Life In The Fast Lane #4: RUSH Review and Virtual GP

Words by Tony Robertson (@TonyRob84)

Featured image credit: Liberty Media. Image does not meet threshold of originality and is therefore in the public domain.

Welcome to week four of Overtime Online’s weekly F1 column: Life In The Fast Lane.

This week I’ll be looking at what happened in last weeks Virtual Grand Prix and be giving you my review of the movie RUSH.

Vietnam In Virtual Australia:

Well this certainly had some entertaining moments.

Like the first VGP (Virtual Grand Prix), the second VGP replaced the third postponed race weekend of the 2020 season. This weekend was set to be held in Vietnam but was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, the only issue with doing so is the fact that the F1 2019 video game doesn’t have Vietnam as a Grand Prix circuit. As a result we got to see a return to Melbourne as the racers took on the Australian Grand Prix yet again.

On this occasion there were six current F1 drivers as well as some other new faces competing.

Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, (unofficial founder) Lando Norris, Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell and his Williams team mate Nicholas Latifi made up the selection of F1 drivers while they were complemented by former F1 drivers Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson and Johnny Herbert as well as starts such as England Cricketer Ben Stokes.

18 drivers got underway, unfortunately Norris had technical difficulties which meant he could not compete on this occasion.

Lap one of the race was chaotic, as Albon and two others spun into the wall in the closing turns of the lap.

Leclerc sat on pole at the start of the race and maintained that position throughout the race to comfortably take the chequered flag.

His brother Arthur Leclerc also participated and raced very well, claiming fourth despite crashing out twice, the second time due to being clipped by Russell who himself was trying to recover from a spin.

While not as dramatic as the virtual Bahrain Grand Prix there were plenty of entertaining battles and an abundance of good racing on display.

Canada Postponed:

It was announced earlier this week that the Canadian Grand Prix has been postponed.

Canada has become the ninth Grand Prix to be cancelled this season following the Coronavirus pandemic.

This means as things stand the first Grand Prix of the 2020 season would be the French Grand Prix at the end of June but expect further delays to follow as the global effort to stem the tide of COVID-19 develops.

RUSH Review:

Prior to watching the movie I had heard many good things.

And safe to say if someone asked me to recommend an F1 movie, I would RUSH to recommend this film (yep I’m not sorry).

The movie starts off by setting the scene at the Nürburgring before the 1976 German Grand Prix starting off from the perspective of Niki Lauda.

The rivalry between Lauda and James Hunt is made explicit to the audience straight away from Lauda’s internal monologue.

It then goes back to when he, portrayed by Daniel Brühl, and Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth, first met in Formula Three.

While the movie shows both drivers with all their quirks and a depiction of their respective lifestyles, there is a unconscious bias towards Lauda, despite Hunt also getting his fair share of internal monologing.

While Lauda is depicted as leading a by the book lifestyle and being a mechanically savvy driver, Hunt is depicted as being a womaniser who lives life on the edge off track while being an aggressive driver on the track.

Quite fitting these two should become such distinguishable rivals on the track.

The movie builds up to the event shown at the start by taking us through how each driver found their way into the sport, yet again in contrasting conditions.

When we get to the 76′ season, the movie appears to depict Lauda to be someone who willing uses race politics and technicalities to his advantage, as seen when Hunt is disqualified at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The season inevitably turns on its head and Hunt makes massive gains after his car returns to being able to match Lauda’s Ferrari’s pace and stay within the regulations for the chassis.

The film climaxes where the movie the started, at the Nürburgring.

Poster for the movie. By Jorge Figueroa via Creative Commons licence 2.0.

The race is of course famous for Lauda’s near fatal crash. Fortunately, the Austrian made it out alive, albeit with major skin burns.

The movie does a good job showing the scale of his injuries and what he went through in order to get better. The effects to showcase his injuries were graphic enough to make a viewer sympathise with Lauda but not over zealous in making any scenes with them in unwatchable.

The next time we see Lauda on track in Italy the circumstances for the championship had completely changed. Where before Lauda had comfortably been in the lead, the championship was now much more closely contested.

The final F1 race we see is in Japan which sees Lauda retire and Hunt scrape to the championship by a single point.

The aftermath has a rather touching scene where the two drivers recognise each other as rivals. The movie ends as it began with an internal monologue from Lauda who reflects on the rivalry between the pair.

It is quite difficult to get the right sort of impact with sports films, but RUSH pulls this off.

However, while it is a very good sport movie which is well made and does have some dramatic moments I feel it’s a movie which has quite a low threshold for how rewatchable it is. You would need to wait a few months between sittings of this movie for it to have the desired impact

Nevertheless a good movie in every aspect of filmmaking and story telling.

RUSH: 7.5/10

That concludes this weeks edition of Life In The Fast Lane. You can check out last weeks edition here and read my piece on Lewis Hamilton’s career so far and what the future holds for the Brit.

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