F1 World Champion 2014
Lewis Hamilton
Japanese Grand Prix – who was your driver of the day?
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Red Bull
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Oct 2011   |  6:59 pm GMT  |  90 comments

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel may have sealed his second successive title at Suzuka, but there were plenty of exciting battles all the way down the field in what was another unpredictable race.

So who was your Driver of the Day?

Jenson Button

Dominated the weekend leading up to qualifying by topping the times in all three practice sessions. Missed out on pole position by 0.009 seconds to start second. Pushed towards the grass by Vettel at the start and lost a place to team-mate Hamilton, but kept calm and maintain the gap to the leader while looking after his tyres. Jumped Vettel at the second round of stops and held off a late charge from Alonso to win what he describes as his second home race. Admittedly saw his slim title hopes finally end but was pleased to seal his third win of the season and fifth successive podium.


Fernando Alonso

Failed to mount a challenge for pole and was outqualified by team-mate Massa for only the second time this season, but raced through to second place. Starting fifth, he passed Massa early on and then got by Hamilton in the first round of stops. Looked after his tyres well and then jumped Vettel at the final round of stops. Started to reel in leader Button but ultimately had to settle for second. It was the team’s best result since Germany in July and keeps him in the battle for second place in the drivers’ standings.

Sebastian Vettel

Went off track on Friday and broke the car’s brand new front wing. Failed to make an impression in any of the weekend’s three practice sessions but recovered, with the aid of a new front wing which was flown in just in time for qualifying, to score his 12th pole position of the season. Made an aggressive start from pole to defend the lead but lost out to Button at the second round of stops. Dropped behind Alonso at the final stops and though he wanted to chase the Ferrari driver, the team told him to consolidate his position. Held onto third to win the title and become the youngest-ever double world champion.

Michael Schumacher

Involved in an incident with Hamilton and Webber in qualifying which meant he ran out of time to set a flying lap. Started eighth and benefitted from a slow starting Kobayashi to make up a place before trying to pass Webber round the outside into Turn 1. The move didn’t pull off but the German managed his tyres well throughout the race so that he could do one less stop than those around him. Led the race briefly and also banged wheels with Webber before coming home a strong sixth and once again outperforming his team-mate.

Sergio Perez

Had a disastrous qualifying session when his car developed a hydraulics problem which meant he couldn’t set a time in Q2. Starting 17th and suffering from a cold, the Mexican fought his way through the field by maximising his two-stop strategy. Set the second fastest lap of the race, behind Button, on his way to eighth place – his fourth points scoring finish of the season.

Nico Rosberg

Endured a nightmare qualifying where he failed to complete a single lap because of a hydraulics problem. Started 23rd but was up to 18th by lap two. Managed the safety car period well and used the extra sets of tyres, which he had left over as a result of not qualifying, to good effect and grab the last point in 10th.

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  1. Meathead says:

    It was a great race by Button, but Perez was outstanding today.

    Factor in all the problems he had etc. etc.

    He made 9 places, got in front of his team mate who had started 10 places in front of him, and set the 2nd fastest time in the race. All in a not too quick Sauber.

  2. Craff says:

    Alonso – finished second in the 3rd fastest car. As much as Jenson was so close to Pole on saturday, Alonso would have won if the race had been a couple more laps. Jenson was running on fumes by the end. The safety car must have been a god send for his strategy.

    1. dom says:

      True but I think Vettel/RB wanted a low risk approach to the race and Vettel’s championship.

      I think Alonso drove a cracking race btw but gave it to Jenson as it was his first dry race victory for Mclaren.

      1. Michael says:

        I don’t know about Christian Horner but I don’t think Sebastian was too interested in playing it safe. The guy only needed one point from five races – if you’re not prepared to take the odd risk in that situation, you don’t deserve the championship.

      2. Liam in Sydney says:

        Hardly. Maybe you might think differently if you were on the cusp of becoming F1 world champion.

      3. Liam in Sydney says:

        Otherwise look what happened to Hamilton? Stealing defeat from the jaws of victory. Overconfidence is not a good thing.

      4. dom says:

        Compare to Jenson’s 2009 when he seemed to choke during the second half of the season although his team mate still managed to win with the Brawn…. – Vettel/RB did one conservative drive this year and I can’t wait to see the remaining 3 races.

      5. Michael says:

        I stand by my comment. Before the race Vettel said he was going for the win. After the race Christian Horner said it took some effort to persuade Sebastian to settle for third. They could be lying to serve the myth of Red Bull but I don’t think they are.

        Jenson was in a rather different situation with his championship. The BrawnGP started the year as the car of the field but was struggling to maintain competitiveness by the end. He had every reason to panic.

        Lewis was racing for his first WDC title, yet still went for wins rather than points. That speaks to the racer mentality and supports my point about Seb. McLaren should have reigned him in, as RB did with their driver yesterday.

      6. El Shish says:

        Would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Massa actually raced Alonso as well. It was quite a crucial phase of the race. Had he not been let through, wouldn’t Alonso have likely spent a portion of the race behind Hamilton?

      7. brendan says:

        massa didnt let him through, he just didnt block him.

        It was a DRS aided move like about another 20 through out the race into turn 1.

        williams did the same thing a lap later.

    2. MikeW says:

      Except, presumably, JB would have had a couple more laps of fuel in too… and he’d have timed his previous pit stops differently – as would everyone else.

      Jenson admitted he missed the pit-board on one of the last laps, so saw his gap drop from 5 seconds to 2.6 – and realised he’d taken it a bit too easy (and wished the team had said something). Given that he then did the fastest lap, I suspect that he had a little more in reserve (but *just* a little more) than the raw times makes it appear to us.

      1. MISTER says:

        There is no doubt JB had enough speed to keep Alonso away, but did he had the fuel for that?
        Keep in mind that he stopped the car as soon as he crossed the finish line. This tells me that his fuel was very very low.

        Anyway, cracking race by JB and even FA in that slow Ferarri.

        I was amazed that LH again bumped into Massa. There was one guy on this website who draw our attention on a problem that LH might have with his sight in his left eye. Maybe is time for McLaren to ask LH for a check on his left eye.

        Cheers!

      2. Jeff says:

        I believe that the comment made was regarding Felipe’s eyesight after his major accident with part of Rubens’ car.

        Lewis needs to get his head together, but I don’t think eyesight is his problem (unless you count the red mist which appears to descend across his vision at times).

        Well done JB. Brilliant race.

      3. [MISTER] says:

        Here is the comment I was refering to Jeff.

        Mac Reply:
        September 26th, 2011 at 8:52 am

        James, do the fans, F1, McLaren and Lewis a favour and get McLaren to give Lewis a field of vision test.

        I have said (since his first ever F1 race) that he has a weakness on his left hand side.

        If you look at his positioning on the track, his judgement is clearly better at judging lines and other cars on his right. (Just ride with him and see how he can bump kerbs on the right far more than he can on the left.)

        To his left, he has a problem (just remember when he nearly drove Alonso into the wall in the USA) – he never manages to take left hand turns as tightly, and a disproportionate number of his accidents occur on his left.

        I am ***NOT*** having a go at Lewis – and I in no way mean this as a slur.

        My sister has a blind spot on her left eye and I have had years of driving with her and seeing the difference in judgment between her left/right positioning on the road. It is not a huge difference, but at racing speeds it may well make all the difference.

        Maybe his vision is fine . . . but I really think (and have thought for years) that it should be checked with a specific field of vision test.

        Spa – crash into the wall on the left

        Canada – – crash into the wall / JB on the left

        Singapore – clips Massa on the left

        Check every season and you’ll see the pattern.

        Just check inboard footage and see how much better he can take racing lines on the right.

    3. cjf says:

      Makes you wonder why Ferrari didn’t tell Alonso to turn up the revs and then park the car like Button did. Arguably Button might not have escaped the DRS activation zone and the result may have been different.

  3. Button, Button, Button.

    The best full Grand Prix weekend he’s ever driven, in my opinion. I’m really delighted he took the win, both for Jenson and the Japanese fans as he has such a good relationship with them.

    1. I share your opinion there. He was immense this weekend. He also needed to win one in the dry with McLaren. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in contention for the title next year if the team provides him and Lewis with a decent car off the blocks.

      1. Andy C says:

        Agree with both of you here. Excellent weekend from JB.

        Funny how all of the jenson bashers have gone very quiet of late. Any more excuses why he isnt a decent driver?

        First it was the car, then it was the tyres, then it was just wet weather.

        Perhaps he’s just got a secret turbo boost button now. (Joking)

      2. Jeff says:

        Great to see the Jenson-bashers eating so much crow.

      3. johnny says:

        You forgot a couple there; he’ll never win a race, he’ll never win another race, he’ll never win the WDC, he only won because it was the best car, he’ll be crushed by Lewis, he’ll never win a dry race :-)

    2. Blackacre says:

      Agree. Puts paid to the myth that he can only win in the wet or a dominant car. This was a dominant performance all weekend (shame he just missed pole). A real contender next year if Mclaren do the job with the car.

  4. MehluliNdebele says:

    MIchael did a fantastic job, Michael is in his element, He is driving fantastic, consistently finishing well and extracting the best possible result from that Mercedes

    1. madmax says:

      Probably give Button or Perez driver of the day but agree Schumacher was perfection.

      Just hope Mercedes give him a good car next year to see him back up the front teaching the young guns how it’s done.

      He is the oldest driver to lead a race since Jack Brabham 50 years ago and is still slowly improving and getting back to his best all the time. What a competitor!

      Pity the BBC would rather show an interview of Paul Di Resta who never done anything in the race and am tired of hearing about rather than Schumi after the race.

      1. MISTER says:

        I’m not even sure MS would stay and talk with MB and DC. They bash him every time they have the chance. I wouldn’t speak with MB or DC either if I would be in Ms shoes.

      2. madmax says:

        Was talking about the usual interview in the pen with Lee Mckenzie after the race were all the drivers are interviewed by the media.

        To be fair to MB & DC they are a lot less critical of late and even EJ has changed his mind!

        I think something happened between Schumi and Martin Brundle were he will never give an interview. Recall Brundle saying something like that on a grid walk once.

        Anybody know why?? You know James?

      3. Carl Craven says:

        @madmax

        Brundle and Schumacher used to be teammates so any animosity no doubt dates from that period. Michael like to have his team mates accept his terms. Brundle wasn’t his team mate for long so no doubt didn’t like the terms.

        I am however speculating.

      4. alexyoong says:

        Madmax

        I too remember Bundle saying that on the grid walk once. Schu was driving for Ferrari, so must have been 2006 or earlier. Bundle walked up, said ‘Michael, a word for British TV?’ and Schu just shook his head and turned ti a mechanic. Bundle then said ‘I dont know why but Michael wont speak to me, I think it stems from our days together at Bennetton.’

        The upshot was that at a later race ITV persuaded one of the Ecclestone daughters to interview him on the grid for us. Not that that was particularly successful either.

        It all really added to the British fans dislike, in some quarters, back then.

        Now, after his break, he is much more cheerful, and presents as a calm and thoughtful bloke (of track at least). I now regularly root for him at races. Can’t wait to see him back onthe podium.

  5. Charlie says:

    Awesome from button, congrats to vettel and another record for schumi… Oldest man ever to lead a gp! Driver of the day has to go to perez though.

    1. zombie says:

      Howz that even possible ? There have been much older drivers than Schumi who have won an F1 race, the oldest being Luigi Fagioli at the age of 53!

    2. dom says:

      Oldest man for 40 years to lead a GP – oldest GP winner was Luigi Fagioli @ 53 years old.

  6. VV says:

    Button. He didn’t let Vettel’s dodgy move at the start rattle him, and was able to pull away from Alonso in the closing stages when it looked like Fernando might making a late charge.

  7. Trespasser says:

    Perez for sure! Hopefully he gets into a top car soon.

  8. doyley says:

    Has to be vettel, simple fact of keeping his head to do just what was needed. Not had a dominated season like this since M.S Ferrari era.

    1. Liam in Sydney says:

      How can a driver who started 1st and finished 3rd be the driver of the day?? Look around at the outstanding efforts of other drivers mate. :)

      1. Steve says:

        I don’t think Seb has been voted driver of the day once on this site all year, regardless of where he starts or finishes, but I doubt he will be losing sleep over it.

      2. Richard says:

        That’s becasue most of his races are boring and clinical drives from pole position. He has never had a decent race with anyone and come out on top. Was it Canada where Jensen scared him off the road?

      3. Steve says:

        Given Jensen’s “move” on Alonso shortly before that it’s no wonder :P.

        I thought Seb’s move on Alonso at Spa my shut all the haters who say he can’t overtake up.

        I guess some people aren’t pleased unless you under perform in qualifying and have to fight your way up from the back.

    2. **Paul** says:

      Not Seb, he finished about where his car was capable of, he was driver of the day in Qualifying though, putting his car ahead of the two McLarens who obviously had the fastest car this weekend.

      For me driver of the day was Alonso. Started 5th, in the 3rd best car, and finished 2nd ahead of both Red Bulls, one McLaren and his team mate. He outperformed his car, whilst JB & SV performed as their cars level and MW & LH under performed. Look at how much time FA was making up in things like pit entry, he was absolutely on it yesterday. One of his strongest ever races IMO.

  9. Richard says:

    A difficult choice, but of the leaders Alonso seemed the strongest driver if not in the quickest car, but perhaps it was poetic for Button to win given his close associations with Japan, and to be fair he drove a very good strategic race.

  10. Bevan says:

    Has to be former driver Alan Jones IMO.
    He used his head to make a decision,maybe the FIA should make it a permanent position for the former Aussie charger.
    Very refreshing not to witness the groundhog day like”it was the black man syndrome” again.
    DOTD,Seb Vettel with ease,nursed his race home to his 2nd WDC,left the scraps for JB & co,whats a win worth when the WDC is toast ?,consolation prize.I did enjoy JB’s squealing like a girl when SV squeezed him at the start though,”priceless”..

    1. russ says:

      If by nurse his car home you mean fail to overtake a slower car, alonso. He said himself he wanted to win.

    2. Gerald says:

      “whats a win worth when the WDC is toast ?”

      Talk about an ignorant comment. Try to telling that to a driver who hasn’t won a race yet. Even with the WDC over, Williams, Toro Rosso, Mercedes, Renault, and all the other mid-fielders would love to win one of the remaining races.

      For someone who speaks so highly of Vettel, you seem to forget about his first win. He was never in contention for the 2008 title with Toro Rosso, but was absolutely ecstatic with his win at Monza which then led to him getting a seat at Red Bull. That first win meant everything to him even though the WDC was out of reach. Hakkinen did the same thing at Jerez in 1997 and fought for that first win especially when he knew Villeneuve would avoid any sort of contact to secure the WDC.

      Also, a lot of drivers still get bonuses for winning races and winning races WDC clinched or not will cause teams to watch those drivers which can lead to potential drives for the best teams.

    3. KRB says:

      Yeah, dumb comment about the wins. EVERY driver wants wins, no matter if the championship is out of reach or not. F1 drivers are lucky to win a single race, and not many have claimed more than 10 wins in the annals of F1 history (only 32 to date over 60 years of F1; only 49 have won 5 or more).

      Of course, if it were possible that some genie somewhere could hand any of the challengers the next 4 wins of this season, or 4 wins next season that they’d all take them next year. But it doesn’t work like that, so they all want to win every race they’re in.

      1. Bevan says:

        The results from here on in are about as relevant as an empty bag of crisps guys.
        The blown diffuser damage was done before the FIA thought to act,again,only one year after the DD diffuser debacle.But feel free to get excited about trumped up results,its you right as free men.
        IMO its pointless getting all hot under the collar about a sports series who’s judiciary resemble a banana republic.Every overtake analyzed (especially Hamilton’s,especially not the Schu’s) to ascertain if there’s any ego exposure via name in lights for the latest geriatric F1 jockey reminiscing on former glory days.

  11. r0ssj says:

    Its close between Button and Alonso, but I’m going to go with Alonso. Started 5th and finished 2nd, in the 3rd best car. Even pressured Button for the win at end.

    1. KRB says:

      Agreed … have Ferrari finally figured out the harder tires? That’s been their Achilles heel all year.

  12. Curro says:

    They all drove very well but it has to be Button, he was just outstanding today.

    A small correction, this was not the 2nd but the 3rd time Massa outqualified Alonso this year.

  13. mark Roberts says:

    Alonso with Button a close second. Good to see Schumacher have another strong race too.

  14. Cliff says:

    JB for me. He could have lost his head at the start, but he didn’t. His last few laps were also impressive.

  15. John T. says:

    Driver: Perez got my vote, he came through the field (in Suzuka) in a car that was lucky to get into the points at all.

    Constructor: Mclaren, Button drove well but it was his race to lose as it was clear from practice 1 mclaren had brought a strong car.

  16. Serrated_Edge says:

    Button without a doubt the driver of the day.

  17. Monktonnik says:

    Button. He was brilliant; what a way to celebrate a new deal. Those last ten laps were hell for me. I was so relieved to see him stabilize the gap with Alonso.

    I’m glad that I can now legitimately state that he can win in the dry, in a Mclaren, and without a trick diffuser and an “unfair car advantage”. I hope that particular argument has been put to rest now.

    Alonso, MSC and Perez also stood out for me.

  18. paul says:

    I was gonna be all fanboy and say Schumi but…..

    It’s gotta be JB, dunnit?!

    1. Stuart says:

      Haha, funny one!

  19. Nando says:

    Close between Fernando and Jenson. Narrowly give it to Jenson as he crushed Hamilton for pace after the first pit stops, would of been interesting if Hamilton hadn’t got the puncture though.
    Why is Vettel even on the list? Sure he won the title today but he only needed one point from five races. That isn’t exactly bringing it home under high pressure which would of been the only reason a mediocre drive could of been bumped into DOTD contention.

  20. JohnBt says:

    Alonso – for making the last couple of laps thrilling catching Button.

    But there were many good drives from – Button’s response to Alonso, Perez who was impressive clocking fastest lap, Schumi for his start. I though Sutil passing someone (Koba?) at 130R was the best overtaking move.

    Overall it was a fantastic race as tyres were chewed up real quick.

  21. C Lin says:

    Button.

    I hope he wins the WDC in 2012!
    We need more 2xWDC on the grid ha.

  22. Craig in Manila says:

    For me : Perez.
    Getting from 17th to 8th on a two-stopper can only be described as an excellent effort.
    All other drives/results as described above were definitely good, but not (in my opinion) particularly excellent.

  23. Xman says:

    If Perez and Massa continue their current form till the end of the season, watch Perez in a Red car next year!!!!

  24. Nick says:

    Jenson Button was my driver of the day – one his most impressive performances. He genuinely seems to be improving as a driver on a race by race basis at the moment.

    Interestingly, over the last 5 races, with 125 points on offer, Vettel has only scored 7 more points than Button. If it wasn’t for Button’s run of bad luck mid season (KERS issue in Valencia, retirements at Silverstone and Nurburgring, Button would still be an outside bet for the title.

  25. Dan Ede says:

    I voted Button, as I didn’t see enough of Perez’s race to judge. I know it has been said many time before, but Jenson and Seb really are great ambassadors for the sport.

  26. Chris Chong says:

    I might be imagining it, but Sauber seems to be picking very inflexible race strategies for Kamui lately.

    Kamui was quicker than the cars around him just before the safety car came out, and even pulled of several overtaking moves.

    Yes, the timing of the safety car was less than ideal, but surely they could’ve switched to a 3-stop strategy rather than prematurely changing to the primes and hoping that it would last till the end.

    I thought they should’ve put on supersofts during the safety car period and then let him run for another 15 laps (by which time, he could’ve pulled away from the slower cars) and then swap to primes with about 20 laps to go.

    Either that, or they should’ve swapped him back to a set of supersofts the moment they entered the window where a set would’ve lasted till the end of the race.

    Quite frankly, I was gutted to watch him as high as 8th, only to be passed by Perez, and a few other guys at the end (and he did have a pretty good amount of distance ahead of the pack behind him at the time). Judging by the amount of seconds-per-lap he was losing, i would’ve brought him in – surely the strategists in the pit wall could’ve worked out that he wasn’t going to finish in the points.

    1. iceman says:

      Yes I agree. They are playing to the strength of the car (tyre preservation) but it means they’re not taking advantage of Kobayashi’s own strengths. I’d like to see them try a more aggressive short strategy before the end of the year to see what he could make of it. But with them being nip-and-tuck with Force India in the constructors’ championship, I suspect they’ll feel they should continue to play the percentages.

    2. Koby fan says:

      I imagine a lot of fans (@ the track & on tv) were gutted from the stalled start…

      I think Koby is in a slight form slump & making a few mistakes (Suzuka start, Singapore quali), just the same as Hamilton and Webber are having troubles…This year’s pirellis are not kind to the aggressive overtakers and their teammates are qualifying quicker which is putting on more pressure. The rest of the season will see drivers like Button, Checo, Vettel who are easier on their tyres deliver more points.

      At the backend of most races this year, Koby has had to defend position on deg tyres.

      Sauber need both cars in the points. I agree with Iceman – it would be good for the last few races to let Koby start on primes and finish on options (e.g. like Monza)

      Looking fwd to Brasil and Abu Dhabi – hopefully Koby can have a few new scraps with Jenson

      1. Chris Chong says:

        iceman – I think that Sauber is believing their own propaganda about their cars being friendly on its tyres; this isn’t the first time that one of their drivers has been hung out to dry on badly degrading rubber. However, I do see them trying more split strategies, kind of like they did in this race.

        Koby fan – I could hear a collective sigh from the grandstands at the start. At least that’s what it felt like in my head.

        The good news is that the team seems to have found some speed in their new aero package – Kobayashi bagging 1st in Q1 and Perez clocking the fastest lap of the race aren’t usual feats for a Sauber (even if they were out-of-sync with the rest of the field in tyre choice).

  27. Glenn says:

    Driver of the day? Too easy. Webber. He lost 0 positions off the start. WELL DONE MARK!!!
    Seriously, JB’s drive was brilliant and well timed. Honourable mention to Alonso. He didn’t do anything flash but he didn’t do anything wrong either. Good, solid 2nd place.

  28. quest says:

    I see that Michael is featuring regularly in these driver of the day polls. He has really picked up his game during the last few races. Please Mercedes, give him a car capable of challenging at the front next year.It would be awesome to relive some of the old Schumacher magic again.

    For this race, Jenson didn’t put a wheel wrong and was the driver of the day.

  29. Cookie says:

    Has to be Jenson, driving much better than Lewis at the moment, probably in the form of his career.

  30. Sergio says:

    When Alonso saw Button parking their car just after finish line, he should think Macca strategists did a better job than them. The last two laps of Jenson were a gift (yellow button) that Ferrari had to copied.
    I choose Pérez. First time for the mexican at Suzuka did not stop one of the best performance of his career.

  31. Jason C says:

    I can’t decide – Button, Alonso, Perez are all contenders for me.

    [mod: I can't post from my normal email address - the comments don't appear.]

  32. NickyStuu says:

    My vote’s for Jenson too. I’ve been hugely impressed with his run of form in the second half of this season. Probably more impressed even than his run in the first half of 2009, which to a large extent seems to have come down to the dominance of the Brawn.

    I really hope McLaren can carry some of this momentum into next season, and so bring a proper challenge to the Bulls from race 1…

  33. Olivier says:

    3. Vettel is making it look all too easy. Which it is not if you compare him to Webber. His move on Button was on the edge and great F1 stuff. He thoroughly deserves to be the 2011 F1 champion.

    2. Great to see Schumacher outsmart Massa with his driving. I’d love to see this man in the mix – battling it out with the top five – next year.

    1. Well done by Button. A very calculated drive, just like “the professor”.

    >> I am really looking forward to the remainder of the season. It is going to be a fierce battle between Alonso vs Button vs Hamilton vs Webber to become the vice World Champion of 2011. Bring on Korea!

  34. Paul H says:

    Close call between Button, Alonso and Perez who all drove superbly all race. Button just has the edge in my mind due to the overall consistency and ability to keep calm. After the start he kept his head and at the end he could easily have felt the pressure with Alonso homing in but he just calmly switched it up and brought the car home.

    Alonso had a fantastic drive to come home in second place considering he had the 3rd fastest car under him. Superb effort by him.

    Perez had a great day, rookie of the year without any doubt and I can see him moving to a bigger team in not too distant future. Even more incredible when you consider how ill he was all weekend!

  35. Simon Donald says:

    Button by a country mile for driver of the day.

    Fastest driver over the weekend. Has the measure of Vettel and drove a superb strategic race for victory. Alonso was fast at the end when the others tyres were going off as the Ferrari is kinder on it’s tyres, but Button was always in control of him and knew what he needed to do. A drive worthy of the Professor himself! What’s more he has done what he needed to do at McLaren and has threatened to do at other venues this season like Monaco an Spa – win a race on outright pace in the dry rather than through his excellent car control and decision making in the wet and changeable conditions.

    Honourable mentions for Perez and Schuey. Strong races from both!

    1. Ketan says:

      He is just like Alan Prost, and the formula is to look after your tyres: Jenson can do this and will do better in the years to come. Hopefully If Mclaren creates a great Car to challenge the Bulls then we will see consistency with Jenson in gaining the wins by preserving the tyres and then using them as seen in Japan. Another good point is the way he calms down, Seb blocked Jenson at the start, of course you will get fumed up but he controlled it and won. Lewis Hamilton can learn from Jenson Button to make him stronger.

  36. Paul says:

    I think it was a brilliant win by Jenson but, had it not been for the few laps behind the safety car, I doubt whether he would have finished without slowing down considerably due to low fuel.

    1. Andrew J says:

      Fair comment, but it cuts both ways. The cars behind JB also used less fuel under the SC, and therefore Alonso might not have had the reserves to mount the charge he did towards the end.

      Close thing, though, however you look at it.

    2. dingbat says:

      +1…But all credit to him for managing the situation so well at the end

  37. AdrianP says:

    Driver of the day, Button, no real question.

    Perez had a good race. His second fastest lap may have been anomalous in that he was, I think, running a contrary tyre strategy to the front-runners – i.e. he was on softs when fuel was lowest, whereas the leaders were on hards for the last 20 laps (I may have this wrong – if so, even more kudos to Perez).

    Alonso again habitually impressive. The Ferrari was not as bad as qualifying suggested and I remember Ferrari being massively bullish re Suzuka a few months ago (although, from memory, that might have been when it was thought that the blown diffusers had gone). The Ferrari seems basically to have v. good aero, v. good engine and v. kind on tyres, but seems to be missing something in the exhaust blown diffuser technology – cf. Silverstone this year. Perhaps this suggests we could have a dominant Ferrari next year…? Be that as it may, Alonso again delivered everything that could be delivered and drove his usual intelligent race.

    Another good showing from Schumi – he’s got a real chance now to finish ahead of Rosberg in the standings, which will be a huge fillip for him.

    Button v Hamilton. It has become absolutely clear that Button has been grossly underrated, especially by those who expected him to be blown away by Hamilton at Mclaren. That the opposite seems to be happening this season (and the margin is actually probably more than the sizeable 32 points would suggest, given Button’s two DNFs not attributable to any driving fault).

    What has gone wrong with Hamilton? I think he does have a problem with the way the tyres are now, which seem to reward precision over reactive/hustling driving style and unfortunately taking the hustle out of Lewis seems to leave him very deflated. And now there seems to be a bit of a negative feedback loop in that typically Hamilton would respond to pressure by driving in any even more committed manner, but this seems to be worsening the situation rather than the opposite. And the frequent crashes have not helped…

    Is Hamilton overrated? Not in terms of ultimate performance, but this season has showed that there are still some serious deficiencies in terms of racecraft and consistency, and – perhaps, attitude.

  38. Ketan says:

    Great victory for Jenson Button which will make him even more confident. Looks like Jenson has got the upper hand for second place in the championship and a chance to finish ahead of Lewis. Last year Jenson was suffering from bad luck and now look, Lewis is suffering the same Karma. You could argue that with Lewis its self conflicted, but at least he races and I am sure next year Lewis will be motivated to improve his form for 2012. I still feel that Mclaren could have got two cars 1st and 2nd. It appears from the Formula 1 website that Lewis was suffering from I quote:

    “We weren’t immediately aware that Lewis appeared to suffer a slow puncture to the right-rear in the first stint. That created a growing pressure differential across the rear axle, and potentially led us to add too much front wing to compensate for the lack of balance at the rear. In hindsight, that may have led to Lewis fighting to find a satisfactory balance for the next two stints as we attempted to restore the set-up”……http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2011/10/12628.html

    James, could you please explain to us, did Mclaren get it slightly wrong with Lewis, even though during the heat of the moment with the rear puncture caused the rear axle to be out of alignment?, or is it simply Leiws can not or finds it difficult to look after his tyres?.

    I have noticed that drivers who performed well last year are now struggling i.e. Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton due to the tyres, requires soft (Prost) driving style and not hard (Senna) driving style?

  39. Harrison says:

    I really have a hard time to understand how some people think, regarding Vettel. It’s almost like having conversations with religious fanatic, the facts simply doesn’t matter.

    Yes, Vettel has the best car on the grid, and if you have it you should win, and he has. He can’t do more, and his done it very well, because his season it among the best ever. Webber has also the best car on the grid, but he can’t beat Vettel in the quali, he makes bad starts and on top of that he has higher tireware then his teammate. This combination makes impossible for him to beat Vettel, he must improve on all these areas for next season.

    For those who say that Hamilton, Button and Alonso would beat Vettel in same car, it’s just assumption based on what? Button has lost to no less then three different teammates (R. Schumacher, Fisi and Hamilton) in the past. If Hamilton drove for Red Bull this year he would lose to Button, Alonso, and Vettel in the same car. This is based on that Button has beaten him so far in the same car, Alonso has done it in the slower car and Vettel doesn’t make mistakes and do get results. There is nothing saying that Alonso would beat Vettel, he didn’t beat Hamilton as rookie, why would he beat Vettel as (two time) world champion?

    Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel are all exceptional probably all three will be top ten drivers of all time. Button has improved a lot and are impressive but I don’t think he’s in the same league, neither is Webber at his best, they don’t have “extra two tents of second raw talent”.

  40. Harvey says:

    Driver of the Day: Button by far. He’s second in wins, and in my opinion would be fighting Vettel for the championship if he swapped seats with Webber. And what a fine photo of Perez! I’m going to save it and superimpose Hamilton’s face over Sergio’s because he gagged another race weekend. First the uncanny ability to miss a final flying lap in qualifying, blaming it on traffic ahead. Then sideswiping Massa (again) and avoiding a penalty only by the generosity of Alan Jones.

  41. eric weinraub says:

    While I am hardcore Schuey fan, I was impressed hugely by Button. I have always found him overrated but his drive yesterday was truly super.

  42. Johnny Leone says:

    Button drove very well, no question. I have to give Alonso the nod for putting the Ferrari a bit higher up than it likely deserves though.

  43. DC says:

    for me, Perez. Great drive.
    Not taking away from other drivers, schumi especially, but i look forward to seeing Perez in a better car in the future. Is there any chance we will see him in red next year?

  44. Steven Pritchard says:

    James,

    Do you think Buttons rise in form (and Hamiltons subsequent dip) has anything to do Mclaren employing former Bridgestone tyre technician (in terms of Button now perfecting tyre temperature whereas before he was not getting enough heat into his tyres, and Hamilton was probably getting better tyre temperature before and now is overheating them)?

    Or is it that Pirelli have gone aggressive on the compound selection for race weekends?

    Cheers,

    Steve

    1. James Allen says:

      Read the Strategy Report from Japan

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