How Button won despite five stops: A deep dive into strategy from Canada
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Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jun 2011   |  7:49 am GMT  |  282 comments

By common consent, the Canadian Grand Prix this year was an absolute classic. It had everything; great racing, safety cars, rain, collisions and some very tight strategy calls, often with little data with which to work.

Button: A brilliant victory (Darren Heath/McLaren)


The strategists were really tested on Sunday and it made for a fascinating race. Jenson Button won despite a drive through penalty, five pits stops, two collisions and a whole lap with a puncture.

Even more incredible is to look at it like this; in the 70 lap race there were only 38 racing laps in total. The other 32 were safety car laps. On lap 40 Button was in last place. So how did he do it?

The answer is by a mixture of strategy, great lap times and overtakes. He and his strategists basically made it happen for themselves.

Button’s race under the microscope

To understand Jenson Button’s race we need to go back to McLaren’s decision to run his car with a lot of downforce, particularly the big rear wing. Although he wasn’t demonstrably faster than the others in really wet conditions, the downforce and balance of the car came into its own in the period of the race when he was on intermediate tyres. He made most of his progress in that condition. So, for example, having been last on lap 40 he was 9th on lap 51. An early switch to the dry tyre also paid dividends.

We could examine the pre-red flag period, but it would be academic to the outcome, as the race was neutralised. All of Button’s problems, like his collisions with Hamilton and Alonso, his multiple stops, puncture and drive through penalty were all in the past by the time the lap 40 safety car came out.

This was the reset moment of his race. From here, with a well balanced car on intermediates, one more stop to make onto slicks, DRS enabled for overtakes, he made the race his, passing car after car.

He was one of the earliest to switch onto slick tyres, on lap 51 and gained the benefit of that. Webber had gone for them a lap earlier and his sector times on lap 50 showed it was the tyre to be on, so from 10th place McLaren pitted Button for slicks and he found tremendous pace on them straight away. At that point he was 27 seconds behind Vettel.

Red Bull had been playing it cautious at every step with Vettel, waiting a few extra laps in each case to be sure they were making the right call. Webber gambled on slicks first, partly to give himself a chance and partly so Red Bull could look at the data and pick the right moment to pit Vettel. They were again cautious, leaving it two laps longer than Button. By the time Vettel emerged from his final stop on slick tyres Button was just 15 seconds behind and lapping two seconds faster than the champion.

Many fans have asked whether Button could have won without the final safety car on laps 59/60. Vettel was unlucky with the various safety cars to lose a total of 20 seconds. But with regard to the last one in particular, it would have been close; he was in fourth place and closing fast on Vettel anyway. With 12 laps to go he might well have caught him without the safety car. And bear in mind that he caught and passed Vettel using tyres which were two laps older than the German’s.

Some teams gambled on red flag (Darren Heath/McLaren)


Second guessing the conservatism of the FIA Race Director

One interesting trend we are seeing is the FIA Race Director, Charlie Whiting, being quite conservative in terms of the deployment of the safety car and the length of time it stays out, as well as the instructions to competitors, such as that they must be on wet tyres for the restart after the red flag. He seems more risk averse than in years gone by and this is now a crucial factor that fundamentally affects race strategy.

What we saw yesterday was some teams second-guessing that conservatism, such as Renault and Sauber, who gambled when the lap 20 safety car came out for heavy rain, that Whiting would stop the race.

Most teams took the opportunity of the safety car to make a stop for new wet tyres, however Renault left Heidfeld and Petrov out, Sauber did the same with Kobayashi and De La Rosa, Force India did it with di Resta while Sutil even stayed out on intermediate tyres! All were gambling on a red flag and they got one.

Although a pit stop under safety car had only taken 14 seconds for their rivals, this promoted all the gamblers up the order and when the red flag came they got the double win because Whiting said that all cars must have wet tyres fitted for the restart, so they got a free tyre change.

Heidfeld went from 6th to 4th, Di Resta went from 9th to 6th, Sutil from 17th to 13th. Kobayashi could only laugh as the likes of Alonso, Rosberg and Schumacher all pitted in front of him for intermediates and then realised their mistake as more rain fell, promoting the Japanese driver up to second place. And then he got a free tyre change under the red flag.

One has to observe that the combination of Kobayashi and the Sauber strategy team have made some bold calls in the last couple of years and made them work.

He’s not just an exciting overtaker, he makes some winning bets on strategy too.

The UBS Strategy Report is prepared with input and data from strategists from the F1 teams

Race History Graph
The interesting aspects are the number of safety car periods and laps, and how disjointed the first half of the race is.

The last half of the race history is most interesting but needs to be viewed along with a race positions plot to understand the progress Button made. He made good progress during intermediate tyre phase and when everyone switched from Intermediate to Dry

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282 Comments
  1. Jo Torrent says:

    If you can add the same graph with a zoom on lap 40 onwards. The way the graph is displayed, we can’t see clearly.

    I just disagree with one point with you. Jenson’s race owed nothing to strategy. Pitting one lap earlier or later when he is so far behind Vettel doesn’t change anything.

    As you stressed, his speed and maybe the late safety car made his victory possible but first and foremost his speed.

    1. Damian J says:

      That’s payback for the safety car at Monaco stealing the win away from Jenson and handing the win to Vettel.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        It’s me, or there was another driver between Jenson and Sebastian in Monaco before the race was red flagged?

        Maybe he even would have had a shot to overtake Vettel if the race ended normally. And maybe he had been able to resist Button’s attacks and win the race.

        Maybe. Maybe not. We will never know. Or does anybody know for sure?

      2. Andy C says:

        If there was I didnt see it Jose ;-)

        there was a red moving chicane in front of JB but he’d have got past that one quite quickly ;-)

      3. mtb says:

        “stealing” you say. According to Paul Hembrey of Pirelli, Vettel’s tyres would have lasted to the end. Button said that he wasn’t going to attack, he was going to sit back and see if Vettel and Alonso collided.

      4. Rico Suavé says:

        Stealing the win away from Jenson? Complete rubbish…that’s assuming Jenson would have been able to get past Alonso first.

      5. Wayne says:

        Why DRS is not right for F1.

        I have wavered back and forth on this subject from ‘the worst thing that could happen to F1 would be that DRS works’ to ‘let’s wait until the end of the year to judge’ and on to ‘Maybe DRS is ok but it has to be DRS, KERS OR Comedy tyres – not all 3’.

        After Canada I’m back to where I started. DRS is just not worthy of being part of the world’s premiere motorsport. It’s cheap, it’s tacky, it’s manipulative and most of all it is exactly what its biggest detractors have labelled it – false and fascicle.

        (1) For various reasons that some will find difficult to relate to my favourite F1 hero is Damon Hill and so you can imagine I am no great Schumi fan. However, Schumi was mugged of a well deserved podium place in Canada by DRS. The closing and passing speed of the McLaren and RBR, despite the Mercedes great exit out of the last corner, was obscene and in no way representative of F1 as I know it. Canada is a track where overtaking is already possible so why use DRS there at all? But to use it in two zones in inexcusable – someone should loose their job over that one. How the hell was the mugged car supposed to fight back on the next straight when the car that just passed it blazed away with the super boost button for a second time? DRS brought nothing to Canada but it did deprive us of seeing Schumi at his combative best.

        (2) Coulthard says that ‘an entire F1 car is an overtaking device so DRS is no more false than the car itself’. Ludicrous, more than a little patronising and incorrect. An F1 car is designed to eat up as much tarmac as possible in as short a time as possible. F1 designers design their cars to be so fast they are always in front and have no need to overtake –so an F1 car is absolutely NOT an overtaking device.

        (3) For the first time in F1 history the cars are not all racing to the same rules on the same piece of tarmac, more than this they are not ALLOWED to race to the same rules on the same piece of tarmac and this is a deliberate contrivance of the rules. The rules now say that driver A’s car WILL be faster in a straight line that driver B for X period of time. Therefore, an utterly false and fabricated advantage is handed to one competitor over another. There is no debating this – DRS is sham racing.

        [comment shortened by mod - please learn to be concise. This comment was longer than the original post. Mod doesn't have time to read through that long a post, thanks]

    2. Mark V says:

      I have red-green color blindness. That chart may as well be in Braille. Arrgghh.

      1. Phil says:

        Yes, the statement “The answer is by a mixture of strategy, great lap times and overtakes.” Seems a bit much.
        Timely safety cars that allowed him to catch up to, or close to the back of the pack allowed him not to be too badly punished by so many pit stops, puncture or drive through.

    3. Ken F says:

      hmmm. a little hard to accept strategy had zero part to play Jo. It was jenson’s decision to go to the option tyres early and that made him something like 2 secs a lap faster than vettel and the other leaders. His ‘speed’ as you simplistically put it is also a function of the tyre type as well as aero, susp setup and his skill. In other words – his & the team’s strategic decisions [pitting when they did] definitely helped get him up to 4th before that last safety car and when he only finished with a mere 2.7sec lead, any worse position behind where he was at the last SC was surely crucial.

      1. DanielS says:

        I’m sorry but that is a misreading of the race – Button made a poor strategic call. As did Schumacher and Rosberg who changed tyres early – Vettel made the right tactical decision by staying on wets waiting for the rain; Vettel’s advantage was eroded by the safety car. Button benefited.

  2. erick says:

    excellent drive from button …amazing race …i hope many race like this soon

  3. Grabyrdy says:

    Starting under the safety car was a close call, and Charlie surely got it right with the red flag. But the amount of time the safety car stayed out after it seemed exaggerated. When people start putting on intermediates as soon as it comes in,doesn’t it show that it stayed out too long ?

    Fantastic race from Jenson. Lewis take note – the race is won on the last lap, not the first.

    1. mad max says:

      I agree and feel we really robbed off seeing some wet weather masterful drives. Would have been particularly interesting to see how the old rain master Schumi’s speed would have been like compared to the top car’s.

      Apparently there was a lot of booing at the track when the safety car kept going round although the TV didn’t pick it up.

      Alonso was wanting to start the race on inters so we were probably robbed a bit there too with this new overly cautious approach.

      James do you know any specific reason why this new safety car approach happened? is it a one off because of the tyres or track or is it set to be continued?

      1. James Allen says:

        Well you have to have full wets on car for safety car start and CW insisted on them for restart after Red Flag. I sense a more risk averse approach from FIA, maybe part of the Todt era changes. No need to take extra risk. Mind you, tell that to the marshal who got overwrought and kept falling over in front of cars..

      2. mad max says:

        ya, meant at very start of race were Alonso said afterward that he wanted to go on inters but because of safety car start it messed his strategy up. Way I seen it, if he was going to start on intermediates it mustn’t have been that bad a conditions for start to warrant safety car!

        Know your just speculating about maybe Todt’s influence but with maybe that and him pushing for the 1.6 turbos I am beginning to think he is becoming overly concerned with peoples views and not fans views which is a very slippery slope.

        I am defo all for safety but would it have been right that Senna never had a Donington 93 which Todt seems to want to rule out.

        The marshall! funny looking back but extremely scarey at the time. Say he had trouble getting to sleep that night!

      3. monktonnik says:

        I know they are all normally very professional, but I did wonder why he hadn’t waited until all the cars went past.

      4. Kyle says:

        It’s also possible that the conservatism with safety cars was due to the Pirelli wet weather tyres being an unknown quantity for the drivers and teams.

        Next time out in a wet race we might see Charlie being less risk averse. At least I hope we will be as trawling around behind the safety car until the conditions were ideal for intermediates and not wet tyres was not right in my opinion.

      5. Jodum5 says:

        But what was the catalyst for this new “risk averse” approach? If it was specific to Montreal because of issues of water drainage, fine by me, but it sounds a little silly if it were to become a regular feature for races with rain.

      6. James Allen says:

        Untried wet tyres for a start.,

      7. Nil says:

        The fact that the Pirelli full wets hadn’t been thoroughly tested except for some time in the final Barcelona tests may have also played a part in the decision.

      8. BrumosRacer says:

        That wasn’t a marshal. It was a member of the “Chris Farley Beverly Hills Ninja Fanclub”

      9. Steve Smith says:

        In Martin Brundle’s words: “what on earth” was going on with the marshalls in Canada? To throw yourself in front of an F1 car travelling at 300kph could be deemed unfortunate … if a little comical (note DC’s snigger when it happened). To repeat the feat and roll around on the ground in front of another car is plain suicidal! Then watching the Mario Bros sitting on the back of Mater the pick up truck bouncing Hamilton’s McLaren off the tarmac on the way back to the pit lane was ridiculous!

    2. Mario says:

      I could not disagree more with Whiting on his safety calls. At one point I wanted him sacked on the spot. The commentators started pondering whether Health and Safety has gone mad, and in my opinion it was unacceptably soft approach by the officials.
      It is high time to look for new race directors, younger ones that will let drivers race.

      I do not fancy races to be run by a panel of grandfathers, this last race clearly highlighted the need for change.

      1. Jomy John says:

        I agree with you Mario. The thing is the FIA damn care about what us fans think!

      2. rad_g says:

        I totally agree, compare F1 to Le Mans or Nascar and you can clearly notice that H&S went mad in F1.
        Races being directed by the race director.

      3. Andy C says:

        All of which have closed wheel racing. Thats the point.

        It always bemuses me how people can be so laid back about other peoples lives.

        I want to see good racing, but some of the conditions were terrible at points. I got no enjoyment seeing the massive crash at spa some years ago.

      4. mad max says:

        I agree, though until recently “The Grandfather” has been pretty good with safety car calls so maybe it is the Todt influence we should want rid off.

        It does seem he has lost touch with the fans with the green engines, no proper wet races, nearly banned Hamilton for 6 races for a joke, ridiculous handling of Bahrain.

        Another problem too is they might be relying a bit too much on radio info from the drivers and they all have there own agenda as well.

    3. Doug says:

      The conservative approach looked like a combination of the weather (obviously), untested wets, and the nature of Montreal – a lot of concrete close to the track.

  4. Matt Shaw says:

    Great analysis James, wonder what the odds were on Button winning when he was in last place!

    1. Daniel Hoyes says:

      16/1 at the start of the race anyway… put as few quid on it, so as a Jenson supporter it was a great race for a few reasons!

    2. Craig D says:

      I’m sure it went up to 100/1 when he was at the back. The bookies had Vettel on as dead cert throughout! Of course, easy in hindsight but no body could have expected a return on Button (or anyone except Vettel during the race). On the other hand, wet races are always prone to spring surprises.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Is it possible to make Button’s line on the graph stand out more? I can’t really see it for most of the interesting bit!

  6. AlanM says:

    The question I had is why did McLaren still have a big advanatage after the red flag. My understanding is the teams could work on the cars during the red flag so was there not plenty of time for some of them to change the cars to a wet setup similar to Button?

    1. Kedar says:

      Nope I think this was answered by Ted Kravitz in the BBC coverage, They wanted to change the front wing on one of the teams to a wet Setup and Charlie Whiting said no. It seems that the rules say that you can only replace things on the car with an equivalent part. Now this was left to how it was interpreted and the team manager said he would check with Charlie after the race as he had enough to worry about during the red flag.

      1. AlanM says:

        My Bad for not watch all the Big Fill and I missed this piece. Thanks for explaining.

    2. Paul H says:

      I have wondered the same, the only team sI have heard making significant changes were the back markers. Maybe some teams expected it to dry out faster perhaps?

    3. MikeW says:

      During the big-fill, BBC were talking to Williams – who said they’d been told (by Charlie) they couldn’t change the setup during the red flag.

      They could work on the car, and change tyres, and change like-for-like, but not change spec. Something obscure in the weight regulations forbade it, apparently.

      They said they’d follow up after the race, but it would be interesting to find out what the outcome is.

      1. James Allen says:

        THere was some doubt about that. Once race starts you can do what you like, it’s just that you wouldn’t do it because you lose too much time. Many teams thought that red flag meant race suspended and circumstances are the same as if race was still on. Needs clarifying.

      2. Grabyrdy says:

        Presumably if weight was all that mattered you couldn’t replace a flat tyre with a full one because it would weigh more. Hmmm.

      3. AlanM says:

        That makes sence as I was thinking back to Monaco where they effectively changed Hamiltons Rear wing. I was thinking if you could do that then there was lots of time to update your wing to with the Wet settings. But in Monaco of course this was a like for like change.

      4. MikeW says:

        The Williams explanation wasn’t clear, and it sounds like they weren’t clear on exactly what Charlie was telling them too. IIRC it left Ted & the commentators wondering too.

        I guess it isn’t *just* weight – but Charlie’s objection was held in the rules on weights. I imagine the rules can be obtuse in many different places.

        James is right – this needs some clarification. I wonder if we’ll get it!!

    4. The teams can make any adjustments to the cars they want, but any parts they change have to be like-for-like. McLaren might have been using some sort of ‘wet spec’ rear wing and if so, no amount of wing adjustment would enable the others to level the playing field completely.

      To be honest though, I think it was Button himself who made the biggest difference. We’ve seen several times now that he just seems to have a different level of confidence on a drying track compared to the rest. After his great pace at Monaco, he looks like a driver at the top of his game. Lets hope he can keep it up for Silverstone!

      1. Douglas says:

        He is on top of his game. Watch.

      2. Andy C says:

        Kenny
        as you and I know, trying to argue that Jenson has any skills at all, and that he ever wins anything through actually doing something right (rather than lucking it) is probably a waste of time :-)

        For what its worth, I think JB is doing a great job. He always seems to be good on a drying track, particularly on that in between section of wets/inters/dry.

        He obviously has his team right behind him as well.

        I think he’s really vindicated his move to McLaren by the way. He is showing what asset he is (whilst still losing to Lewis on one lap pace).

    5. iceman says:

      It’s a good question in light of what happened in Monaco. I did look up the red flag rules after that, and it explicitly says “cars may be worked on once they have stopped on the grid or entered the pits but any such work must not impede the resumption of the race.”

      However one of the Williams team was interviewed during the suspension and said that they had wanted to change Barrichello’s dampers for softer ones (or something like that), but Charlie told them they couldn’t. They were only allowed to change parts for ones of the same spec. Some other rule was cited, but unfortunately I can’t remember what it was. The Williams guy didn’t sound 100% convinced that Charlie’s interpretation was correct, but they chose not to challenge it at that point.

      1. DB says:

        Here’s the rule:

        41.5 Cars may not enter the pit lane when the race is suspended. A drive through penalty (see Article 16.3.a) will be imposed on any driver who enters the pit lane or whose car is pushed from the grid to the pit lane after the race has been suspended. Any car which was in the pit entry or pit lane when the race was suspended will not incur a penalty. However, if the cars have been directed into the pit lane (see Articles 40.10 and 41.2) a penalty will only be imposed on any driver whose car is moved from the fast lane to any other part of the pit lane.
        All cars in the pit lane will be permitted to leave the pits once the race has been resumed but any which were in the pit entry or pit lane when the race was suspended will be released before any others. Subject to the above, any car intending to resume the race from the pit exit may do so in the order they got there under their own power, unless another car was unduly delayed.
        Under these circumstances working in the fast lane will be permitted but any such work will be restricted to:
        - starting the engine and any directly associated preparation ;
        - the fitting or removal of permitted cooling and heating devices ;
        - changes made for driver comfort ;
        - changing wheels.
        At all times drivers must follow the directions of the marshals.

        By the way, I wonder on what grounds they “rebuilt Hamilton’s rear end” (as put by Martin Whitmarsh on the Fan Forum). Safety? Shouldn’t he then have been moved the pits and taken a penalty for that?

        And, Mr. Allen, I’d love to see the graph in high resolution. Is it possible? Better yet! Look for some way we could turn lines on and off. Perhaps an applet.

      2. Grabyrdy says:

        At Monaco when the race was interrupted, Ted Kravitz said that one team engineer had told him that they could do whatever they wanted – “put a clown’s nose on the front” was his phrase I believe. Seems this wasn’t so. Strange that wheels could be changed and so much else apparently not. It’s going to have to be looked at, innit ?

      3. MikeW says:

        In that rule, the “fast lane” they are talking about is the part of the pit lane closest to the pit wall – away from the garages. The rules on working on the car out on track must be somewhere else. Though it would be strange if you could do less work in the fast lane than out on track!

        However, The Williams guy specifically said that Charlie mentioned some rule in the “weights” section, rather than a rule within the “red flag” or “race suspended” section.

        iceman is right – i think it was dampers and roll-bar that they wanted to change – or I guess it could have been an anti-roll-bar.

        Anyway… this is getting away from the main point – which is that McLaren’s secret weapon was probably Button himself. Probably helped by some higher downforce from the rear wing getting temperatures into the tyres better.

    6. iceman says:

      Scrutineering rules could come into play if you’re changing significant parts.

      I guess a big factor was that most cars were running unique Canada-spec wings, which I gather McLaren weren’t. So possibly they didn’t have enough margin for adjustment to match McLaren’s downforce levels without changing the wing for one of a different spec.

      1. MikeW says:

        That sounds very plausible.

  7. Quercus says:

    Wow!

    I knew the data was going to be spectacular — but not that spectacular! What Jenson pulled off — with skill, controlled aggression, intelligence and, yes, luck — was remarkable. When he retires he should have that graph framed and hung over his mantelpiece, to remind himself for the rest of his life just how good he was.

  8. giorgio0078 says:

    on this matter one can’t remember sly smile on Whitmarsh’s face, after he was asked about qualy results and wet setup on their cars.
    surely Button’s success was much owed to strategical decision taken in qualy (Mclaren was quickest on drying conditions coz of extra downforce), otherwise he wouldn’t be able to make so many passes and wouldn’t finish on podium either. Besides track layout suites very much to Mclaren.
    But surely Button’s performance was the key for all this factors to work.

  9. Mr Squiggle says:

    Remember last year when Jenson won the two most wet races in the 2010 season? He was punted out of the other (Spa). I don’t think Japan counted (memory fades)

    Here is the third win in four wet races for JB.

    I think anyone who watched the chaos of Canada would rightly wonder how any ‘rainmaster’ skills could show through. It all seemed like such a lottery.

    And yet, there JB is again, P1 in a wet race.

    I’m reminded of the quote from Fleming, “once is happenstance, twice is circumstance, three times is enemy action’. [or something similar].

    This is the third win in the wet in 18 months, so somewhere in your chart James, somewhere, there is evidence of a rainmaster at work !!!

    1. Japan wasn’t wet last year, Jenson gambled on an alternative tyre strategy (softs first, hards later I think) that didn’t pay off and finished 4th after Hamilton suffered an exhaust problem.

      The other wet race was Korea, but surprisingly Button had a shocker and finished 12th. For parts of the race, he looked all at sea (if you’ll excuse the pun) and I wonder if he couldn’t get to grips with the freshly laid, very slippery surface.

      In a straight downpour, Button is right up there with the best of them but when it’s a changeable wet/dry race, he’s in a league of his own.

      1. DK says:

        And his maiden win in Hungary 06 too.

    2. iceman says:

      There was also his first win in the Honda, at a wet Hungarian grand prix a few years ago.

    3. iceman says:

      Also wanted to add: he never seems particularly good in full wet conditions – we saw Hamilton all over him in the early part of the Canadian Grand Prix for example – but in damp and changing conditions he seems to have something extra.

    4. David says:

      3 great wins, in drying conditions he is awesome.

      Don’t forget Korea though, that was one of his worst drives in a long time.

    5. Quercus says:

      Don’t forget his dad was a rally cross star. Skills for holding a car together on a slippery surface are probably in the genes.

      I think though that Jenson is probably a bit more of a gentleman than his dad!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha0JoWz4EaM

  10. Tom in adelaide says:

    You know, every now and then it sucks to live in australia (i’m talking once every hundred years or so).

    I got up at 2am, watched 30 mins of pre-race coverage (including your as usual excellent appearance on OneHD J.A), saw 20 mins or so of racing, 2 hours of rain, then gave up at 5:30am. Woke up at 7:30am to read that I missed an instant classic.

    My aussie-grit was clearly lacking on this day. That’ll teach me….

    1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      Here Here! I set the TV to record to USB, and sta down to watch it in the afternoon. But I did’nt count on 5 hours of coverage!! The USB was full after 3hrs! So, I got to watch the first stint and then lots of adds…… :-(
      Any chance you can persuade ONE HD to replay it?

      1. DH says:

        Gray, this site might be an option for you. I’m not a subscriber but I think they save replays of the races.
        http://www.watchf1.net/

      2. BMG says:

        Yes that happened to me to.Did see the highlights on one hd web page.

      3. LT says:

        Yes there was a replay around 12:15pm on Monday

    2. BA says:

      Hahaha.. the same thing happened to me, man. I even woke up since 11pm.

    3. Peter says:

      Exact same thing happened to me, Tom. I live on the Gold Coast. Blind luck I turned on the TV in time on Monday (public holiday) to see One HD replay the full race, without the lengthy pauses. One HD always replay the race next day.

      1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        Er….so….you mean ONE HD was showing a replay on Monday afternoon………while I was watching the recorded race on my USB!…ARRRRGGHHHH!
        Unbelievable! The only race of the year that is live in the wee hours(they usually start around 10pm Sunday night here)runs overtime and I still miss it! Bugga! :-(

  11. Alex V says:

    I bet Vettel wouldn’t mind seeing that graph from lap 47-57 then to see that lead just dissapear!

  12. Jason C says:

    The elimination of other contenders Alonso and Hamilton definitely played a part in his victory, too, of course.

    The thing is, Vettel can now afford to be conservative in the races. He doesn’t need any more victories to take the championship, he just needs consistent points / podium finishes, and needs Webber, Hamilton, Button and Alonso to share out the remaining race victories.

    For the sake of the season, I hope he has a few DNFs over the next races. N.B. Internet reactionaries: That DOESN’T mean I don’t want him to win the WDC.

    1. azac21 says:

      Wouldn’t it be great if the ban on blown diffusers from Silverstone onwards slows down RBR so much that the championship becomes alive again? Just imagine Alonso, Button and Hamilton all closing the points gap to Vettel race after race.

      Although Alonso has said already that the championship is Vettel’s to lose. He knows better :(

      1. iceman says:

        It would certainly be great for the championship. I suspect the effect will be marginal though, purely on the basis that most theories about why Newey’s cars are so fast turn out to be wrong!

    2. Rodger says:

      I too would like to see Seb win the title. And by my early morning pre-coffee calculations, all he has to do is average 6th place for the remaining 12 races to win it. Anything more than that is icing on the cake.

      1. James Allen says:

        Well he’s almost there already..

      2. Damian J says:

        And the WCC is not far from being wrapped up also!

      3. Rodger says:

        Okay now that I’ve got my coffee levels up to normal. I think that my earlier calculations are correct. I’ll show my work so y’all can double check me.
        This is based on the fact that if you score more than half of max points you win the title. Although if the other drivers are taking points away from each other you obviously don’t need to get that many points to win.

        Total max points available over the season.
        19*25=475

        No. of points needed to win no matter what others earn.
        475/2=237.5
        (round up to 238 to give more than half of the available points)

        Vettel currently has 161 so he needs this many points to lock it up.
        238-161=77

        Divide by number of races remaining.
        77/12=6.41

        With 8 points awarded for 6th, and 6 points for 7th his average finish needs to be at least 6th. If he manages to do this, then his season total would be 257, or 19 points clear of what would be needed.

        Even though I would like to see him win. I’m kind of sorry I did this. Because unless Seb has some truly poor races or DNF’s it will be all about who will come in 2nd.

      4. azac21 says:

        Great… you ‘ve just burst our bubble with cold statistics.

      5. Ralf F says:

        That’s not quite right. It’s hard to explain why but I’ll show you a counter-example:

        Right now Button is 60 points behind Vettel. The difference between finishing first and second in a race is 7 points. That means that is Button wins 9 out of the 12 races remaining and has comparable results to Vettel on the other 3, he’ll win the title, even if Vettel finishes second in those 9 races.

        Of course the odds of this happening are very bleak, but it shows that it’s still not so rosy for Sebastian. Like Alonso said, a couple DNFs can still open the title race to anyone who has the pace to race him.

      6. Carl Craven says:

        Vettel seems not to fare too well when not P1, so if anyone can consistently out qualify him then there is a chance.

      7. BB says:

        Rodger – Slight flaw in your plan. If Button won all the remaining races, he would have 12 races @ 25 points, plus the 101 he has giving him 401 against Vettels 257. At this point in time he needs 241 more points to clinch it, so if he finished 2nd to Button in every race it would be a draw.

      8. stoikee says:

        @Roger – I can’t understand the “if you score more than half of max points you win the title”. If Vettel is 6th on the remaining 12 races, he’ll only get to 257. If Karthikeyan wins the remaining 12 races, he’ll be WDC with 300 (12*25)

      9. Rodger says:

        Disregard all of my earlier posts. Like I said it was all before my morning coffe. Although the math was right the premise was way off. Total logic fail.

      10. iceman says:

        Possibly another cup needed I think Rodger :)

        If Button wins the remaining 12 races he’ll have 25*12+101 = 401 points, in which case Vettel would need 402-161 = another 241 points.

        He’d need to win some races to do that, which would deny Button some wins, so actually he doesn’t quite need to get to 402. If you work it out he needs another 230 points (10 second places and two wins) to _guarantee_ the championship at this stage, even with Button winning the other 10 races.

      11. iceman says:

        Hopefully someone will check my working and let us know if it’s actually me that needs more coffee…

        Look at it this way though: Vettel’s only 60 points ahead. 3 DNFs in the next races could conceivably see both Button and Webber pass him in the standings.

      12. iceman says:

        My calculations were wrong ;)

        2 wins, 9 seconds and a third is enough for Vettel, another 227 points giving him a total of 388 ;)

      13. Baktru says:

        I disagree, with your premise that he needs half the available points.

        He needs more points than whoever is second in the championship. On average, the second placed driver had more than 50% of the points the past five years (for the past 5 years going backwards, 53%, 41%, 54%, 64% and 67%). The average of that is close to 56%.

        So he needs a total of 475*.558916=265.5 points, rounded to 266.

        266-161 still leaves 105 points to get, or about 8.7 points per race, consistently finish in 5th place, not 6th. And that is no guarantee, as the percentage has varied wildly the past 5 years.

        For mathematical certainty, he needs to get more points than anyone else can still get. There are 12 races left, and Button is 60 points behind. Button could win everything from now on (unlikely, but I’m talking absolute certainty here), and score 300 points extra. Vettel would then need to get 241 points in the remaining races, 20 per race, and second place only gives 18.

        Three pilots can still win the WDC by winning everything, with Vettel being second every time: Button, Webber and Hamilton.

        If however, Vettel wins the next two races and Button is second twice, then the gap would be 74 points, and nothing but Button-Vettel 1-2s would only allow Button to catch up 70 from there.

        In essence, it’s not over ;)

  13. Calum says:

    Thanks for the analysis James, I was totally blown away by this GP.

    On a slightly different note, on the basis of the last 3 races would it be fair to say that the drivers would like to qualify in a Red Bull and race in a McLaren?

  14. Mingojo says:

    Something you have not mentioned is that Button was lucky no to receive a penalty after his collision with Alonso. Di Resta was penalized for something similar. Perhaps the stewards didn’t want to ruin the show, but doing that they were not consistent.

    1. newton says:

      to me, DiResta’s seemed to me a fair bit more optimistic, although I’d like to see it again. Button and Alonso were side by side going into the chicane. Alonso braked later and chopped across JB’s bows. If he’d taken a wider line and given JB space he would have been pretty for the left hander.

      1. Mingojo says:

        Coulthard said during the race that Alonso gave Button plenty space, but Button couldn’t slow the car down probably due to track conditions. However it’s clear to me that Button is responsible for the collision. By the way it’s the third time in three years that Button collides with Alonso and ruins the Spaniard race.Perhaps it’s time for a penalty or at least a reprimand.

      2. lol says:

        But Alonso was making the turn and if Button didn’t clip him he would have perfectly taken the corner.

        It is very obvious the stewards were afraid of the nuclear meltdown if they had done the right thing, namely, penalize Button after the race with 20 seconds.

        It would have been the right thing to do….but it would have damaged the race, F1, etc.

        Ironic how being consistent and fair would have made F1 look stupid, hehe.

      3. Carl Craven says:

        how many times does this have to be repeated. The stewards said, and I saw on a Youtube replay that going into the corner Button was ahead, Button had the racing (inside) line, Button attempted to avoid contact by taking to the kerb, Alonso had just pitted and had cold tyres.

        No doubt the stewards watched the replay many times and had plenty of data to make a decision. It wouldn’t have been the first time that a race win was taken away AFTER the chequered flag by having a penalty imposed. Lewis in Spa 2 (or 3) years ago if I recall.

      4. CRT says:

        Well, Alonso, not Button, had the racing line and Button was not ahead going into the corner, they were side by side sometime before going into the corner and Alonso was clearly ahead going into it. Don’t get me wrong, I am fine with the stewards decision in the tricky conditions, racing incident, but it was close.

        There was a penalty for Lewis in Spa 2008, and a change in the race winner, but there was a LOT of noise and complains about it :).

      5. nando says:

        Alonso was no where near the racing line. He was on the wrong side of the track, Button would of actually made the next corner on the racing line.

      6. CRT says:

        Alonso was in the outside going into the corner, so I think he was in the racing line. That is also the reason he was able to brake much later than Button, because Button being in the inside could not carry so much speed into the corner. If you look at the previous corner, which is a right turn, Alonso went out of the pits and Button was in his inside in the racing line, but then Button needed to move to the outside to take the next corner and couldn’t because Alonso was there. In fact the stewards considered that and Button’s effort to avoid a collision to say that it was a racing incident, and I agree with their decision.

      7. Curro says:

        No more space for a wider line. He left as much space as possible without compromising his exit. Button took that space, kept the car straight and still touched Alonso. Racing incident.

    2. Francisco says:

      Without having all the video that race control has, I totally agreed!

      In my view the penalty is unfair on Paul in Canada and Lewis in Monaco.

      I think is the white elephant in the room.

    3. irish con says:

      exactly. i think fernando and ferrari probablyy preferred button to win that vettel and so didnt fight it too much, otherwise its fia being cowards. buttons front wheel hit fernandos rear wheel. look when contact happens how far across the track is into turn 4. definate penalty and conpared to di restas penalty it was a no brainer. the view from an angle behind the corner shows how much space there was there for button to not hit alonso and as dc says the stewarts look for causing an avoidable accident, what more could alonso have done to avoid an accident. all buttons fault.

      1. Baktru says:

        I actually prefer for Alonso to win the races, and when I saw this contact happen, my immediate thought was ‘Racing incident’. It was not a blatantly impossible attempt at overtaking in my opinion, and I think the stewards got it right.

        As Alonso was then out and it was getting seriously late here in the far east, I went to bed after. It seems I missed a good bit of racing *shrug*. I’m sure Valencia will beat it though! :p

      2. irish con says:

        if alonso had of been overtaking button in that situation ie around the outside he could of expected a hit but the fact was he was ahead and simply went as wide as he could so he left button space but button misjudged it and took him out simple as. button could of avoided hitting alonso and made the corner but didnt so it deserved a penalty.

      3. Damian J says:

        It would seem that there is never anything such as a driver incident anymore. Since Monaco it would seem that if there’s contact, there’s almost certainly gonna be a racing investigation.

    4. Andy C says:

      jenson was absolutely side by side (BBC showed the footage) as they went into the braking zone. Jenson had the inside line, and his wheel was already on the curb. It was a racing incident.

      On most tracks, Fernando would have spun, not hit the barrier and rejoined the race.

  15. Alex says:

    James, I really enjoy your analysis of each race. The race history graphs are great, but they’re just too small and we just can’t see the detail. Almost impossible to see the light grey of Mclaren!

  16. Dale says:

    I think everyone is getting carried away with the Canadian rand Prix.
    Yes the last few laps were amazing, the last lap in particular but come on folks do we really want to see cars passing others as sitting ducts as both Button and Webber did with the aid of their DRS on Schumacher (one of the best defenders in those situations)?
    Do we really want to see races like this start under a safety car?
    Do we want to see cars following a safety car for so many laps several drivers deeming it safe to go onto intermediates?
    Do race control know know that ALL F1 cars have BOTH accelerators and brakes? Do we want to see every flipping racing incident punished or threatened to be punished?

    A race isn’t just about the last few laps.

    Yes Button drove extremely well but I believe he saw Hamilton coming through and decided he’d had enough of Hamilton passing him with ease and closed the door (heavens how dare I say such a thing – though true al the same)?
    Button as are most the drivers – is very sharp and his radio blast ‘what is he doing’ was, in my view, covering his bases. Ask yourself this, if he didn’t know Hamilton was there how come he radioed in straight away?

    Things are never what they seem in F1 (been there seen it all before), great result yes and great drive from Button all in all though had Vettel not been as conservative as he was he’d have won with relative ease – too cocky maybe?

    Has nobody else seen this?

    1. Quercus says:

      Re: Button ‘radioing in’.

      Remember that communication between driver and team is almost constant. The comment, ‘what is he doing!?’ was carefully assessed, chosen and then released to TV and heard over the replay footage. It probably wasn’t even placed exactly in sync with the vision where we saw the two cars coming together — it might easily have been ‘slipped’ (an editing term) and thus appeared wherever the production team thought it should be for the most dramatic effect.

      What I’m really saying is don’t jump to conclusions: to quote you back to yourself, “Things are never what they seem in F1…”

      1. Dale says:

        WE see what we see, I am convinced Button knew he was there, read the BBC’s Hughes website article, which I think is extremly balanced http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/13755883.stm

      2. Quercus says:

        I’ve just read the article as you suggested. I still find it highly unlikely that JB knew his team mate was there. If he did know, he wouldn’t have squeezed him against the wall — that’s just not JB. But really I find the speculation pointless — I just wanted to correct the thought that when we heard on the replay JB say, “what’s he doing?”, that might not have been the reality in that in editing the sound could have been placed anywhere over the vision: because it’s a separate feed.

        I’m not at all biased as I’m rooting for Hamilton as the most exciting driver we’ve seen for years. On that I do agree totally with Hughes.

      3. noways says:

        I doubt he knew

    2. Calum says:

      “Ask yourself this, if he didn’t know Hamilton was there how come he radioed in straight away?”

      Well I’d suggest that would be anyone’s immediate reaction after he hit the other McLaren. Nothing really unusual about it I don’t think.

      1. Dale says:

        He knew he was there, have a read of http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/13755883.stm

        I’d bet my house if Button was asked the question whilst wired to a lie detector it’d show he did – now wouldn’t that be fun we could also ask Schumacher if he parked his car during Monaco qualifying on purpose, a charge he’s always denied and I could go on and on…..

      2. Calum says:

        Mark Hughes observations agree with my own – that it wasn’t in any way concluisive that Lewis had moved out of Button’s wake when JB was looking in his left mirror. Secondary to that would be I suppose even if he had been looking in his mirror at that point would he have been able to see anything? I’m rather in the dark about the service the drivers get from the mirrors in those conditions.

        Put it this way – if Lewis in any felt that he’d been deliberately forced into the wall do you suppose he would have been under the podium cheering his team mate?

      3. Peter C says:

        You’re safe betting your house then.
        Specially on something you’ve just dreamed up.

        Please read the stewards report. Of course Button knew LH was there – somewhere- he’d been there at the previous chicane. The thing he DIDN’T know was that LH would be silly to attempt a pass between him & the pit wall!

        There was 60% of the track’s width for LH to pass with his superior speed out of the chicane, BUT crucially, he chose the left.

        You probably won’t admit it, but there was quite a lot of spray about to make looking in the mirror inconclusive. Button looked in his right mirror, but LH was on his left. The orange thing that Button could see he assumed was his rear wing.

        All in under a second!

        Read the Stewards report.

        Or believe what you prefer to believe – that your boy got knocked off.

      4. mad max says:

        I was half thinking Button must have seen Hamilton too because of the clear looking in the mirror and to be honest if it was Schumi and not Button I would have no doubt about it!

        But for a change there were in depth details released by the FIA stewards how they came to their verdict but haven’t seen them shown too many places. After reading their account don’t think Button did see him. Here are the details.
        http://f1revs.blogspot.com/2011/06/fia-detailed-analysis-of.html

      5. mad max says:

        I was half thinking Button must have seen Hamilton too because of the clear looking in the mirror and to be honest if it was Schumi and not Button I would have no doubt about it!

        But the FIA steward report changed my mind, may be a bit long in this column but here it is below.

        The Stewards have reviewed the Incident involving Car 3 (L. Hamilton) and Car 4 (J. Button) on their 7th lap of the race. The Stewards reviewed the lines of several cars, including the two cars involved, using multiple angles of video evidence over several laps, the speed traces of both drivers, the GPS tracking data from the cars and have heard the drivers and team representatives.

        The Stewards concluded that:
        Exiting Turn 13 there was a legitimate overtaking opportunity for Lewis Hamilton as his speed was greater than Jensen Button’s.

        Both drivers took lines substantially similar to many of the other drivers, and did not move as far to the left as the preceding driver, Michael Schumacher. At the moment after Hamilton moved to the left to pass, Button looked into his mirror. It appears from the position of Hamilton at that moment [and is confirmed by the drivers] that Button was unlikely to have seen Hamilton.

        At the point of contact Button had not yet moved as far to the left of the track as he had on the previous lap, or that Schumacher had on that lap. The Stewards have concluded that it was reasonable for Hamilton to believe that Button would have seen him and that he could have made the passing maneuver. Further, the Stewards have concluded that it is reasonable to believe that Button was not aware of Hamilton’s position to his left.

        Therefore, the Stewards decide that this was a “racing incident” and have taken no further action.

      6. Quercus says:

        I recommend that commenters read the report by the stewards before they dig themselves in any further (see link provided by ‘Mad Max’ — thanks). Note: “Hopefully the stewards continue these explanations as it leaves everything more open. Particularly the Button/Hamilton accident was a great analysis of how they came about their decision.”

    3. MikeW says:

      “Yes Button drove extremely well but I believe he saw Hamilton coming through and decided he’d had enough of Hamilton passing him with ease and closed the door (heavens how dare I say such a thing – though true al the same)?”

      I suspect that Hamilton takes advantage of the fact that he knows Button, of all the drivers, is the one most likely to leave room under normal circumstances. And I, for one, wouldn’t blame Button if he chose one occasion to remind him that it isn’t a God-given right.

      But in this case, he’s just following the racing line toward the left of the track. There is one point where he makes the gradual move across a little steeper – but that is before Hamilton has moved out of the tow.

      If Button closed the door, then it was a door that was always going to close, in exactly that way.

      If anything, I think Button thought that the door on the left had already closed, and was starting to expect an attack from the right instead. *That’s* why there so much surprise in his voice – Hamilton had just chosen the impossible option – too little, too late.

      1. Dale says:

        Isn’t it great that a forum such as this allows to voice our opinions?
        I guess we’ll never really know what Button did or didn’t see or his mindset at that time, likewise with Hamilton it’s all just opinion.

        Remember to this day Schumacher swears he never blocked the track at Monaco or hit Hill on purpose…………..mmmm!!!!

      2. devilsadvocate says:

        and so what if he did punt hill on purpose? it seems that here and on other forums Senna is being praised for the exact same thing/attitude… double standard?

    4. Louis says:

      If I recall, Button got Schumacher outside of the DRS zone, and he got Webber after Webber made a mistake into the last chicane while trying to overtake Schumacher..

      1. devilsadvocate says:

        Button passed Schumacher like his brakes were stuck on, on the back straight (DRS zone 1) before the chicane. Looked more like he was passing a lapped HRT.
        Im not going to be screaming for a DRS ban because I think it has its place and we need to remember that the FIA is trying to dial it in so sometimes it will be good and others not… Canada was a “not”

    5. Carl Craven says:

      Dale, you are deluding yourself thinking Button would risk a high speed crash in the wet. F1 drivers have an immense amount of control of incredibly powerful vehicles, but when two cars clash, no driver can forsee the outcome. Broken suspension, puncture, car flipping.

      Drivers don’t risk that kind of action. Especially Button.

      Almost everyone, especially the stewards, (except the armchair pundits) have basically said that Button took the same line as other drivers, it was the racing line and that Lewis was overtaking in the wrong place and too anxious to overtake too soon.

      3 incidents with 3 different drivers within 10 laps. His head was in the wrong place. As Webber said, Lewis seemed like he thought the chequered flag was at turn 3.

      No one wants Lewis to be less of a driver or attack less or be less entertaining, but he does get it wrong sometimes.

    6. Sounds like a lot of nonsense to me. The DRS did make it too easy for Button and Webber to pass Schumacher, but the Mercedes was clearly getting slower on the drying track and they would’ve got by before long anyway.

      There’s no way Button deliberately put Hamilton in the wall. There was a very good chance the front of Button’s car would’ve been pitched straight into the pitwall by that contact, only being on the drier racing line gave him the grip to correct and stay pointing forward.

      The worst Button could be accused of is moving to close the outside line (which was the racing line) but misjudging how close Lewis was and clipping him. In the conditions, with rear visibility affected to the extent it was, that’s quite understandable.

      If anything, I’m surprised Lewis didn’t pull out to the right and have a go up the inside as it looked like he had a good enough run on Button to do so and the gap on that side was getting bigger, not smaller.

      1. Laura says:

        Re Schumi getting taken in the DRS zone, for once I really wanted him to stay up in a podium position. However if the car had had the basic speed of the McLaren and Red Bulls, he wouldn’t have got left for dust after being taken. OK the second DRS zone gave Button a boost but a comparable car or even comparable drive on drying conditions would have allowed Schumacher to get up behind Button the next or maybe 2 laps ahead. And then he would have been able to use the DRS to take the McLaren. Truth was, unfortunately, the Mercedes was slower and the DRS allowed Button and then Webber to make the most of their speed. I know some people love the art of a driver making their car so wide no one can overtake but I prefer this scenario.

        On the same theme, I was wondering what would happen if Button had got within 1 second of Vettel on lap 69 and used the DRS to overtake. Because the Red Bull could do the same lap time as the McLaren (once Vettel had woken up to the danger of Button), he could have kept up with Button and then would have been in a position to re-overtake on the last lap. I’ve been waiting for this scenario all season. Would a driver wait until the last lap to pull their move or would that be too much of a gamble etc. As it was, Button didn’t get close enough on lap 69 and Vettel then made a big enough mistake to not be close enough on lap 70. It’s going to happen sometime soon though and you’re all going to debate the hell out of it!

    7. Andy C says:

      Dont let facts get in the way of a good story Dale.

      They are team mates who have managed to avoid each other (other than a few bumping incidents), and who actually respect each other as drivers.

      Why you think one would think, right thats it, I’ll put us both in the wall, is just fair story stuff I’m afraid.

      1. Dale says:

        The ONLY person who really knows is Button, nobody else.
        I think Button knew he was there closed the door but probably misjudged just how much faster Hamilton was (had he not been maybe Hamilton could have braked and avoid the damage he suffered)
        In my view, Button knows that Hamilton is the faster man and was/is getting fed up with Hamilton passing with relative ease so he closed the door to make it a little harder – of course I accept that that’s just m,y opinion though as I sat the ONLY person who really knows is Button and I suspect he’d never tell us if he had closed the door would he?

      2. Peter C says:

        Grassy knoll syndrome.

  17. quest says:

    The conservatism is being taken to an extreme. After the restart, they circulated for lap after lap behind the safety car till conditions were good enough for intermediates. Not only that, they penalized poor D’Ambrosio for taking on the right tyres for the prevailing conditions.

    1. Kieran says:

      They were very conservative. I think it was because they didn’t want to risk another red flag. If somebody crashed or the rain starting coming down again it would have looked very bad to have to stop the race again.

      I agree that it was surprisingly conservative though and d’Ambrosio probably should not have been penalised (although he did break the rules).

    2. F1_Dave says:

      D’Ambrosio was penalised because under a safety car start (or restart after a red flag) they have to run full wets.

      they do this partly because full wets clear more water which enables them to go back to green faster but also because more often than not a safety car start/restart means it could be too wet for inter’s.

      i dont think it was too conservative considering that montreal is known for drainage problems, there are a couple places where water collects & in those areas standing water can be really deep.

      people should not forget that we dont get all the radio communications. we heard 2-3 drivers saying it was dry enough to restart after the red flag but for all we know the other 20 could have been saying it was still too wet/visibility was still too bad.

      its usually hard to judge watching on tv because you can never really see extactly how wet it really is and exactly what the visibility is like as the cameras usually make things look better than they actually are.

      something to go bac & consider is that at adelaide in 1989 most the drivers thought it was too wet but they went with the minority opinion & started the race anyway & the race turned into a wreck-fest with cars spinning/crashing even on the straghts. 26 cars started yet only 8 finished.

      i think perhaps something else to consider is with no spare cars now, a normal start resulting in a spa-98 type crash means we lose most the field for good.

  18. Sergio says:

    Something I can not understand is that on the penultimate lap, both Vettel and Button they got the fastest lap with yellow flag on the track. Neither I can understand why the investigation between Alonso and Button was decided at the end of the race because when it finished, I was sure they would not remove the English driver Victory.

    1. Damian J says:

      Do you think it’s only the English driver’s that escape the penalties? If so would that be the case when the driver representatives on the stewards panel are mostly not from England?

      1. Sergio says:

        I don’t think anything, I said two fast laps with yellow flag: Vettel first (German) and Button inmediately afterwards (English).

      2. nando says:

        Not really a surprise on a drying track, nearly every lap was a new fastest lap I’d be surprised if alot more drivers didn’t set a personal best lap.
        They just have to show they slowed on the corner where the flag was and iirc it was in a braking zone.

    2. lol says:

      It was clearly a penalty worthy move by Button.

      But new rule now: If you win the GP, the penalty will be forgiven ;)

      1. Nick Hipkin says:

        +1 and the fact Jenson Button isnt Lewis Hamilton!

      2. noways says:

        +100 if he was hamilton then he would have been out to be even better than Senna schumacher and fangio combined.

    3. Is it possible they were both past the hazard before the yellow flags came out?

      I would like some clarification on when an incident is investigated during the race and when it should be afterwards. It can’t be that post-race investigations occur if one of the parties is taken out of the race, as Hamilton got a drive through against Massa but was penalised after the race for the Maldonado crash. Maybe it’s just to do with how busy the stewards are at that time?

      1. Charlie B says:

        I forgot the exact figure, but I thought that incidents are only investigated after the race if there is little time left, last 5 laps, last 10%, something along those lines.

        In Canada though, they were deciding a lot after the race, so maybe it was due to the amount of inquires they had.

    4. Tim B says:

      It appears to be what they do when one of the drivers is already out of the race – perhaps because any penalty for that driver would have to be applied post-race anyway.

      1. Sergio says:

        If you wait to finish the race to make a decision, this is speculating on the result because in this case Alonso was more interested in Button Victory than the Vettel’s one. For sure any further declaration of the Spaniard it goes in that direction. It is unfair and not logical.

  19. Kieran says:

    Good article and analysis. I have a question though and would love to get people’s opinions on it.

    Do you think that, although we are getting some of the best races ever this season, they are too artificial? I am not anti-DRS/KERS, that’s not my point. What I mean is that in a lot of races we have seen people drive perfect races and not get on the podium. A lot of drivers getting good points places and on the podium get there through lucky strategies, not perfect driving or well thought out strategies.

    What do you think?

    1. Paul H says:

      That’s Formula 1 though. It’s not always the best car that wins. You only have to look at James’ driver of the day polls to realise that you don’t have to podium to be considered the best drive of the day. Formula One teams employ the most intelligent engineers, most talented drivers, skilled strategists and look at every minute detail, but ultimately a lot comes down to luck. The old sports analogy is true, the more you train – the luckier you get.

    2. Mingojo says:

      In my opinion, some races have been very artificial, no real racing. I think DRS and KERS are responsible for that. However, I think a lot things going on during a race and many fans could feel attracted to the show, although sometimes is difficult to follow.

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        If someone gets past just because of DRS, then the guy in front before will get him next time round. That this hardly ever happens is because DRS has served its function of getting faster guys up the field. Without it we wouldn’t have had the amazing finish we had in Canada. Jenson would have spent 6 laps held up by Michael and Mark.

        In the old days, faster cars would generally get by – at least until one Senna turned up and changed the rules (let me stay in front or have a crash – or vice versa). So DRS is taking us back to the “Golden Age” of the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s, not the other way around.

        DRS is only articifial in the sense that it cancels out the aerodynamic effects which these days keep faster cars behind. I say hooray for DRS.

    3. Farinapini says:

      I’d say the first DRS zone was close to being too long, it was only saved by the fact it was a wet race and the overtaking car needed a longer braking distance so therefore needed to be further in front to account for the extra braking, as Schumi demonstrated by keeping Webber behind for a couple of laps. If it had of been a dry race I think the DRS zone would of came in for a lot of criticism. The second DRS zone was a bad idea, it simply allowed the overtaker a chance to pull away, effectively double penalising the car being passed.

      One DRS zone is sufficient, they are trying to be too clever with it now,

      1. MikeW says:

        I don’t think many people overtook in the 2nd DRS zone – with the noticeable exception of Massa at the finish. So I agree – it wasn’t really necessary.

        The comments beforehand were that they wanted to test the system out for 2 zones, so it could be used in Valencia. They’ve only recently written the code for it… and it can only handle 1 detection zone, and 2 activation zones.

        So I’m guessing that they wanted to test it somewhere where it wasn’t quite necessary, to be put to good use at a place where it probably is necessary.

    4. Eish says:

      Well because my team(Ferrari) didn’t win anything and it made it so easy to pass them then yes its “Artificial”. but if my team is been held up by a slower car on the day like say in the last race of last season then no its not artificial. I think there is a place for it in F1 especially at circuits where its hard to overtake and a slower car can stop someone with a faster car just because the aero doesn’t work as effectively when you close together.

    5. Tommy K. says:

      Well, I think that the best drives get the podiums this year. You are really emotionally affected by Schumacher’s relatively good race, and you wanted to see him on the podium, but let’s face it. His car isn’t fast enough! DRS was NOT his problem because as soon as other people passed him he couldn’t even keep up with them. Go and review all the podiums this year. They are worthy podiums, either on driving skills or superior car!

      1. Kieran says:

        I wasn’t referencing Schumacher ;) I’m actually a Ferrari supporter. But I see what you mean, I guess I will have to look back over the races again.

      2. StefMeister says:

        Just because one car/driver is faster than another does not mean it has a right to be ahead of it.

        Some of the greatest drives in f1 history has been because a driver in an inferior/slower car was able to hold off drivers in faster cars.

        Racing is about defending just as much as its about attacking/passing. If you take away the possibility of a slower car been able to drive defensively to hold off faster cars then its no longer racing.

        Watching Button & Webber simply drive clean past Schumacher because of DRS with Schumi able to do nothing to stop them to me wasnt racing, it was ridiculous & frankly an Embarrassment.

        A driver driving the wheels off a slower car to get towards the front should be rewarded & applauded, Yet with DRS there brilliant driving is penalised as soon as they get to the DRS zone & in my opinion that isn’t correct.

      3. Carl Craven says:

        Watching Michael Schumacher simply drive clean past his competitors in the pits because of Fuel Stops with his competitors able to do nothing to stop him to me wasnt racing, it was ridiculous & frankly an Embarrassment.

      4. irish con says:

        i agree with everything you say here. this carl guy is clearly just looking to cause a row bringing something into your point which has nothing to do with your point. the drs is what i have a problem with. the fact is after the chasing cars were no longer traction limited and in the drs zone u or me could have past michael. that clearly cant be right and as mark webber said about china when he passed guys like alonso and michael and button easily he got no satisfaction out of it because it was easy and then had nothing to fight back with.

      5. I’m glad it’s not just me that feels this way! I was really hoping Schumacher would get second and although the DRS made things too easy, it was obvious that the more the track dried, the slower the Mercedes became.

        It gives us hope that Schumacher could win races again, but also highlights that the W02 is not a race-winning car.

    6. Steve says:

      I agree & I’d add that I think overtaking has been devalued in F1 now.

      Overtaking used to be really exciting to watch, Now there’s so much of it & the quality of it is so low (DRS passes, catch_&-Passes because of tyres) that I don’t think overtaking really means much anymore.

      In the past you would see a move & know the driver pulling it off really had to fight/work for it. Now you see cars breezing by on straghts because of DRS, Getting by under acceleration due to KERS or because the car infront is on tyres which are a couple laps older & a coupld seconds slower so can’t do anything to fight back.

      I would say that people are so into the fact we suddenly have a lot of overtaking that there not looking at the bigger picture.

      1. CanadaGP says:

        If Vettel had not made the mistake it was quite possible that Button would have been close enough to pass Seb right before the finish line with DRS giving us the first photo finish in F1 since Monza 1971.

        In that classic race Peter Gethin came from 4th in the last lap to win. The first 5 drivers finished within 2/10 of a second. This was before the chicanes were installed to slow down the track and slip streaming was common. I guess younger fans have gotten used to processions in F1.

        I’m still hoping for a DRS photo finish for the win in a race this year. Massa passing Koba right before the finish line for 6th is the closest we’ve come to it. I’m used to seeing American racing on ovals where this is not uncommon (without the use of DRS devices just good old fashioned slip streaming).

        The 2002 US GP was also a photo finish but was not a fair one since Schumi and Rubens staged a photo finish Ferrari 1-2.

  20. Neil F12011 says:

    Wasn’t it great to see Schumacher up the front, mixing it with all the young guns, just a shame Alonso and hamilton crashed out

  21. k5enny says:

    James,

    you say that Vettel lost 20 seconds due to the various safety cars….

    In the interest of fairness, could you also estimate how much Button gained….

    I have studied the laptimes – and I believe that Button gained approximately 180secsonds, or about 2 full laps (relative to Vettel).

    After the “incident” with Alonso, Button was >100seconds down, and would likely have been lapped had Vettel not stopped for inters during this Safety car period.

    K5

    1. Carl Craven says:

      Vettel never left P1 until the last lap even when pitting twice under the safety car, so that was a huge advantage for him.

      It doesn’t really matter how many seconds Button gained to Vettel, he still passed 21 cars within about 30 laps and that is some feat.

      1. Charlie B says:

        Massa led one lap under the safety car when Vettel had a “free stop”, then Massa took his.

  22. Yessir says:

    Forgot to mention the 2 most important factor:

    - luck (with the last safety car)

    - by far the fastest car in race pace (around 2 seconds a lap faster than anyone at many times).

    1. BigBadAl says:

      Fastest car? It didn’t drive itself you know!

    2. RustyDunce says:

      He had the fastest car under changable conditions because of the big rear wing that slowed them down so much in Qualifying.

      As for luck, well theres nothing you can do about that either way – sometimes it works out for you, other times it doesn’t.

    3. Carl Craven says:

      If you noticed, once Button was P2 and Vettel realized he was under pressure, he speeded up. He was basically driving too conservatively because I doubt, as did I that Button would actually be in a position to attack.

      So Button was the fastest but did not necessarily have that great an advantage over Vettel, he was just using the speed which Vettel was not.

      1. iceman says:

        Vettel clearly didn’t have as much pace as Button though, or he wouldn’t have driven off the track trying to stay ahead.
        But yes, it looked like he did have enough in his pocket to have opened up a winning gap, if he’d used it earlier. We’ve seen him ease off and “manage the gap” many times this season but this time he got caught out. I wonder if he’s going to take that to heart and go like a scalded cat in the next race.

      2. Dave C says:

        Well if you look at lap69 Button was 3tenths quicker so it wasn’t a massive deal but yeah Vettel and Rebull underestimated Button, maybe Mclaren ate pushing their engines too hard in the races, the 8 engine rule is really stretching them for 19 races so we’ll see who’s in good shape after silverstone.

    4. Tommy K. says:

      No matter the speed of your car, you need guts to make overtakes all the time without hesitation! and bear in mind this. Button made the car go 2 secs a lap faster…It’s not that much faster in reality. Button loves changeable weather conditions!! Give him credit for that! WORTHY WINNER! (and by the way, i’m a Hamilton fan..)

    5. Yes of course, we forgot the rule that when Button does well it’s the car and when he does badly it’s him. How silly of us.

      1. Peter C says:

        Tifosi rule, that one.

  23. Mosq says:

    I was really (negatively) surprised by the number of people cleaning the track after the rain – 1 max 2 guys in some turns. Taking tickets price into account and number of fans on stands they should’ve get an army out to the track with mops! That was a shame, really!

    1. JohnBt says:

      LOL. Felt like 2 garden keepers.

  24. Paul H says:

    Great article James, just wish could make out some more detail on the graph towards the end of the race.

    Any chance of a future article looking at the way the team strategists work over the weekend? I’ve always wondered exactly what information they have provided by software and what ratio of decisions is based on this opposed to gut instinct. With this year being such an open field for strategies it would be interesting to see the race from their perspective.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, it’s all part of the plan for this UBS Strategy Content programme

  25. BigBadAl says:

    Button had a superb race, with a bit of luck, some good calls on tyres and what we would call a champions drive.

    However, for me the resurgence of Schumacher has been lost in the discussion. I make no excuses for being a Schumi fan, but I was starting to doubt whether he still “has it” Montreal proved beyond a doubt that he certainly does. Given that a wet race neutralises to all intents and purposes the massive advantages of one car over another then we have to accept that Schumachers performance up to the point there was a dry racing line was brilliant. He was consistently putting in quickest sector and even quickest lap times.

    I’m convinced that if it had remained wet/damp he could well have made a podium finish. Probably only third, but certainly on the podium. I do of course accept that without Alonso and Hamilton to bother him his job was easier. That however is my point. Schumacher succeeded where other former World Champions failed. Hamilton seems incapable of biding his time,and Alonso is certainly off the boil. Massa was embarrasing him for much of the race.

  26. Ed says:

    Does anyone know how many overtakes Jenson made?

    Surely this must have been a record?

    1. Mosq says:

      21 though absolute record is 22, old one.

  27. RustyDunce says:

    Hi James, It’s pretty hard to read the graph as there is too much info in it. Is there any chance you could show the same chart with just a few drivers on it? Think of us poor colour blind souls!

  28. Eish says:

    things just happened to work for Button that’s all who knows what setup changes were made to the cars during the red flag. at no time this season has he or the car been 2 seconds a lap faster than red bull. When Vettel did see him in the mirrors Vettel picked up the pace. He made a mistake and Button won. Simple as that. Vettel had the pace to cover Button but screwed up and that is how Button won. The safety cars during the race is what kept Button in it. I know James is trying to make Buttons win bigger than what it was but unfortunately it wasn’t.

    1. Dom says:

      RedBull were conservative, Vettel made a small mistake (his first since Spa last year on a day Lewis and Alonso crashed out and got no points and Alonso was given a driving lesson by his no. 2) but it was still a great drive from Button with some classy passing moves.

  29. Can’t help wondering if D’Ambrosio would have placed better if the team held him in his pit box with inters on until the Safety Car had pitted, it was coming in anyway and if they’d waited a little bit longer to put the tyres on he could have shot up a few places, maybe got a point?

  30. John says:

    “So how did he do it?”
    Come on James, get fair dinkum.
    Simply, it was Seb’s mistake that lost it, handing it to Jenson.

    1. James Allen says:

      Bit more to it than that!!

      1. Eish says:

        Nope its only that. Vettel picked up the pace when Button got close. Vettel made a mistake and gave it to Button. Even with DRS the odds were stacked in Vettel’s favour.

      2. Mosq says:

        He just cracked under pressure! If you rewind he made a mistake not only in that turn but also in the previous one. He was really, really nervous! At the level these guys race mental stability is the key

      3. no no says:

        Re:
        “I suppose you just purged your memory of the fact that Button fought through from 21st on the grid to 2nd before he was in a position to attack Vettel. Such an absurdly obstinate statement to make, and seemingly quite typical of Button’s biggest detractors.”
        Nope no purging. Just knowing that he wouldn’t be able to do it on a normal race day…Yes i am a Button detractor, because he is not as good as you are trying to make him out to be.
        I don’t believe the hype, because that is all it is. Hype drummed up by biased British media, problem is that you seemed to believe the hype. Let’s look at his record. about 200 races. of that 10 where wins. 10!

         

        Now 6 of those tens was in a car far superior to any other. And even then he won 6 of the first seven and never won again…When he did not have the far superior car he won 4 all mind you in the wet where it’s a lottery anyway. At the very best you can say he is good at judging wet conditions and that his driving style suits the conditions. Nothing more than that. I don’t change my opinion on a driver or anything else just because he did one thing right, even if it was impressive on the surface.
        The fact remains at no stage during this season has he or his car been 2 seconds a lap faster than any of the top runners. He lucked into some conditions that suited him and his car setup and he took advantage, and even then Vettel picked up the pace when he saw him in his mirrors. Vettel then made a mistake and the rest is history..

    2. giorgio0078 says:

      to be honest, it was not kind of mistake of SV, anyway Jenson would overtake him on the straight(that’s for sure) and SV was forced to push 101% of car’s limit (had the only chance) but it did not work..
      /think SV perceived that Jenson would pass him on speed/
      & Mclarens performance played more than 50% in victory.

      1. Quercus says:

        Yea,and the Red Bull’s speed played more than 50% in Seb’s commanding lead in the world championship. An amusing argument.

      2. giorgio0078 says:

        yeah, but it didn’t played for a Webber’s lead.
        an argument.

    3. AnDrOiDz says:

      Of course it was Seb’s mistake that handed the win to him. However, what is being showed is how Button manage to put himself where he was just before Seb’s mistake.

    4. Steven says:

      WOW! HOmer! LOL It was Sebs mistake, but Button had to be there to take advantage of it, and dont think for a minute that the fact that Jenson was closing in on him didnt put pressure on seb. Jenson did what he had to do, and Seb faltered under pressure.

    5. Mark L says:

      Unbelievable. Is it really that hard for some people here to just give credit to JB where he deserves it?

      1. Peter C says:

        No, some people just will not allow credit to anybody other than their favourite.

        It’s a pity that all this BS spoils a rational discussion.

        Press on, regardless.

      2. Tommy K. says:

        Exactly!! This was Button’s weekend all the way!! People just don’t understand F1 even when they are given proof!! Unbelievable….

      3. CRT says:

        In 2009 I thought that JB was a good driver that had won a lottery with the Brawn GP car. But JB is really showing his value since joining McLaren. His driving on Sunday was brilliant, really top class.

      4. CanadaGP says:

        Jenson won because Seb made a mistake. However, it was the pressure created by JB that caused SV’s mistake. We see it in racing all the time.

        Button is not the best driver in F1 but last Sunday he certainly was.

      5. Mark L says:

        Agree with all those. He showed in 2009 that he can win races given a good car, but he has went up ten fold in my estimation since he went to McLaren.

    6. Marcus in Canada says:

      Unreal! Give credit where it is due. If SV was so much better how dud JB catch him? If DV was so much better why didn’t he repass JB? If SV was so much better why didn’t JB spin while trying to catch SV? And say it was all the McLaren…Hamilton wasn’t there at the end and JB was. On the day JB was the best, fastest, wisest driver, end if story. Anything else is just sour grapes.

  31. Kedar says:

    Also interesting not to find Jenson’s lap where he supposedly was quicker than the SC delta times I would have expected a spike in lap times or atleast seen him as the fastest driver

  32. David says:

    Hi James,

    I think a key bit of strategy you missed was that after the final safety car Vettel was cruising to the finish, not expecting a challenge. He opened a 3 second gap to MSC on the first lap, and it was still 3 seconds 4 laps later, before he realised Button was coming.

    Surely a massive oversight from Red Bull, they’d seen Buttons pace before the SC, so should have made sure he’d built a gap. He sould have been another 5 seconds up the road when Button got into second. Possibly a sign of over confidence?

  33. Vivek says:

    Hi james…

    1 Isn’t the Mclaren faster in a drying track on slicks?….they’ve been so since spa last year.

    2. The McLaren seems to be a strong car. Unlike last year Lewis and Jenson have escaped with contacts!!

  34. Tom says:

    Did make me laugh, that my comment regarding James disliking Jenson hasn’t made the thread!

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s because it was pointless. Of course I like Jenson. No place here for people stirring

      1. Vivek says:

        James doesnot like Jenson?? No way!! Check this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wif3Kr0y5js

      2. irish con says:

        yeah i didnt watch that video but i remember when button won in hungary james near blew up lol. cant deny it james big lad :)

      3. Adelaide says:

        I was there in 2006, fantastic GP! Had the time of my life…

  35. Tyler says:

    Great race, thanks for the insight into the strategy.

    As a LONG TIME Heidfeld fan I think I am officially signing up for the club that rates him as so so. He has once again failed to take advantage of circumstance. Granted it looked like Kob slowed unexpectedly, but he just continues to blow good fortune and good opportunities.

    Also if you watch the fight ..or lackof…he puts up when being passed…its a joke.. he might as well be waving them by. Steady and solid he may be…but agressive does not come to mind.

    Ive always pulled for the guy, but as a long time supporter…he leaves me shaking my head.

    1. Benson Jutton says:

      Agreed. I was really pleased when he got the seat at the start of the season, but as time progresses I wonder what Hulkenberg would be doing in that car.

      Maybe Hulks not mature / experienced enough to develop it, but at least hes quick, and doeasnt need chaperoning around like a certain other Renault driver.

  36. Michael Prestia says:

    I’ve never in my life seen a race start under a safety car when it wasn’t raining? What a joke and it robbed Alonso of beating Vettel off the line.

  37. Dom says:

    Interesting article James.

    Great win by Jenson in the best car for the condtitions but from last place and too conservative tactics by RB although I’m sure Vettel will be happier with an 18 point increase in points over Lewis, Button putting one over on Lewis with a bit of Mclaren inter-team rivalry over half points if the race had been stopped early and another win.

    Now all Vettel has to do is lobby RB to stop Hamilton from joining the team for 2013….

  38. Franko says:

    Mr Allen your coments please.
    Was that hazardous to start the race behind a SC,? Should Button have recieved drive through
    by putting Alonso out of a race,Button come to
    pits to replace front wheel that hit Alonso rear wheel,none the less his drive was simply top stuff and he deserves the laurels,as for
    Vettel it shows he does not have what it takes
    he cracked under pressure, even though he has
    the best package on the grid.

    1. Peter C says:

      Not cracked, surely. Just slightly overshot a corner – but at a crucial moment.

      1. Steven says:

        Thats what “craking under pressure” means, its not about a BIG mistake, its about a little mistake when it counts the most. Vettel cracked under pressure when it counted the most, in the last lap of the GP, being pressured buy a veteran.

      2. Peter C says:

        Thanks for the English lesson. All I am saying is that ‘Vettel cracked’ is tabloid journalism stuff, just like ‘Hamilton crashes’ when he touched the wall obliquely,damaging his car.

        Enough hysteria, already.

  39. David says:

    Good article, James.

    It was an exciting race, but I am surprised by the lack of criticism towards Jenson …. after all, he crashed into Fernando and Lewis, as well as his drive-through penalty.

    I’m not happy with the general reaction towards Lewis Hamilton. If Lewis had taken out Fernando and Jenson on his way to victory … EVERYBODY would have been baying for his blood. There is an almost universal silence over Jenson’s incidents and accidents …..

    IMHO the Lewis-bashing is getting a little extreme. As for Niki’s comments … he can put a sock in it!

    1. Peter C says:

      Read the Stewards report.

    2. Steven says:

      Agreed!!

    3. CRT says:

      Due to the animosity of their fans, if Fernando or Lewis would have won a race after two incidents with other cars, there would have been a lot of bashing in their direction. But we shouldn’t think that that is the right thing. Most of the bashing they receive is undeserved in my opinion or, in any case, out of proportion, more related to our bias as fans than to reality.

      In this case, I think that the stewards did a good job explaining why JB was not at fault regarding the incidents.

  40. Charlie B says:

    Random fact – that was the 26th race where the winner took the lead on the last lap. 6 years on from Kimi winning in Susuka, 05

    1. DK says:

      Did you include Ferrari’s farce in Austria and U.S. In 2002?

  41. Nick Hipkin says:

    Am I the only one still thinking that Jenson was extremely lucky to not be given a penalty after the race for his move on Alonso?

    I cant help but feel that had he finished 2nd he would have been demoted but theb Fia do not want to be seen to be taking away wins like they did at Spa 2008.

    1. Peter C says:

      Read the Stewards report.

      Tiring,this. But is nobody interested in facts,

      or just prefer to base opinions on guesses?

    2. irish con says:

      no your not man. button was extremley lucky not to get a penalty and if he had of finished 5th or 6th or something like that for sure he was getting a 20 second penalty.

  42. Francisco says:

    In my view was 90% luck, 5% strategy and 5% JB skills. Without the Renault accident he did not have a chance, to top his luck he is involved in 3 accidents and his car is still going.

    The one with FA relly puzzle me becuase it was very similar to Paul’s or Lewis’s in Monaco and he walked away without being punished. Very odd!

    1. David Hamilton says:

      Perhaps because the circumstances were different?!

      FA’s in-car shot showed that at entry to the corner, Button was actually AHEAD of Alonso, although FA started to pass him back through the corner because he had the faster line.

      Niether Lewis nor Paul were never anywhere near being fully along aside before contact.

  43. D. says:

    James,

    whatever the case may be w/ Button in Canada, is it fair to say that McLaren are now definitely the fastest car in race trim ? Especially on tracks w/out fast corners ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari was fastest on soft tyre in Montreal pre race

  44. Luke Potter says:

    It’s interesting that you say that Charlie Whiting has become more risk-averse in recent years, James, and you’re absolutely right. He’s become so risk-averse, however, that I think that his decisions are diluting the racing more and more.

    The Grand Prix this weekend was ridiculous. Whilst it was a great race when it was actually going on, it took absolutely ages to get it going and as soon as the slightest thing happened, the safety car was sent back out again.

    Once upon a time I was very excited if I saw that a wet race was on the cards. It meant we could expect a thrilling race where the drivers really showed what they were made of. These races went down in history as some of the greatest ever. Take the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, where it absolutely bucketed it down for the whole race distance and Michael Schumacher took one of the greatest victories of his career. That race was incredible to watch and everyone was left in awe of Michael’s abilities in the wet.

    These days, though, there’s nothing to get excited about anymore. If I see rain before an F1 race these days I know that we’ll spend ages trailing around under the safety car. It’ll then come in, there’ll be a very minor collision for which the stewards will dish out a penalty to a driver who’s already had to come in for repairs and before you know it it’ll be back out again. And then guess what, there’ll be a red flag and we’ll have to sit around for two hours waiting for the weather to clear. Then we’ll trail around behind the safety car until the track is dry enough for intermediates (one wonders what wet tyres are for these days) and the stewards can go back to giving out penalties again.

    I don’t understand why the show needs to be diluted like this. Formula One is entertainment – to survive it needs to entertain people at the times it is supposed to entertain them. Driving around behind the safety car is not entertainment.

    Back in 1996, wet races always had a standing start. After Belgium 1998 (an accident where no one was seriously injured) the wetter wet races began to start behind the safety car. A few years ago, pretty much all wet races started being begun under the safety car. We now seem to be developing the trend that the safety car starts the race then drives around for several laps to see how things are. Whatever will happen next? At this rate, seeing cars race in the wet will soon become the exception rather than the rule.

    The decision to start (and drive the first laps) under the safety car in Canada really took things too far. There was no need for it at all. Yes, it is more dangerous than a standing start in the dry. But we all know motorsport is dangerous. In any case, the cars and tracks these days are far safer than they were in 1996 when it was considered perfectly OK to race in the wet. In Le Mans this weekend, it was also considered perfectly OK to race in similarly fast cars in the rain, in the dark and with other, much slower cars on the track. The motorbikes at Silverstone had no problem either – and motorbike racing is MUCH more dangerous than car racing.

    Formula One needs to take a long look at itself. And in the meantime, I suggest you enjoy wet races (what there is of them) while you still can. I’d say that in 10 years racing in the wet in F1 will have been banned completely. That would be a crying shame.

    1. Steven says:

      If you think about it, Chalie Whiting has the life of the drivers in his hands. If something happens to one of the drivers because the conditions bad, he could be made responsible.

      1. Luke Potter says:

        That is perfectly true. But it was also true in 1996. As I mentioned in my post, the cars are much safer and stronger now than they were then. Despite this, the drivers are being allowed to race less and less often. That is the point I’m trying to make here.

    2. Jomy John says:

      nice read and i wholeheartedly agree with your views.

    3. kirbs says:

      Here here!

    4. David Hamilton says:

      I have wondered for a while now why they ask the tyre supplier to go to all the time and effort of producing extreme wet weather tyres.

      If it’s wet enough for the teams to need to use them, the race is invariably put under SC conditions or red-flagged.

      Are they just a waste of everybody’s time?

      1. Quercus says:

        If the teams didn’t need them they wouldn’t put them on their cars. They choose to put them on their cars so we must need them. QED.

      2. David Hamilton says:

        And how many RACING laps per season are run with wet tyres?

  45. Tealeaf says:

    Vettel should get crowned hampion at Monza, the place where he came to the fore, please Hamilton sign for Redbull, lets see what you’re made of.

  46. Curro says:

    Ferrari has had an issue with strategy for a long time. What were they thinking about? If you are second in difficult conditions and you have the pace to win later on, you don’t gamble on intermediates like Alonso did, specially when it’s raining hard and the prediction says there’s more water coming.

    Button was sensational.

    The drivers/teams that actually came on top were the ones that stayed calm and waited and pondered their decissions.

    It looks so easy to guess from the couch!!

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Button’s strategy was the same as Fernando’s. He was lucky, Fernando wasn’t.

      1. j says:

        I was at the race and when Alonso pulled in to the pits for inters it was already raining pretty hard. Button pitted for the inters two laps earlier (i think). don’t know what ferrari were thinking.
        Ferrari’s official press release claims that the forecast was for 5 minutes of rain when Alonso pitted and then after that the rain would stop and he would be on the inters. Ferrari tried to be a step ahead of the forecast and their strategy blew up in their face. They forgot the golden rule of wet races: “Always be on the right tire at the right time”, never try to second guess the forecasts.

      2. Damian J says:

        Sometimes you make your own luck….Jenson winning from the back of the grid was no fluke!

      3. Peter C says:

        But Fernando wasn’t able to use super softs, which appears to be the only way the Ferrari can be competitive,even if he was on the same strategy as Button.

  47. James, you mentioned the instruction to restart on wet-weather tyres as evidence of Charlie Whiting’s conservatism. I’d say it’s more of a regulation….sporting reg 25.4(f) to be precise:

    “If the race is started behind the safety car because of heavy rain (see Article 40.14), or resumed in accordance with Article 42.5(a), the use of wet-weather tyres until the safety car returns to the pits is compulsory.”

  48. Grabyrdy says:

    Don’t know if anyone has brought this up : when the safety car came in for the final time, De Ambrosio immediately pitted for inters. Then apparently he got a penalty for coming into the pits under the safety car. But he followed it in, with its lights out and, as I understood it, the SC line was just before the final chicane, where the pit entrance was. Anyone know how this works ?

    1. carla says:

      he came in 4 inters the lap b4 the safety car came in

      http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Documents/can-race-summary.pdf

      lap 33 compared to every1 who did follow sc in on lap 34 x

  49. greg says:

    im on my cellphone, so can’t reply to a comment.

    but to say MSC couldn’t keep up with button wasn’t an option, he had to be defensive to webber. he wouldn’t of kept up anyway, but maybe without DRS, button wouldn’t of got past and for sure webber wouldn’t of & thats easy to see because he was just 4/10ths off him over the line.

    DRS FAKED THE RESULT FOR ME!

    1. Steven says:

      SUre, the DRS helped JB get past MSC, but it was clear how much faster the McLaren was than the Merc, if the 2 cars had been equally matched, MSC would have been able to keep with JB after the DRS zone.

      P.S. Its not “would of” its “would have” sorry, pet peeve.

      1. Craig D says:

        Off topic but: Hehe, I get peeved by “would of” instead of “would have” too. Not to be stereotypical, but I sometimes think it’s a partial indication as to whether the writer has a northern accent or not! I’m originally from northern England and at school I used to write “would of” until my English teacher beat it out of me!!!!

        Of course anybody can fluff up grammar wherever they live, before I get attacked! And it’s not as if people need to be perfect on a message board – I make mistakes all the time! I was just posing my little theory that’s all.

    2. Alex W says:

      Don’t blame the DRS, the merc was very slow, blame Mercedes!

  50. StefMeister says:

    “Watching Michael Schumacher simply drive clean past his competitors in the pits because of Fuel Stops with his competitors able to do nothing to stop him to me wasnt racing, it was ridiculous & frankly an Embarrassment.”

    I also didn’t always like seeing that, However Pit stops & race strategy are a part of racing. When Schumacher (& Others) did that, there compatitors had the option of fighting back using a different strategy.

    We no longer have refueling so that sort of thing doesn’t happen that often anymore, However as long as you allow pit-stops & strategy there will always be the potential for that to happen.

    Comparing Pit Stops/Strategy is DRS is silly as one is a natural part of racing (And has been for decades) while the other is an artificial gimmick which has no place in racing & has nothing to do with racing.

  51. DaveP says:

    Going back to the doom and gloom maths earlier in the thread (Rodger comment 12) I think you may have over complicated it, in fact if Button were to win the next 4 with Vettel 6th in each race, Button would be championship leader. If Button wins the next 2 with 2 dnf’s for Vettel he’s only 10 points behind.

    So it’s not all over yet, remember how far back Alonso was last year?

    1. David says:

      Perhaps Rodger should wait until he has had his coffee next time.

    2. Craig D says:

      Yeah, while Vettel really is a shoe-in, we can’t rule out the others just yet. It’s unlikely Vettel’s results can continue like this till the end of the season (even if his personal form does). Every driver tends to have at least 2 non scores in a season.

      Also, Vettel hasn’t breezed to every victory, it has been close at times. It’s just that Vettel’s challenges keep changing, which is helping his points lead.

      Vettel has made his challenge through his and the car’s qualifying pace. McLaren (and Ferrari at times) is a decent race package. Unfortunately they often have too much to do in the race. You’ve also got Lewis trying too hard, possibly knowing his car is a match to Red Bull in the race and is perhaps being too eager to try and get up to Vettel on the track too soon, leading to these errors and benefiting Vettel even more in the championship.

      If Vettel’s qualifying can be reined in and he has a couple of DNFs, which chance dictates is likely at some point – even if they not Vettel’s fault – then we may see the championship come alive.

      It is funny though that we’re having a very exicting championship even though we have a 2002/04-esque dominance, points-wise for the leader!

  52. Mattoz says:

    I’m not sure what everyone else thinks, but to me it seems that the stewards are being unnecessarily harsh with some of their decisions this year.

    The more I think about Paul di Resta’s drive-through penalty for brushing his front wing against Nick Heidfeld on Sunday, the more it makes my blood boil.

    Paul made an unsuccessful move, and lost out by losing his front wing, forcing him to drive a whole lap slowly to replace the wing. Meanwhile the contact was so light that Heidfeld probably didn’t even notice it. An di Resta gets a drive through!

    It reminds me of Alonso in Malaysia when he lost his front wing trying to pass Hamilton and still got penalised.

    Surely we should only be penalising drivers who gain and/or the person they make contact with loses out – in both of these cases the only people that lost out were di Resta and Alonso.

    Think it is time to have the same stewards at every race, surely F1 could afford it?!

  53. A.B.Normal says:

    I attended Montreal and have several meaningless observations and apparently too much time on my hands. First, in a cold, rainy race the organizers need to serve more than Bud Light and jug Australian! wine. How about some Cognac or Port dammit. Every opening on my old carcass was drenched and miserable. Second, despite Vettel’s last lap mistake, he was untouchable in the wet. Third, how in the world did Ferrari allow Alonso to change to inters the first time? The heavier rain had started about five minutes earlier. Finally, porto-potties are nasty enough in the dry, but in a monsoon, forget it.

    1. Craig D says:

      Nice comments! I still would like to go to Montreal though! :)

      1. A.B.Normal says:

        Yes, Montreal is a special city and the track is unique, if a bit dangerous.

  54. Fausto Cunha says:

    Starting the race behind the safety-car i can understand, for me the more conservative measure was at the safety-car after the red flag, to many laps behind the safety car at that moment, when the safety-car came in it was already time for inters.

    As for the race, in my opinion it wasn´t the strategy that won the race for Button but is speed and specially the conservative aproach from Sebastien on the slicks, Seb tryed to control the gaps by not taking unacessary risks and he payed the price.The strategy and the safety-cars played their parts but for me what made the difference was Jenson ” attacking mode” vs Sebastien ” conservative mode”, seb only picked up the pace when Jenson was 1.5 sec behind.

  55. carla says:

    i do not get this graph at all!!!

    can someone pls explain?????

  56. BMG says:

    That’s 2 races in a row were the stewards dictated the race outcome. It’s also twice that Vetel has been put under presure in the closing laps and lost the lead.

    Looking forward to the blowen defuser ban,we might see closer racing and different outcomes in qualifing.

  57. PaulL says:

    You can add to the question about whether Button would have won without the last Safety Car, the question “Would Button have won without all the Safety Cars plus the red flag?”.

    Not saying it wasn’t a good drive, but I think people are clouded about what happened because it looked great, like they think that Jenson overtaking Schumacher down the back straight was pure racing.
    In the end it comes down to wanting to believe it’s all real and staving off cognitive dissonance to help make it stay real.

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      The fastest car won. What’s more real than that ?

    2. Craig D says:

      Quite. The fastest car (in the conditions at the time) did win, so I can’t see it as being unjust, if that is what you are implying?

      Yes it’s true the safety cars helped Button, but in nearly every race you can talk about how circumstances benefit or hinder a driver; it’s all part of the unpredictability.

      Remember too that Vettel did benefit in being able to get two free pit stops under the safety cars. He could have quite easily come a cropper with it all, like Button, Alonso and Schumacher did early on when they changed back to wets rather than staying out.

      I understand your point that DRS was too easy, but it is all relative. Even when DRS was enabled we saw situations between other cars – where the car behind was quicker but not massively so – that the overtakes were quite hard fought. It took Webber quite a few tries to get past Schumacher for instance. So DRS there was quite suitable in generating passing opportunities but not making them too easy.

      But when you get a car like Button’s which was way, way quicker than Schumacher’s (2s/lap), then of course DRS is going to make it look easy. Button would have got Schumacher even without DRS I am sure, though he may not have had the laps left to still win without it.

      So DRS is relative. It will allow cars that are quicker than the car ahead but not massively so (say < 1s/lap), the opportunity to overtake, whereas in the past they may have had no chance and we would be frustrated. But then for the cars that are greatly faster than the car ahead, DRS will make it look very easy indeed.

  58. Tim says:

    As entertaining as Montreal was, it was the perfect storm. I don’t think you can read all that much into a race as chaotic as this: a Canadian monsoon, a red flag period that was as long as the race itself, I forget how many safety cars and finally a drying track. Vettel played his cards a little too close to the vest and ended up coming in second. He also made a mistake on strategy in China and came in second. He’d better be careful. If keeps making mistakes, he might not take the title until October.

  59. JohnBt says:

    Jenson Button is like vintage wine. He just gets better as he gets older. Never have I seen Jenson running at the speed he did in Canada.

    Button earned his high respect from McLaren through his patience and intelligence not by demanding.

    Lewis must learn from Button without a doubt. And who’s rattling the cage now.

  60. Stevie P says:

    I think if you were to ask any driver they would admit that they left the circuit or made mistakes at some point in the Canadian GP due to the slippery and changing conditions.

    We just happened to see Vettel make a mistake on the final lap which cost him the race victory. However his more crucial mistake, I feel, was a small lock-up into the hair-pin on the penultimate lap, this allowed Button (only as he went over the DRS detection line) to be within 1 sec; the gap prior to this was hovering between 1.1 and 1.3 as they moved thru the early part of that penultimate lap. Being able to use DRS then, crucially pulled Button into contention for a potential final lap DRS move; I feel Seb knew this and was pushing hard to extend the gap in the twisty section (at the “back” of the circuit).

    Fantastic entertainment! And the number of non-F1 people (non-fans etc) that have spoken to me \ talking about that race, is amazing.

  61. David Hamilton says:

    James,

    The cameras picked up at least two marshals who slipped and fell while walking on the track.

    Was the surface really that slippery, or had there been special training courses run by the Buster Keaton School of Marshalling?

  62. Alexis says:

    Nearly half the GP behind the safety car was a joke. 38 laps may have formed the best GP for a while, but the other half made Valencia 2009 look exciting.

  63. Mr Squiggle says:

    Here is an interesting statistic for the moderator.

    After seven races in 2011, Mark Webber is on 94 points and is a very distant third to Vettel.

    Last year after seven races, Webber had 93 points and was leading the championship.

  64. CGM says:

    Personally, I’m expecting that SV and RBR will SMASH the opposition at next race. Primary reason for SV losing at Canada was that they let Button get too close due to the usual conservatist approach that he/they follow when they think that the race is under control. Then they realised too late and SV cracked.
    SV owns not one fastest lap so far this year even though he’s a ..[mod] quick driver in a ..[mod] quick car : a bit odd doncha think ?
    Time for SV to be let off the leash so we can all see the truth of his race-speed once and for all !

    1. Craig D says:

      It’s too odd that Seb doesn’t have any fastest laps due to the strategy and tyres this year. Invariably, you will get a driver further do the field finding themselves (due to unconventional strategy or whatever), on much fresher tyres at the end of the race and flying compared to the leader. For example, Webber in China. This year I never predict a likely leader like Vettel will be setting the fastest lap.

      1. Craig D says:

        *Sorry – It’s *not* too odd, I meant to say!

      2. CGM says:

        Yep. I sorta figured that something was missing in those first few words !
        Agree with your comments re reduced chance of any leader being in a position to own the fastest lap.
        I still feel however that we are “missing out” on something as (I suspect) SV can go significantly faster during the race than he (generally) has been. Would love to see a race where he had a bad quali or first corner spin and then had to attempt a charge back thru the pack. Would certainly silence a few people if he was able to do it !

        To Mod : My apologies. Was not aware that “the B word” was unacceptable.

    2. MikeW says:

      But can the fragile car survive SV taking it to the limit?

      I guess we’ll find out if the pressure from Canada manages to carry over into Valencia, and RB push a bit too hard for too long…

    3. Peter C says:

      @ CGM
      Lack of ‘B’ word = PC state of play.

  65. Seb says:

    Flash of the (maybe) obvious occurs to me looking at the chart above: there is a feedback loop which occurs in difficult conditions, viz. Using the safety car bunches the pack up which makes collisions more likely once released. This is a point worth considering if the policy is to try and avoid future accidents by bringing the safety car out when conditions deteriorate. It may be better to leave the race running and rely on the natural deterrent of penalties for drivers causing accidents.

    1. MikeW says:

      They already have the technology to restrict speeds if needed – using the “lap delta” systems that show on their steering wheels.

      However, one of the points of the safety car is to deliberately bunch the cars up – so it gives the marshalls more opportunity, with no cars near, to clear debris off the track. This should allow the safety car to get back in faster.

      However, the safety car has a more prolonged effect on the race, even once it has come back in – as DRS stays disabled for the next two laps, to counter the bunching effect.

      I guess if every car ran to slow “delta times”, there would be no need to keep DRS disabled for longer.

  66. John Shaw says:

    I was interested to here Ted K on the BBC say that Red Bull reconed that the speed was due to Button having older thus warmer tyres. They seem to forget that Webber had new tyres 2 laps before JB and if it takes RB 18 laps to warm their tyres they must be in some trouble!

    1. Peter C says:

      Very good, a contrived excuse! A bit like the KERS working ‘on & off’ so much since the beginning of the season.

  67. Jose - Perth says:

    Please remove

  68. Andy C says:

    Absolutely epic win from Jenson in montreal.

    Unfortunately I ran out of patience reading down some of the Jenson-hater comments and came straight down to the Leave a reply.

    Unfortunately the facts around Jenson appear to be that he remains a much better racing driver than most people give him credit for.

    Good on you JB, along with the Monaco GP before it, its staying as a “Keep” on my sky plus box.

    I (and possibly only Kenny C) was convinced that JB would do well at McLaren. I don’t for one moment think he has embarrased himself against lewis.

    What a feeling driving past MTC on Monday and seeing the Rocket Red (#winning) Mclaren signage.

    I was also glad (shockingly) to see the two Red machines looking on better pace, and I really hoped for Schu on the podium. Excellent race for him also. Much more like the performances I’d expect.

  69. Jason says:

    Sorry not reading all that. I just wished to say, well done button. A job well done, i just loved the fact vettel didnt win. :)

  70. Andy C says:

    James

    Is it possible to put a like/dislike vote on comments?

    I’d love to know how others read comments,but may not necessarily agree/comment back.

    Thanks
    Andy

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s not a feature I particularly like, but I wouldn’t rule it out in future

  71. Kiril Varbanov says:

    Apart from Button’s crashes, it’s visible that Ferrari have the worst management ever. Timing system collapse … I can’t believe that, sorry.

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