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Posted on September 23, 2012
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Sebastian Vettel took his second win in Singapore and the second of this 2012 campaign after pole sitter Lewis Hamilton dropped out at one third distance with a gearbox failure.

The Red Bull driver had jumped Pastor Maldonado at the start and was too fast for Jenson Button in the second McLaren. When Hamilton pulled off the road on lap 23, the way was clear for Vettel to control the race and despite two safety car periods to allow for accident damage to be cleared away, he steered the Red Bull home for the 23rd win of his career. Button finished second with championship leader Fernando Alonso third.

Paul di Resta was a candidate for driver of the day with fourth place in the Force India, just 3.8 seconds behind Alonso at the finish, which came after two hours, rather than 61 laps, due to the delays under the safety cars.

Of the main title contenders, only Vettel gained ground on Alonso, closing the gap to 29 points, while Hamilton fell behind Kimi Raikkonen and now sits 52 points adrift (more than two race wins) of Alonso with six races to go. If Alonso averages third placed finishes in all the remaining races, Hamilton will need to win them all to beat him.

Coming after Button’s retirement in Monza, two technical failures in two races is a worrying picture for McLaren.

Hamilton had commanded the race from the start and looked trouble free during the first stint. However his gearbox started to misbehave as he crossed the line at the end of lap 22 and when exiting turn three he found himself with a box of neutrals and was forced to retire.

Vettel’s win, his first since Bahrain, plus a tenth place finish for Mark Webber means that Red Bull have extended their lead in the Constructors’ Championship to 37 points over McLaren.

“It’s great to get the win today,” Vettel said on the podium. “I’d like to dedicate it to Professor Sid Watkins. It’s thanks to all the work he did to bring safety advancements to the sport that we can race on circuits like this. Looking to the race, Lewis had to retire which is a shame for him. I know how it feels and have been in that position before. I think we could have had a tight battle. I felt very good on the harder tyres and we had a lot of pace.”

Following Hamilton’s retirement Vettel took control of the race and was only under pressure during the two safety car periods, which caused the race to be cut by two laps at the end. The first safety car was caused by a collision with the barriers for Narain Karthikeyan, whilst the second involved Michael Schumacher missing his braking point and driving over the back of an unfortunate Jean-Eric Vergne. The stewards decided to penalise Schumacher with a 10 place grid penalty at the next race in Japan. They pointed out that Schumacher accepted blame and that this was a second similar offence (he also hit Senna in Spain in a similar way this year), which counted against him.

Prior to the race there had been a lot of debate surrounding whether to make two or three stops, but the safety car periods enabled a two-stop strategy and a sprint finish following the second deployment. In this phase Vettel showed the pace he had in practice and pulled a nine-second lead by the finish.

Button pressured Vettel throughout, but looked to secure his second place finish in the closing laps. The two came very close at one point under the safety car as Button tried to heat his tyres whilst Vettel did the same to his brakes. Button later complained to his team, saying that Vettel was too ‘stop-start’ under the safety car, but he declined to pick up the thread when the pair were interviewed on the podium after the race and the incident was not investigated.

Button was also able to make his first stint last four laps longer than Vettel, and should there have been no safety car he would have had fresher tyres at the end of the second and final stints to pressure Vettel for the win. That was the plan, however it’s debatable whether he would have had the pace.

Alonso drove a typically astute race, on a weekend when the Ferrari was not competitive, to claim his 81st career podium. He kept his nose clean behind a sometimes erratic Maldonado, who lost places at the start. Although he made good use of the Safety Car to find himself in third position when the race restarted, it nevertheless didn’t come at the best time for him, as he had recently made a stop for tyres and didn’t need a new set when the others stopped.

The Ferrari did not have the pace to significantly trouble Red Bull or McLaren this weekend, but Alonso was once again able to extract the full potential from the car and collected another large amount of points. Maldonado was having a good battle with Alonso for third place until he was forced to retire with hydraulic failure.

As last year in Singapore, Paul Di Resta was on fine form, taking a career best fourth place. Like the cars around him he started out with the intention of stopping three times, but was able to make it work with two stops and was helped by the safety car and by Nico Rosberg in fifth holding up cars behind him.

Felipe Massa made a good recovery from a poor qualifying in the second Ferrari after having to make a pit stop on the first lap following a puncture. He was in last position but picked his way through the traffic and had a particularly strong final stint on the option tyre. He came very close to Bruno Senna across the short bridge and it took a spectacular save with opposite lock to remain on track. He ended the race in eighth position.

Not noticed by many, but of vital importance in the battle at the foot of the constructor’s championship, Timo Glock finished 12th for Marussia, which puts them in pole position for 10th place, which guarantees prize money and travel benefits and is worth millions to the team which finishes the season there. As neither Marussia, Caterham or HRT has scored a point, this finish, the best of any of the “new teams”, who entered F1 in 2010, could swing it Marussia’s way and this would be a major blow to Caterham which has invested heavily this year.

[Additional Reporting: Matt Meadows]

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, Marina Bay, (2 hours limit reached)
1. Vettel Red Bull 2h00:26.144
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 8.959
3. Alonso Ferrari + 15.227
4. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 19.063
5. Rosberg Mercedes + 34.759
6. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 35.700
7. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 36.600
8. Massa Ferrari + 42.800
9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 45.800
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 47.100
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 50.600
12. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
15. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap (*)
16. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Senna Williams-Renault + 2 laps
19. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 2 laps

TITLE CONTENDERS
1. Alonso 194
2. Vettel 165
3. Raikkonen 149
4. Hamilton 142
5. Webber 133
6. Button 119

Hamilton’s loss is Vettel’s gain in Singapore
176 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: AlexD
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:00 pm 

    Have to be sorry for Hamilton.

    Alonso is, as always, amazing…it is almost a safe bet to say that he is going to be on a podium regardless where he starts.

    Schumacher? I think it was his fault…probably fell asleep.

    I think nothing changes in the Championship – it is still between Alonso, Vettel, Kimi and Hamilton.

    I only hope that Ferrari will be a lot quicker in the coming races, at leas 1 win for Alonso please.

    [Reply]

    Panya Reply:

    Yep – more race wins for Alonso

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    The fates and Alonso’s rather brilliant exercises in damage limitation have decreed that he will win the wdc this year. Race after race, everything just continues to work in Alonso’s favour… It would be a cruel set of Gods who help him along this year just to snatch it away at the end and hand it all to Sebastian Bieber.

    Time and time again, Alosno extracts at least as much as that car is capable of from each race and often a little bit more. Time and time again events conspire to ensure that even in defeat he has often maintained or even extended his lead throughout the season while finishing third, fourth etc.

    F1 has a way of evening itself out in general. Seb lost a tonne of points with his recent retirements. Hamilton has probably lost as many – the luck is about even between these two so their positions in the championship are about ‘fair’.

    Hamilton suffered from some awful team performances in the pits at the start of the year, but this is not luck. What happens in the pit lane is part of the race. His team let him down badly early on. However, Hamilton should not feel too hard done by as he has let the team down in seasons past as well with some bizarre crashes and failed rash overtakes.

    As a long time Hamilton fan, I can see how he has matured this year, I can see just how potent he is and well on the way to becomming the ‘complete’ F1 driver rather than just the fastest guy. Fellow fans can take heart from that.

    Image next year is these guys all have relatively even cars! We’ll get to see just how good Hamilton is as a mature driver making the most of his considerable tallent rather than often squandering it. Might just be awsome to watch!

    [Reply]

    phil Reply:

    Yeap, all fates. Nothing to do with hard work from Ferrari or Alonso and good methodical driving.

    [mod]

    Wayne Reply:

    Phil,

    Really bothers me when people do not even read a post before responding.

    To help you along:

    “The fates and Alonso’s rather brilliant exercises in damage limitation”

    “Time and time again, Alosno extracts at least as much as that car is capable of from each race and often a little bit more.”

    Robb Reply:

    Well, his car was amazingly more reliable than Lewis’ and Pator’s.

    [Reply]

    Quattro_T Reply:

    So is my Audi A4 Quattro…Maybe I should consider start an F1 team and finish consistently… I am sorry to say, Ferrari should be ashamed arriving to Singapore with this kind of “pace” – especially after having tested for three long days…

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    I fully agree, I do not understand why they were so slow. I can only hope that it is the same situation as it was with Red Bull in Monza – super soft and a track configuration.

    If they will improve and fight for pole in Suzuka and other races, it will be good.

    29 points ahead of Vettel, so essentially 1 race win. It is all very open now and Ferrari is the 3rd fastest car…not easy.

    KRB Reply:

    For real! Alonso hasn’t had a mechanical failure that caused him not to see the finish line since the 2010 Malaysian GP! Then it was his engine, and it wasn’t a big loss, as he retired from 9th with two laps to go.

    As always, y’get no points on Saturday. Gutted for Lewis, just horrible, horrible luck he’s had. Again another DNF after a victory at the previous race, it’s uncanny! It’s Raikkonen ’05 all over again. I think Lewis has had a gearbox failure each year for 3 years (Hungary ’10, Brazil ’11, Singapore ’12), plus a gearbox problem at Japan ’10 that meant he lost one position.

    McLaren cars have both seen the chequered flag in only half (7) of the 14 races this season!

    52 pts down with six races to go, it looks a bridge too far for Lewis now. Can it happen? Sure, but it would mean Lewis running the table from Japan to Brazil. A DNF or low-score from Alonso would also seem to be necessary for him to have a shot.

    In the stats, LH trails the top three in T5′s, and in points finishes. The last stat in the list is particularly glaring, with Hamilton having 4 less race finishes than Kimi, and 3 less than Alonso. Can’t win the DWC like that, no matter if you bag a hatful of wins.

    Lewis has 3 DNF’s in the last 5 races, and only 3 finishes in the last 7! It really is astonishing.

    Stats to date
    =============

    Wins: FA3,LH3,SV2,MW2,JB2,NR1,PM1

    Podiums:
    FA8,KR6,LH6,SV5,JB5,RG3,SP3,MW2,NR2,MS1,PM1

    T5 Finishes (3+):
    FA11,SV10,KR9,LH7,MW7,JB5,NR4,RG4,SP3,FM3

    Pts Finishes (7+):
    FA13,KR13,SV11,MW11,LH10,NR10,JB9,
    FM8,PdR8,RG7,SP7,MS7,BS7

    Longest podium streaks (2+):
    FA3,KR3,LH3,FA2(2x),KR2

    Current podium streak: FA2,SV1,JB1

    Longest T5 streaks (2+):
    FA7,KR6,SV4,MW4,LH3,FA2(2x),SV(2x),
    KR2,LH2,MW2,NR2,RG2,FM2

    Current T5 streak: FA2,SV1,JB1,PdR1,NR1

    Longest pts finish streaks (3+):
    FA11,KR11,MW7,LH7,NR6,SV5,JB5,
    SV4,MW4,FM4,RG3,PdR3,MS3

    Current pts finish streak:
    KR11,FM4,PdR3,FA2,NR2,SP2,SV1,JB1,RG1,DR1

    Retirements (not classified)(3+):
    MS7,NK5,RG5,PM4,JV3,LH3,SP3,KK3,CP3

    T8-DWC Race Finishes:
    KR14,NR14,FA13,MW13,SV12,JB11,LH10,RG8

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Alonso hasn’t had a mechanical failure that caused him not to see the finish line since the 2010 Malaysian GP! Then it was his engine, and it wasn’t a big loss, as he retired from 9th with two laps to go.

    As always, y’get no points on Saturday. Gutted for Lewis, just horrible, horrible luck he’s had. Again another DNF after a victory at the previous race, it’s uncanny! It’s Raikkonen ’05 all over again. I think Lewis has had a gearbox failure each year for 3 years (Hungary ’10, Brazil ’11, Singapore ’12), plus a gearbox problem at Japan ’10 that meant he lost one position.

    McLaren cars have both seen the chequered flag in only half (7) of the 14 races this season!

    52 pts down with six races to go, it looks a bridge too far for Lewis now. Can it happen? Sure, but it would mean Lewis running the table from Japan to Brazil. A DNF or low-score from Alonso would also seem to be necessary for him to have a shot.

    In the stats, LH trails the top three in T5′s, and in points finishes. The last stat in the list is particularly glaring, with Hamilton having 4 less race finishes than Kimi, and 3 less than Alonso. Can’t win the DWC like that, no matter if you bag a hatful of wins.

    Lewis has 3 DNF’s in the last 5 races, and only 3 finishes in the last 7! It really is astonishing.

    Stats to date
    =============

    Wins: FA3,LH3,SV2,MW2,JB2,NR1,PM1

    Podiums:
    FA8,KR6,LH6,SV5,JB5,RG3,SP3,MW2,NR2,MS1,PM1

    T5 Finishes (3+):
    FA11,SV10,KR9,LH7,MW7,JB5,NR4,RG4,SP3,FM3

    Pts Finishes (7+):
    FA13,KR13,SV11,MW11,LH10,NR10,JB9,
    FM8,PdR8,RG7,SP7,MS7,BS7

    Longest podium streaks (2+):
    FA3,KR3,LH3,FA2(2x),KR2

    Current podium streak: FA2,SV1,JB1

    Longest T5 streaks (2+):
    FA7,KR6,SV4,MW4,LH3,FA2(2x),SV(2x),
    KR2,LH2,MW2,NR2,RG2,FM2

    Current T5 streak: FA2,SV1,JB1,PdR1,NR1

    Longest pts finish streaks (3+):
    FA11,KR11,MW7,LH7,NR6,SV5,JB5,
    SV4,MW4,FM4,RG3,PdR3,MS3

    Current pts finish streak:
    KR11,FM4,PdR3,FA2,NR2,SP2,SV1,JB1,RG1,DR1

    Retirements (not classified)(3+):
    MS7,NK5,RG5,PM4,JV3,LH3,SP3,KK3,CP3

    T8-DWC Race Finishes:
    KR14,NR14,FA13,MW13,SV12,JB11,LH10,RG8

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    I haven’t watched the race yet, but from what I saw on the news of MSC’s collision, I was pretty surprised by that. Seems like something only newbies like Grosjean or Maldo would do. Even more surprising that the victim of the accident gave MSC a pat on the back LOL!!!!

    Now, imagine if the wrongdoer was Maldo… I can imagine seeing blood on track.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Sebeee
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:01 pm 

    Race like this is where the commentators earn their keep.  Watching a boring night race first thing in the morning while still in bed gives you the option to take a pit stop nap at least.  I dreamt about tires.  I really appreciate the wake up Lewis!  Since you went out, thrills.

    How about a conspiracy theory Wayne?   McLaren really don’t want Lewis to possibly take #1 with him.

    GP score for car avoidance:
    Button 1 : Schumi 0

    #2 drivers score for this GP:
    Massa 1 : Webber 0

    You said it Humphrey!  There is no reason why Vettel can’t do what he did in 2010.  ”Covering” won’t be enough Fernando! And Vettel is really a class act with his win dedication.

    [Reply]

    Folkdisco Reply:

    The James Allen Understatement Of The Year:
    “Pastor Maldonado is driving a bit erratically!”
    Not his fault today, but is there anyone else… Great qualifying, 2nd on the grid, waiting for the lights, and you’re thinking “Hmmm, will he get any points today?.. 50/50 at best… Probably win or stick it in the wall… Probably stick it in the wall!” ;-)

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    This Gp is all style over substance. The commentary team led by Humphrey spent so much time whittering on about the pretty lights, the infinity pool on the hotel roof and the Singapre Flyer that I thought I was watching an episode of wish you were here. I really could not give a rat’s ass if the race is set in Tamworth City Centre as long as the track isn’t compromised by the magpie-like fascination with ‘shiny shiny’ just like is Dubai.

    Shame for Hamilton but, on the plus side, as a fan, we are seeing him finally come of age this year. I believe he is about to make the most of his raw speed and tallent and mature into a ‘great’.

    The only real issue I have with McLaren in this race is that they are so bloody stale. I want to see sagging shoulders, sighs, heads in hands and genuine emotion when their driver falls off the track while leading at a crucial championship moment. You see it a lot at Ferrari and RBR. I know, I know it does not serve a useful purpose but damn! Do people actually still work for McLaren or have they all been replaced with series 4000 sanitation droids? Actually that would be a disservice to Kryten.

    [Reply]

    Sebeee Reply:

    Series 4000 sanitation droids. You kill me Wayne! It would explain their fast pit stops however. So thanks for solving that mistery.

    Is it just me or is McLaren feeling a bit “Williams-ish” lately. I know, I know. They are still fast and not nearly as poor as Williams. But I’m sensing hints of belt tightening. I read Vodafone is leaving. Many of the sponsors look like C list celeberties along the lines of nicotine patches and 8th best selling sugar drinks. Hamilton likely leaving. It’s no longer a Mercedes only money destination. I’m not sure if I’m putting this right, but it just seems like the McLaren machine is in some type of adjustment mode.

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    While I appreciate that Dennis is no model of purity, it’s been changing ever since he was forced out of the sport. At least Dennis got emotional from time to time. I just can’t get on board with Whitmarsh – he is more a ‘John major’ type whereas Dennis was a ‘ Maggie Thatcher’!

    I honestly do not think it is such a risk for Hamilton to go Merc next year. Like I’ve said before he will win races with McLaren but the championship is another matter all together.


  3.   3. Posted By: FerrariFan
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:11 pm 

    What a boring race. Poor Hamilton, his title hopes are almost over. I hope a repeat of 2010 does not happen.

    [Reply]

    Bring Back Murray Reply:

    Agree that it was a bit of a snore-fest. Wouldn’t write Hammy off just quite yet. Give him another couple of races to try and turn it round, you never know what’s going to happen.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Hamilton has to outscore Alonso by 8.67 pts each race to the end, while also outscoring Vettel by 3.83 pts. Definitely doable on good race days for Hamilton, but can have no more bad race days.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Bet on it. You can brag about it all winter if Lewis wins. Personally, I think both McLaren are out of it already.

    Funny thing about the race being boring, it’s the first time I remember looking at laps on lap 21 and thinking – oh no, 2/3rds of this still left! I think David said something about the lack of excitement as I was thinking this. And then things got interesting. Which goes to show you – watch it all or you may miss something.

    Mike Reply:

    With 6 x 25 points on offer, if Hamilton and Button can both finish ahead of Alonso consistently, and we can assume that Vettel will too, plus Webber likely to in a couple of races as well, I wouldn’t write Hamilton off yet.

    But they need to get some reliability from somewhere; and I’ve made the assumption that Ferrari will be unable to bring as much pace to their car as McLaren and Red Bull.

    But I still think the championship is wide open…Alonso has the edge simply because he has the points on the board already.

    Should be a fun run-in!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Andrew M
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:12 pm 

    Strong drive by Vettel, Red Bull are back on form. Disaster for Hamilton’s title hopes, I said after Germany that his title hopes were over, he teased me by taking the wins in Hungary and Monza but I think Alonso has this in the bag now, McLaren and Red Bull will take points off each other and allow him to manage his points lead home.

    Timely race for Di Resta to perform, if the driver merry-go-round does kick off he’s put himself in a good position.

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    Yes, Mclaren and Red Bull can take points from each other, but if Alonso will be finishing 3rd, 4th of 5th….he will not win the title.

    [Reply]

    Andrew M Reply:

    It’s stood him in good stead so far. All it takes one one good race from Alonso where he nails a win or one bad race for any of the title contenders and the points gap starts to look more daunting as the number of races goes down.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    If Alonso got 3rd’s from here on in, it would be guaranteed. Hamilton would need 5 wins and a 2nd to beat that. Unless the RB8 jumped up in performance, I don’t think that Vettel could get the 3 wins necessary to close up the gap, and then it would have to be all second’s after that.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    I think Lewis can still take it. The McLaren continues to be the best car on the grid by a decent margin. Between Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes they’ve each had the fastest car twice or so this season; Mclaren by contrast have had that advantage at 7 or so circuits. This is still very much on for Lewis especially given he’s 20 odd points up the road from JB. That said another good weekend for JB and he’ll be in with a decent shout too. I fully expect Suzuka to be the 8th race of the season where the McLaren is the car to have.

    I do feel very empathetic with Lewis for the reliability issue yesterday. Although a win wasn’t nailed on for him yesterday (as we didn’t know how the tyres would play out), a top 3 finish was. It’s similar to Vettel in Valencia, where he dominated the weekend and a car reliability issue caused his retirement. I wonder if we’ll see one of those for Fernando this season?

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    The last mechanical failure for Alonso that caused him not to finish the race was in the 2010 Malaysian GP!! Then it was his engine blowing up, and it’s not like it cost him much then, as he was running 9th at the time (with 2 laps left). That Ferrari is pretty bulletproof. I think if it remains so, that Alonso will be hard to beat.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Moog
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:12 pm 

    I appreciate that Singapore must be great if you’re there, nice atmosphere, the city looking spectacular etc.
    For me it’s another Valencia, another rubbish street circuit (yes, I put Monaco in that category too).
    I love the BBC’s headline too “Vettel wins in Singapore thriller”. Thriller? Really?

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    BBC guys were there, so maybe it was a thriller for them:-) On the other hand….for me races are free on TV….so….I can always do something different if a race is boring, but this year is great overall.

    [Reply]

    Quercus Reply:

    Dead right.

    If you’re at Singapore it’s great being in the city, with all the atmosphere, restaurants and parties. But if you watch it on TV it’s pretty rubbish.

    However — even though it’s the TV audience that it’s held for — with all the pundits and people who make the decisions going there, I don’t think it will ever be dropped.

    [Reply]

    aezy_doc Reply:

    Massa’s overtake was thrilling stuff. Not sure I’ve ever seen anyone overtake in that fashion and not crash out! Desperate stuff from a desperate man. In the main though, it was a little bit dull, not least because of the laps behind the safety car.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: DK
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:20 pm 

    Last straw for Lewis, if the deal to Merc is not done yet?

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: dazzling dazzler
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:22 pm 

    If MacLaren knew yesterday about a possible gremlin in Hamilton gearbox, why did they not change the gearbox and incur a 5 place penalty as opposed to risking a non finish in the race

    [Reply]

    Quercus Reply:

    Races are often won by taking a gamble. I’m sure they carefully assessed the risk and calculated it was worth taking.

    Statistically, Singapore is almost always won from the front.

    [Reply]

    Puffing Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Timmay Reply:

    Because they are stupid beyond compare. It really is unbelievable, even starting 6th he would have finished 3rd in my view (and 2nd if he drove for a team with a brain and had Button relinquish a place).

    Now they are both out of the title race.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Are you serious?
    Hamilton is 23 points behind Vettel. If they were one and two in the Championship, you’d say it was over?
    Admittedly, he’s 52 behind Alonso, but it’s difficult, not insurmountable.
    Expect Mclaren to race hard for the next 6 races, whereas in 2010, Red Bull were the better car by some margin.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    I think it can happen, but it’s very low percentage now, and will have to rely on events out of their (Lewis and McLaren’s) control. Ferrari were off the pace this weekend, but can McLaren and RBR rely on that continuing going forward? No way.

    One thing about the whole will-Lewis-leave brouhaha … imagine if Lewis wasn’t driving for McLaren this past weekend, and Jenson was the lead driver. Would people be saying that their car was the fastest, with the times Jenson set in both practice and qualifying? I don’t think so, even though we know it is. I think people would be saying that the RB8 was the fastest car. And that would be solely down to the level of driver in each car.

    double eyepatch Reply:

    I don’t think alot of people apprieciate how hard it is to judge whether or not to change a part. Its more than a matter of how many places you lose on the grid, or what you risk by keeping it on. With the gearboxes sealed they can’t open it up and properly assess what exactly is wrong with it to exactly know if it warrants a change or if it would last as far as they need it to. Senna changed his gearbox for the race too but even that fresh one played up and lost 1st gear anyway.

    Its not new to hope a problem car would last just long enough for the win. Redbull risked an overcambered suspension at Spa last year and Mclaren risked keeping on a flat spotted tyre in 2005. Each of these have had different outcomes and retrospects unique to their own situation. I personally thought Vettel was so far ahead in the points last year he could afford to drop the grid spots at Spa last year and not need the 25 pts at Spa. And with Mclaren in 2005, it was just about 3 miles short before the flat spot shattered Kimi’s suspension; I’d have stayed out too if it turned out to be that close, when a win is on the cards, you go for it.

    [Reply]

    Cliff Reply:

    Jonathan Neale, McLaren’s MD was asked about the Gearbox, they new about the Gearbox problem shortly before Lewis. No problems were reported after qualifying.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    @Cliff: I’d ignore the smoke and mirrors that is McLaren PR; I’ve heard it all before from them. What they tell the public is very different from what happens – think Daily Mail ;-)

    If I were a betting man I’d suggest that Lewis was a large part in the decision not to swap the ‘box; hence he was quite calm about it afterwards. Take into consideration this;

    1.) Lewis hits his right rear on the wall in Q3.
    2.) He complains of a funny feeling in the right rear in the race, shortly before the gearbox expires.
    3.) “I’m sorry, we did everything we could yesterday”

    If I were McLaren I’d have swapped it, but they are looking to retain Hamilton, and perhaps his view was to roll the dice and after working for pole position he knew that trying to pass Alonso, Button and Vettel in the race would be extremely tough. It’s very unlike McLaren not to play it safe, hence I’m thinking it’s a Lewis decision here; especially if the data looked ok on his in lap at the end of Q3.

    [Reply]

    puffing Reply:

    Your reasoning has convinced me.

    iceman Reply:

    That’s what he said to the media, anyway. But what did Lewis’s race engineer mean when he said “we did everything we could yesterday”? A comment that we all heard but is not listed on the race feed on the McLaren web site, indcidentally.
    Maybe he was talking about Lewis getting pole, but it seems an odd phrase to use if that was the intent.

    [Reply]

    colin grayson Reply:

    whitmarsh states that there was no problem until shortly before the retirement , vettel said that he saw a fluid leak start a couple of laps before hamilton lost all gears

    [Reply]

    chris green Reply:

    i think the rules around gearboxes needs attention. too many drivers are having their weekends ruined by the draconian gearbox rules.

    i’ve lost count of the gearbox penalties this year.

    maybe the fia need to have a minimum weight for gearboxes but with no restrictions on the mumber of replacements.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: DK
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:23 pm 

    Last straw for Lewis, if the deal to Merc is not done yet ?

    [Reply]

    Spinodontosaurus Reply:

    Mercedes were hardly setting the world alight this weekend to be fair.

    The view from Raikkonen’s car did not look like Schumacher was braking particularly late, not sure what happened there.

    Only interesting bit of the race really was Massa’s fiesty drive in the closing stages and the squabble between Webber, Hulkenberg and the 2 Saubers.

    Still don’t know how Rosberg managed to get away with overtaking upwards of 3 cars totally off track. He wasn’t the only one who went wide, but still.

    [Reply]

    Bring Back Murray Reply:

    Hopefully, if he wants to drive around in 8th place every race

    [Reply]

    goodpaul Reply:

    Umm everyone is going on about mclarens poor reliability, how many DNF have Mercedes had ???

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Schumacher’s had 7, but Rosberg’s had none! Schumi’s had 4 mechanical failures, at Aus (gearbox), Can (DRS wing), and Hun (listed as ‘Technical’). The other four were from three collisions, which he had some fault in for two, and from an improperly affixed wheel in China during his first pit stop.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Chris
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:36 pm 

    I have a lot of respect for Jenson (he’s my favourite Brittish driver of the current crop), but his call to Charlie over the incident where he nearly hit the back of Vettel was poor form, Button over run, and it was his fault!! No penalty needed for either driver mind, but can’t help feeling he was trying it on there, and I don’t like seeing that :(

    [Reply]

    michael grievson Reply:

    It did seem a bit out of character didn’t it?

    [Reply]

    aezy_doc Reply:

    Disagree Chris. The lead driver behind the safety car controls the pace, but must not act erratically or in an unsafe manner. I think this was slightly erratic on Vettel’s part if anything. BUT I think it was just one of those things where they were trying to get heat into their tyres and brakes and fell out of sync.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Would that be the same argument Webber had in Fuji when Vettel behind the safety car destroyed both their races?

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    Previously, even though I’ve always said he’s not a top driver, I’ve always liked his personality.

    However, I started to get the impression of Jenson talking trash and playing mind games from the beginning of 2012. Didn’t like that and him since.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Shah Alam
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:38 pm 

    WHAT WE KNOW FROM SINGAPORE:

    1. Alonso drving like Prost (calculative driving)

    2. Mclaren are loosing their consistency

    3. Though Kimi had a bad race today, Lotus have missed their chance to fight for the title. They did not capitalise on their pace early in the season.

    New DRS system is their only hope

    4. It’s time to give Schumacher a golden wrist watch. His silly mistakes question whether he is too old for F1.

    5. Vettel will have to win the next 3 races to to come even close to Alonso in the championship.

    [Reply]

    Val from montreal Reply:

    What we do know , as in 2005 and 2006 , Alonso is protected by a bubble …. Opposition Retirements are thrown at him from front , left , right & center …. keeps his nose clean , drives like a chicken and lucks out …. First Hamilton , then Maldonado … 6 races left and Vettel has less points to catch up compared to 2010 …. Go Michael !!! …. Btw , MERCEDES AMG 1-2-3-L-M-N-O-P Petronas F1 team SUCKS !! [mod]

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    I’ve missed your rants Val, welcome back!!!

    [Reply]

    veeru Reply:

    what are you? 5?

    [Reply]

    Stewart Reply:

    How so? Vettel wins in Japan and Alonso DNF’s and the gap will be 4 points.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    I think Alonso may surprise in Suzuka. Engine helps there, like Monza and Spa.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Eckford Reply:

    But you still need plenty of downforce at Suzuka.

    Kay Reply:

    +1

    Alonso’s good at Suzuka.

    Davo Reply:

    But if Alonso wins in Japan and Vettel DNF’s (perhaps another alternator failuer) then there’ll be 5 races to go and Alonso would be 54 points ahead of Vettel and at least 52 ahead of Raikkonen and 59 ahead of Hamilton.

    If we’re talking DNF’s then Alonso can afford 1 and still lead while the rest will need him to fail 3 times in 5 if they fail.

    [Reply]

    Esplanadist Reply:

    Shah, further to your ’3′ …some nostalgia from just a short while back:

    “Focus on Lotus double DRS at high speed Spa and Monza”

    Then we heard that, well, it wouldn’t really be all that useful at those tracks, maybe singapore, but to be honest, not there either. But most definitely Japan!
    Even if the advantage amounted to not more than 0.06 secs per lap, that would add up to a fair margin by the end of the race. Why not test it on the second car in this and last race, as others have asked in previous posts?

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: CartRider
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:42 pm 

    I loved the design of the trophies! So much better than Santander’s. Talking about the race, in the top three no one did anything extraordinary today so it will be difficult to choose the DotD

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Ed H
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:46 pm 

    “Timo Glock finished 12th for Marussia. As neither Marussia, Caterham or HRT has scored a point, this finish, the best of any of the “new teams”, who entered F1 in 2010, could swing it Marussia’s way and this would be a major blow to Caterham which has invested heavily this year.”

    This is a great achievement for Marussia, a team in their own right who unlike Caterham don’t have KERS, yet James you seem so keen to mention the disapointment for Caterham? Who’s to say Marussia have not also invested heavily?

    Anyway, was really disapointed with a double DNF for Williams; drivers did everything right for once, and both cars let them down. Maldonado was my driver of the day, his battle with Alonso showed that he has lost none of his speed. I know it seems ridiculous to say when you remember that they won only 9 races ago, but Williams seem to have no luck this season, it’s now become almost as bad as 2011.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    They have invested, but nothing like as heavily as Caterham, is my point

    Marussia operate off around €50 million per year, Caterham more like €75m.

    [Reply]

    Aaron Wilkinson Reply:

    agree with you James, its kinda kick in the teeth that Caterham have dominated the backfield all season bar race 2, and one pit stop error messes it all up. But you have to then on the opposite side say that new package they brought gave them what nearly a second and bit of speed. Going by the previous races.

    [Reply]

    Timmay Reply:

    They should join the long list of teams that have put the clown Gascoigne on gardening leave.
    He must have a nice flower garden by now, and many vegetables.
    Always thought him overated.

    [Reply]

    Stone the crows Reply:

    +1

    mike Reply:

    Gascoigne tweets during races. Shouldn’t he be focused on the race?

    James Allen Reply:

    He’s not at races any more

    toleman fan Reply:

    Caterham said after the race that they’d lost out because of the safety car – but Glock looked threatening all weekend, it looked to me.

    James, did Marussia just luck out against the run of play in what turned out to be a race of big attrition? Or are they suddenly fast enough to take the fight to Caterham for the rest of the year?

    Thanks for flagging this. I think it’s a really significant and under-reported story. Not least because of the history between Pat Symonds and Mike Gascoyne…

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    They took a big step forward this race. Quali was disappointing, but Glock raced well


  13.   13. Posted By: Chris
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:49 pm 

    Have to feel for Lewis today, hopfully that is the last dose of bad luck this year, but somehow I doubt it.

    [Reply]

    Russ Reply:

    Lewis is quick. But after the the twitter incident I really find it hard to feel sorry for him. If it was stupidity, that’s not saying much for him. If it was done malevolently, that isn’t good either. Be it one or the other, Lewis does not come out smelling roses. Silly or evil, … maybe both.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Not really sure what the Twitter saga has to do with this article Russ. I like F1 because of the speed and bravery on the track, everything else is a side show and as you say Lewis is quick.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: danny11
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:59 pm 

    I still think that Mclaren has the fastest car overall! This was high down force circuit that always suits the Red Bulls car but I think that is Suzuka it will be a different story. I hope that Mclaren (read Hamilton) will help Alonso to win third title cause Ferrari is still struggling although thew were maybe the fastest in Monza. Without Mclarens aid I don’t see Alonso wining a title which is very ironic as I hoped for Hamilton vs Alonso final battle for the championship. I would not like to see Vettel wining a hat trick as he is not a class as Alonso and Hamilton! But those are just my wishes!

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    not only yours:-)

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: fernando
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 4:59 pm 

    What if, and only what if… I was Martin Withmarsh, after Hamilton hit the wall in Q3, I WOULD OF change the transmition as precaution… ok it is easy to talk about it after the fact, but seriouly, cars are force to the max in every event, nothing is wasted, there is no transmition build stronger to withstand a hit/kiss of the wall, no, all parts in a car a build just emought, in order to safe weight.
    James, am I the only one that thinks that kissing the wall is enought motive to change a transmition…
    As a team manager my job will be, to give a perfect car to my driver, there is room for mistakes and millions at stake.
    Again I will say, Martin Withemarsh is NOT good for that job, somebody else should take his seat.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Whitmarsh told us he thinks that the diff failed and that led to the problem with the box.

    They have said they think it’s “high unlikely” that the ‘box failed due to the tap on the wall in quail

    [Reply]

    Nigel Reply:

    But they didn’t say the same about the diff…

    :-)

    [Reply]

    Robb Reply:

    I think it would generally take a lot harder hit than that to hurt the gearbox.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: rafa
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:04 pm 

    the “Anyone but Alonso” camp may have to cover their noses as it seems the finger might be their only hope. Of course a dnf might put everything upside down, but it always seems to me those are much closer to VET and HAM. Expect this to be the two weeks with most McLaren bashing yet. I think Spa and Monza were the two tracks where ALO failed to extend his lead and he is definitely on the defensive now, at least till Korea: next race it´s crucial between him and VET and he definitely needs to go into damage control mode. Nonetheless, for the 1/3 of the championship he´s been defending his lead and so far has been quite successful. You´ve got to admire how relentless he is: he´s had a competitive car in several races, but in general terms has only had the 3d car all year, and at the point he made his championship stance it was the fourth and at times even fifth: whatever his final standings it´s a huge feat, and he should congratulate himself for that. I was looking at the BBC´s top 20 drivers the other day and still can´t get over ALO 10th and VET 8th… really??! I would like to see VET pull anything remotely resemblant to what this guy´s done to the red car in 2010, but especially this year. The kid´s great, and he´s got it in him, but he´s not better than ALO yet, no matter how much you try: british journalists just can´t get over that 2007 season it seems, just the same as so many other fans, but it really puts a question mark on their objectiveness.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Bear in mind also, that DC is still on Red Bull’s payroll.
    He has shown constant bias in their favour, and I guarantee that this has had a massive effect on that “ridiculous Top 20″!

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Tony Reply:

    Agreed.

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    Expect more from the bbc, that list is totally unjustifiable.

    [Reply]

    Puffing Reply:

    But then, we the Southerns are the most chauvinists, as someone dared to say here some time ago. ‘To see the mote in sb else’s eye and not the beam in one’s own.’

    [Reply]

    Rafa Reply:

    That is one of the most often misused quotes ever: in this case concretely, I suppose you refer to the fact that “chauvinistic southerners” do not pay attention to their own media being failed. As a matter of fact I do, I much rather get any info on this and other British sites than the Spanish ones, as I truly abhore them. The one time I do have to put up with them is live on each gp, and hearing lobato drooling over anything Alonso does haunts me with very disturbing images. However, I cannot see the beam in my own eye as I am not a journalist and have not attempted to put together a top 20 list: it is my opinion however that vet is not in the same level as yet, so that list is deeply flawed in my -beamless- eyes.

    [Reply]

    puffing Reply:

    Lobato is real horror. No, I don’t hear him, I low the loudspeaker of my TV set, and I follow the race in LiveTiming. I don´t read sport newspapers such as Marca, El Mundo Deportivo, etc., usually they say nonsense. But reading commentaries in La Gazetta, L’Equipe, Le Monde, Le Figaro, The Guardian or The Independent is not much better either. Some time ago one of the habituals here posted that the Southerns are more nationalistically biased that the Northerns, to which I do not adhere. I have lived in France, the UK, the USA, Germany and of course Spain, and I can tell that the average citizen in any of these countries is as chauvinist as in the others. A human feature.


  17.   17. Posted By: Irish con
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:08 pm 

    Great comeback for massa today. Long time since he had attacked the track as much as today. Great to see. And today showed to me that Perez and hulkenburg are not ready yet for Ferrari.

    I’m not a Hamilton fan at all but he didn’t deserve that at all. Neither did pastor. Mclaren have to use button now to back Lewis. Fernando needs a bit more pace or seb is going to be all over him soon.

    [Reply]

    Hal Reply:

    MW already said JB won’t be playing back up to Lewis. McLaren only care about WCC. Lewis can not expect support from McLaren.

    Anyway, he is effectively out of championship. Shame for him and us Hamilton fans. If anyone other than LH is to win I hope it’s Alonso. They are, for me, the two best drivers on the grid.

    [Reply]

    Truth or Lies Reply:

    Fully agree, strong race for Massa, very brave and committed against Senna, great mental attitude too, very determined.

    But this is starting to look very good for Vettel, Ferrari need a much faster car, Alonso is doing a great job but they are on very thin ice with that car.

    Hard on Hamilton for sure, but that’s motor racing.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Not convinced.
    Vettel in Valencia qualified .3seconds quicker than Grosjean, and everyone spoke about RBR having found the key to turn the car into the dominant car of the season once more.
    Yet they haven’t repeated that speed anywhere since, until maybe here, a circuit with similar characteristics to Valencia.
    They are a threat, but they aren’t as dominant as they were in 2010 or 2011.
    But for Lewis breaking down today, Mclaren would have won the last 4 races, on very different circuits.

    [Reply]

    Truth or Lies Reply:

    Agreed.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: JR
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:10 pm 

    Pretty boring race, only the restarts after the 2 SC period seemed to reignite the race, but nothing happened in the end, apart from HAM and PER retirements there was not change of position at the top.
    Big blow for HAM, big step forward for VET. Ferrari will have to react soon, ALO cannot make miracles at every race, their pace during all weekend is quite worrying for their championship hopes.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Tornillo Amarillo
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:14 pm 

    The drivers championship changes quickly, so anything can happen in the next 2 races. If consistency is the most important, now reliability does too.

    I think it was a good day for Mercedes with Rosberg in P5, and Lotus did well as a team for the WCC.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Edouard Valentino
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:20 pm 

    A very emotional GP. The juxtaposition of the the bright flashes and dissonat booms of the Singapore fireworks against the minute silence on the grid for Prof. Watkins & the singing of You’ll Never Walk Alone from Anfield (I was listening to 5live on the BBC RedButton)really accentuates the victory of life over death!

    [Reply]

    Franed Reply:

    I normally prefer James’s commentary but had to give up today because 50% of it was interrupted for football. This was doubly annoying because the R5LSX channel was left unused, the football should be kept separate.

    [Reply]

    Edouard Valentino Reply:

    I don’t mind the odd jaunt over to Lords’ or indeed an update from Old Trafford but the more lengthy breaks can lead to a state of somnolence. I didn’t know that R5LSX was unused however.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: RampantHaddock
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:24 pm 

    James, I might be wrong, but wasn’t Massa’s early stop due to a puncture, rather than a broken front wing?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, thanks

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: arshad
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:35 pm 

    Hi James

    Did Alonso use the supersofts in race ?.. Driver has to use both the compounds or the rule does not apply if you don’t finish the prescribed number of laps that is 61 as we finished only 59..

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, he started on the set of s/softs he qualified on.

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    Actually, that’s an interesting question James.

    What IF a team starts on a harder set, and decides not to change tyres until the final lap (happened before, definitely!), but then the race ended sooner than normal due to various circumstances. What would happen then..?

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: VV
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:36 pm 

    Shame for Hamilton. He drove extremely well all weekend. Maldonado was pretty good, up until the safety car ruined his race and his enforced retirement. And credit must go to Massa as well.

    Whilst Alonso consistently scores points, none of his title rivals can put a consistent run of good finishes together. As a result, they’re only chipping away slightly at his points lead.

    Credit to Vettel as well, for his comments about Sid Watkins on the radio and during the post-race interview with EJ.

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Esplanadist
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:54 pm 

    James is there a reason my contributions are blocked when I click on submit?
    I haven’t offended anyone

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    They were going to spam, along with some other regulars. Puzzling

    Tech people are looking into it now

    [Reply]

    Vinola Reply:

    lol..I had that happen yesterday too and thought I got the boot..phew!

    [Reply]

    Kris Reply:

    I had the same. Although a change of browser (was using Chrome, switched to Safari) seemed to do the trick for me. I can’t, though, say that was definitely the reason.

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    James, I had similar issues as well.

    I haven’t said anything offensive to anyone or anything, but it seems like half the times takes me several tries before anything can post these days

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: simon
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 5:58 pm 

    Mclaren are not making championship winning decisions at the moment,You really have to wonder if Martin Whitmarsh knows what he is doing. They knew that they had an issue with Lewis’s gearbox yesterday, why on earth they decided to risk a gearbox failure over a 5 grid penalty is beyond me.
    They could have got two cars on the podium still, rather than Jenson having to salvage a promising weekend that turned out to be poor. They will not win the constructors championship while Martin Whitmarsh continues to make tactical errors like this.
    Alonso has now effectively won the drivers championship in my opinion, due to Ferrari and Alonso consistantly making the best of other teams mistakes and bad luck.
    Red bull will win the constructors championship even though they clearly have not got the best all round car.
    Mclaren have the best all round car, but because of team mistakes and poor decisions they are not going to win anything this season when they should have been leading both championships with ease, and in a good position to take both titles.
    As a life long Mclaren fan i’m tired of Martin Whitmarsh’s excuses and his indifference to Lewis, Ron Dennis was not to everyones liking and had a reputation for being ruthless at times, but he got things done and was prepared to make team decisions that sometimes upset the drivers but were better for the team, something Whitmarsh cannot do !
    Lewis must be thinking about new pastures now.

    [Reply]

    Andrew M Reply:

    “Mclaren have the best all round car, but because of team mistakes and poor decisions they are not going to win anything this season when they should have been leading both championships with ease, and in a good position to take both titles.”

    I’m a McLaren fan too, and unfortunately this is a story that is too often repeated – 2005, 2007 and now this year all spring to mind, and like the previous years I don’t think they’ll win either title (best chance is the constructors now).

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Yes Ron Dennis, with Lauda, Prost and Senna ( 3 of the all time greats) and Tag and Honda beat the world consistently from 1984 to 1991.
    Since?
    Newey joins, designs a great car with Bridgestones and beats an improving Ferrari in 1998.
    In 1999, Schumi broke his leg
    From 2000 onwards, Mclaren have won races but no constructors and 1 drivers title in 2008, under Whitmarsh’s leadership.

    [Reply]

    Bring Back Murray Reply:

    It makes you wonder what they’ve been doing over the last 12 years doesn’t it. They should have had WAY more success considering the speed of the car and the driver combinations they’ve had.

    OK so they might have had one or two dodgy seasons but for the most part they’ve been there or there abouts.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. Whitmarsh is just too nice. He doesn’t give people the bollocking they need to be getting.

    And what happens to nice guys?

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    2008 was still Dennis. Whitmarsh has won nothing. 2009 was a bad year, and then 2010 and 2011 Red Bull were clearly the best car & team.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    I thought Ron had to step down at the end of 2007 as a condition due to the team being found guilty of spying…

    JustGuessing Reply:

    Totally agree with you. McLaren is the poorest of the 3 top team for consistency which has cost LH in particular loads of points -The BBC F1 blogger suggest without these errors, LH would be in contention for this years WDC.

    LH has a hard choice, stay with McLaren which, under Whitmarsh, despite good-to-wdc capable cars, appears to have a management issue which constantly robs him of championships, or depart to pastures new.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: roderick planer
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 6:01 pm 

    James, when I try to contribute using the name I’ve used for ages, i get blocked on clicking submit. I haven’t offended anyone at all.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    We’ll take a look in the spam folder. Is it the name or the email address being rejected, do you know?

    [Reply]

    Truth or Lies Reply:

    James, I can’t submitt posts either…?

    [Reply]

    Quattro_T Reply:

    +1
    No message is given after submit button is pressed. Page reloads, but the post is not present on the page at all.

    [Reply]

    Haydn Lowe Reply:

    That is happening to me too!

    James Clayton Reply:

    Happens to me to. Page reloads at the top, comment not added. Takes a couple of attempts to actually get the comment posted. Often I just give up.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Well you certainly get plenty through! We’re looking at it


  27.   27. Posted By: Robb
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 6:22 pm 

    I think I know how Alonso will win this championship…VOODOO. He always says, whoever is second in points is who he needs to cover each weekend.
    At monza it was Seb: out with mechanical failure.
    In Singapore it was Lewis: out with mechanical failure.
    He said he wanted to finish on the podium: Pastor, out with mechanical failure.
    I think he’s got a nice collection of voodoo dolls, and decides which ones to put pins in each weekend.( :

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    Even if Pastor did not retire, he would not overtake Alonso…he went for wrong tires.

    [Reply]

    luigi Reply:

    :) ))) just another of his many remarkable skills… as driver.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Makes sense, he’s a consumate magician in his spare time…

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Truth or Lies
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 6:23 pm 

    Except to yours !!

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: gary
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 6:57 pm 

    Singapore – always a boring race and a lousy track. I don’t know why anyone would say other wise.

    Feel sorry for Lewis, let down again by McLaren.

    Not at all impressed by JB! Never even challenged finger boy despite being in a car that was the class of the field.

    The wrong McLaren broke down.

    [Reply]

    YIMA Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Roger W Reply:

    From McLaren’s point of view the right Mclaren broke down…

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Luke Potter
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 8:47 pm 

    So Webber loses the point for not letting Kobayashi back through again, even though he had no chance to!

    In this situation, can we not give the benefit of the doubt?

    I despair.

    [Reply]

    JeanHenry Reply:

    I think the punishment is justified. Kobayashi lost 2 places and a front wing due to Webber leaving the boundary of the track to overtake, a move he never would have tried had it been grass on the other side of the line.

    [Reply]

    Luke Potter Reply:

    He could just as easily have lost his front wing if Webber had been within the line. That was a separate incident.

    [Reply]

    JeanHenry Reply:

    I do disagree with that, he would never have got the drive out the corner if he stayed within the lines.

    Was the same for Massa, would never have got alongside Senna if he hadn’t cut the previous corner.

    Val Reply:

    Remember Alonso vs Kubica?

    [Reply]

    James Clayton Reply:

    I really don’t see what the problem is? He took Kobayashi off the track. Had he had time in the race he would have had to give the position back.

    Why do you think Webber should keep the point just because he didn’t have time to do the right thing?

    I could understand your issue if he’d been demoted several places and lost a haul of points, but that’s not the case.

    [Reply]

    Luke Potter Reply:

    He would indeed have had to. And would have done so. On that basis, why does he need a penalty then?

    It’s a really minor incident and I don’t see why a penalty is necessary.

    Why do they need a white line there anyway? Just remove it and let the white line be the wall! That way, they can’t go over it…

    [Reply]

    JeanHenry Reply:

    Luke I can only guess you’re a staunch Webber fan but the lines are there to set the track perimeter. On a street circuit like Singapore they are certainly needed, if the line was to the wall it would leave no room for error and you would have cars/drivers who missed braking points by a few feet going head first into walls.

    Luke Potter Reply:

    I’m not a Webber fan. I’m a fan of the person who finished 10th being awarded 10th place in the results.

    I just think all these penalties are so petty. These days, we have a couple of grid penalties and a few drive-throughs in every race. It’s just too much. By all means punish really bad stuff and blatant cheating, but this is really so minor that I don’t see why we’re bothering with it.

    Remember Arnoux vs. Villeneuve in 1979? Widely agreed to have been one of F1′s greatest races. Wouldn’t happen now – one of them would have been given a penalty before you could say “FIA Driver Steward”.


  31.   31. Posted By: aezy_doc
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 9:04 pm 

    I often feel that way about JB. I’d like a little more aggression from him at times.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: Michael S
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 9:33 pm 

    Great win for Vettel and very well deserved. He was robbed in Valencia when his car let him down. Tough break for Lewis, just not his year.

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    I do not agree. maybe Newey should focus more on reliability? He compromises reliability for the sake of aero efficiency….it is Red Bull’s choice, but do not tell me Vettel was robed.

    [Reply]

    JR Reply:

    Could not agree more. If another car takes you out from the race has it happened to Alonso in Spa you could say you have Belén robbed. If your car cannot finish the race you just have to build a more reliable (and probably a bit slower) car.

    [Reply]

    Michael S Reply:

    then there should be no pitty for Hamilton then… correct?! His car broke down, no one took him out. Same as Button last race.

    I have a tough time blaming a driver when the car lets them down. It is tough luck. Button finished while Hamilton did not in the same car. Last race it was other way around.

    JR Reply:

    @Michael S Correct, no pity for Hamilton either.

    Sure, you cannot blame the driver but you can blame the team and F1 is a team sport.


  33.   33. Posted By: Rafa
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 10:13 pm 

    Well they said that of the current wdc’s, 4 were in the list and the other two barely missed the cut… I’m wondering how exactly they will justify a button top 3 and schu 22 or 23)))

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: Jack
        Date: September 23rd, 2012 @ 11:56 pm 

    Hamilton’s retirement and the safety car killed what looked to be a pretty exciting finish. Vettel was looking faster than Lewis on the softs, and Jenson would have been hunting them both at the end with fresher tyres. Have to say Karthikayen doesn’t (not that he ever really has) look like a driver deserving of a seat at motorsport’s top table. Second time in three races hes simply spun out and caused a safety car.

    The real winner at Singapore was Alonso. Low key Podiums like this all the way would win the title at a canter.

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: JB
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 1:51 am 

    Massa’s overtake on Senna is so funny, it is like a cartoon! LOL

    Retirements have the significant this year on both Hamilton (4) and Vettel (2). Alonso is the lucky man with just one retirement and he was very lucky as the cars behind could easily impale him.

    Judging from the stats and performance of the Mclaren now, I think Hamilton has a strong chance of challenging Alonso. Vettel is also very capable and he really excel under such pressure, but I guess the question is “will his car be up to it?”.

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: JB
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 3:07 am 

    Update: Webber is in 11th place. Not 10th. He earned a 20second penalty for illegal overtake.

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: Concalvez
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 3:12 am 

    Why did not Whitmarsh let the gearbox change to be secure instead of leaving it in ?, i’m so tired of him and nobody from the press NEVER ask if he (Whitmarsh) is the right team boss, and than the radio “this was everything we could do”, so with other words they knew about the problem but did nothing about it. Even Horner was gutted when he had his interview with the BBC, i’m baffled why Whitmarsh is still team boss of a F1 team like McLaren and Button could not even challenge Vettel for the win what does that tell you. Lewis it is time to move over to Mercedes-Benz, Mecedes-Benz need you abandon that sinking shil called McLaren with Whitmarsh as captain

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: James Clayton
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 4:33 am 

    James did I see a Red Bull pit stop for 2.1 seconds, or did my eyes deceive me?

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: Tim
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 5:19 am 

    To James or anyone,
    I’ve read comments stating McLaren knew the day before the GP that the g-box might be a problem and comments stating that they became aware during the race. Which is it? Thanks.

    Tim

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    They say they did no know on Sat

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: Dean Cassady
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 5:28 am 

    James, I don’t buy the Alonso/Ferrari media campaign continually lamenting the Ferrari equipment, it just doesn’t compute. Ferrari are competitive, they just haven’t been able to put it altogether, in the more recent races, and of course, their qualifying pace development versus there race pace development, currently favours their race pace, which is just about right on McLaren in most races, recently.
    McLarens biggest single advantage is the qualifying pace, and ability to gain pole. This season more than previous ones, leadership is key to getting the most from the tires, and thus a critical advantage. McLaren have made the step up, and are maintaining, especially with the Hamilton/McLaren package, the ability to get the pole; that’s the current difference between McLaren and Ferrari; so the underdog stuff is just posing.
    The fastest race pace in Singapore and Budapest was the Vettel/Red Bull package, and Vettel has moved up a gear from his already extreme capability. He is definitely the best driver at the moment. He will be competitive at Suzuka, but Red Bull is going to have to get him to the second row or better in qualifying, or it will make his life really tough. Watch Vettel closely, and you’ll see what I am talking about; Vettel has never driven better than he is driving now. Watch closely, and you’ll see it.
    Vettel is my current favourite for the 2012 Drivers’ Championship.

    [Reply]

    D17MO.D Reply:

    I’m sure I distinctly remember Vettel out-braking himself into T10 – ‘The Singapore Sling’ while attempting to chase Hamilton down? All the while Hamilton was driving beautifully and mistake free keeping Vettel at arms length until his gearbox gave way.

    IMO Alonso and Hamilton are by far the cream of the 2012 crop. Hamilton, since his win in Hungary has been, dare
    I say it, setting the standard and through sheer bad luck isn’t much closer to Alonso in the title race.

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    Nobody is driving better than Vettel in the last four grandprix, review the races and look for him, how he’s moving, especially when the RB is off the pace. You’ll see that he has started to display a new hardened, and gritty traits, not previously noticeable (to me).
    While I would like to see Kimi win, I think Vettel will make it three in a row, and if he does, he will definitely have deserved this season’s win.

    [Reply]

    JR Reply:

    Sorry but I cannot see your point. First you say Ferrari are competitive, and later that McLaren is the fastest in qualy and Red Bull in the race. So the Ferrari is not THAT fast, right?

    [Reply]

    deancassady Reply:

    As you know, nobody is the fastest all the time, race and qualifying this year. To assess the comparative pace of the cars, both qualifying and race, this year, one has to look at the entire season and the most recent trends.
    The season:
    though Ferrari started well behind McLaren and Red Bull, they are in the top three over the course of the season, perhaps tied with Red Bull, a tad behind McLaren. they are definitely in the top cluster.
    Trends:
    Ferrari are in the top cluster, and besides their qualifying pace, the edge must go to McLaren, but not by very much, but besides that, the difference in the race, from McLaren is non-existent. Though I admit, Red Bull have been faster, at Budapest, for sure, and possibly a slight advantage in Singapore; but Red Bull was way behind Ferrari at Spa and especially Monza!

    Does that make it clearer?
    Do you still disagree with my position that they are as close as anybody at this stage, and it really is race to race, and ultimately, the ability of the top drivers to extract the maximum for every race, regardless of the competitiveness of the machinery, like Kimi 6th in Singapore. Let’s face it, Alonso is getting the most from his package, every race, and the big difference to Lewis, for example, is that he is not getting the best every race for his package, even if you write off the McLaren lapses.

    dc

    [Reply]

    JR Reply:

    Well, that is much clear now, I agree with you in some part but still disagree in others.

    As you say, this year is race by race but I still think that Ferrari is behind of McLaren and Red Bull in the overall picture. But despite this performance gap ALO is leading the championship due to two factors: his supreme ability to convert whatever performance his car has on any particular grand prix weekend on big points for the championship (something that VET on HAM still lag behind) and of course the reliability problems of McLaren and Red Bull, which of course is a crucial part of the equation to win an F1 championship and not only “Alonso’s good luck”, as some try to paint it.

    deancassady Reply:

    JR: I think we are very close in our opinions. While I still believe that reliability is the difference between ALO and VET, and not the capacity to deliver the maximum points from whatever comparative pace of the respective machinery.
    I’m still hoping that the Lotus upgrades can give Kimi a competitive run into these last six races, and thereby making it a three way drivers’ and constructors’ race to the end.

    Jordan Reply:

    After joe from the FIA became more vigilant on RBR’s engine mapping, they loss ground. Now the heat’s off, I suspect they are up to it again. Expect a stronger showing from Vettel. Even the sky team in P1 last race said the distinctly heard the RBR car making suspicious sounds on corners.

    [Reply]


  41.   41. Posted By: Sam
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 6:57 am 

    Alonso is just showing consistency where his rivals are not, its that simple. All be it the others have had mechanical problems, JB and both red bulls at the last GP and Hamilton at this one. I would have like to have seen JB try and catch Vettel a bit more in the last 10 laps yesterday but instyead vettel got thwe gap up to about 7 seconds or something! We need at least 1 DNF for Alonso in the next 2 or 3 races to keep the championship alive because one more win and the championship is his! Bad luck for Lewis yesterday but as he said thats motor racing, Mclaren gambled and it didnt pay off

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: Kevin
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 9:15 am 

    Any info as to why MW was advised to pit on the second stop? He lost out big time.
    Here in Aus our local series gives out points all the way down to last place. Conceivably if there is a crash in the midfield that knocks out 12 cars and Narain finishes 11th then the win the 10 million! There must be a better way to work out seniority amongst the back markers. Case in point would JEV and Riccardo, one has outperformed the other but has less points.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Correction, pit on the second safety car!

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: John Simpson
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 12:27 pm 

    Hi James,
    Just wanted your insight into the teams respective paces.

    Force India and Williams were very strong in qualy. Lotus seem to be going backwards on a track they said should have suited them.

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks You

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: Anop
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 5:12 pm 

    James, will Lewis get a 5 place grid penalty at Suzuka for a new gearbox?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not as he retired from the race

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    That’s the only silver lining. He’ll have a new gearbox next race, and a new one for Brazil, where he had a gearbox failure last year.

    Is there a ‘joker’ that teams can use, for engines and gearboxes? Also I remember there’s some special rule covering engine changes at the last race as well.

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: Ben G
        Date: September 24th, 2012 @ 5:53 pm 

    Well done Timo & Marussia.

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: JohnBt
        Date: September 25th, 2012 @ 2:43 am 

    Am surprise with McLaren’s knowing about the gear box life span and allowing Lewis to race with it. He would have won the race cruising IMO, another iffy.

    James would it be possible to indicate the engines left for the last 6 races of all teams? Thanks.

    [Reply]


  47.   47. Posted By: Stone the crows
        Date: September 25th, 2012 @ 2:57 am 

    Looks like Alonso will be in a good place if the Scuderia can give him more pace for the last few races while Vettel, Hamilton, and Raikonnen take points from each other.

    [Reply]

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