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Sebastian Vettel takes championship lead with dominant win in Korean Grand Prix
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Oct 2012   |  8:41 am GMT  |  246 comments

Sebastian Vettel won the Korean Grand Prix and took the lead of the world championship.

He had to survive some late race drama as the team warned him that the right front tyre could let go at any time, the tyre was down to the cord.

It was the Vettel’s second Korean GP win, his fourth of 2012 and his third victory in a row this year, the real gamechanger result which gives him and Red Bull the initiative with four races to go, as he took the championship lead by six points.

Things can change quickly: Five races ago, after the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel was 42 points behind Alonso, but the momentum of the Red Bull team at the moment looks hard to stop. Alonso finished 14 seconds behind Vettel today, an average of 0.25 secs per lap off the Red Bull pace.

It was the 25th victory of his F1 career in just 97 race starts, putting him equal with Jim Clark and Niki Lauda. It was the second occasion in three races where he has won despite not starting on pole position.

“Very pleased. I’m very happy. We had a good start and a good launch, so I was able to get by,” said Vettel. ” It was quite tight in the first stint, but the second stint was more comfortable.

“The championship has gone up and down. We have to focus on ourselves, we need to have our best possible results and we go from there.”

Red Bull also increased its lead in the Constructors’ Championship to 77 points with Mark Webber finishing in second place, having started the race from pole position.

Fernando Alonso wasn’t able to compete with the Red Bulls today and had to settle for third place, with Ferrari ordering his team mate Felipe Massa, who was faster than Alonso here, to “back off” in the second half of the race and he came in fourth.

Ferrari moved ahead of McLaren into second place in the Constructors’ Championship thanks to the recent strong results of Massa.

McLaren had a terrible day with Jenson Button eliminated at the start and Lewis Hamilton scoring just a single point in 10th place.

For the second race in a row Hamilton had a car which wasn’t balanced properly and struggled for pace, due to a problem with the rear anti-roll bar breaking (the same problem Alonso had in qualifying in Monza).

A problem with a damper was identified in Japan, so this is a disappointing pattern for McLaren. Hamilton was forced into a three stop strategy.

As the cars went off on the formation lap, Button, the two Saubers, Di Resta, Vergne and De La Rosa had all decided to start on the prime soft tyre, aiming for a longer first stint.

At the start Vettel managed to get a better getaway and starting on the inside, he was able to get ahead of Webber into the lead by Turn 1, while Alonso jumped Hamilton for third, maintaining his impeccable start record this year.

Behind them Button was hit by Kobayashi, who steamed up the inside of him, smashing his right front suspension, “Idiot” said Button on the radio. Rosberg was involved in that incident too, puncturing the radiator. Perez made up three places at the start.

On the opening lap, Vettel led from Webber, with Alonso third, Hamilton fourth, Massa fifth, Raikkonen sixth, Hulkenberg seventh, Grosjean eighth, Perez ninth and Schumacher 10th.

In the first five laps, the pace of the top four was similar, but after six laps the Red Bull’s started to lap 0.5s a lap faster.

The gap opened out to Alonso, to 3.5 seconds by lap 10 as the Red Bulls began to stretch their legs.

Vettel pulled the gap out to Webber as they approached the first stops; Hamilton was the first of the leaders to come in on lap 14, with Hulkenberg and Grosjean also pitting. Hamilton came out behind Perez who was on the harder tyre.

Vettel and Alonso pitted on lap 16, Alonso coming out just ahead of Perez, who attacked him on the first straight, Hamilton managed to pass him and a lap later so did Massa.

Vettel’s pace at the start of the second stint was very strong and he increased the lead over Webber, while Alonso and Hamilton closed up slightly.

Perez ran long, battling Raikkonen for sixth prior to his first stop.

On lap 18, Hamilton radioed in that the second set of tyres were not going to last long, as his pace dropped into the 1m 46s, whereas the cars in front were in the 1m 44s.

His pace dropped off and it meant that Massa passed him on lap 20 for fourth place, while Raikkonen attacked him three laps later. The pair had a great battle for a few laps.

Hamilton pitted on lap 26, only 12 laps after the first stop. This put him out of joint strategy wise. There was a slight delay on the right front and he rejoined ahead of Ricciardo. This released Raikkonen into fifth place.

Grosjean had followed Hulkenberg for the whole race, even pitting together on lap 14, but towards the end of the second stint Grosjean started to attack.

The Frenchman pitted early on lap 31, to try to undercut the German.

Webber pitted for the second time on lap 32, the first of the front runners once again.

Alonso came in two laps later, with Vettel pitting on lap 35 from the lead.

Webber closed the gap up to Vettel through the second stops while Alonso rejoined 4.5 seconds behind the second Red Bull. Team mate Massa was able to comfortably stay with his team mate.

Massa closed up to the back of Alonso, who lost some time in traffic, but Massa was told by his engineer Rob Smedley to “back off” from the Spaniard and to sit a second or two behind him, to preserve the tyres.

Massa believed that he could get ahead of Webber if released, but Ferrari were thinking about maximising points for Alonso with Vettel set to take the championship lead off him for the first time.


Meanwhile Hamilton was forced onto a three stop strategy, but didn’t have the pace you would expect from that strategy. Grosjean and Hulkenberg caught him on lap 40 and as Grosjean tried to pass, he went off track, allowing Hulkenberg to pass the pair of them for 6th place with a brilliant move.

It was another very strong drive for Hulkenberg, who split the two Lotus cars in sixth place.

Hamilton pitted again on lap 43 for a 12 lap sprint on supersofts. He rejoined in 10th place, behind Vergne in the Toro Rosso.

Red Bull were concerned in the closing stages about wear on the front tyres, the right front in particular, with both Vettel and Webber repeatedly told to take care.

Vettel was told that the tyre could be “right down to the cord” and was told several times to be very careful when loading it up under braking for the big stops.

KOREAN GRAND PRIX, Yeongam, 55 laps
1. Vettel Red Bull 1h36:28.651
2. Webber Red Bull + 8.200
3. Alonso Ferrari + 13.900
4. Massa Ferrari + 20.100
5. Raikkonen Lotus + 36.700
6. Hulkenberg Force India + 45.300
7. Grosjean Lotus + 54.800
8. Vergne Toro Rosso + 1:09.500
9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1:11.700
10. Hamilton McLaren + 1:19.600
11. Perez Sauber + 1:20.000
12. Di Resta Force India + 1:24.400
13. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:29.200
14. Maldonado Williams + 1:34.900
15. Senna Williams + 1:36.900
16. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia + 2 laps
20. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS

1. Vettel 215
2. Alonso 209
3. Raikkonen 167
4. Hamilton 153
5. Webber 152
6. Button 131
7. Rosberg 93
8. Grosjean 88
9. Massa 81
10. Perez 66

CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS

1. Red Bull-Renault 367
2. Ferrari 290
3. McLaren-Mercedes 284
4. Lotus-Renault 255
5. Mercedes 136
6. Sauber-Ferrari 116
7. Force India-Mercedes 89
8. Williams-Renault 58
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 21

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246 Comments
  1. Hotshoe says:

    James, as always another great article. What do you think of the Red Bull engineer’s concern for Vettel’s right front tire? I don’t think Vettel was very concerned; in fact I think he was trying for fastest lap on lap 55!

    1. Simmo says:

      Probably because if they did have any issues then it could cost Vettel a championship.

    2. Luke Clements says:

      Only thing I’d add, is we only get to hear selected radio messages from different teams at different races, and we don’t get all of them. (Not sure if pay TV subscribers can ever listen to all of them)…but anyway, as we don’t get all of them at every race, but seemed to get a lot from RBR at this race, doesn’t mean it was any different to all the other races we don’t hear about. Clear as mud?

      Simply put, it might not be what it seemed.

    3. KGBVD says:

      I get the feeling they were telling him he may have problems as a way to get him to slow down.

      I don’t think it went down with them too well when Seb ignored them in Japan and kept putting in steaming laps at the end.

      Tell him his front tire could explode, and he’ll slow down a bit (maybe). I’m sure they pulled a similar stunt in Brazil last year when they gave Webbo the win.

  2. Wayne says:

    The abiding memory I will have of this race was the brilliance on display into the first couple of corners. WEB/VET/HAM/MAS/ALO/RAI sometimes three abreast and showing world class driving skills. Genius – all of them. Brilliant!

    Why were RBR trying to scare the hell out of VET at the end? Were they playing games with ALO? I’ve never heard anything like it.

    What the hell was wrong with the McLAren this time? McLAren are so inconsistent and have been all season it is utterly infuriating. Can;t wait for HAM to move on.

    1. Magos says:

      Mclaren? Simple flex-wings Banned!

      1. KRB says:

        They were still flexing backwards on both the Red Bull and McLaren. Simply not it.

      2. Chris Mellish says:

        Actually it was a failed rear roll bar. Hamilton was having to drive with one less rear suspension component than he should have had and this was affecting the balance massively and causing the car to eat its tyres.

    2. Quercus says:

      RBR were keeping VET informed so that the decision as to how hard to press on was VET’s alone. If they’d not made the problem so clear to him and he’d pushed, the tyre had burst and he’d been injured they would have been culpable. It was wise handling of the situation.

      1. Wayne says:

        Yes I appreciate all that, but every two minutes on the radio? They’ve been running out of tyres before and they have not reacted that way.

      2. Kevin says:

        Agreed. SV clearly thinks he is invincible atm. Look I’m a MW fan so maybe I’m biased, but was it just a bit arrogant not to slow down?

      3. DC says:

        VET is known for pushing for the fastest lap towards end of a race despite the team’s protests. They needed to make it clear he would be risking too much this time.

      4. Trent says:

        I wonder if it’s possible that they were trying to encourage Alonso to ‘have a go’, and risk his own car, by making him think there was a chance that Vettel was in trouble.

    3. KRB says:

      An absolute nightmare race for McLaren. They were going on about how Japan was damage limitation … well, Korea can only be seen as a decimation! They’re now 3rd in the WCC behind Ferrari.

      Truly their dip in form is simply baffling. No other word for it. They were 5th best car today, maybe 6th. The astroturf was just the final insult.

      For Vettel, this is now the 4th time he’s won 3+ races in a row. Unless Vettel has reliability issues or retirements, he will win the DWC. I can’t see Ferrari closing the performance gap in the run-in, even though they have a consistently decent car on race pace (2nd best at Korea and Japan). But it’s just not enough; the RB8 is clearly a step up.

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

      Wins: SV4,FA3,LH3,MW2,JB2,NR1,PM1

      Podiums:
      FA9,SV7,KR6,LH6,JB5,MW3,RG3,SP3,
      NR2,FM1,KK1,MS1,PM1

      T5 Finishes (3+):
      SV12,FA12,KR10,LH8,MW8,JB6,
      FM5,NR4,RG4,SP3,KK3

      Pts Finishes (8+):
      KR15,FA14,SV13,MW13,LH12,
      JB10,NR10,FM10,RG8,NH8,PdR8

      Longest podium streaks (2+):
      SV3,FA3,KR3,LH3,FA2(2x),KR2

      Current podium streak: SV3,MW1,FA1

      Longest T5 streaks (2+):
      FA7,KR6,SV4,MW4,SV3,LH3,SV2(2x),FA2(2x),
      KR2,LH2,MW2,JB2,NR2,RG2,FM2(2x)

      Current T5 streak:
      SV3,FM2,MW1,FA1,KR1

      Longest pts finish streaks (3+):
      KR13,FA11,LH7,MW7,NR6,FM6,SV5,JB5,
      SV4,MW4,SV3,RG3,PdR3,MS3,DR3

      Current pts finish streak:
      KR13,FM6,SV3,DR3,LH2,MW2,NH2,FA1,RG1,JV1

      Retirements (not classified)(3+):
      MS7,NK6,RG5,CP4,SP4,PM4,KK4,JV3,LH3,PdlR3

      T8-DWC Race Finishes:
      KR16,MW15,SV14,FA14,NR14,LH12,JB12,RG9

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Great comment again!

        James, I think it is not said that Hamilton should have finished 8th apart from the Astroturf, he was closing the gap with the Toro Rossos quickly when the Astroturf got jumped on his car. Because of these last laps and when fighting with Kimi, he gave a very entertaining show for the fans. At the end of the day, it is McLaren fault and not the driver fault to lose this Championship.

        And for Hulk he seems to confirm he is the same who put the Williams on pole in 2010, so I’m glad he is getting a good car next year to consolidate his skills as a top driver, if Sauber confirms he is in.

        It is not usual to have a driver that can fight for 2nd and to be said “back off”!!! Not nice that in F1!!!

        I thought Vettel was going to get 4 WDC in a row and he is in his way to reach more records, don’t you think?

    4. colin grayson says:

      why would the team improve when hamilton moves on ? not one of the problems this year were anything to do with him , they have let him down dramatically
      losing the fastest driver on the grid doesn’t generally help a team

      1. Wayne says:

        I was completely agreeing with you – that’s why I can’t wait for him to move on.

      2. Peter C says:

        Because Wayne’s in love.

      3. Wayne says:

        Yes, but with Hamilton, not McLaren. I don’t share my love. But thanks for commenting.

      4. AJ says:

        I feel sorry for Lewis. Yes he’s been a royal pain in the but at times. But sat night he booked a whole bowling alley for the garage crew and no one told him they were all doing s charity event with Jenson. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-aU

    5. Craig D says:

      Yeah, but the likelihood is you’ll be in for more of the same inconsistent frustration with Mercedes next year! :) Mercedes were nowhere on a track requiring good grunt in part as well. Of course Rosberg was out of it like Button but the team has dropped back so much in the second half of the season. And developments will carry over to next year.

      Fact is the might of Vettel and Newey is the best combination out there! They always get there in the end! In fact if it wasn’t for the unreliable Renault engine, Vettel would be near home and dry.

      Got to feel sorry the most For Alonso. He’s driven near perfect this year (with the Suzuka start being his only real error). But the car isn’t quite strong enough.

      1. Wayne says:

        Maybe Merc have given up and are plowing all their resources into next year? I would be after signing Hamilton.

      2. Rossco says:

        rear anti roll bar failure for Lewis. Whitmarsh said some pretty remarkable things about Hamilton afterwards. All positive. Lewis drove such an amazing race considering, 3rd would have definitely been up for grabs as once he got going in the first few laps he was consistently behind Alonso…

      3. David Smith says:

        Suzuka start being his only error??? huh can you explain that one…

      4. Craig D says:

        Pretty much. Where has Alonso made significant driver errors this year?

      5. Rishi says:

        It’s races like this where Michael Schumacher must be thinking “I’ve made the right decision” when it comes to retiring again. From what I could see he drove his heart out all race and all for 13th place at the end. And this on a track that Mercedes felt would play to their strengths!

        Regarding Hamilton @ Mercedes I am actually quite optimistic because I feel the personnel and the resources are there for it to be a success but you’ve got to ask why they seem to have struggled with tyres all season whilst most teams appear to have got on top of them (more or less) by mid-season, and certainly since Spa.

    6. iceman says:

      James’ old mate Ted Kravitz reckoned the radio messages to Vettel about the tyres were a ploy. The team always tell Vettel to slow down and take it easy on the car if he’s leading near the end of the race, and he always ignores them. So they came up with this story about tyre wear to try to get him to back off – with partial success.

      1. KRB says:

        I dunno … the team crying wolf, and Vettel ignoring them? If that’s the case, one time it will be for real, and the wolf will eat the boy, or however that uplifting fairy tale ends.

      2. devilsadvocate says:

        Yeah you and everyone else on here talking about this is absolutely right, he should have pulled off and parked it. Roll over and give up… yep he is so arrogant and foolish

        I find it hard to believe that when a car in this era has slight graining on the tires and the lap times fall off a cliff and yet Vettel somehow setting purple sector times with a tire that was about to burst.

        I only know of one person in recent history to bin a car on the last lap by pushing too hard when not necessary… I’ll give you a hint he wasnt german and his last name starts with H.

    7. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      I reckon they were doing for the benefit of Pirelli. Making it very public they they don’t like the tyres. Malodonado did over 30 laps on them, Vettell only had to do 20……….

  3. Dufus says:

    I really wish Webbers poor starts would be addressed properly by RBR. Its been what 3 years now ?

    1. rafa says:

      i think RBR are delighted with Webber´s start in korea.

    2. F1fan4life says:

      “Mark, Sebastian’s launch control is faster than you…do you understand?”

      1. Zabriskie says:

        Webber repeatedly screws up at the start – and again people suggest team orders without reasons. Talk about fan bias…

      2. Jenks says:

        If Seb has launch control on his car, then that explains his better starts….

      3. James Allen says:

        What? How could that happen with a standard ECU?

      4. Mitchel says:

        Ha, ha! +1

    3. Cameron says:

      yes, webber is often pretty bad but the pole sitter was starting on the wrong side of the grid. Vettel starting on the inside of the first corner has the advantage.

      To ilustrate the point early on in the race, one displayed graphic showed that the top 8 had reversed positions with their starting row partner.

      1st qualifier was then second, 2nd qualifier was 1st, 3rd qualifier was 4th and 4th qualifer 3rd and so on.

      1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        My thoughts exactly. I appreciate that the pole side is cleaner, but the first corner is a left hander, so pole should be on the left side. Second on the grid only ahs to get level, and he wins the corner. Doesn’t make sense to me.

      2. oldferrari says:

        Martin Brundle made the same comment during race commentary, that he could not understand why the Pole Position in Korea was not where Vettel started as the pole should have the superior position for the run to that corner.

        The second point is that looking at Vettel and Webber’s rires at the end, Weber had a hell of a lot more rubber his tyres than Vettel, even though he had done more laps, and when Alonso picked up the pace, so did Webber, and he also set the fastest lap – I think Webber had a lot more pace and tyre left than Vettel

    4. Rossco says:

      Why would you blame Red Bull? They have had start issues before, but most of the time it’s Webber’s error.

    5. DC says:

      Webber’s poor starts have been going on pretty much throughout his F1 career.

      1. Rishi says:

        +1

        According to Sky in the post-race analysis he has been working on it with Red Bull in the simulator and they’ve found that his initial getaway is okay but it tends to be the “second phase” where he struggles. This is precisely what happened today. It seems they are trying to find ways to combat it but starts generally have been a long-term thing with Webber in F1 so its an ongoing process I guess.

    6. AlexD says:

      His start today was better than Vettel’s, he was playing a second fiddle and had to defend Alonso and Hamilton.

  4. Miha Bevc says:

    What is happening to McLaren!? Since Hamilton signed for Mercedes everything is going downwards – and fast! They had the fastest car for most of the season, including Singapore. Two races later, and they are somewhere in the midfield. Can they finish 4th in constructors championship with a car which was the fastest in most of the races this year?

    It’s funny how 5 years ago McLaren and Ferrari were considered to be the only team capable of fast development during the season, and now neither of them can match Red Bull, who for once didn’t start the season with the fastest car.

    Smart race by both Red Bull drivers and good race for Massa who seems to be faster then Alonso at the peak of the championship battle.

    1. Wayne says:

      I’d dearly love to know what the issue is with McLaren. If it’s not one thing it’s another.

      “Fastest car on all circuit typres”

      Now

      “Midfeild Car”

      Bloody McLaren are so unbelieveably frustrating.

      They are like a top football team that beats Barcelona one minute and looses to Croydon the next. They refuse to pass the ball to their top striker because “that wouldn’t be fair”. They are outmanouvered in the transfer market and loose their top goal scorer to a second division team. If this were a football team, fans would be chanting for the sacking of the manager at every match!

      1. Sebee says:

        Sir,

        I stand by my conspiracy theories! :-)

        But must admit, I am surprised about them giving up.constructors position as well.

      2. hugotheboss says:

        I think they pushed Lewis’ but I now feel quite sorry for him. Apparently he booked an entire bowling alley for the team on Saturday night, but Jenson had already recruited them to do a charity bike ride Lewis knew nothing about. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-aU

      3. Peter C says:

        Lewis was a bit late in asking them all to play with him. Anyway they all went bowling last year. Boring.

        It didn’t seem like a calculated slight to Lewis, but don’t the Press just love to make a huge issue of things like this?

        It was also in Daily Telegraph (Tom Cary), making it sound like “Jenson is more popular with the Team & Lewis is leaving anyway”.

        B*ll*cks.

      4. RobertS says:

        good analogy lol. Is true very true though!

    2. Quercus says:

      According to the BBC, Hamilton suffered from a broken rear anti-roll bar during this race which is why his tyres were suffering. They had a faulty damper at Japan so I wonder whether the two are linked?

      1. Jim Dee says:

        Probably somehow as the cars are normally one piece. ;;)

    3. KRB says:

      Massa was for sure faster … Ferrari perhaps should’ve sent him ahead to try to shred Webber’s tires, like Patrese on Senna all those years back at Monza.

      I think Alonso had a problem on the car.

      1. Chromatic says:

        I think Alo did a solid job, helped a little by Hamilton’s amazing lack of cunning at the start: his focus was only on Kimi, with a rapid swing across to the far right to block the Lotus, thereby opening a huge space for FA and FM to breeze through.
        He could as well have spread a big red carpet in their path and laid on some refreshments, but I guess that’s asking too much.
        Smart thing would have been to take points off Alonso if possible. But he’s smarting from Kimi finishing higher in the standings

      2. Wayne says:

        I don’t think he made split second decisions in the heat of the first corner based on “smarting that Raikonnen is higher in the standings”.

        Vettel made his usual wild swing across the track, whihc closed the gap between the two RBRs and baulked Hamilton.

        However, Hamilton is nothing like the starter he used to be. Too many people constantly telling him to calm down I reckon.

      3. What do you think would have happened if Massa did this, got past Webber and then Alonso couldn’t catch them?

    4. Andrew M says:

      Had to check my calendar watching this race to make sure it was 2012, not 2011. Red Bull have just torn up the form book since Monza, at least Alonso took the podium to hopefully keep things interesting during the run in. McLaren seem to have imploded.

      One point about the start that Martin Brundle made, it looked like Vettel/Alonso/Massa had a much better line into turn 1 than Webber/Hamilton/Raikkonen, doesn’t quite seem right.

      Driver of the day is going to be a bit of a damp squib – Massa? Hulkenburg?

      1. tony presser says:

        agree.it’s a pity but it is again like 2011.Despite what Alonso is thinking world champion for the 3rd consecutive time will be Vettel.

    5. Chris Mellish says:

      The RRA is playing a big part in that. McLaren and Ferrari have been forced to downsize, plus they no longer have in season testing to help their development programs. Red Bull say they’re sticking to the RRA but there is suspicion about how truthful or not they are being.

  5. McHarg123 says:

    It’s all Vettel now! They won’t catch him.

    1. Marc says:

      Agreed. The Red Bull definitely has the momentum… as usual. Not looking good at all for Ferrari, yet again. Frustrating.

      1. Cedgy says:

        Not looking good for Ferrari? What about the MacLaren’s?they’re the biggest losers of this race! Hamilton’s title chances are gone. At least Alonso can still hope and fight for it, not so for Hamilton. Shame really.

  6. Tom in adelaide says:

    Mark Webber. Clean side of track + headstart = cannot lead a single lap. Number 2 driver.

    1. Chromatic says:

      Fair dinkum. He did well to stay with Sebbo and not let the Ferraris, Macca, Lotus etc roar past the start line.

    2. Sebee says:

      Or team player.

    3. Wade Parmino says:

      Race starts have never been Webber’s strengths. I don’t think he will ever improve this. Maybe it’s the hand-operated clutch that he has trouble with? I don’t know; can’t think of any other reason.

      1. JF says:

        Agree. Starts have been a bogey for webber for as long as I can remember. Shame, he is damn fast otherwise.

  7. Wilma the Great says:

    “Stefano, Felipe is faster than me. That’s got to be taken care of, do you understand?”

    P.S.: James, you were fighting with Seb for the faster finish with your report there.

    1. Wayne says:

      lol, they’ll turn his engine back down for the next race.

      1. Sebee says:

        Aha! Finally you believe. Massa is being held back. But now in the final stretch there is no room for such games. They need Massa to take points. Maybe if they gave him 100% engine from start they wouldn’t be so far down. Or maybe Alonso wouldn’t have felt superhuman.

      2. rafa says:

        what a load of bull. seriously man, get a grip.

      3. azac21 says:

        Indeed a huge lot of horse stuff…. You may as well have been watching the X-factor instead.

      4. Sebee says:

        azac21

        I like x-files actually. Better conspiracy theories.

        By the way, now that the Ferrari is much better all you guys are saying it is the reason why Massa is so good lately. He could have passed Alonso.

        Are we to conclude that Alonso is “your” hero because he can drive a bad car better than Massa, but Massa isn’t your hero because he can drive a good car better than Alonso? :-)

    2. [MISTER] says:

      Massa’s setup was better than Alonso’s. I could see on the straights that Massa was getting at top speed before Alonso..even tho’ Alonso was exiting the turns first.

      In the same time, Massa had a point to prove, so he giving it all, while Alonso knew he wasn’t fighing Massa, he was smart and knew he needs to look after the tyres and look for those 2 RBR cars ahead.
      I like Felipe and wish him to stay with Ferrari for next year, but I wouldn’t read too much into this.

      But I guess Alonso haters will jump at this to bash him a bit.

      1. PDiddly says:

        No, alonso was not being “smart” he was being SLOW.

        Massa was not only faster than you today fernando, but we got an illuminating insight to the crackpot mentality of alonso….

        Just as Massa caught up with him, we were treated to the Smedley, this time with “could you please drop back to 3 seconds behind Felipe” … What a bizarre request, almost like they want him out of sight, not putting any pressure whatsoever on the cracking alonso.

        No matter what pretty face he puts on it, loosing the Championship lead, and most would say, the Championship, is rattling the little spaniard like hell.

        Today we were treated to “oh well we overtook McLaren in the Constructors Championship”. Who was convinced by that ?

      2. F1fan4life says:

        I think PDiddly is the only one rattled. You think Alonso cares about what some ignoramus comments on here? Nobody would have beaten the Bulls with a slower car.

      3. Galapago555 says:

        Nice and fair comment, not only insulting Alonso but even writing his name, surname and nationality in lower case letters…

        Yep, I know this comment of mine will be mod.

      4. David Smith says:

        Think you will find 3 seconds is the window when out of the dirty air from the car in front! Would have loved to have seen Massa have a go at Webber mind..

      5. For Sure says:

        [mod].But why so harsh on the guy who has performed so well this season AND didn’t do anything annoying?
        He didn’t have the car he deserves most of the time, yet he hardly whines and punched about the weight of his machine.
        Now we are about to see him losing despite all his efforts. I don’t see why even Alonso haters shouldn’t feel a little bad for him.

  8. Rekha Poosala says:

    Welcome Back Sebastian!!!

    1. AlexD says:

      For life to be fair, we need Grosjean or Maldonado to help Sebastian understand that life can be tough at times.

      1. Erik W says:

        Life is fair.
        Narain(while being lapped) took Seb out early in the season with his lack of spacial awareness. He just moved back into the race line before Seb passed.

        It is sad that too many amateurs with big money can decide champhionships. The team reaks of pay drivers driving for 2-3 season until their backers had their fun and got bored of them.

        Maldonado, I wish the election goes well so I can race next year is but one example.

  9. Mr Nasty says:

    In terms of pace, I think Lewis has already joined Mercedes.

  10. r0ssj says:

    Fairly dull race, and pretty bad for the championship. Vettel and Red Bull will walk it from here.

    Both McLaren drivers are effectivly out of championship now. Can’t see McLaren pushing too hard on developments, especially with Hamilton leaving at the end of the season.

    Ferrari have never had the speed of McLaren or Red Bull at any point during the season, and are unlikely to come up anything special during the last 4 races.

    The next few tracks genenrally suit Red Bull cars, and with the exception of Brazil, a wet race is highly unlikely.

    Expecting Vettel to repeat front row start, build a cushion and control pace from front formula, for remainder of season. Dull but effective.

    1. Nigel says:

      “Can’t see McLaren pushing too hard on developments, especially with Hamilton leaving at the end of the season.”

      Why not ?
      The regulations are largely unchanged next season.

      1. r0ssj says:

        Probably don’t want to reveal any innovations they may have for next season too early, if there is little to gain in championship.

        I’m sure they’ll bring some upgrades to help them push for 2nd in constructors championship, but I doubt they’ll bring any major developments to the car like Red Bull have done in recent races.

  11. Andrew says:

    I’m very disappointed that the world championship has again reverted to being the red bull championship. Another procession at the front, feigned tyre issues to try and pretend things were actually close. Doubtless it will soon emerge that Red Bull are bending another rule.

    So, once again we know that Vettel is better than Webber but other than that the title is meaningless, just like the Brawn championship was.

    I realise that there is little to be done other than making all the cars the same but I think that Bernie should have made Red Bull replace Webber for this season.

    I hope Vettel can see that the reason that Senna is so highly regarded is that he went to Mclaren and beat Prost. For the good of the sport I hope the rumours of him going to Ferrari in 2014 are true. Then we will see how good Vettel is.

    1. Lars J says:

      Agree. No doubt that Newey, Vettel and the Red Bull team is doing a great job. But it’s looking like the 2011 Red Dull season. So now you only need to watch the dying seonds of Q3, and decide whether it’s worth the time to watch the Grand Prix. Probably not.
      Sad, because 2012 so far has been a great season and there is every risc now, that it ends very boringly.

    2. Chromatic says:

      I’ve written to Magnetti Marelli asking for their help.

    3. Jimbob says:

      So Vettels championships and Buttons championship were meaningless? Right, because they just hand championships out don’t they? Clearly RB & Brawn didn’t have to work for their titles?

      What a ridiculous and misguided thing to say.

      1. Andrew says:

        They’re obviously not meaningless for the constructors. However if one car has a big advantage then it’s meaningless as a guide to the best driver.

        Although saying that it’s not that Red Bull is a better team it’s simply that they have the best designer.

        And from a wonderful first 10 races the season is now ruined!

      2. RodgerT says:

        The best designer, some of the best pit stops, very good strategy, and very good drivers.

        It’s a team effort, and without a fair share of all of the above you won’t win anything.

    4. Oly says:

      “Another procession at the front, feigned tyre issues to try and pretend things were actually close.”

      So true.

      I agree with everything you said.

    5. Glenn says:

      “So, once again we know that Vettel is better than Webber but other than that the title is meaningless, just like the Brawn championship was”.
      VET is better than WEB. No real argument there.
      Brawns championship meaningless? Bizarre comment Andrew.

      “Bernie should have made Red Bull replace Webber for this season”.
      What the heck does that mean Andrew?
      1. Why replace Webber?
      2. What does Bernie have to do with team lineup decisions?

      I take it you are a McLaren fan?

      1. Andrew says:

        Replace Webber because he is not good enough.
        As a spectacle F1 is ruined if one driver dominates. As we know Red Bull have the best designer they should be forced to have 2 top level drivers for the good of the sport and potential tv revenue etc.

        I’m not a Mclaren fan, I don’t want to see anybody dominate. I want to see open racing and to look forward to the race without knowing who is going to win beforehand

      2. F1addicted says:

        Completely agree with you Andrew.

        F1 fans accept that car development and differences are *part* of the sport. But it isn’t the focus or priority because it is still a ‘sport’ and we want to see drivers able to race each other. I am a huge F1 fan but I stop watching after about halfway because the result has been decided by lap 30.

        The only thing that will then change the WDC is if Vettel has a car problem and DNFs, which is also not satisfying.

        No one is saying ‘make cars the same’, but the FIA could tighten regulations to allow less possibility of anyone finding a ‘trick’, with these tiny things like engine mapping and DRS.

    6. Miha Bevc says:

      I don’t get it. McLaren had the fastest car for most of the season, and NOBODY on this forum complained. They should lead both championships by 50 points by now. But when Red Bull outdevelops other teams, championships become meaningless and their drivers suddenly don’t deserve the championship. I like this forum, it’s the most unbiased around, but it still is – biased.

      1. Bart says:

        + 1 million.

    7. For Sure says:

      Well, the ugly truth is that there is no legitimacy in defining who is the real world driver champion.

      You have every right to think he is not as good as Alonso even if he wins, but its all speculation. The same goes for those who think the other way round.
      It just the way that this sport is.

    8. Paul says:

      Agree with you 100% percent – shame is on the back of this Vettel will end up being a 3 time world champion and celebrated as one of the best ever and all he’s done is driven the best car by far to the flag for the last 3 years (when it hasn’t broken down). His team mate hasn’t been able to compete for the last 2 years because the Pirelli’s don’t suit his driving style – in 2010 the difference in lap time was about a 10th/sec.
      Boring boring boring…

      1. Chris says:

        I’ve seriously had enough of this Vettel and Newey bashing from you Ferrari only fans of F1!!! The minardi team became torro rosso – Fact. Both Alonso and Vettel drove for that team. That team has only won one grand prix, Vettel won it. When Vettel moved to Red Bull, everyone wondered if he could deliver the teams first win in the Reb Bull guise (that’s right people, he didn’t join a Mclaren, Ferrari or Williams team, he joined a team that had never won a grand prix). In his first 4 years there he has had 4 championship challenging seasons out of 4, winning two, maybe more. He has a 25% win ratio, and he has never been signed by a team that had even won a grand prix (and he’s won in all teams he driven for).

        As for your Newey bashing, get over it. Red Bull employ more than one Engineer, they employ a whole team, as do Ferrari. Red Bull’s are simply doing a better job, bash Ferrari’s engineering team, don’t bash Red Bull’s for doing their job. When Alonso joined Ferrari, he joined the most successful team of the naughties (when Newey was designing Mclarens), so there can’t have been a bad team of engineers around him. I think some Ferrari fans are bitter he’s always turned down their advances, because you you Ferrari only fans would have him in a heartbeat.

        These are all facts!!!

      2. Mac says:

        Totally agree!

      3. Warren Groenewald says:

        Another interesting fact is that the 2008 Torro Rosso was nowhere near being a Minardi. It was an Adrian Newey designed chassis, exactly the same one as the Red Bull team used that year. The advantage it had over Red Bull though is that it used a more powerful and more reliable Ferrari engine. A very different team to the one that Alonso and Webber started in.

        Another fact is that earlier in the year, when the car was more difficult to drive, Webber had the edge over Vettel, which is why people question Vettels abilities.

      4. Bart says:

        @Warren Groenewald – Webber beat Vettel in only 3 races this year (China, Monaco, Britain), so no, Webber did not have the edge over Vettel, and that is little to no reason to question his abilities.

      5. Bart says:

        And also, it’s worth remembering that Renault had a better car than Red Bull and STR in 2008, while Red Bull were ahead on aero updates. Vettel outperformed the Red Bulls in 2008 because he was better, that’s all.

    9. Tom says:

      Enough already with the Saint Ayrton malarkey. He was too good of a driver and too good of a man to be saddled with all that F1 mysticism. Senna went to McLaren because he wanted to be at the wheel of the fastest car. Beating Proust might have been satisfying but it wasn’t a holy quest – becoming the champion was.

  12. Brian Lott says:

    I would have loved to have heard the Ferrari Team Radio to Alonso “Felipe is faster than you…”

    1. Truth or Lies says:

      Of course that was never going to happen, however Massa’s closing speed and subsequent dropping back and closing up spoke a thousand words. Massa is getting in form and will get faster if previous experience is anything to go by.

      I wonder how Alonso will cope with this? Under normal circumstances it should help him to be even quicker. But given Fernandos temperamental nature it’s hard to know.

      Right now I honestly think if Vettel joins Ferrari for 2014 he’ll have Alonso for lunch.

      1. Joe B says:

        Seriously? When the RB8 wasn’t a rocket ship earlier this season, he couldn’t beat Webber…

      2. Bart says:

        Webber beat Vettel in only three races- Britain, China and Monaco. Otherwise Vettel was always ahead in the races.

      3. Oly says:

        and you can see all of this from a single good Massa’s performance (whatever was the cause) with both ferraris in race, in whole season ? fascinating !

  13. Craig in Manila says:

    Excellent race by all the red bull boys :

    First one-two for any team this year.
    Seb and Mark getting the perfect results both for WDC and WCC.

    Oh, and :
    Race-Fastest-Lap for Mark on second-last lap.
    Personal-Fastest-lap for Seb on the last-lap.

    Meanwhile, over at TR :
    JEV getting from 16th to 8th
    Daniel getting to 21st to 9th

    Great stuff by the boys in blue.

    1. Chris South says:

      Agree…think RB were just maintaining gaps…only pushed when needed to…when Alsonso almost got close enough to use DRS he just put in some faster sectors to increase the gap. The fastest lap when tyres were ‘problem’ for other teams. Read another opinion that RB held off new developments until it was too late for other teams to copy. Four races to go, they will be very hard to catch.

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        Can you share the source of RB holding off developments? I’m really interested in this…

  14. DonSimón says:

    Hamilton really gave the game away in the interview afterwards. Total brwakdown of relationship. It’s going to be a long few races for the lad.

    1. Peter C says:

      Did you hear what Martin Whitmarsh said about Hamilton?

      Effusive in his praise.

      So much for total breakdown of relationship.

      Although McL would have a perfect right to be like that, after all the comments & tweets by LH.

      Lets hope the Mercedes can give Lewis a higher place then 10th. Doesn’t look good at the moment, but they may have a brilliant car on the drawing board. Maybe.

    2. KRB says:

      What are you referring to?

  15. [MISTER] says:

    I haven’t been such a Hulk fan until now, but he put his mark today. Great great skill and instinct today. Loved it! Wish we would see him next year at Force India or a better team.

    1. McHarg123 says:

      Overtake of the day by Hulkenberg. Turning into a top line driver.

    2. Cedgy says:

      Sauber?

  16. MiG2009 says:

    Iam devastated. Not bad for a drinks company. Could the tech innovations from RedBull air racing be helping Redbull dominate on aerodynamic innovation. Given F1 is now mostly aero. Redbull makes em all look like amateurs.

    1. McHarg123 says:

      Very good point. Maybe some influence.

    2. RodgerT says:

      They just setup and sponsor the events, they don’t design the planes.

  17. InternetF1Fan says:

    “A problem with a damper was identified in Japan, but Hamilton also went through his tyres very quickly today, managing only 12 laps in his middle stint and being forced into a three stop strategy.”

    “Meanwhile Hamilton was forced onto a three stop strategy, but didn’t have the pace you would expect from that strategy. ”

    And you think the broken real roll bar had nothing to do with this? It appears you’re putting all the blame solely on Hamilton.

    1. KRB says:

      Of course the anti-roll bar break caused his problems today. The anti-roll bar break for Alonso at Monza was all we heard about, from Alonso, tifosi, and Alonso supporters. But I think it’s obvious that breaking it in the race is far worse than in qualifying.

      The last three races Hamilton has had a car failure. Very poor from McLaren.

    2. Nathan Jones says:

      Of course they are putting the blame on Lewis Hamilton. BBCF1 like nothing more than to paint Lewis as a tyre shredder, and sweet Jens as the Tyre Whisperer. Forget the screwed up suspension for the whole of the Japanese weekend and during the race today, Lewis just cannot set up his car according to Anderson et al, nor do anything other than chew the hell out if his tyres.

    3. matthew says:

      james allen has been having little digs at lewis lately.he seems to be another f1 journalist who has become part of it.they just give part of the truth to make it look like lewis is to blame.

      1. stoic little says:

        The original article that InternetF1Fan commented upon was posted before the anti-roll bar issue was reported. James already added that info in the article since.

      2. Robb says:

        Maybe I just imagined it, but I could swear James mentioned in is article that Lewis had a suspension failure at both Japan and Korea.

      3. Steve Pritchard says:

        Give me a break. Hamitons style will always punish tyres. THAT is the reason why the Hamafosi love him so (because this negative is a side effect of fast one lap mentality that you all love).

        “But didn’t have the pace you would expect from that strategy” (“because of an anti roll-bar failure”). That last part is implied, can you not see that?

        Live your life in a perfect world and you will only end up being disappointed, there is not such thing as a perfect world or perfect person.

        I love to see Hamilton race and do well, but I have a realistic view attached to that enjoyment,

    4. chrisnz says:

      What are you guys on about? James clearly states/implies that the reason behind Lewis’ lack of pace, increased tyre wear, 3 stop strategy was because of the mechanical issue, the broken anti roll bar.

      I’m not a Lewis fan but I am a James Allen fan and this comment and matthew’s about James having little digs at Lewis lately are pretty substandard

      1. James Allen says:

        It was updated as the facts emerged, as you say

    5. RodgerT says:

      There is no value judgement in those quotes, just statements of fact. Nowhere does he say that Lewis was at fault.

      Seems like every forum I visit Hamilton fans have their hackles up, and are looking to slam any comment that isn’t full of praise as a dig or criticism.

  18. [MISTER] says:

    James, if you get a chance, please tell Jake, Eddie and DC that their post-race forum today was fantastic. Loved it.

  19. BenM says:

    Be interested in knowing if Daniel Ricciardo had a problem that caused him to go off or whether it was just a mistake. Also his laptimes suffered dramatically after that. Did he stuff his tyres or did he have a problem?

    1. PeteRI says:

      He had front brake failure and was lucky to finish. He was the true 8th place finisher as he had to let JEV through.

    2. Tyler says:

      Yes, he had a problem in the last 10 laps with the car pulling to the left. Probably suspension related. That problem caused both his off and the poor laps times in the closing stages.

    3. MikeyB says:

      From Daniel’s part of the STR press release: Then my last stint on the Prime was my best until, with about ten laps to go, I found myself going straight on at Turn 3 and at first I thought it must have been a suspension failure because the car suddenly shot to the left and I could not stop it. However, I realised I could keep going, even if every time I braked the car pulled to the left and I was locking the front a lot. Unfortunately, that cost me eighth place, but at least I was able to give it up to my team-mate.

  20. Elie says:

    One word for Red Bull dominance-Money. ! They spent years building that team and now it’s where it is unstoppable !. They were struggling earlier on this year and since the summer break they just keep moving forward.

    I wish every day for the teams to have all the same amount of money to spend. Then we won’t see this level of dominance. When Red Bull introduce a Coanda exhaust they immediately gain 2/3 of a second or more, they introduce DDRS and immediately 3/4 of a second. By contrast Lotus DDRS still doesn’t work and their exhaust maybe gives them 2/10.

    1. Gene says:

      Money doesn’t mean everything. People seem to quickly forget the budgets of Honda and Toyota… and the results they managed to achieve over several years with those budgets.

      1. Elie says:

        Yeah but the regulations have changed a lot since then- its alot more focused now alot less tuings to get wrong ! Then again Ferrari aren’t short of a dollar or two either. It also helps having Adroan Newey on board I suppose

      2. Peter C says:

        If money DID mean everything (& it usually does in F1), then Ferrari wouldn’t be seen for dust looking at the amount they chuck at it.

        Yes, I know about the Rules, but also there’s a good amount of extra dosh for them just ‘being Ferrari’.

  21. MelB says:

    Great move by Hulkeberg to pass two cars but he momentarily put all four wheels off track in the process. Men

  22. leukocyte says:

    for all of the issues with the Korean event, it really is a not a bad circuit layout – varied sectors, and prolonged overtaking battles over multiple corner sequences.

    Pole position maybe not such a great advantage outside turn one/two.

    1. Gene says:

      Agreed. I think Korea is one of the better Tilke tracks. It’s a blast to drive in the F1 games. There are several very unique corners and corner combinations that really test the drivers and the cars. I love seeing them fly through the last long right hander then the quick flick left before the front straight!

      I wonder if the pole position side just didn’t have enough grip compared to the P2 side. There was only one support series in action this weekend, which probably contributed to that. But Webber admitted that he didn’t get the greatest start either, so who knows.

  23. Craig D says:

    Red Bull in their expected imperious form. Vettel’s really coming on strong now. Winning 3 Championships in a row will be quite an achievement if it happens. Alonso still has a chance but it will require some random races methinks now.

    Pleased to see Massa continuing his stronger form too.

    Bad for McLaren. More failure woes for Hamilton. A shame didn’t get to see what Button could do on a different strategy and his race pace would likely have been strong considering practice. Don’t know what Kobayashi was thinking taking two drivers out in one. F1 is about consistency; no point being a hero one week then a muppet the next. Though it was sad for Button, it’s an unfortunate symptom of him qualifying poorly too often.

  24. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    Well, after that we can only wait until India and see if the new updates Ferrari brings make the difference short enough or its just impossible to match the RB8.

    1. F1Ray says:

      Am reading elsewhere that Red Bull have another doze of upgrades for India, so I wouldn’t get too excited on that one.

  25. Vinto says:

    Hi James,

    It looks to me like KOB got squeezed by ROS, and that the first contact was with him as ROS moved across. KOB was then a passenger for impact with Button. Any thoughts?

    We definitely need a better angle than was shown on SKY, but it looks like it might not be as obvious as BUT thinks.

    1. KRB says:

      Nope … all Kobayashi’s fault. Rosberg didn’t move from what I could see, and Kobayashi hit him first, then hit the back of Button, then his front right! How that only resulted in a drive-through, and not at the very least a stop-and-go, is beyond me.

      And where was the penalty for Perez for clattering into the back of Hulkenberg at Turn 1? I don’t care if Hulkenberg was able to carry on, it was still a collision, still avoidable, and all down to Perez. Should’ve been a clear-cut drive-thru penalty for Sergio.

    2. Pete_from Nepal says:

      I agree with you, but KOB was given penalty so perhaps the stewards had a better view (unfortunately, their ruling is not transparent). I felt poor KOB was unfairly punished though. According to him, he was hit first and lost control…can anyone confirm?

    3. F1Ray says:

      Schumacher, late brakes, hits a Torro Rosso, taking himself and the TR out of the race. Schumacher gets a 10 place grid penalty next race. Kobayashi,late brakes, hits two cars, taking them both out of the race, but manages to continue the race himself. Kobayashi gets a drive through. Those wonderful consistent race stewards.

      1. Nandy says:

        If Schumacher had been able to continue at Singapore, he would have got a drive through too.

      2. Señor Sjon says:

        He would have gotten a black flag at least. The stewarding is crap this year.

        When was the last time Q actually reflected the grid? It is higher math to find ones true start position.

  26. colin grayson says:

    apparently jenson had already passed both mercedes before he got punted out

    is there any onboard from him from the start ?

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      No but could try Kobayashi’s camera!

    2. DonSimón says:

      JB got a good run but there was a squeeze between him,Nico and Kob. Certainly don’t think calling him an idiot helps. He has made some awful errors in the past. Humility?

      1. carl craven says:

        Could you list one?

        Button has to my knowledge never taken out cars in that situation, almost always on the end of first lap incidents.

        I think considering the speed and focus these guys are experiencing in these cars calling Koba an idiot is 1 kind and 2 not an unreasonable reaction in the heat of the moment.

        I fully expect Button, unlike many drivers to hold no grudges against Koba and just get on with it.

        A related aside. If you watch Perez’s start again he basically muscled his way into a gap that didn’t exist way more aggressively and dangerously than anything Grosjean has been accused of recently and had he made more serious contact could well have taken out a slew of cars.

      2. quest says:

        He simply forgot to break for the corner in time. See how much faster he is going compared to the other cars. It was idiotic.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYdt9booD6c

  27. Gate 21 says:

    Vettel cannot have endeared himself to his team with is personal best lap and purple S3 on the final lap given all the warnings the team gave him about coasting to the safety of the finish line.

    1. Craig D says:

      I think winning the last 3 races in a row is endearment enough!

    2. Sebee says:

      They will, if he has a technical failure.

      It may be a scenario where his focus is better at 100%. You start coasting, you make a mistake, game over.

  28. All revved-up says:

    Did Ferrari miss a trick?

    Should have released Massa to run Webber ragged. If Webber wore out his tyres defending against Massa, Alonso could then cruise past them in the last laps. There was no downside. Even if Webber managed to fight to stay ahead, Massa could be ordered to fall back on the last lap.

  29. McHarg123 says:

    I just don’t understand. Nearly every pole position Webber achieves, just gets wasted at the start of the race. It’s costing him so much. 3 pole positions last year and he didn’t convert a single one of them. Is there anything RBR can do?

  30. Rob Newman says:

    It would have been better if Alonso had admitted that Massa was faster than him instead of giving unconvincing explanations. Even in Japan, Massa was faster throughout the weekend.

    Hamilton should be fighting for wins but clearly he is not bothered. He is not really focused on the championship.

    Good job by the championship leader and Red Bull.

    1. matthew says:

      what are you talking about?do you not know about the problems lewis had in the race?and last week?and in the race before that he was leading until the gearbox failed.

      1. Rob Newman says:

        I am talking about his demeanour during interviews. He doesn’t come across positively and he has already thrown in the towel which is a shame. There are still 100 points available and anything can happen.

      2. KRB says:

        He’s just had a very bad race where pretty much anything that could go wrong, did. Seriously, it would be better to have retired with an engine failure or such, but having decent pace before said failure.

        There are still 100 pts, that’s true. But it’s no longer in Hamilton’s hands. He’s 62 pts behind, which he was after Germany, six races ago. He would have to win all four remaining races, and then would need some serious misfortune to strike both Vettel and Alonso.

        Anything is possible, it’s true. It was only three races ago that Lewis was 2 pts ahead of Vettel, but he’s since lost 64 pts to him in those three races. So possible? Yes. Likely? Nope. Best thing for Lewis to do is just to have fun racing, try to win some of the last four races.

      3. Robb says:

        Thrown in the towel? It looked to me like he was fighting his butt off for every position, even in a broken car. And admitting his title hopes are all but over does not mean he wont continue to do so ( except hopefully not the broken car part).

      4. Peter C says:

        So Hamilton went from 3rd to 10th because ‘clearly he is not bothered’?

        ‘It would have been better if Alonso had admitted that Massa was faster’

        Unbelievable.

    2. KRB says:

      Silly comment re: Hamilton. You’re a Milton Keyneser though, aren’t you? Hamilton is there to win every race. No driver could win with a roll-bar failure for near three-quarters of the race!

    3. Anil says:

      You realise Massa’s tyres were completely shot at the end? Similar to Monaco where it looked like Massa was much faster but then Alonso gets much more pace out of the tyres in the later laps.

      Alonso suffered some serious graining on that last set of tyres but in general he rarely pushes over the limit in the beginning of every stint.

    4. Ruse says:

      Nonsense Rob.

      Why would Hamilton throw away two races when the WDC was still within reach.

  31. Simon Donald says:

    I bet all those people who were slagging F1 at the start of the year for being too unpredictable wish we had a bit of that unpredictability back now. Red Bull have for the last two races had plenty of pace to spare! Back to 2011 boring RBR dominance! Yawn!

  32. Chromatic says:

    What a turn up !!
    Massa is now doing a better job at “out-driving” what is only the “3rd or 4th” fastest car, than his team mate!

    On Tuesday can we expect them to announce Massa is staying but they will not rush into a decision on Alonso?

  33. MiG2009 says:

    This year is over. Lets start looking at 2013, Hamilton drama at Merc, a rejuvenated Massa, ‘No-grip Jenson Button’ vs Perez, Ferrari, Mercedes and Mclaren championship woes and the scary thought of Vettel as the new Schumacher and Redbull the new Ferrari.

    1. carl craven says:

      Yes I am really looking forward to also watching ‘cant setup’ Lewis lead Mercedes out of the midfield pack that he backed himself into in todays race.

      Vettel isn’t the new Schumacher, Vettel is the . . . . Vettel, Schumacher turned Ferrari into a force, Vettel is just driving the car.

      1. MiG2009 says:

        Clearly Mclaren have given up on Lewis’s car, trade secrets and all. I’m surprised they even bothered to put fuel in it. All of sudden ‘no grip Jenson Button’ is fast again. Who can blame their bitterness after all the Hamilton drama and desertion. Who needs Lewis when u have ‘no grip Jenson Button’ as the team leader.

        I just didnt like the prospect of Vettel being viewed as greater than Alonso.

      2. carl craven says:

        Lewis was lacking grip in Korea also, so while ‘no-grip’ Button didn’t get to race, ‘no-grip’ Lewis had an awful race. Was it Lewis’s fault? I think not. Was it also Button’s fault when he was struggling with tyres? I think not. During that period he also had a quite run of poor luck that seems to be continuing. Is that his fualt? I doubt it. Did Button lead the Brawn to a WDC? No he didn’t because he had equal status with Barichello a decent driver who used to give Schumacher a run for his money, so he equally beat his team mate to the WDC car advantage or not. So let’s give the stupid name calling a break because these guys drive cars in excess of 300kmh and we don’t.

      3. Bhodha Gezi says:

        The name ‘no-grip Jenson Button’ has gone viral over here, MiG2009 didn’t invent that “stupid” name its become a household name for ‘no grip Jenson Button’ I think its kind of catchy and fitting and hilarious lol. C’mon Carl Craven its all in good fun.

      4. MiG2009 says:

        I didnt invent the name ‘no grip Jenson Button’ It has gone viral over here in Formula one circles. You do have to admit its “catchy and fitting and hilarious.” Its all in good fun Carl Craven nothing personal against ‘no grip Jenson Button’

  34. Richard D says:

    For me the race was ruined by the irresponible driving of Kobayashi. Despite starting a lowly 11th, I believe that Button could have been a significant force in the race and would have been challenging for a podium. We’ve seen some amazing driving from Kobayashi over the years, but this performance brought him into the same league as Grosjean and Maldonado who both behaved impeccably today! I wonder if this performance will have sealed his fate at Sauber for next year?

    1. Rob Newman says:

      Yes, it’s a shame. I feel sorry for Button. But there were some fantastic wheel-to-wheel combat on the track today.

      1. k5enny says:

        Kobayashi took out a few midfield runners.
        It had no impact on the race.

  35. danny11 says:

    Oh what a great start from Vettel! And there are no team orders at RBR so it must have been real struggle to do that childish move!!! At least they could admit that he past Webber under team orders as Ferrari clearly sad to Massa to slow down. Webber had a speed and he was at the end fastest on the track. So pls no hypocrisy in the future cause it really insults intelligence of our real F1 fans! So it will be another boring end of the season with a screaming [mod] at the end of each race. If he wins another WDC I will stop watching my beloved sport as I did in the 90′s when Ferrari was too dominant.

    1. Syed says:

      Credit should be given where it’s due. RBR have developed their car to be in a position they are now. At the start of the season we had a more levelled field, and up until Monza and Singapore, Mclaren were fastest.

      Moreover Vettel has earned whatever he has right now. He lost pole yesterday but today he had a better 2nd phase to his start than Webber and gained the position fairly. 52-17 is their qualifying head to head in favour of Vettel since 2009 which shows who’se faster and why Vettel has earned it.

  36. Zack says:

    Lewis – thumbs up
    McLaren – thumbs down

    1. Bluefroggle says:

      +1

  37. Dan says:

    The overriding feelings I have from this race are that it was an hour and a half and a Sunday morning lie-in I’ll never get back, and that disappointingly the championship looks as if it’s going to be routine from here on in for Vettel.

    Whatever happens Alonso has been the best driver this season but I guess it was only a matter of time before Ferrari couldn’t hold off the tide any longer with a fundamentally slower car.

    What the hell’s going on with their wind tunnel as well? I swear that’s been broken for 4 years.

  38. Dan says:

    Looks like another title win for Vettel,and totally undeserving. Now we will have to keep hearing what a legend he is by getting 3 wdc’s in a row thanks to a dominant car and old number 2 team mate.

    Sad times in the sport. I wish Newey would retire. Without him Vettel would be irrelevant.

    1. Syed says:

      Vettel has won most races this year, 3 in a row, has most poles after Lewis this year and lost a clear win with his alternator taking bid for freedom.

      1. Simmo says:

        But gained a clear win when the same happened to Lewis…

    2. Jim Dee says:

      Not really sure who would deserve it more. Kimi?

      1. k5enny says:

        Schumacher would be leading the championship if he was driving that lotus…
        The Lotus is a great car – with traction, top speed, fuel effecient and easy on tyres — yet I feel that we have not seen its full potential exploited.

      2. maytu says:

        you are talking nonsense!! the car seriously lack top speed, traction and their efficient on tyre has been lost as all team has been on top of their tyre issues!! Schumacher has been driving poorly this season, he was excused by reliability issues, but when the car is good, he underperform.

      3. asterisk says:

        schumacher??? he cant even maximize his own car potential, yet alone leading championship. Kimi was 3rd with 4th best car, nt sure anyone can do the same. Lmao you claim the car is good at straightline and traction, thats the poorest department of the car. Thats why the lotus duo always looks vulnerable on the straight (ref : Spa) The car is only good on tyre, and that advantage has been lost since hungary.

      4. Megan says:

        Yesh right. Lotus had very bad straight line speed and traction that is why both Lotus drivers couldn’t even get pass Lewis.
        Grosjean couldn’t get ahead of a Force India. They have been battling with Force India’s for a couple of races now. The car just doesn’t have the pace, Kimi is doing a great job to keep himself 3rd in the WDC with that car.

      5. Jim Dee says:

        Rosberg must be wishing he was driving the lotus too! We are so spoiled with the level of talent we are watching. I guess we could make an argument for any of the number 1′s from the top 5 teams as being deserving.

    3. Rob Newman says:

      Not a Vettel fan eh? Calm down, there are still four races to go and anything can happen.

    4. JF says:

      Wow, do you take that venom with water or on the rocks. Vettel is a great, get used to it, I don’t think he will go away

    5. bearforce1 says:

      Why is Vettel totally undeserving?

      1. Dan says:

        Dominant car for the last 3.5 years, and a 36 year old journeyman number 2 team mate.

        He is basically the new Mika Hakkinen, another Newey champion.

      2. Chris says:

        Vettel has never joined a team that could boast a grand prix win, and he has a 25% win ratio and 2 world titles. Bet you would be scary good in F1 Dan, why aren’t you showing Vettel how it’s done??

        As for Newey, he doesn’t work alone you know, he has a whole team of engineers working with him!! Don’t blame Newey and his team for designing a great car (thats his job), blame the designers and engineers in the team you support for not doing their job well enough!!

        Vettel is the last world champion to win a race in a truly average team (torro rosso – from pole to), the last before that was Damon (Spa 98).

  39. David.P says:

    I believe as the two redbull drivers attempted to slow down on the last few laps as their team had requested, they found the tyres cooling off too much causing less grip and more wear, a bit of dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.. still very well handled by both drivers.

  40. colin grayson says:

    I think people forget that this could well have been 4 in a row for team newey

    Brawn clearly had the best car at the start of the 2009 season , but by mid season they had stopped developing the car to any extent and with the other teams fitting the DD by june they had slipped back to 3rd or 4th

    button ignored the …got to win in style …brigade , scored what points he safely could and won the WDC

    but if RBR had shown a bit better reliability they would have won both the WDC and the WCC

  41. Paige says:

    Maybe I am reading too much in Whitmarsh’s comments after the race, but he seemed very effusive of his praise of Hamilton for his effort in dealing with a mechanical failure today. It seems like Hamilton is really giving it 100% to McLaren through the rest of the season even with dwindling championship hopes, and that the two sides are working quite congenially even though they’re splitting at the end of the season. This speaks really well of Lewis and his maturity level, and you can even read a little regret into Whitmarsh’s comments that it’s all coming to an end.

    1. Jim Dee says:

      For sure both sides are professional about it. Perez will be fun to watch though.

  42. Truth or Lies says:

    Looking at Hamilton’s race it seems Lewis is already rehearsing for his Mercedes career, going nowhere with an uncompetitive car some where in the mid field.

    He’d better get used to that when he joins the “can’t win won’t win” brigade.

  43. Robert Gunning says:

    The title is not over yet; but it all hinges on whether the major updates due in India give Ferrari a significant performance step. Otherwise, excluding reliability and wet races it is game over!

  44. Zack says:

    Lewis Hamilton – thumbs up
    McLaren – thumbs down

    1. Colombia Concalvez says:

      +1

      1. david h says:

        + 2

  45. JohnBt says:

    Massa could have easily been on the podium and in front of Webber if not for team orders, once again.

    Nando looks very gutted and looks like Vettel will be heading for his 3rd title, I don’t see how Ferrari is going to catch up.

  46. Methusalem says:

    When was the last time McDesaster overtaken by four teams?

    1. KRB says:

      Lewis was right there mixing it with the Red Bulls … too bad it was the Italian ones. El Matador with his green (astroturf) cape.

  47. Wade Parmino says:

    Very unfortunate for Rosberg; being taken out on the first lap two races in a row.

    The Toro Rosso team did very well today. Is it likely both Ricciardo and Vergne will be kept for next season or will only one be kept?

    1. Simmo says:

      Goodness only knows what Marko will do next…

    2. For Sure says:

      I bet he was thinking “thank u Kumi for saving my backside from this miserable race”.

      The point is Mercedes, exHonda doing what they do best.

  48. F1Bobby says:

    McLaren have totally underperformed since… I don’t know, 1998? Through mis-management, bad strategy and reliability they have dropped titles they should have won in 2007, 2010 and 2012. Hamilton BARELY won in ’08, a title that should have been bagged long before the last race of the year.

    Every year it’s the same story with McLaren. Hamilton is right to leave; win or lose with Mercedes.

  49. Lewis says:

    Well done Adrian Newey, it’s all down to him Vettel is winning now, he had 1 this season before this DDRS system.

  50. Fareed says:

    Seems McLaren is just a cursed team this year. Maybe LH feels he needs to get away from their misfortunre. No other team has lost so many points that are outside of the drivers’ control. First the early season pit mishaps. Lately getting taken out at every race- I am sure they lead the season in number of DNF due to being crashed into by other cars. Today was the last straw with Lewis picking up the astroturf. Sure you could argue its LH’s fault for going wide onto the grass. But when you go onto the grass the worse you expect is to get some wheelspin and lose a tenth. You don’t expect your car to come out of it looking like some swamp creature crawling out of the water with seaweed hanging off its body!

    1. Bluefroggle says:

      “You don’t expect your car to come out of it looking like some swamp creature crawling out of the water with seaweed hanging off its body!”

      best laugh I have had today!

  51. Val from montreal says:

    Good and clean race by vettel – man , that Red Bull is a beautiful car ! Adrian Newey is a genius ….. And Felipe was faster than you Fernando ! …. Go Michael !!! Oh did I mention Mercedes are a disgrace ??

  52. AlexD says:

    My only hope is the massively updated Ferrari for India. Alonso has to win and Vettel has to face Grosjean.

  53. Ade says:

    Best performance of the day was Johnny Herbert. Kept his cool even when Seb poured a bottle of chapmers over him and conducted the best of the podium interview sessions we’ve had todate. He looked quite the natural presenter up there. I’d watch out for your job James….

  54. Rich C says:

    Borrringg… I quit paying attention and spent the time reading the Wall Street Journal. Did I miss anything? No.

  55. TitanRacer says:

    random thoughts:
    I called for Massa’s head and seat by the third race. I have NEVER experience a company that would not have done so. whether for the right or wrong reason, kudos to Ferrari! for all he has had to go thru, Massa has got to be the most bad-ass dude on the grid. welcome back, Felipe!!!
    if I was running a mid-field team (lets say Sauber), I would be all over trying to get the Hulk and Jaime on board for 2013 and beyond…
    I have been an F1 fanatic since ’62. spent a few years behind the wheel of an FA doing doing mostly time trials, solo 2, and hill climbs (I know – planets away from what our heros do), but I gotta say, Seb is simply the quickest dude to ever sit in a F1 race car – EVER!!!

  56. JB HAM says:

    And Mclaren loses Hamilton the Championship!

  57. Dick says:

    I think Ferrari missed a trick, they should have released Massa to chase down Vettel. If he had won the points difference would have been less 198 to 196 if Alonso finished 4th. Might even have pushed the RBR tyres over the edge. If it didn’t work he could drop back behind. Think Ferrari need to work on their strategies and be more creative now.

  58. Die Scuderia says:

    Out of curiosity…how is it possible that Vettel set a fastest lap under yellows on the circuit? Strange. I still believe that yellows need to be refined (especially during qualifying).

    DS

  59. Timmay says:

    Why do Mclaren attach green flaps to Lewis’ car it made his car even worse!

  60. Trent says:

    Is it time to do away with the astro turf on these circuits?

    I just don’t understand why it needs to be there. The drivers have always been given kerbs to give them some leeway if they run off the circuit. Then they added a bit of concrete beyond the kerb, in case the drivers ran even wider. Then they are given even more leeway by this ridiculous astroturf beyond the concrete. Too much margin for error! Get rid of it of all, the circuits are too forgiving as it is…

  61. Panayiotis says:

    James a quick question. What determines on which side of the track the pole sitter will begin from? Because we saw in this case that the drivers qualifying on even numbers (Vet, Alo, etc) actually had the advantage of being on the inside of the turn.

    This has been happening for so many years. I still remember Senna fighting with the officials about putting him on the dirty side of the track (in Suzuka??) relative to Prost. So we go into the weekend and everyone knows which side of the track has the advantage. Why not just give that to the pole sitter?

  62. F1 + Nismo says:

    It does look like that Mclaren really need to a) Work on their development, as Redbull have leaped ahead, they understood Lotus’s system (DDRS) and now look at it now
    B) Adrian Newey has built a team that can add changes to their car and do well, unlike Mclaren.

    This year it looks like Mclaren have built a car that was good but unable to develop fast enough. I strongly feel that Mclaren has failed to understand their car. If we look at the season so far, Mclaren had a fast car at the beginning but were unable to capitalise on it (Array of pit stop failures and strategy). Then from Bahrain till Silverstone, Upgrades did not surface at all. Likewise, Mclaren had a damper fault in Japan, then in Korea a week later anti roll bar had failed??. Triple failures on Lewis’s car and on top of that Jenson’s car has suffered badly during the season as well. Mclaren should be leading both Championships. I don not blame Lewis leaving Mclaren, problems after problems, I hope that Jenson and Sergio move can help Mclaren go forward, but if they want to win next years titles, then Mclaren must improve now.

    A) Developing upgrades
    B) Strategy
    C) Pit stops (better now but its too late now)
    D) Overhaul their development team (need some one controlling technical sides, like Adrian Newey does with Redbull)
    E) The car does not follow iterations from previous cars, look at RED Bull have been working from RB5/6 to create future winners.

    1. Fireman says:

      Although the different drag reduction systems are all dubbed as Double DRS in the media the Lotus and Red Bull systems aren’t the same.

      Lotus system is passive and doesn’t switch on as DRS is activated. Instead it switches on at certain speed. Red Bull system is active and switches on as DRS is activated. Both blow the rear wing though.

      James,

      Any chance of writing a summary of these? :)

      1. F1 + Nismo says:

        I totally agree with you on that one, Red Bull have managed to get their system running. Lotus one will be useful for next season, as it will provide a boost without any mechanical aid. I believe the air channels above the air box and hitting the beam wing??. ( I would expect Mclaren to have thought of something like that). I wonder if Ferrari are going to come up with a speed boost system that works as effective as Red bull. The reason I ask ist that Pat Fry : who has worked on the F Duct system at Mclaren.

      2. Fireman says:

        Seems that it’s harder to make the passive system to work. The active DDRS is banned 2013, but Red Bull still chose to go for the active one. It’ll be interesting to see whether Ferrari and McLaren introduce active systems that can only be used in the remaining four races. Maybe it’s worth the qualifying boost?

  63. Rich says:

    Was I the only one who saw that Kobayashi’s rear right tire was already punctured when he hit Jenson?
    Was this from the immediately preceding incident with Rosberg or from debris from Perez’s first corner incident?
    I could be wrong but at the time I did feel the penalty was a bit harsh as he couldn’t slow down enough with only 3 tires to avoid the contact.

  64. mark says:

    James a question for you earlier in the season red bull had something on their car that the fia made them remove. I think it was either the fuel maps or the button for ride height adjustment that no further action was taken on by the fia but it was said at the time the teams could appeal red bulls results at any time this season due to the grey area of red bulls legality on this. so if they do win drivers and constructors titles do you think Ferrari or mclaren will appeal this or not ?
    thanks

  65. FerrariFan says:

    Hi James,
    Why wasn’t the safety car called when the artificial grass came out ? Then a couple of laps later Hamilton picked it up and I was scared it will end up in disaster. Luckily it didn’t.

  66. Ahmed Ginnah says:

    Alonso was unlucky in that he was taken out of 2 Grands Prix, viz: Belgium and Japan by other drivers – and it was beyond his control. In those 2 races at the least Alonso would have got was onto the podiums, and would have easily raked at least 30 points, to be conservative. That was where Vettel capitalised and reached Alonso’s points haul. Vettel did have his share of DNFs BUT unlike Alonso’s, his were car-reliability related and whereas Alonso’s was outside forces, not team, not car and not car-reliability related. YES, now the 2 races he is definately shining. Still it is early days, the 2 horse race winner will only be known until after the last race in Brazil, or if it is mathematical NOT possible for one to beat the other, who will be the eventual WINNER. From: Ahmed Ginnah

  67. Thompson says:

    I have to say it – Vettle is an exceptional talent, he is special. Considering if it was upto Webber we would never have any idea about this cars potential.

    3 years now he has maximised the cars potential and the team as delivered for him. He can qualify and win – without ‘no1′ status he’s a good driver.

    Sorry, I just had to let that out.

  68. Hey James: It’s strange, to me, that I am the only one, apparently, who saw Lewis Hamilton drive across the race track, and bounce off the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen, at the start of the Korean F1 GP 2012!
    Now a man of your very obvious observational ability, must be able to review the start, and see the, according to me, infamous bounce off the Lotus.
    If I am right (and I do believe I am), Lewis spoilt his own race, trashing his suspension.

    I am just amazed, however, that no one has mentioned this, seemingly very newsworthy action.
    Perhaps you could review the start and let me know if you saw it?
    Most sincerely, Dean.

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