As anyone who follows British politics will know by now, Labour members have elected Jeremy Corbyn, noted for his left-wing views, their new leader – by a landslide majority of 59.5%. Anyone who knows me would probably consider me centre-left when it comes to politics (I certainly don’t consider the current Tory government to have my best interests at heart), so Corbyn certain resonates a little with me. I’m sure there are points and views of his I will not agree with, but that would be true of any political leader.

PoliticalCompass(in case you’re wondering, the above chart is my political compass, from the site of the same name)

What does not surprise me is that right-wing media sources are already going after Corbyn with both barrels. The Sun and The Daily Mail have already posted typically over the top headlines about how Corbyn wants to abolish the armed forces with The Sun leading with this particularly aggressive headline:

CorbynSunHeadline

Corbyn never actually said this would be government policy were he elected, his comments (which have been taken wildly out of context) referred to how nice it would be if an army wasn’t necessary – and he’s absolutely right, it would be nice to live in a world where we didn’t need military forces. His desire for such a thing should not be taken as a lack of pragmatism. I’m sure he realises (and I’m sure he’ll have advisers who also realise) that he cannot simply act on every impulse, fulfill every wish, grant every plea. He will be aware that not everyone will agree with his views, even within his own party, and it is surely irrational to judge him either success or failure when he’s only been in the job a few days?

Unfortunately, certain elements of the right-wing press seem to thrive on hysteria, and this they can generate very quickly. The likes of Katie Hopkins (ugh) are jumping on this bandwagon, though she might well end up discrediting it by supporting it.

I for one, would suggest we wait and see, and see what happens to the country under Tory rule for the next few years, before we can even begin to decide whether his ideas would be feasible.

Italian Formula One Grand Prix(Lewis Hamilton leads Sebastian Vettel around Monza)

The fast and furious Monza was the setting for the Italian Grand Prix, a race that always delivers passion from the fans, and gave us a race that concluded the European leg of the F1 season in quite dramatic fashion – especially toward the end of the race.

Spare some sympathy for Nico Rosberg. In practice sessions he and Hamilton were a class beyond everyone else – the result of upgrades to their engines that allowed them to stretch their advantage over everyone else (even Ferrari, who brought their own upgrades to their home grand prix). Rosberg’s new power unit failed him in the final practice session, forcing Mercedes to swap it out for an older spec engine that had already completed five races.

Straight away Rosberg was at a disadvantage with Hamilton, and in qualifying the full extent of this became apparent. Hamilton was on pole once again (his seventh in a row and 11th in 12 races), whilst Rosberg was beaten by both Ferraris – squeezed to fourth on the grid.

Raikkonen’s ups and downs

Somewhat surprisingly, Kimi Raikkonen was the man in second – the first time he’d put his car on the front row of a grand prix since China 2013. Unfortunately for him, this was to prove insignificant.

ItalianGPKimi(if you squint, you’ll see Raikkonen’s Ferrari near the back!)

A very poor start from the Iceman saw him slip down to virtually last, and his virtually immobile car cost Rosberg a couple of places at the very start too (his evasive action saw him lose out to both Williams’ and the Force India of Perez). From then on, the race was about recovery action for Raikkonen, and to his credit, he would fight back hard, but must be left wondering what might have been with a good get away.

Red Bull and McLaren go Backward

It was another tough weekend for Red Bull (plus their sister team Toro Rosso) and McLaren, their underpowered cars just not coping at all with the high-speed demands of Monza. To make matters worse, penalties meant Red Bull and McLaren were starting from the back, with Toro Rosso joining them (Verstappen’s car spectacularly lost most of its bodywork before he could get in a flying lap, relegating him to near the back of the pack).

ItalianGPRedBull(slow but steady progress saw Ricciardo and Kvyat climb into the points, but Red Bull will be disappointed with their engine – yet again)

Rosberg’s fortunes Nosedive

ItalianGPRos(Rosberg would suffer engine failure on lap 50)

As alluded to earlier, Rosberg would deserve sympathy for the engine disadvantage he found himself in before qualifying even started. Having gotten by Perez quite easily, he would get by both Williams’ thanks to a well-timed pit stop and a super-quick out-lap. He would set about catching Vettel – and was nearly on the Ferrari when, on lap 50, his engine began belching flame, and he had no choice but to retire. This handed third place to Felipe Massa (a popular figure in Italy after several years devoted to Ferrari), and meant any threat to Vettel’s second place was gone.

It would also mean Hamilton, who would win by a dominant margin, would open up a 53-point lead in the title race. He now has a two-win margin of error over Rosberg.

It’s worth noting that Hamilton still held the edge over Rosberg in all three practice sessions, when they both had he same power units, though of course come the serious business who knows what would have happened. I have a feeling Rosberg’s retirement has only hastened the inevitable in respect of the championship, but there are still several more races to run, so no one can take anything for granted just yet.

Back to F1 2015

wpid-wp-1421397685770.pngTwo weeks after a rather routine victory for Lewis Hamilton at Spa, the focus shifts to another iconic F1 circuit – the fast and furious Monza, in Italy.

Monza has been hosting grands prix since 1921, and hosted an F1 race for the first time in the sports inaugrial 1950 season. This year’s event will mark the 65th Italian Grand Prix held at Monza, a Formula 1 record.

No track can boast a faster average speed than Monza – this is hardly surprising; the layout is one made for speed, with few tight corners and plenty of straight track to hit hard. Despite this, turn 1 is a hard-braking zone, as the corner (really more of a chicane) can come up at you quite suddenly. Unsurprisingly, first lap chaos can often erupt here, as 22 cars will scream toward the corner, only to try and out-brake each other.

Turn 2 can be taken reasonably quick, whilst turn 3 is another corner requiring a firm application of the brake, and turn 4 can be taken quite quickly, if you’re feeling brave (as can turn 5). It’s risky though, as it’s easy to slip off onto the grass.

Turn 9 is another deceptive corner – it looks reasonably fast, but you don’t want to be too aggressive, lest you cost yourself your exit onto the main straight.

It’s ironic that Ferrari (for whom Monza is a spiritual home) will come here at a potential disadvantage – whilst their 2015 car is much improved over last year’s design, and their engine has certainly gotten stronger, Monza, being a power circuit, will play into the hands of the Mercedes-powered teams. Mercedes themselves will be favourites, especially having taken a one-two finish here last season (with a few fans wondering if Rosberg was ordered to cede the win to Hamilton).

Lotus (despite being on the verge of financial collapse) are expected to race here, amidst ongoing speculation regarding their future. The Renault-powered Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams will probably struggle, even their weaker engines, whilst McLaren will want this over and done with swiftly. It’s hard to look past a Mercedes one-two once again.

Back to F1 2015