October 7, 2012

2012 Japanese GP Executive Summary

Nobody likes a race won because of an obvious technical advantage and Sebastian Vettel may have been aware of this when, despite his team's calls for him to sandbag and/or save the car, he pushed to get fast lap of the race on the penultimate lap.

Pole,  a win leading every lap and fast lap of the race is beyond a hat trick, it is the demonstration of Red Bull's hunger and Adrian Newey's genius,  finding a half second over the field like that at this point in the season is remarkable, add a driver that when ahead makes no mistakes and it's unbeatable.

Vettel is now a mere 4 points from Alonso who ran into a whole lot of Raikkonen issues at Suzuka, Kimi's spin in qualifying compromised his one hot lap and Kimi's front wing cut his tire at the start. Game over for Fernando who score no points once again through no fault of his own or Ferrari.

That's racing but if Kimi suffered no effects from his first corner indiscretion not so his team mate Grosjean who got nailed with yet another type of penally, a 10 second stop and go...I can't remember the last time I saw one of those in F1. His under the microscope but I'm not sure he deserved all of it, Webber had one of his trademark shit stats and was not exactly flying through the decreasing radius turn 2. Grosjean was in maybe too busy looking at Perez on the outside. In any case, it's him again making contact so there was no way in hell he was going to get away with it.

It's possible that today we caught a glint of what Ferrari might know about Checo Perez, he certainly was "put in his place" by Raikkonen and made a pretty silly mistake when he spun off. I still like him very much as a driver though and his first move on Lewis was a slap in the face at the guy who considers (and is considered by many) as the best braker in F1.

Hamilton was pretty much a ghost and the impression one gets is that of much sour grapes in that garage. Mclaren is in a bind, there are doubts Button is the kind of driver who can really push a team and Perez is an unknown in that situation.

Button, with a car that up until the previous race had been the fastest, could do little about Kobayashi who had a fantastic race except for the restart when he seemed to fall asleep. Don't these guys watch any American racing? Only Vettel I guess.

Button could also do little about Massa who finally was able to get a good result after two years. Massa was faster than Fernando all week end except for the one crucial lap in Q2 on Saturday. It must leave a more bitter taste in Alonso's mouth to know he had a car good enough for second. But pointless to look back, Ferrari's goose is as good as cooked unless they react as strongly as Red Bull has and that takes more than just money and effort, that takes genius, evil or otherwise. That or luck and Alonso's may have run out of his allotment this year.

Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa by Paul-Henry Cahier


The Japanese Grand Prix
Suzuka, Japan;
53 laps; 307.471km;
Weather: Sunny.


Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h28:56.242
 2.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    20.639
 3.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +    24.538
 4.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +    25.098
 5.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    46.490
 6.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    50.424
 7.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    51.159
 8.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +    52.364
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    54.675
10.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:06.919
11.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +  1:07.769
12.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +  1:23.460
13.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:28.645
14.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +  1:28.709
15.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
16.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
17.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap
19.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:35.774

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                         On lap
Pic           Marussia-Cosworth            39
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 34
Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               19
Alonso        Ferrari                      1
Rosberg       Mercedes                     1

World Championship standings, round 15:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso       194        1.  Red Bull-Renault          325
 2.  Vettel       190        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          283
 3.  Raikkonen    157        3.  Ferrari                   263
 4.  Hamilton     152        4.  Lotus-Renault             239
 5.  Webber       135        5.  Mercedes                  136
 6.  Button       131        6.  Sauber-Ferrari            115
 7.  Rosberg       93        7.  Force India-Mercedes       81
 8.  Grosjean      82        8.  Williams-Renault           58
 9.  Massa         69        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         15
10.  Perez         65       
11.  Kobayashi     50       
12.  Di Resta      44       
13.  Schumacher    43       
14.  Hulkenberg    37       
15.  Maldonado     33       
16.  Senna         25       
17.  Vergne         8       
18.  Ricciardo      7       
All timing unofficial


  1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Vettel lead the entire race, so the double DRS would give him no advantage...

    1. The "double DRS" if its as conjectured, was a clear advantage in qualifying. It seems pretty clear the RB8 has some other evo on it that gave it a clear advantage The new nose may be a key.

  2. I really think that Alonso squeezed Raikkonen off the track at the start, and that caused him to lose control and put a wing in Alonso's tire. Though, his spin in qually really knocked some of the bigger players from a good starting position.

    1. Alonso was ahead so technically Kimi should have lifted but that's just the kind of thing that happens once in a while..

  3. I really think that Alonso squeezed Raikkonen off the track at the start, and that caused him to lose control and put a wing in Alonso's tire. Though, his spin in qually really knocked some of the bigger players from a good starting position.

  4. Button closed on Kobayashi before their final pit stops, but lost out by making his earlier than the Japanese.

  5. I pretty much have to agree that it was more Fred driving into Kimi's wing than Kimi ramming him from behind. Given both have raced so closely together with each having earned reps for being able to race closely without making contact, I would not be surprised if Kimi was caught off guard by Fernando's continued move across.

    I don't know. Need to see replay again. Either way, it was highly unusual for both drivers and proved to be a disaster in the making

    1. Contact happened when Fred was well ahead of Kimi, what's amazing is how little it took for the Renault front wing to slice the tire, what do they have, knives up front?

    2. I remember back before the split in Indy car racing, they had to make up a minimum thickness for front endplates for just this reason; leave that breaking just a little bit late and zzzt! that guy you've been trying to pass for 10 laps suddenly has a flat.

  6. where would you have liked kimi to go?

    1. Well, he might have lifted a fraction since he was beat and had no place to go, but, that's racing I suppose.

  7. If Alonso loses the championship, he can lay the defeat squarely at Massa's feet. He has utterly failed to be a Ferrari driver, and has failed to not only win the WCC for Ferrari but protect his teammate from his rivals. If I were Alonso I'd be using all of my political guile to get rid of his dead weight at the end of the season. Ferrari losing either championship is purely Massa's fault no matter how fast the other cars are. Alonso has scored almost 70% of the points that Ferrari has to it's name, had Massa even gotten half of them they'd be in uch better shape. It's time for him to go.

    Also, Alonso squeezed Kimi into contact. It was a racing incident either way, but Alonso initiated contact. I really wish they'd throw Gorjean out of Formula 1. He has no business being there, he should have learned spatial awareness in lower categories. Formula 1 isn't a finishing series for your talents, you come prepared to race at the highest level, or you should be sacked. Grosjean needs to be sacked.

    1. Just a quick reminder, both Hamilton and Vettel made seriously bonehead maneuvers in their early seasons, not that Grosjean is not going for a world record!

    2. Oh no doubt, Grojean just makes them more frequently and with greater consequence. Neither Vettel nor Lewis came into Formula 1 and took out as many people in incidents like Grosjean has. They've made mistakes, but he's making them more often, or getting caught up in things he shouldn't be. There was a lot of talk about him making Kimi honest, but I think it's showing that Kimi never lost anything in his two year absence.

  8. I normally agree with most of what you say, but this time I have to say you are just talking crazy. You mention Kimi's "first corner indiscretion" and say how easy it would have been for him to "lift slightly". Kimi had no obligation whatsoever to lift slightly when holding his line on a straight. If they were in a corner, yes he would have been obliged to lift, but not in a straight off the start.

    Also, I like seeing teams take advantage of technical loopholes. That's how the best teams win, they take the best advantage of the rules. There is nothing illegal about the DDRS and they have no reason to hide it or downplay its benefits.

    1. KIM mean, Kimi could have lifted but yes of course he was under no obligation to ( I guess Grosjean was under no obligation either...) The problem here was that by the Alonso was ahead an boxed in so the only one who had a chance to change the outcome was Raikkonen. But that fall under the " shit that happens on race starts" category

      As for the " if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'. I'm all for it!

  9. I think you will find that Lewis did not get a 'slap in the face' from Perez, he saw Perez making a dive up the inside and didn't want to risk a crash (some would call this mature driving). I think you will also find that Lewis "put him in his place" by defending his line and making Perez look like an rookie (how stupid does Perez think Lewis is?).

    1. C'mon he out raked Lewis fair and square. He was totally taken by surprise. No worries though, with his innate setup and development ailities ( and his mad twitter skills) Lewis will not have to worry about Perez next year!

    2. For someone as good on the brakes as Lewis is, I think it was a brilliant move by Perez. He caught him napping. If there ever was a personification of that, it was the move Perez made. It was almost Kobyashi like. Kamui has made a lot of people humble in that corner over the years.


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