driver’s Championship.

And how many penalties did Maldonado manage to accrue during the race? I lost count ha ha





Good morning everyone!

I’ve just returned from a working holiday in Spain. I was actually working for myself doing some maintenance on our house near Archidona/Antequera in Malaga province. On the way there to pass some time I wrote some notes for my blog but never got round to posting them because our internet connection there is not too clever. Anyway, I had been watching tennis at the French Open and I was really rooting for Serena Williams in the final. I had watched a lot of tennis from the tournament and had become heartily sick of the squeaking, grunting, groaning and shouting by both men and women but most annoyingly, the women who seem to have taken the concept of the grunt to the nth degree.

Grunting (definition)TN_pig_214B

  • (of a person) make a low inarticulate sound, typically to express effort or indicate assent.
    “the man cursed and grunted as he lassoed the steer”

I think the men demonstrate a more pure form of ‘the grunt’,  it being low and a more obvious (to me) result of effort where the women tend to shriek or scream in a habitual sort of way. Monica Seles has been credited as being one of the first ‘grunters’ and many have followed, notably Francesca Schiavoni, Victoria Azarenka and of course Maria Sharapova.


I don’t know if there is an element of gamesmanship in ‘the grunt’ or if there is evidence in the coaching manual that suggests it is of value in some physical or psychological way. Certainly Martina Navratilova has been known to comment on her  opponent’s grunting , suggesting that it interfered with her ability to hear the ball leaving the racket. I just know that I do not enjoy listening to a match that is dominated by shrieks and screams. Imagine Sharapova and Azarenka playing each other? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!!

Dr Victor Thompson, who is a clinical sports psychologist states that grunting is more about the fact that breathing out hard and grunting when taking a shot, as if completing a bench press for example, helps to apply maximal force. Can’t argue with that I suppose but I refer you back to the original definition.

I suppose the argument that the grunt is now an acceptable part of  modern tennis is that the game has changed and it is played at a faster pace and the balls are hit harder, hence added exertion. Well, Martina  used to hit the ball pretty hard but I don’t recall her grunting too much.

wimbledon logo

Wimbledon 2015 is almost here.  I have attended the tournament many times. My sister and I used to have a holiday for the first week of the tournament and go down to SW19, staying at the Trochee Hotel  . We would be up and in the queue for tickets at 4am, always being quite near to the front and guaranteed tickets for the Show Courts. We had some great times sitting in the queue, meeting people from all over the world and sharing our love of tennis through great conversation. On more than one occasion we have procured tickets or entry into Wimbledon from our place in the queue, even at one time sharing a spot with some photographers after an AA man got us in for nothing. Saw the great Bjorn Borg that day. The emphasis is more on the public ballot nowadays. You can still queue but you have to be there for days rather than hours for a chance of success. They were great times and we saw all the tennis greats of the 70s 80s and 90s during our visits. We would have our routine for getting the most out of our day. Firstly, get tickets we wanted, second, hightail it to the Champagne and Pimms tent to partake of a little liquid refreshment, usually a couple of Pimms but sometimes Champagne. This would be followed by either an ‘Oscar’, which was a 12inch long hot dog or smoked salmon sandwiches and the inevitable strawberries and cream. I remember paying £5 for 5 strawberries but would have paid more because it was just part of our visit. Those were indeed happy days. We stopped going when it became apparent that in the future we would have to queue overnight (and miss the luxury of the Trochee Hotel) and that we would probably have to take out a mortgage to be able to finance a weeks trip. Our visits now are confined to the rare occasion we get tickets from the ballot.

So, Serena won the French Open but I’m not sure she’s playing well enough to win Wimbledon. Time will tell. Good luck to everyone who’s taking part and anyone who’s going, have a great time. Come on Andy!