Posted on October 4, 2010
Title Rivals tightly bunched around Webber the Gambler | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

This extraordinary championship has – hopefully – four more chapters in store for us.
The title is still Mark Webber’s to lose; he has the fastest car and a ten point advantage. He has also had a couple of slices of “champions’ luck” this year and he has shown a willingness to gamble, in which I’m very interested.

Photo: Darren Heath

Meanwhile Fernando Alonso is the man with the momentum. He and Ferrari are peaking at just the right moment. In the last five races Alonso has scored 93 points, Webber 74, Vettel 60, Hamilton 55 and Button 44.

Amazingly if you look at how things would stand under the old points system, Webber would have 80 points, Alonso 77, Hamilton 75, Vettel 74, Button 72, which is unprecedented.

If there is a problem with Korea and for any reason it isn’t possible to run the race, then it will hurt the McLaren drivers and Vettel the most as they need the maximum number of opportunities to score points.

But Webber also has to go out and take the initiative, he cannot simply hold on as Alonso is catching him too quickly for that.

Webber has put his trust in engineer Ciaron Pilbeam a few times this year (Photo: Red Bull)


What I’ve been interested in recently, has been Webber’s willingness to take risks with strategy. The more you have to lose, the harder it is to take a gamble.

In Hungary and particularly Singapore he went onto a different strategy from the others, one which required him to work hard. In Singapore he was obliged to do most of the race on a single set of tyres and to pass a few cars as well to make the strategy work and that is ambitious on a street circuit, however fast your car is.

He pulled it off – after questioning the strategy with his team at one point – and it brought him a podium, which was the height of his ambitions at Singapore, where he wasn’t really on the pace all weekend.

In Hungary Red Bull had a significant car advantage over the opposition, but by Singapore that had been largely eroded, possibly due to the more stringent FIA flexi tests.

Webber started fifth in Singapore but the early safety car presented his engineer with an idea. Believing that McLaren would struggle for pace on the option tyre during the opening stint, they brought Webber in to the pits on lap 3 under the safety car and put him on the harder prime tyre. This is the same medium compound tyre he used in Monaco and Budapest.

The objective was to take third place from Hamilton and the gamble relied on many of the cars in the midfield also pitting under the safety car, which luckily most of them did. The exceptions were Kobayashi and Glock. Meanwhile the cars immediately behind Webber on the road before his stop all continued – Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello and Schumacher.

So Webber had lost six track positions, was behind one car from a new team and several drivers who are not easy to pass. He had to ensure that Hamilton did not get more than 27 seconds clear of him by the time of the McLaren pit stop, which turned out to be lap 28.

At the time it seemed quite a risky thing to do with a driver who is leading the world championship and Webber questioned it himself. There is always a risk inherent in any passing move, especially on street tracks where the corner angles tend to be tight, the kerbs are high and there isn’t much room.

By not taking the gamble, Webber would have finished fifth, which is 10 points, but the team believed that it could get him a third place, which is an extra 5 points. With Alonso in such challenging form, it was a gamble worth taking. Had he not taken it, he would now by just 6 points ahead of Alonso with four races remaining.

Passing cars was a pre-requisite, however and there’s a double risk here. You can collide -as Lewis Hamilton has done recently – or blocked. We’ve often seen fast cars get stuck behind slow ones on street tracks, the ultimate example being David Coulthard’s McLaren unable to pass Enrique Bernoldi’s Arrows at Monaco.

When Hamilton stopped on lap 28, for example, Kobayashi was 35 seconds behind, so had Webber not been able to pass the Sauber the strategy would have failed. Button would have stayed ahead and Rosberg would have undercut him for fifth place too.

Until lap 17 the hard tyres were significantly slower than the softs and Webber got stuck behind Barrichello, so Hamilton was able to pull away at over a second per lap. But after lap 17 the softs started to go off and the difference came down to more like half a second, which was more manageable and led to the gamble ultimately paying off. The gap peaked at 24 seconds on lap 23, but the McLarens stayed out too long trying to get the gap up to 27 seconds and it went down instead of up.

Gotcha! The gamble pays off and Webber jumps the McLarens


Interestingly Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Webber that they had considered making the strategy switch early on with Vettel, who was second, but decided to give it to Webber as he had potentially more to gain. It’s hard to see what Vettel might have gained from it as with Alonso running at the front, there is no way Vettel would have been able to undercut him on the slower hard tyres.

If Webber does win the title this year -and with Alonso on the rampage that is a big IF – then this gamble, the one in Hungary and the two occasions when he has hit another car and got away without damage (Singapore with Hamilton and Istanbul with Vettel) will have played a significant role in it.

As a side note, one could argue that Hamilton has been prepared to gamble recently with overtakes and has paid a heavy price. Without the gambles he would have scored a pair of fourth places, so they cost him 24 points, which would put him top of the table.

You need a bit of luck to be a champion and Webber seems to have been getting the rub of the green this season. Let’s hope for his sake that his luck holds, but he’s proven already the old cliche that fortune favours the brave.

Title Rivals tightly bunched around Webber the Gambler
146 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Ben G
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:12 pm 

    Ever since Alonso’s apparently bizarre prediction at Silverstone that he could win the championship, I’ve felt that his title charge has had an ethereal dimension to it. He seems to know something we don’t!

    So my money’s on him.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Michael C
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:13 pm 

    I really hope that Mark can can do it this year – it seems like the best (and only perhaps?) chance he is going to get

    [Reply]

    Aaron95 Reply:

    I don’t think this is his only chance. He has a Red Bull seat for next year, and there’s no reason to expect the car won’t be competitive in 2011 or beyond.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Andrew H
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:21 pm 

    I heard a comment somewhere that Hamilton got a puncture from his clash with Webber, not suspension failure – if that is the case why did he not pit and continue the race?

    [Reply]

    Quin Reply:

    you are the first person to mention this. i had the same thought but wondered why no one else has noticed this error of hamilton. surely he could have kept goingto the pits. another mistake by hammy!

    [Reply]

    Canuck Reply:

    Hello,
    I actually heard that too, and then I read it on the BBC site and many others.
    “and in Singapore, the car behind tapped me and punctured my tyre. I’ve been unlucky both times.”.
    this is copied from the BBC site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9044641.stm
    From his statement, he did not have a broken suspension.
    Now, Hamilton doesn’t say if he stopped for another reason.
    He says he stopped for a punctured tyre.
    Why he couldn’t keep on racing, is beyond me.

    [Reply]

    Mark M Reply:

    I think it was a combination of the 2

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    Stephen W Reply:

    It did look as though a puncture caused Hamiltons DNF,i just cannot see how front suspended wheel could damage a fixed rear wheel to such an extent a driver could not continue,and Mclaren have not issued anything to say why Hamilton had not pitted afterwards,and for some strange reason the pundits haven,t either.

    Good point.

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    Bevan Reply:

    I’m hoping Lewis will punt Webber the stockcar steer-er clean off track.How race control let the Ocker get away with that rubbish is beyond me,can you imagine Denny Hulme punting Jack Brabham off track like that,sheeez the rules & etiquette must have quietly changed without me noticing.Wheel to wheel used to be the correct way,now its front wheel level with car in fronts rear wheel & you have the right to contact instead of blending in behind.

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    lw343 Reply:

    Mark couldnt just disappear, Lewis got caught out and tried to cut into the Red Bull car. His mistake, he paid the price.

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    KRB Reply:

    I’ve watched the onboard replays in slo-mo, and you can see that MW does let the wheels go straight or even slightly to the right (i.e. into LH) for a split-second right before the contact. Now his left tires were on the kerbs at this time, so maybe that played a role in that steering “stutter”. MW did brake very late, and likely would’ve gone over the kerbs on the far side if LH wasn’t in the way (going over those sideways is what likely caused suspension damage to LH’s car; the car looked sick immediately).

    LH was past MW down the stretch (he simply had to go for it, after MW got blocked by LdG, who really needs a talking-to about letting leading cars thru), but then braked earlier and also ran wide instead of holding nearer the inside line. Let’s just say that it wasn’t a vintage LH overtaking maneuver. He was too far ahead that he couldn’t really slow to let MW overshoot past, but he wasn’t far enough ahead to say the corner was definitely his.

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    Lockster Reply:

    I actually wondered the same thing when I read that, why wouldn’t you at least try to salvage maybe a ninth or tenth place if at all possible?

    You would think that Lewis of all people would know how valuable every point is… :)

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    Canuck Reply:

    I agree with you Lockster.
    I don’t know why stop racing from a puncture. Kubica didn’t.
    I guess it was his version of ‘red mist’.
    It is bad publicity for M.Whitmarsh’s favorite product (tongue in cheek comment from a Ferrari fan).
    Cheers everybody, have fun with my comment!

    [Reply]

    rossetto Reply:

    Seems like a lot of people wonder why he did not continue.
    Maybe that is because you guys were not driving the car and may not know the whole story….
    Hamilton, on the other hand may have know if the car was still drivable or not.

    [Reply]

    Paul James Reply:

    Could the reason he did not continue be, pretty sure the safety car had only just gone in when they collided, so surely that would mean as all the cars on the track are bunched up Lewis would of been overtaken by every single car (execpt those who had been lapped) on the track making his way back to the pits and while he would of been in the pits, I would guess 15+ cars???
    I think he knew the chances of him catching and then overtaking these 5+ cars on that type of track to get in the points was pretty much an impossible task and decided to pull out and save his engine!?

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    Michael C Reply:

    thats not the Lewis decsion you would expect – it seems to have been a more ‘heat of the moment’ affair – perhaps he did it because he assumed he had a problem after the outcome for his car of the Monza collision

    Quick Nick Rules Reply:

    Perhaps the team told him to retire the car and he did what they said rather than follow his own instinct? It wouldn’t be the first time – China ’07, Australia, ’09, ’10, Belgium ’10 etc – I’ve often thought this complete trust in what the team tell him is the only real flaw in his character, and does little to disperse criticism that he is manufactured and not his own man.

    malcolm.strachan Reply:

    Maybe he thought it was suspension, pulled off and turned off the engine.

    This would make sense, as he probably felt a rather hard hit, and then the rear end was loose… He then makes a hasty conclusion that the suspension is broken and pulls off.

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    devilsadvocate Reply:

    not to mention from the sheer force of impact he took a pretty hard bump, sideways no less, across the curb. I may be imagining things but it looked like there was some more damge on the rear aside from a flat tire.

    Criticizing Lewis for not continuing is on par with the fanboys who are crucifying Mark for a straight up racing incident. Had the tables been turned and Mark turned across Lewis bow like that or had it been Vettel instead of Hamilton, the villagers would be calling for blood on those guys, oh well thats mob rule for you.

    That being said, Lewis certainly isn’t driving like someone who was trying to defend a points lead. Im sure Button made Ross Brawn a bit nervous last year with lukewarm performances while Vettel charging from behind, but at least he didn’t bin his BGP01 on two different occasions as the title wound down. Just calm and cool to bring her home… boring but smart

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    Nico Reply:

    It’s a good point. Vettel also retired without any mechanical damage at Turkey and stormed off instead of bagging whatever points he could.

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  4.   4. Posted By: Frenchie
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:28 pm 

    Let’s hope Webber pulls it out. He was at 18/1 when I bet on him before testing began. The odds were too good.

    I also put a ‘sure bet’ on Alonso but at 5/2 it is far less interesting.

    It is funny to see how consistency plays out. With four retirements, Lewis is still in the title race. Rather the exception from the rule I’d say.

    [Reply]

    JohnBt Reply:

    Hi Frenchie

    Will keep you posted on the Malaysian GP.

    [Reply]

    Frenchie Reply:

    Thanks JohnBt.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Irish con
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:34 pm 

    I think if alonso can get threw the next two races and still be somewhere close to were he is at now he is a certainty for the title. Im convinced that brazil and Abu dhabi are made for the Ferrari package ie slow traction events heavy braking and no fast corners. Also don’t think there’s much to worry about engine wise if the engine he won Singapore with had done Hungary and Germany. He still has 2 engines that have only done one event each so there still plenty left

    [Reply]

    chris Reply:

    i agree with you about the the ferrari package being strong at the last two races. If Alonso can sneak a podium at suzuka then he will have a great chance but i think he will be third place in the championship come sunday. Lewis has to win this weekend and i think he will do it.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    Are you betting on rain? The general view is that McLaren doesn’t have the downforce to cope in sector 1 of Suzuka.

    [Reply]

    chris Reply:

    The Mclaren has very good downforce on the high speed tracks and they were super competitive at Turkey, Silverstone and Spa. For Lewis to finish only 1.4 seconds behind webber at silverstone was pretty remarkable considering how bad their friday and saturday was. This points to good fundamental high speed performance and the gap to Red bull is even narrower with the stricter flexi load tests and a better performing blown diffuser. It sure won’t be easy for Lewis to win but it is time for a champions drive.

    Actually writing this reply has strengthened my convictions. Lewis for pole, win and fastest lap!

    Martin Reply:

    Chris,

    I admire your conviction if nothing else, if gives people like me something to think about. I’m a professional analyst, so I tend to fence sit with the lack of info that we have. But anyway. Turkey – turn eight – the McLarens were 15 km/h slower than the Red Bulls. At that stage of the season McLaren weren’t close to Red Bull on downforce. The f-duct, which was in Red Bull’s first race, was what kept McLaren in the game.

    Silverstone. There was late race safety car that bunched the field up, so that is hardly representative. I’ll get to another related point, but in qualifying Lewis was 0.95 seconds off pole, and that was significant improvement on Lewis’ Q2 pace.

    The McLaren’s strength is aerodynamic efficiency, thanks to the F-duct optimisation and engine power. Spa has been the only qualifying where McLaren was the quickest car. In Canada the Reb Bulls were within 0.25 of second, and when you remember they were on the hard tyres and didn’t run out of fuel, over one lap they were still quicker.

    At Spa sector one is one tight corner and then 24 seconds full throttle. Looking at qualifying the best sector times show Lewis and Jenson were fastest of everyone, two tenths quicker than the Red Bulls. In the middle sector, the bits with bends the drivers have to slow down for, the Red Bulls were four tenths quicker than the McLarens. In the last sector, which is basically flat out through Stavelot, Blanchimont and then brake for the chicane, the McLarens were one and two again, three tenths up on the Red Bulls.

    Fundamentally, the McLarens cannot have good downforce as they are consistently among the quickest cars on the straights. The rest of the field wouldn’t see which way they went as the cars would also be the best braking and fastest cornering. Concepts of good low speed downforce versus good high speed downforce are not completely wrong, but is only really significant when it comes to following other cars.

    At Singapore we saw a change in the McLarens. The one lap pace was relatively better than the race pace. In the race the McLarens didn’t have the grip (downforce) to provide traction and after twenty laps the tyres were gone and the tail was sliding. What was the cause of this – a step up from Red Bull and Ferrari or a step back from McLaren? The most likely situation is that the 2007-2009 philosophy that favoured tyre heat over tyre wear was revisited. If you recall Germany in 2008, the McLaren was one of the few cars that could generate sufficient tyre temperature in the race. Kimi generally couldn’t get the tyres hot enough to qualify well, but had good race pace. McLaren made a conscious decision in suspension design to look after the tyres to favour the race pace. Ron Dennis had a rant about it when Lewis was complaining that the one lap pace wasn’t good enough.

    Generally speaking, downforce has a bigger time benefit in qualifying than the race. The reason for this is the additional downforce puts greater load on the tyres. Therefore to manage the tyres the driver has to back off more from the absolute maximum. What happened in Singapore with McLaren is the less common situation that Jenson talked about in Monza – sliding through the corners causing excessive wear.

    So what can we say about Suzuka? The effectiveness of the upgrades that the three leading teams will bring is unknown. Ferrari admitted it got its Spa aero package wrong and McLaren got Monza wrong. Red Bull didn’t have the engine power for either track and that has been widely forecast all season for those to tracks. Suzuka is never in that same group. If McLaren is to be competive up to the hairpin after the bridge, it would be reversal of everything we have seen this season. The second half of the lap would favour the engine power of the Mercedes and Ferrari, but the Spoon curve is fast on entry, and medium speed on exit, so that would give the Red Bull an advantage for the first part of the straight.

    I’ll agree that it won’t be easy for Lewis – all the recent data suggests to me it will be very hard for him and Jenson. Lewis is a great driver, and while I think it is unproven and circumstantial, some would argue that Lewis’ performances under pressure of wining a championship in 2007 and 2008 haven’t been too special. Still if he does win from pole, you can say I told you so.

    [Reply]

    chris Reply:

    Martin, that is an interesting piece of analysis and you have successfully made me reappraise my initial conclusions. As an artist i try to resist pragmatism and trust my instincts and intuition in order to do the best job possible. Therefore it is in my nature to rock the fence on which you sit.

    So i am going to concede that a pole for lewis is less likely but i still feel that he is going to win. Now get off the fence and make a call before practice starts!

    Martin Reply:

    Chris, I got your message too late comment before free practice. I’ve only seen the headline to James article, so Vettel is quick. Can Webber match him. As an Australian I’d like to think so. Since he has rarely done well I’ll go with Vettel making a mess of qualifying (i.e 2nd) and a formation race in the dry.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: István Simon
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:37 pm 

    Just can’t understand why is it interesting to see “what-would-the-points-standings-be-like in the old points system? I mean, what is the point in such comparisons? Anyway, I like James Allen’s blog & great comments – keep it up!

    [Reply]

    Ashley Scott Reply:

    The point of such comparisons it to see if the new points system has made any significant difference to the championship. It would still be close under whichever system :)

    I guess you do have to be pretty geeky to find it interesting though :P

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    A.K. Reply:

    What’s interesting is that the margins would be closer under the old system, with Button a 2nd place away from the lead whereas now he is a full race win in points away from the lead – i.e. he cannot take the lead outright in the next race.

    But you are right, it would be close with any scoring system except perhaps one where only wins count!! This is due to the fact that we have three competitive teams of evenly matched drivers in pretty evenly matched machinery. Unprecedented stuff. When was the last time 5 drivers went into the last four races within a win of each other?

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    I’ve read somewhere it was in 1981 – not sure, it seems to be the Middle Ages!! ;-)

    Martin Reply:

    Following on from Galapagos’ point, in 1982 Rosberg won with 44 points. With nine points per win, any driver with a superlicence to drive in F1 was in contention with five races to go, so it was probably about 40 drivers notionally still in with a shot after 11 races.

    Dan Reply:

    There’s something I think people miss when analysing the old versus new points systems.

    Under the new points system, different scenarios play out in different ways.

    An example:

    Let’s say for argument’s sake that Jenson suddenly gets momentum, and he heads out to win all 4 of the remaining races. At the same time, Mark decides to play the “safe” option, and aims to take 2nd at every race. Exclude the remaining contenders for now.

    Under the new points system:

    The difference in points earned in the last four races would give Jenson 28 points more than Mark. Jenson would then be clear WC.

    Under the old points system:

    They would finish the season on equal points. Granted, Jenson would still be crowned WC, due to more wins.

    The important thing to realise is that if one focused solely on the points (not no. of wins too), under the current points system, Mark cannot play a “safe” option. At some point he’d have to attack.

    I’m not sure if i’m making my point clearly enough.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Michael
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:39 pm 

    Makes me think Lewis is due for a break with one of his do-or-die manoeuvres. If luck decides to balance itself out, this championship could yet flip over again.

    There’s also the possibility that Ferrari’s run of performance could come to an end. All it takes is for Fernando to have a bad weekend and suddenly there’s nothing stopping Vettel from taking the fight to his championship leading team mate.

    It really shows what Mark’s made of that he’s still approaching racing in exactly the same way he has all year and is still producing results even in the more challenging situations.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: David Newsome
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:40 pm 

    Vettel was 0.6 seconds quicker than Webber in qualifying in Germany, 0.4 quicker in Hungary, 0.5 quicker in Singapore. In Italy, he started behind but finished ahead. Yet, in Hungary Webber won while Vettel slipped up behind the safety car, and in Singapore his advantage was minimised when Webber finished third. Indeed, despite being the quicker of the two Red Bulls over the last few months (a qualifying gap of a quarter of a second in the last five races), Vettel has scored 60 points to Webber’s 74 (an average loss of nearly 3 points per race over the last five races). With four to go, Webber is 21 points clear and can be happy finishing second on Sunday; whether Vettel is 0.1 or 0.6 seconds quicker, the difference between 1st and 2nd remains 7 points. If Mark outscores Sebastian in Japan, it may be game over. Ultimately, we can pore over statistics forever to estimate absolute pace, and that puts Vettel in front. But, the only statistic that really counts is the number of points taken on Sundays, and that puts Webber in command.

    [Reply]

    Mr Squiggle Reply:

    I agree with this- there is a distinction between the out-and-out speed of vettel and the racecraft of Webber.

    A championship with five contenders will be won by the man with better racecraft, not the fastest.

    My concern here is that Red Bull are yet to confirm Webber as the number one driver, with four races to go. Momentum is with Ferrari and Massa will be directed to allow Alonso past. Red Bull has lost its advantage yet, Vettel will not be asked to allow Webber past.

    A Webber that finished second in Singapore due to team orders would be 14 points ahead of Alonso, not 11.

    [Reply]

    David Newsome Reply:

    I find it funny reading such comments about Massa letting Alonso past. It is unlikely that he will find himself in front to have to do so. Massa’s biggest role now is taking points away from the others. He has been solid but not spectacular recently. He needs to shadow Alonso, not be three places back with a Red Bull and a couple of McLarens in between.

    [Reply]

    Mr Squiggle Reply:

    Fair enough David,

    Why race your team-mate to be in front of him, when you could always shadow him with heroic intent? :-)

    Roll-on the Japanese GP, where the srcrew will tighten another turn, Webber to win.

    David Newsome Reply:

    I do not mean he needs to shadow Alonso rather than race to be in front of him, in a ‘hold station’ kind of way. Rather, Massa’s inability to get ahead of Alonso means that he needs to maximise the performance of the Ferrari: if Alonso can finish first, he should come second (didn’t at Monza); if Alonso can finish third, he should come fourth, etc. So, when I say ‘shadow’ I mean be as close as possible. With the best intentions I find it highely unlikely that he can get ahead on pure pace.

    The whole team orders fiasco has rather helped Massa, in a funny way, by clouding the public perception: he has been hammered by Alonso this season. That would be true whether or not he ceded position in Hockenheim.

    Vettel to win in Suzuka!

    David


  9.   9. Posted By: garth
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:45 pm 

    nice little article james. Well written. Come on MW. You can do it. Its all about aussie grit.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: VonSpeeX
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:46 pm 

    Nice piece James….Fortune favours the brave
    Good luck mark

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Carlos
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:52 pm 

    James, Brilliant analysis, as usual! Thanks for it
    I am actually quite certain that Red Bull performance was very much impacted by the Flexi Tests and that Ferrari got some improvement – with Alonso’s ability they managed to make two wins in a row, but still think that Red Bull are the fastest car… but not necessarily the favourite team for Japan (GO ALONSO!)
    Regards, Carlos

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Silvercity
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 2:56 pm 

    James, your final statement regarding Webber “hitting” other cars and “getting away without damage” infers Webber was in error and was perhaps calculating in the risk verses consequence in these 2 incidents. There is no doubt he is aggressive and commands his part of the track but in my humble opinion it is Vettel and Hamilton who have slowly been losing the plot. Both have had the upper hand and thrown caution to the wind where perhaps a degree of patience may have resulted in a better outcome for each (Vettel and Hamilton that is). Luck has often been the difference between winning and losing (race and championship) and in the past it has often deserted Webber; perhaps the planets will align and an Aussie will be the last man standing! It has been a long time between drinks for us. Notwithstanding that, I agree it is for Webber to lose and I will argue despite the rhetoric, team orders will come into play in the next 4 races be it with Red Bull, Ferrari and/or Mclaren. Cheers

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    lw343 Reply:

    i agree, i dont honestly thing, bias as i may be, that Webber is to blame for the instances in Instanbul and Singapore. Through his aggression and determination Webber fought to the end, his opponents in both cases didnt quite do enough to make a successful pass and therefore should’ve yeilded their challenge, perhaps try again at a later corner. I really hope it can be the year of the aussie and the BBC commentary, the coverage we get over here, will not try to undermine Mark’s performances anymore then they already do. (maybe not so much Brundle)

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Galapago555
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 3:02 pm 

    James, any news on Korean GP chances? I would be a pity if we had to miss any race, with this end of the season!!

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Some concerns, but we’ll know more after Charlie Whiting’s visit a week tomorrow

    [Reply]

    James W Reply:

    As a Ferrari and a new found Alonso fan (previously Raikkonen and Schumacher – still a die hard fan of both though…!), I seriously hope that Korea doesnt go ahead. That would drop three title challenegers out of the hunt!

    [Reply]

    Paul Reply:

    Thats if Alonso finishes well in the races enough said a DNF putsa big dent even with ferraris recent charge

    john g Reply:

    wouldn’t you prefer that ferrari / alonso could win korea instead of taking out competitors without having to race them?

    Michael C Reply:

    Surely they can decide sooner and maybe have a double header in Japan if as seems likely Korea is too marginal

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Ben
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 3:08 pm 

    Mod, I got a “duplicate comment” error message despite never hitting submit. I am sending it again, if it was a duplication then please delete this, if not please post this without this paragraph.

    If any of the top 5 drivers wins all four remaining races, regardless of other results they will be WDC. On that basis, it is difficult to say it Mark Webber’s championship to lose just yet as the positions are too close.

    Even if Korea does not happen, then any of the top 3 drivers can guarantee the WDC with straight victories.

    Granted, straight victories would go against the narrative of the season so far, but the point is that each of the top 5 driver knows they can still win the championship without relying on bad luck on their competitors, and as such no driver is yet in a position to consider themselves with one hand on the championship.

    Mark Webber can finish second in every single race, if any of the other 4 drivers finish first in every race then they are WDC. To put this in perspective, last year Jenson Button could afford to finish second in every race following the Turkish GP and still be WDC – that is a case of it being someone’s Championship to lose, not the position Mark Webber is in.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Paddy
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 3:26 pm 

    Mark will be a fantastic champion. He is also a great ambassador for the sport as well as Australia.

    [Reply]

    Red5 Reply:

    I’m sure millions of fans would agree.

    [Reply]

    Paul Kirk Reply:

    He sure will be, Paddy, and like Red5 says, millions of us will be over the moon! Somehow I can’t quite work up the same enthusiam for Wettel.
    PK. (NZ)

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: D.
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 3:31 pm 

    If Webber wins the WDC, I will never say “never” again, in regards to F1. If he wins, it will be two years in a row that simply mediocre driver has won the title, mainly because the had the fastest car for most (if not all of) the season. If Webber and Button can the WDC, then definitely Kubica, Nico, Sutil, Trulli and perhaps a couple of other drivers can as well … if they get a car that is a second faster for at least a 3rd of the season.

    But his year something tells me that Webebr will manage to lose it. At least Button knows his limits and is not hot-headed. Webber is inconsistent, makes too many stupid mistakes and his driving ability is mediocre at best.

    If he wins, I will aplaud him for it and will accept that in this sport the car-to-driver “weight” ratio is at least 3-to-1.

    [Reply]

    Tim Horton Reply:

    ‘Webber is inconsistent, makes too many stupid mistakes and his driving ability is mediocre at best.’

    Not to be picky, but if you consider Mark Webber to be a mediocre driver at best, you must be bloody brilliant; is that you calling from the heavens, Aryton?

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    If Webber wins it when he is so mediocre in your opinion, then what does that make Vettel?

    [Reply]

    Mr jones Reply:

    Webber made a mistake in australia, which ended Hamiltons race, He then had (or some say caused) an accident in Turkey, and was very lucky to keep his front wing at Singapore (also ending Hamiltons race) when refusing to yeild.

    That being said, He’s not top driver for being mediocre.

    How many times have you heard Hamilton say this year that he could get no more out of the car? The ironic thing is that now he does have a competitive package, he seems to be losing concentration.

    Not sure about the wdc, but if RB Don’t win the constructors after having such a mighty advantage all season, then Webber and Vettel deserve a real cold shower.

    [Reply]

    stanard Reply:

    ‘Webber made a mistake in australia, which ended Hamiltons race’

    Hamilton finished 5th in Melbourne.

    [Reply]

    AB Reply:

    If driving in a straight line causes an accident, then Mark is to blame in Turkey. If defending your position when entitled (watch the telecast, the cars are alongside each other at turn in(. Mark is braking harder so Hamilton moves ahead of him. Maybe if Hamilton gave more room, they both would make the corner without contact.

    [Reply]

    Damian Johnson Reply:

    The problemn is that Webber is getting involved in too many collsions to keep passing the blame on all the other drivers. And the drive into the back of Kovalainen? Was that Kovalainen’s fault too for not having 360 degree vision?

    lw343 Reply:

    im not sure where your from, but to give you some context, every year for the past 8 years there is alway enormous pressure on Webber to do well in the Australian GP. The media hypes up his chances so much so that the pressure would be extreme. Sure every home race for any driver would be hard, but many home races have more then 1 driver competing. as for the other accidents they were not the fault of the australian but rather ambitious chances taken by opponents.

    [Reply]

    michael grievson Reply:

    I don’t agree. Webber and button may have had the fastest car but you still have to have the most points in the end. Reubens was completed outclassed by button in the same car. Heikki was completely out classed by Lewis at mclaren. Same with Schumacher at ferrari.

    Does that mean Vettel is a bad driver as well?

    [Reply]

    Murray Reply:

    The difference between a class driver and a mediocre one in a good car is illustrated by Kovalainen at McLaren and recent second-stringers at Renault. On his day, Webber can, and has, beaten Vettel in broadly equal equipment. Mediocre drivers can’t make that leap.

    [Reply]

    Stephen F Reply:

    I don’t get you calling Jenson Button a mediocre driver, he’s the only one in the top 5 who hasn’t took himself out a race this season due to his own stupidity, Monaco was a mechanics fault and Spa was down to the crash kid costing him valuble points. If your definition of a mediocre driver is someone who keeps himself on the track and in the points even when his car isn’t quite as competitive as it should be then I’d hate to know what your opinion of the other drivers are.

    If Jenson was driving Webber’s flexi-wing Red Bull this season the championship would be almost over by now.

    [Reply]

    Vernon Reply:

    “If Jenson was driving Webber’s flexi-wing Red Bull this season the championship would be almost over by now.”

    In which race(s) would Button have improved over Webber’s results if he had Webber’s car?

    [Reply]

    Stephen F Reply:

    I wasn’t comparing Button to Webber but if you want to go down that route, Istanbul and Valencia where Webber got himself involved in incidents. Jenson has shown that given a fast competitive car he’ll win races and keep himself clear of trouble, this season he’s proved that out of the 5 at the top of the WDC he’s the only one not to have cost himself points through his own driving errors. Had he been in a Red Bull which for the best part of this season was well ahead of the rival cars it would have been a case of a Brawn GP at the start of the 2009 season scenario again. As much as I like Mark Webber, if he does win the WDC this season it’s more down to the car than the driver and quite a bit of luck as well.

    Aaron95 Reply:

    I agree with this. You don’t have to be the absolute fastest driver to win races or the title. If that were the case, the championship would be decided by qualifying.

    [Reply]

    For Sure Reply:

    Mark may be an underdog but you can’t compare him with Jenson.
    Because a) he has the strongest teammate among the title contenders (and yes I don’t consider Jenson a contender)

    b) the competition is very tough. He has to overcome Alonso and Lewis on top of his very fast teammate.

    c) The cars are much closer then last year Brawn and the rest.

    [Reply]

    sut Reply:

    Trulli !!!!???!!!!

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: **Paul**
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 4:16 pm 

    It’ll be interesting if Korea happens, the Alonso engine factor would become less of an issue (if it is one? given how reliable they now seem!).

    I’ve had my money on Alonso since Germany, so I’ll not chance now.

    I do think if Fernando takes the title this year he’ll deserve masses of respect for doing so in a car which we all know over the course of the season hasn’t been as good overall as the RBR or McLaren. It’s very rare to see a WDC winner in a car which isn’t the 1st or 2nd best car on the grid.

    It’s proven to be an absolutely fantastic season thus far, and plenty of the early season predications about Webber and Button getting destroyed by their younger team mates (or should I say Crash Kids! *rolls eyes*) look to be long forgotton now…

    [Reply]

    Paul Reply:

    I totally disagree with the notion the ferrari has not been fast all year they ve had a good car for a while results have not just gone there way.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Damon
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 4:21 pm 

    First!!

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Paul Mc
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 4:29 pm 

    Webber was incredibly lucky to survive the clash with Hamilton and claim a 3rd place in Singapore. The defining moment of this years championship? I think so.

    I hope he goes on to win it. Great honest guy who had to overcome some in team squabbles and favoritism towards Vettel. He’s driven superbly and is a worthy champion in my eyes.

    [Reply]

    Paul Kirk Reply:

    I totally agree with you on all counts, Paul.
    PK.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Nicholas Thornton
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 4:37 pm 

    Come on mark, bring it home. Suzuka has red bull written all over it and if he can bag a win, i will be loving it. After silverstone qualy i have supported webber and i am desperate for him to win.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: tim
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 4:38 pm 

    James, aside from this stunning title battle, how do you think Red Bull are placed in regards to next years car.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Well they are clearly very strong technically now and well resourced. They continued developing last year’s car and still came up with the class-leading car this year. I see no reason for this to change

    [Reply]

    PaulL Reply:

    I wondered, James, what Domenicali meant when he said that it would be ‘drivers’ that made the difference in the title race. I wondered if that meant that Ferrari don’t have many developments ahead for the rest of the season, whereas McLaren claim they have a double upgrade for Suzuka which included something they tried out at Singapore.

    You can’t afford to slowdown dev if you want to win a world title surely!

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I was there when he said it, he meant that it will come down to drivers either getting the job done or losing their heads

    Martin Reply:

    Paul,

    I suspect it was a case of saying “we have the best driver”, in the belief that this kind of public statement is a boost to Alonso in the same way Alonso has said that Ferrari developments will get them to the top. Mutual reinforcement of a positive attitude.

    Cliff Reply:

    James, Are the teams still obliged to reduce their staffing levels. I know that they came up with a number of solutions a couple of weeks ago, but the likes of Red Bull, Mclaren & Ferrari still appear to have the capacity to develop their cars at a rate that far exceeds the rate of the other teams. I remember hearing Ross Brawn saying that the cuts made to staffing levels at Brawn/Mercedes would have to me made by the other teams. Has this happened and if not, will the restrictions not be felt by the big teams next year?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, they have to get to below 300 by the end of 2011

    Damian Johnson Reply:

    James,

    If teams are to get staffing levels below a pre determined number, how will FIA enforce this? Easier perhaps with pure racing teams but what about teams like Ferrari that can disguise their true staffing levels through outsourcing to their production arm?

    devilsadvocate Reply:

    to the OP, I know you were addressing James with your question but I though I would also add, with the double diffusers going away next year Red Bull might have a drop on the field this coming year considering they started out ahead of two of the double diffuser teams last year and were always there keeping Brawn honest and then pulling ahead when they got their own double diffuser running right.

    Adrian Newey was certainly the winner of those who read the rules to the letter on diffusers last year, and if I remember right it was Ferrari and one other team who really got boned… who was it? oh yeah, Mclaren. I remember those guys getting lapped a lot, real shame

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: David R Hamilton
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 5:04 pm 

    Webbers luck will run out as he is due a visit from Karma. He was fool hardy trying to hold of hamilton as he could have been out. He was better to pick up 4th place than risk nothing. Instead he got lucky and took out his rival.

    The man to fear is still hamilton because he is due a change of fortune and I believe that he will take the title. Webber cannot handle the pressure and his pace in Singapore proved it. Make no mistake James. His move on hamilton was not gutsy, it was very dangerous trying to hold hamilton off. Do not listen to these journalists and back seat drivers who say it was a 50-50 and webber had a right to hold his line. Hamilton gave him plenty of room at the initial overtake. He could have blocked him off earlier but did not want to risk a collision. Hamilton knows next time to take both of them out if webber tries it again.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    I think your admiration for Hamilton is clouding your judgment. It was a bold move but it didn’t payoff, simple racing incident. I think Hamilton will be even more bold for the next races since he is so far from the lead in the championship and I’m expecting few more DNF for him.

    [Reply]

    AB Reply:

    The Rose Tints are well and truly on. In one breath you say he took a risk and took Hamilton out and later you say he didn’t want to risk a collision. And what would be the point of Hamilton taking them both out “if webber tries it again”. He is behind in the championship so that would be a pointless move.

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Andy Fov
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 5:28 pm 

    Quote “if you look at how things would stand under the old points system, Webber would have 80 points, Alonso 77, Hamilton 75, Vettel 74, Button 72″

    Fascinating!

    So, all this talk of it being the new points system that’s given us a close and exciting season must be groundless?

    For as long as it stays as close as it is no one is going to coast. Three wins and a crash scores more than four second places. I think this season’s going to remain unmissable till its final lap.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    The new points system is to help the lesser teams as the points go down to 10th rather than 8th as there are more cars and reliability keeps getting better. As far as the championship there are small variations in the gap from first to second for example, and if you finish 7-10th, you do notably better than last year for the same placing. But don’t think of this as something that is an approximation of the medals system that Bernie wanted.

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Marcus Hayward
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 5:28 pm 

    Nice article there. I must say that this season has been a revelation in terms of seeing Mark passing cars. I think he’s always been capable, but in previous years we really only got to see his talent at defending position. I don’t think many rational people would deny that he’s a fierce and clever defender of position. Finally, with a quick and nimble car, he can play . . . he must be loving it. Some of his moves (even last year too) have been amazing.

    Cheers

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: gil dogon
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 5:30 pm 

    Well, until this season Webber have had his own share of misfortune, mostly mechanicals, so it is definitely a case of karma balancing for him, I do hope that he wins the title rather than Alonso, and I hope he does it by beating him on the track !

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: jmv
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 5:41 pm 

    I am missing the twitter feeds, James

    pleeease bring them back! :)

    [Reply]

    Pete Reply:

    Yes, yes, yes….what in the world is going on here James????

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Red5
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 6:10 pm 

    From the outside, Mark doesn’t look like a man who takes the conservative option. I wonder if Red Bull will have to use a stronger hand in order to play it safe in the last couple of races.

    I hope not; he is a joy to watch when charging hard and with Alonso, amongst others, not far behind this could be Webber’s chance to seal the championship with a commanding drive(s).

    Although a 2011 contract has been signed is it possible he will retire if he takes the title? Or does that depend more on what Adrian has up his sleeve for next RB7 car?

    This is an extraordinary season and it’s going to be heartbreaking for four of the five top drivers.

    [Reply]

    sir bob Reply:

    If Webber does win the title, I think Red Bull will make sure he drives next year. They will want that number 1 on their car. I think it will be 2012 when he decides to call it a day.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Danny
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 6:11 pm 

    Any talk of bringing back some sort of in season testing?

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Damian Johnson
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 6:24 pm 

    If Webber wins, it will be down to a large slice of luck on his part considering he has had at least three collisions with other cars this season. One could apportion some of the criticism towards Webber’s driving in all three. For that reason, I don’t consider Webber to be a great driver, just lucky to be driving the best car of 2010.

    [Reply]

    Nadeem Reply:

    You always need luck, any great driver has had it from time to time. Webber has had the worst of luck- remember the lack of reliability with Williams?

    Another note Webber seems to be able to overtake cars better than other drivers in the field.

    [Reply]

    Damian Johnson Reply:

    But Webber’s attempted overtake to pass Hamilton at Singapore was unrealistic with all probability that there was going to be contact at that corner. A DNF for Webber and he would have been critciised for being too hopeful. And then there was his contact into the back of Hamilton’s car earlier on in the season along with his drive into the back of Kovalainen’s car.

    [Reply]

    BMG Reply:

    You must have been watching a different race to me, I thought lewis tried to over take Webber.

    Pargo Reply:

    And Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel… they’ve all had collisions.

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: theothercoldone
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 7:00 pm 

    I hope he wins the championship. He tells it like it is on the track and off, and would be a worthy champion. Good luck!

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Paddy
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 7:31 pm 

    My money is on Webber it is his year.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: PaulL
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 7:53 pm 

    I would have preferred the old points system be kept. This new one hardly does justice to how close it is and makes any kind of historical comparison untenable.

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Jon
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 8:08 pm 

    Good writeup James, I was already aware of this stuff (I’m obsessive about F1) but nicely summized.

    One thing I wasn’t aware of though was the old points system. Wow, that’s a shock. This is the same points system used for the years I’ve been watching, it’s amazing to think that under the old system that Webber would have a big lead. In the end it means nothing, and the drivers all knew the rules and changes going into the season. This new system puts even more pressure on the drivers, it rewards attacking the win but as we have seen lately (and in Istanbul) attacking for the win can have it’s downsides.

    Webber has always struggled on the new tracks compared to the classic tracks in my opinion. Suzuka suits him perfectly, he drove a great (Kubica-ish) race in 05 which you commentated. That was one of the best F1 races ever!

    Korea is the big danger for Webber. Drivers like Vettel attack the new sections early on, where as Webber is like an old dog knowing the tricks of the older ones. Looking back to Bahrain (with the new S2 section) it was the same. Suzuka, Brazil will suit Webber fine. Abu Dahbi will be similar to Singapore but probably a bit better. Korea will be the “damage limitation” one. Luckily for Webber he has a bit of a lead, and he been good at nursing the car and avoiding mechanical DNF’s. Maybe all the years of driving fragile cars has payed off for him. It could be pure luck, but Brundle has commented that Vettel and Hamilton attack the track in a different way, it’s part of the reason that makes them so fast. You don’t see Button breaking drive shafts either.

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: JimmiC
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 8:56 pm 

    I never thought of Webber as a potential World Champion before this season. I always had him down throughout his career as very quick; and as someone who would win GPs, but never winning the grand prize. Even after several stellar world class drives, plus having Vettel for a team-mate and Red Bull backing the fierce young pup it still hasn’t sunk in.

    As you say James, he seems to have had the rub of the green this season and I’d like to see him bring it home in the twilight of his career. More good luck Mark!

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: Stig
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 10:43 pm 

    I agree that the strategy worked out well for him, but considering the risk-reward ratios it was the right call even if it could have ended differently in Singapore for instence.

    Champions in any sport need a little fortune to pull it off when competition is at this level. I still feel he needs a couple of Monaco-like weekends to clinch it, as Alonso looks strong. Regarding the other 3 contenders, Button seems to be lacking a little performance and machinery, Vettel needs to prove that he can be consistent – it is not impressive to drive over the limit and have 1st or DNF/low score in every other race. As for Hamilton he is making big mistakes to often at the end of the season when the pressure is high – every year!

    Some of the comments here about the titlecontenders are a bit harsh I feel. All have different strengths and weaknesses – one of the reasons for a 5 way title fight. Webber tends to make it difficult for himself when he has bad starts, but is consistent, quick and uses he`s head, much like Button.

    Hamilton and Vettel are all-in drives that would benefit from some poker sessions with Kubica and Alonso, but they are still young.

    Alonso is the most complete driver of the 5 and I think he might be favorite even with Webbers 12p lead.

    Webber need nothing less than a 2nd at Japan, and must finish ahead of Alonso because the Ferraris will be tough to beat in Brasil and Abu Dabi. A Pole and a win(for Webo) would be a big blow for Vettel.

    Tnx for the great articles, Im so honoured to be able to follow this WDC – the best since my parents got cable in 1989 :)

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Wally
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 11:32 pm 

    Thanks for reminding me of poor old Enrique Bernoldi!.
    The race you`re referring to was the 2001 monaco Grand Prix. Coultard qualified on pole but screwed it up at the start of the warm up lap , so he had to start in last position, right behind the Brazilian who was driving the Arrows.
    He justifiably defenended his position , Coultard was not good or brave enough to pass him.
    I was`nt impressed by Ron Dennis saying after the race that he would make sure that Enrique would be driven out of F1 .

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: Todd
        Date: October 4th, 2010 @ 11:38 pm 

    James,

    Considering how close the season is this year, and the final few races of last year. Do you think the FIA and FOTA have got it right with their ideas from the last few years, like the testing ban, control tyres, 8 engines, moveable front wings. Would like hear your thoughts on the reason we have 3 different cars capable of winning.

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: Grabyrdy
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 12:07 am 

    I’m very surprised to see that Skybet have Mark favourite, and Fernando only 3rd behind Lewis. My head says put the house on Fernando at these prices (but what do the bookies know that I don’t ?), but my heart says Webbo.

    I wouldn’t describe his move in Singapore as a gamble – rather a clever reading of race possibilities. It stands out because so many of the teams have been so conservative lately. McLaren’s seeming unwillingness to try anything at all before anyone else has tried it almost cost Lewis victory at Spa, and gave Jenson no chance of a win at Monza.

    And not only McL. I wrote on a blog here that I was staggered no team took a chance at Spa by coming in at the right time. Kubica could have won the race, and so could Webber. I can understand Webbo’s team hesitating with so many points to lose, but Kubica ? He’s not going to win the WC. Why not try something ?

    Vettel’s side of Red Bull seemed transfixed by the Ferrari in Singapore. It was unlikely that they could have jumped it by staying out a bit longer, but they might have tried. What did they have to lose ?

    Now Lewis, trying to pass Massa in Monza – that really was a gamble, the sort that loses championships.

    [Reply]

    Aaron95 Reply:

    The bookies know more Brits will have a punt on Hamilton than Alonso and so are stacking the odds accordingly. I don’t think many “impartial” people would reckon Hamilton has a better chance of winning the title than Alonso. I would also expect the Spanish bookies to have Alonso as the favourite.

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: TG
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 12:21 am 

    If Webber wins i wonder what the reaction will be in the TopGear Australia magazine office.
    About two years ago they devoted a 2-3 page feature on why Webber was, in their opinion, crap.
    Really, that was the entire story. Over multiple pages, detailing every mistake he ever made.
    It was called Days of Blunder.
    I remember reading it and thinking it was real tall poppy syndrome stuff.
    Does anyone else remember seeing it? I sense some real humble pie on the horizon….

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: Jasper
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 12:44 am 

    Here’s a question, who thinks the 2010 World Title is the most valuable F1 title say maybe in the past 10 years? Given the fact that it’s being fought out between 5 drivers & it’s one of the closest ever, does that give it more value than say Schumacher’s World Title in 2004?

    [Reply]

    JohnBt Reply:

    The 2010 World Title will be VALUABLE, MEMORABLE & HISTORICAL.

    [Reply]

    Grabyrdy Reply:

    Of course. Not so much the 5 drivers, but the 3 cars being so close. Quite a few drivers could have won 2004 in MS’s car.

    [Reply]


  41.   41. Posted By: Pete
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 12:48 am 

    As someone who often obsesses over ‘the numbers’, I have been running parallel ‘scores’ (old and new system) since very early in the season. The bottom line, as James points out, is that the present situation has absolutely nothing to do with the points system—under either system, we would have a very tight (less than one win between the 5 contenders) championship. At various points in the season, the lead would have been slightly different, but there has only ever been a couple of points in it at any stage. The current system does favour the winner, slightly, but this season the wins have effectively been spread out in such a way that no one has been able to take advantage of this. It should come as no surprise though that the two front runners are the two drivers with the most wins

    The other thought I have had with respect to Webber’s ‘accidents’ is that these may well just be because very few of the other drivers, let alone the armchair critics, rated him at the beginning of the season, and people expected him to capitulate if he was pushed. But he didn’t, and there has been contact as a result. And sure, he has been seriously lucky in the event. But that’s not to say that he has been doing anything more than effectively saying “Hey guys, I’m serious here…” And if this causes any one of his immediate competitors to think twice before trying to ‘squeeze’ him in the last four races, I think his ‘play’ will have paid off.

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: Ari
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 1:07 am 

    End of the day, Webber has had some luck but how many years of bad luck has he had to endure?

    Under pressure he has been cool as a cucumber this year and that’s usually the guy who wins the title. Look at Kimi in 07 beating Hamilton to the finish line against the odds.

    Webber has been fast, composed and reliable this year. Yes he’s had the fastest car, but he hasn’t had the team. How many points has Team Red Bull Vettel Racing taken off Webber this year? Quite a few. Consider also that Ferrari has been ALL about Alonso. Hell, Webber could have it sewn up if he had the team support Alonso has had!

    I think it’s crucial Webber wins at Suzuka or at least collects a podium at worst.

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: sir bob
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 1:27 am 

    I feel the championship might actually be Alonso’s to lose, but my heart is on Webber taking the title. The points gap is only 11, which (as a reference) is equivalent to only 4.4 under the old system. 4.4 with 4 races to go. That’s nothing!

    I don’t think Red Bull have the car advantage they once enjoyed. Although I do expect them to dominate Suzuka (provided they aren’t mugged into the first corner). Ferrari have been strong for a while, and are finally getting the results with Alonso. Alonso is not in competition with his team mate at Ferrari. Meanwhile Red Bull are in no hurry to back one driver over the other, especially while Vettel trails Webber. This could be the difference in the end.

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: BMG
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 1:28 am 

    Wow, a lot of Hamilton fans digging the knife in to Webber. Of the 3 incidents he has been involved in I would say one was more his fault than the others and that was the one he could have paid the ultimate price for.
    Webber is driving like this because it’s his last hurrah, he will not get this chance again and he knows it.
    So good on him, he will keep taking his chances as he has nothing to loose.

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: JohnBt
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 2:00 am 

    If Korea is cancelled Vettel, Hamilton and Button chances will evaporate.

    Let’s hope not, but chances of Korea sounds rather slim from reports. Then it will kill the season that’s been historical.

    Am strongly supporting Alonso, I still feel that Webber should win the WDC. As Alonso still holds the youngest double WDC, I’d say Webber has proved his worthiness this season.

    Mark’s a good guy.

    Vettel will surely be WDC sooner or later.

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: Ryan Eckford
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 2:50 am 

    This is the order of how I think the last 4 races are going to go in my opinion.

    Japan: 1. Red Bull 2. McLaren 3. Ferrari
    Korea: 1. Red Bull 2. McLaren 3. Ferrari
    Brazil: 1. McLaren 2. Red Bull 3. Ferrari
    Abu Dhabi: 1. McLaren 2. Ferrari 3. Red Bull

    I just get the feeling that Webber’s good luck is going to come to an abrupt halt, and Hamilton’s will have a change in luck for the better and he may win the championship.

    [Reply]

    Grabyrdy Reply:

    Not if he doesn’t get his head right, he won’t.

    [Reply]

    charlie Reply:

    Perhap’s that just a natural bodily function.
    You don’t feel luck. You make it!

    [Reply]


  47.   47. Posted By: Mattoz
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 3:02 am 

    Webber’s title to lose?! Last time I checked there was only a win covering the top 5 drivers, so I’d say that it’s well and truly up for grabs and may the best man win!

    [Reply]


  48.   48. Posted By: Rafael
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 3:20 am 

    Since mid-season, I’ve had new found respect for Mark Webber and backed him for the title. I’ve always been a die hard Alonso fan though, and now with Fernando on the warpath, I can’t quite help but feel an inclination towards him to win the championship. Although he (FA) has made a considerable amount of mistakes this year, he has more than made up for them and I think his previous experience of fighting for the title (’05-’07) would benefit him. The same could be said about Lewis Hamilton – he too has been outstanding.

    My current beef with Mark is that he seems to be unable to maintain a consistent form: it’s either he has the momentum or he doesn’t. His damage limitation has also been a bit patchy. For someone with the fastest car, he seems to have made too many mistakes and cost himself a heft number of points. Sure, back in July or August it looked like it didn’t really matter. But now that the top 5 contenders have come within striking distance, I can’t help but feel he’s slowly beginning to pay for it.

    [Reply]

    rossetto Reply:

    he definitively need a much faster car than Alonso and Lewis to compete with them.
    It seems he does not have it anymore.

    [Reply]


  49.   49. Posted By: garth
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 5:35 am 

    i think alot of people here need to understand the aussie mentality to understand mark webber. We dont sit there and consolidate, we go into every sporting event with an attacking mentality. We never die wondering. Let me ask you this, would christian horner trust seb on the stratagy and situation they put mark in at singapore? I doubt it. They would never trust him to have the maturity to pass the cars mark had to, to make it work. But they threw mark in the deep end (and not for the first time this season) cause they are confident he will put his head down and bum up and get the job done. Can i just make a casing point from another sport? The ashes 18 months ago the first test in wales. I have never seen a crowd so happy that their team has played for a draw, yet the aussies always play to win even if it means getting beat. Point being every aussie plays to win and not to draw or lose and mark webber is no different.

    [Reply]

    Snitch7 Reply:

    As an aussie who has lived in 5 different countries, I’m more and more embarrassed by (common) comments like this from other australians. Having some fight in you is human nature and NOT uniquely australian.
    Broaden your horizons and open your eyes fellow aussies.

    [Reply]

    Paul Reply:

    He never said it was UNIQUELY Australian. He said Australians have a mentality to be like that. You can be embarrassed about it all you like. I, for one, am proud of it.

    [Reply]


  50.   50. Posted By: garth
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 5:49 am 

    and may i add this. Whatever your opinion on the webber/hamilton accident in singapore is, how do u explain the hamilton/massa accident the race before? Dont we all have a short memory now hey. Dont get me wrong i think lewis is one of the best drivers of his generation but can he handle pressure like other drivers on the grid? All this mark webber bashing is uncalled for, its no fluke he is leading the championship and no one can deny him the position he is in, he works hard and reaps the rewards.

    [Reply]


  51.   51. Posted By: rossetto
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 7:06 am 

    Webber has been underperforming quite a bit the last few races.
    He needs to change that trend otherwise he will not make it.

    [Reply]

    sir bob Reply:

    Really? What do you consider the last few races to be? The last 3 or 4?

    * Except for Alonso, he has outscored all his title rivals in the last 3 and 4 races.
    * He won in Hungary
    * He put it on pole in Belgium, at a track that did not suit the Red Bull, and he brought it home in 2nd.
    * Italy wasn’t a Red Bull track, and it wasn’t the best result for Mark. Still he got 6th, with 4th being the realistic best. He lost 4th due to a questionable pit call.
    * Singapore he wasn’t hooked up all weekend. Yet he still managed to bring it home in 3rd.

    He’s left a few points on the table in the last few race, but not many!

    [Reply]


  52.   52. Posted By: colm
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 7:11 am 

    Not too long ago, couple of years back, he was considered by the folks at the Beeb as being F1′s unluckiest driver – he just couldn’t get a break.

    Well, not anymore.

    Fortune also favours a prepared mind.

    [Reply]


  53.   53. Posted By: Kateafan
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 8:24 am 

    “-the two occasions when he has hit another car and got away without damage (Singapore with Hamilton and Istanbul with Vettel) will have played a significant role in it.”

    Indeed but Webber didn’t hit either of them, Hamilton and Vettel hit him. A minor point maybe unless you’re filling in your accident insurance claim!

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    It takes two to hit

    [Reply]

    er,go Reply:

    Indeed it does James. Webber was surely concious of what he was doing, and the risks he was taking. On the track it’s often about who refuses to be pushed around. And that can get a bloke into a difficult situation. It can also get him a place or two. Webber and Hamilton played a game of chicken. So did Webber and Vettel in Turkey, but I do believe Vettel thought Webber would simply capitulate. Big revelation for the German: Webber would like to win also!
    Most accidents that are 50/50 are teststerone driven, I think. These blokes really do not like to give way.
    Thanks for a good forum.

    [Reply]


  54.   54. Posted By: Jeremy J
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 9:51 am 

    Someone probably has already mentioned it, but don’t forget the gamble in Qualifying for the Malaysian GP, that was another very brave move.

    [Reply]


  55.   55. Posted By: F1cam
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 10:30 am 

    Mark deserves all he gets this year. He’s consistsntly had to suck eggs throughout his whole career, so I firmly believe he deserves his rub of the green this year. He has always consistantly burnt his teamate until vettel, and now although vettel is faster, he is giving him a lesson in race craft and how to pass(& grace) He’s always guarded his territory like a bull in years past, so it should be no surprise to vettel and Hamilton when they come up behind him now that he’s in a title fight up to his neck. I hope that he produces something special in the final races to put an exclamation point on what’s been a great season for f1. Win, lose or draw thanks mark, your fans have been waiting years for this

    [Reply]


  56.   56. Posted By: Michael
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 11:24 am 

    I think the Webber situation only reinforces how well the Brawn team performed down the stretch last year. The advantage which the Red Bull has had over the entire grid from the first race (excepting perhaps Canada and Monza) shows how hard it is to win the title even with the ‘fastest car’. The pressure is immense as no excuse will hold water, you are expected to put it on pole and drive off into the sunset. Brawn did that when they had the advantage (well at least one of the drivers at each race they had the advantage – just about) and Red Bull for whatever reason have not.

    Let’s make no bones about the fact that most world champions have the fastest car and that does not make them any less deserving than any other world champion.

    I also don’t think the Brawn had anywhere near the period of dominance the RBR car has had. As when the others had caught up the Brawn was probably the third or worse quickest car – as well as situations like Spa and Monza where people like Force India were immense. The RBR has at worst (other than Monza) been the second quickest car.

    Interestingly the supposed achillies heel of the RBR was reliability, admittedly there have been a few issues, but not any more than the other top teams.

    It is make or break this season, if neither RBR driver wins the title, Horner will be under a lot of pressure from above. Hopefully this does not lead to any cut back in funding or support, as having three high quality teams has really made the championship this year.

    [Reply]


  57.   57. Posted By: KNF
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 11:36 am 

    Whatever happens, Flavio wins, as the current two drivers most likely to take the title are managed by him… Not sure if I like that though…

    [Reply]


  58.   58. Posted By: Dave Aston
        Date: October 5th, 2010 @ 12:58 pm 

    If he wins it… it will be his first championship win in car racing. As one who has followed him since he went to England, reading updates in Australian Motorsport News on his prospects, lack of money, borrowing money from David Campese (former Wallaby winger), knocking back a test contract with Arrows, flipping Mercedes’ in France, winning races in F3 and F3000… the prospect of him taking it this year is totally surreal. It’s as if all his good luck has come at once. I wonder if he thought it was possible, sitting in hospital last year with a busted leg? In any case, not bad for a guy who was delivering pizzas in Queanbeyan at an age when most of the grid were being ushered along nicely by sponsors. In a sense, he’s the last of the guys in F1 to really get there the hard way. This year has already been an epic. I can’t wait for the conclusion, and will be happy for whoever wins it, they’re all superb drivers.

    [Reply]


  59.   59. Posted By: Legend2
        Date: October 6th, 2010 @ 2:40 am 

    Hi James,

    The gamble in Singapore was not worth it. If Webber had have stayed out on the track he may have been able to overtake Button and Hamilton on merit or on tyre strategy

    The only reason the move payed dividends was that so many other drivers pitted during the SC period and Webber pulled off a few fantastic overtakes. And that Barrichello managed his tyres better than the McLarens and hence started to close in on them. If any one of those three aspects had failed, then Webber would probably have finished 6th, and if many other cars did not pit early, Webber may have even left Singapore with no points.

    So on balance, not a risk worth taking, as he most likely would have finished 4th by following a conventional strategy, as he should have been able to pass Button on the track or via the pitstop due to his superior pace.

    [Reply]

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