Hot fun in Summertime
Budapest 2014
Hungarian Grand Prix
Hamilton Heads record McLaren Front Row As title rivals struggle
McLaren Mercedes
XPB.cc
Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  24 Nov 2012   |  8:22 pm GMT  |  161 comments

Lewis Hamilton has claimed his seventh pole position of the season and the last for McLaren, at the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix, heading a McLaren front row with Mark Webber in third.

It was McLaren’s 62nd front row lock out, which establishes a new F1 record.

After his well judged win in Austin last weekend, this was Hamilton once again on form, highlighting what might have been had the McLaren been as reliable as it has been fast this season.

The title battle between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso meanwhile, will see the two start three places apart, with Vettel fourth and Alonso eighth in qualifying, but promoted to seventh after a penalty for Pastor Maldonado. As the pressure mounted ahead of the showdown, both contenders were out qualified by the team mates.

The Venezuelan missed a compulsory weight check and was given a third reprimand, which triggers an automatic 10 place grid drop.

Vettel needs only to finish fourth in tomorrow’s race, while Alonso needs to finish on the podium and hope that Vettel doesn’t score points.

The weather forecast for tomorrow shows rain, but there are many different views on when it might fall and how hard.

It looked from the outset of qualifying that Alonso would struggle for pace relative to the top four and he was once again out qualified by team mate Felipe Massa. With Alonso moving to the clean side of the track in 7th, there is no question of another Ferrari gearbox penalty to boost Alonso’s chances.

After topping the times in Q2 it seemed that Vettel would give himself the perfect buffer heading in to tomorrow, but he looked edgy and a mistake on his first run in the final phase of qualifying left the German with a lot to do and he could not regain his momentum.

Ahead, Hamilton set the initial benchmark in Q3 only to be usurped by Webber as the Brit began his final flying lap. And in his final race for McLaren, Hamilton put in a fantastic lap to take the 26th pole of his career by 5/100ths of a second. It is McLaren’s fourth front row lock-out of 2012.

It has been a dominant weekend for McLaren thus far, topping every session apart from Q2. If they are able to finish the race in their qualifying positions then McLaren will claim second in the Constructor’s Championship ahead of Ferrari; with a boost of an extra $10 million to the Woking team.

In a session that began under difficult conditions, caused by a short spell of rain in the half an hour leading up to qualifying, times dropped considerably from Q1 to the final shoot-out with the leading cars finding over two seconds and eventually lapping faster than in any other session over the weekend. The wet area was predominantly through the final sector of the lap, making acceleration out of Juncao and along the bending home straight very difficult on slick tyres. But this moisture had disappeared by the time Q2 began.


Behind the top four Felipe Massa continued his recent run of strong form, taking fifth on the grid and 3/10ths faster than Alonso. Then came equally strong performances from Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg, the two splitting the Ferrari’s before Maldonado’s penalty. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg gave his Force India team something to smile about in his last GP for them, before heading to Sauber in 2013.

The top ten is completed by Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg, both getting the better of their respective team mates but unable to challenge any further up the grid. The sister Lotus of Romain Grosjean dropped out of qualifying at the earliest stage after colliding with a HRT and losing his front wing; the incident was investigated but no action was taken. It is only the third time this year that Grosjean has failed to find himself in the final phase of qualifying, and a strong drive in to the points tomorrow will cap off a roller coaster season for the Frenchman.

For Michael Schumacher, in his final Grand Prix, it was a disappointing qualifying session as he finds himself in 14th position for the 306th race of his illustrious career. Mercedes are just twelve points ahead of Sauber in the race for fifth in the Constructor’s Championship and with a high probability of rain tomorrow both Rosberg and Schumacher will need to keep an eye on Sergio Perez in conditions that the out-going Sauber driver relishes.

[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows}

*Read all the latest on Maldonado’s penalty and Grosjean escaping section at http://connect.jamesallenonf1.com/f1-website-news/

BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX, Interlagos, Qualifying
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m12.458s
2. Jenson Button McLaren 1m12.513s + 0.055
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m12.581s + 0.123
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m12.760s + 0.302
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m12.987s + 0.529
6. Pastor Maldonado* Williams 1m13.174s + 0.716
7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m13.206s + 0.748
8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m13.253s + 0.795
9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m13.298s + 0.840
10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m13.489s + 1.031

11. Paul di Resta Force India 1m14.121s + 0.912
12. Bruno Senna Williams 1m14.219s + 1.010
13. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m14.234s + 1.025
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.334s + 1.125
15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m14.380s + 1.171
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m14.574s + 1.365
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m14.619s + 1.410

18. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m16.967s + 1.892
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m17.073s + 1.998
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m17.086s + 2.011
21. Timo Glock Marussia 1m17.508s + 2.433
22. Charles Pic Marussia 1m18.104s + 3.029
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m19.576s + 4.501
24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m19.699s + 4.624

* 10 place grid drop, will start 16th on the grid.

Featured Video
JensonTrialthlon
Sign up for Jenson’s Triathlon today!
Featured News in mclaren
MORE FROM McLaren
LATEST FROM THE MCLAREN MERCEDES COMMUNITY
Previous
Next
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
161 Comments
  1. Panya says:

    Good luck Alonso

    1. KRB says:

      Great Q3 lap from Lewis, just watched it on Speed’s coverage … 100% spot on. The car is working really well. Fingers crossed no reliability concerns, and Hamilton can bring it home.

      As for the title battle, I just hope for no dirty stuff. I think it’s very tough for Alonso w/o a Vettel DNF, but the rain can definitely be a factor.

  2. Davexxx says:

    How soon before Massa has ‘gearbox problems’ to gain Alonso a place on the grid?………..

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari has ruled that out

      1. Ghayth says:

        How about red bull is weber going to have gearbox problem I think they should do it and it will move Alonso to the dirty side

      2. Rich C says:

        roflmao!!

        +10

      3. BW says:

        Clean/dirty side doesn’t mean as much here as it did in Austin. Besides, it’s better for Vettel to have Webber just behind him, provided he’ll be faster than Mark’s clutch :-P

      4. Nick H says:

        + 100% that’s would be classic

      5. Onko says:

        Mr Allen a comentator on one TV broadcast
        was adamant that Ferrari has set up Alonso
        car for a wet race tomorrow.
        Would there be any truth in that.

      6. Paul says:

        I think they can change the setup before the race if its considered wet conditions by race director. So they would only do this if they expect to rain soon after the start, i’m not sure if he would’ve qualified as well with wet setup, i don’t see this ferrari with wet setup being only 7/10ths of the pole but i don’t know

      7. James Clayton says:

        Comentators love going on about this, even though drivers and teams have stated for the last few years that there’s really no big difference between dry and we setups these days…

      8. James Allen says:

        If you were listening to BBC Radio 5 Live coverage in the morning and in quail, Gary Anderson explained that clearly

      9. Nick H says:

        The difference between dry + wet set up is really not that big these days.. Drivers always repeat this and commentators should know this.. Interlagos is high downforce anyway.

      10. Wayne says:

        Have they rules out Felipe wandering into VET in a first corner racing incident? Must be tempting…..

      11. ccweblog says:

        Lol! Very, very tempting..

      12. Sebee says:

        If that was to happen without doubt Ferrari would be put through the ringer have all points taken away.

        Man, I’m going to miss Schumi. No one ever made such statements about Schumi. He took care of things himself.

      13. mark says:

        I dont think massa would drive into him deliberately. but massa can put his car into a 50/50 position then its up to vettel if he wants to risk a collision. also if massa does get ahead of vettel he can compromise vettel’s race by backing him into the pack by clever driving like schumi did to mika in malaysia 1999 just go slow round tight corners where you cant overtake and fast everywhere else.

      14. Peter C says:

        Surely a sporting team wouldn’t do something like that?

      15. KRB says:

        To Mark’s point, for sure Vettel has to watch for any 50/50 scenario’s. I was surprised at how aggressively he defended against Hamilton’s overtake in Austin. That could’ve wiped them both out, and then Alonso would’ve won! Vettel imo takes unnecessary risks sometimes.

    2. [MISTER] says:

      It might work better for Ferrari to let massa try and jump Vettel at the start. Then Massa can build on that until Alonso can do anything.

    3. primi says:

      Why would they do that when there is Massa just behind Vettel and could easily end up ahead of him given a good start?

    4. Richard says:

      If it made the difference I think Massa would let Alonso pass to beat Vettel. – That I suppose is teamwork irrespective.

    5. Bill M says:

      Give it a Break DUDE You Think RED BULL wouldnt do the SAME thing if They needed a better Grid ? and Besides Alonzo had a 42 point lead when that DICKHEAD Grossman took Alonzo out then the next race he got took out again

      1. Peter C says:

        Would that be Loyd Grossman?

        Didn’t know he had a weekend job.

      2. william molnar says:

        OK I miss spelled Romain Grosjean name
        and i appologise for that error. But I stand by my comment that Alonzo would have
        won Championship if not for Romain Grosjean
        Stupid actions at Spa >>> ADMIT it !
        Its hard to hide the Truth.

  3. Phill says:

    Well, top play to lewis, saw that coming right from Friday to be honest, that McLaren is mighty strong.
    Wet race tomorrow could shake things up, and let us just see what happens, is going to be interesting!
    Come on Fernando, finish this, somehow.

    Also, on the grid penalty for Maldanado. 3 reprimands so a 10 place grid penalty like always, let us not have any people claiming the FIA are supporting Alonso.

  4. Sebee says:

    Welcome back Felipe.

    1. Tim says:

      I echo those sentiments.

      Tim

    2. Andras F. says:

      See the same comment from Hungary 2010…
      http://www.autosport.com/gallery/photo.php/id/13256793

    3. Chromatic says:

      Was that his own child this morning in the garage?
      MASSA IS A FATHER????

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes very cute little boy

      2. Crusty says:

        Smedley is a grandad at thirty ..

      3. Quade says:

        Smedley a grandad at 30! Lol! My poor ribs!

      4. Adelaide says:

        Future F1 star? You never know :)

    4. For Sure says:

      +100, if you don’t like Massa, you don’t like people.
      I am more happy for his famous engineer, he sounds like he suffers more than the driver.
      I heard him saying “Mate we can do it” yesterday,what a top bloke.

  5. Bob Smith says:

    Hi James,

    “Lewis Hamilton has claimed his seventh pole position of the season and the last for McLaren”

    Would you rule out the possibility of Hamilton returning to McLaren then? Thanks!

    1. James Allen says:

      No, but the last for a while

    2. Jim Dee says:

      It’s really the last pole for anyone this season.

  6. Ethan says:

    Vet was clearly edgy, but Alo completely choked once again. I’m not at all convinced that he’s worthy to become the champion.

    1. Colin says:

      Maybe both had their cars set up anticipating rain on Sunday. A McLaren 1-2 can only advantage Vettel (as long as they make it past the first corner).

    2. P King says:

      Alonso did not choke. Ferrari have optimised his car for a wet race.

    3. Jose says:

      I’m sic of hearing people telling that one or other driver deserves more the title.

      There is a system based on points to resolve this issue.

      The one that got more points at the end of the last race is the one who deserves to be the champion. PERIOD.

      1. Wayne says:

        Not always, there has been plenty of cheating in F1 in the past.

      2. marco says:

        Winning a title is one thing , deserving it a is another. This season´s second half had two events that changed the count, and they were the succesive Alonso crashes in first lap. Those took probably about 30 points from Alonso count, take or leave, based in his reliable season results.Did Alonso deserve these accidents? They happened, bad luck also plays…

        So there is some truth in the fact that there is not always a deserving champion, just a champion.

      3. Andrew M says:

        Spa was obviously not his fault, but I think he deserved what happened in Suzuka. And Vettel hardly “deserved” his alternator failures.

      4. James Allen says:

        That would be great

      5. Lucas says:

        As in the best TEAM (i.e. Package) with the most points I agree; However, as in the best DRIVER is the one with the most points many F1 fans wil disagree with you

    4. Bring Back Murray says:

      Choked once again?

      Doesn’t he normally qualify relatively poorly then come storming through in the race? The results on Sunday are the results what count, not the qualifying positions.

      Anyway weren’t the commentators saying that he might have set up his car for a wet race?

    5. Sebee says:

      What if he was on a wet leaning setup and flies by the McLarens tomorrow?

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        I’d so love it if that was the case. He storms round 3/4 seconds faster than everyone!

        Hope it rains enough today for a potential wet setup to really make a difference!

    6. AlexD says:

      Do you really consider everything he has done this year when you say it?

  7. dzolve says:

    I can’t help but think that Massa is going to have a coming together with Vettel, especially if it’s wet!

    Not by design of course ;-)

    1. Sebee says:

      I definately think he won’t cross that line.

    2. Sebee says:

      Alonso has had good starts but I worry he may get caught up in a mess tomorrow being that far down. It is suprising that Massa is ahead recently.

  8. Richardd says:

    Vettel really seems to make mistakes when he’s under pressure. It seems Button and Alonso are right, the pressure is on Vettel

    1. MDS says:

      How can you say that after today?
      - The Mclaren is the best car this weekend
      - Webber is a pretty good qualifier himself
      - Vettel has been performing great the past few races, Alonso slightly less so
      - Alonso qualified no less than 3 places behind his much less valued team mate

      If Vettel is “making mistakes under pressure”, then surely Alonso is chocking completely.

      1. Andrew says:

        We know that Massa has ability, he has been very fast in the past, especially on anti clockwise tracks.

        If Alonso is 2 tenths behind him then it doesn’t mean he has choked.

      2. MDS says:

        Please not I said “If …”. I’m not necessarily thinking either of them are choking, but I do think Vettel has had a better relative track record (compared to his teammate) than Alonso.

        Therefore I find it absurd Richardd is implying Vettel is making more mistakes as a consequence to feeling the pressure more, and even backing that up with the fact Alonso mentioned it too…

      3. MDS says:

        And to add, we shouldn’t forget it’s often being said Alonso is “outdriving the car” and “brings extra tenths to any team/car”. He hasn’t been doing that lately.

      4. Paul says:

        They are both making mistakes in contrast to say Schumacherakinen, where both went on to another level in theirtitle showdown.

      5. KRB says:

        Well Vettel did make a mistake on his last lap in Q3, that’s undeniable. He ran wide onto the curbs at Turn 4 & 5 (Descida do Lago), which likely cost him four-tenths.

        But I think Alonso must be getting tighter in the car as well. I don’t buy this “wet setup” line, as many have stated there is little difference between a dry and wet setup now. Alonso might have a softer roll-bar, and that would induce understeer in the dry quali trim, but even then I would expect him to best Massa.

      6. Richardd says:

        Alonso qualified in his usual position(s) and Vettel qualified not where he usually is. Anyway that does not matter now, Vettel did enough to win the championship

    2. Miha Bevc says:

      Well, Alonso has been slower than Massa for a couple of races now. He has no problem dealing with pressure?

      1. Kay says:

        Drivers have certain tracks that they are strong at. For Massa it’s this race Brazil. If you look back at his performances, generally Massa has been very good here. =)

      2. Jordan says:

        FA was using a new spec diffuser in Austin. And he may have configured the car for max downforce inBrazil. This may explain his qualifying woes….

      3. Bring Back Murray says:

        What about when it comes to the races themselves?

  9. Jose says:

    I’m wondering, is Vettel using a setup more suited for race instead of qualifying?

    1. Anil says:

      Alonso certainly seems to be, given what Stella said on the in lap. Weather tomorrow could play a massive part.

    2. Hal says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Vettel maybe playing it safe and follow similar strategy to Alonso.

    3. Grabsplatter says:

      I think Gary Anderson suggested that Alonso’s car might be set up for rain.

      1. Grabsplatter says:

        Having just checked, Alonso said after qualifying “We ran with maximum downforce in dry and same in the wet so no big changes today, no gamble. It is minimum changes.”. Sounds like a wet setup to me.

    4. colin grayson says:

      my sentiments exactly , covering what alonso has been forced to do to have a realistic chance , not to the same extent though

    5. Jim Dee says:

      So is Alonso.

    6. Jason C says:

      Maybe Red Bull are splitting the cars wet/dry?

    7. Grant says:

      I doubt it, he wouldn’t choose to start behind Lewis, chances of him overtaking Lewis on track are very slim.

      1. Lynn says:

        He doesn’t need to overtake Lewis, just be on podium.

      2. Jake says:

        Vettel does not have to win this race; there is no need for him to mix it up with McLaren.
        That is a problem for Alonso.
        Vettel can follow the front runners around, so long as he finishes in the middle of the points the deal is done no matter what Alonso does.
        Alas I fear Vettel may not be able to contain himself and will end up involved in a racing incident with a McLaren or his team mate taking himself out and gifting Alonso the third place he needs.

  10. Barnaby says:

    Is it Hamilton’s 7th or 8th pole of the season? You quote both within this article!
    Interesting to hear Martin Whitmarsh say he believes Lewis is going on a ‘gap year’….

    1. EsseDBee says:

      If Monaco is regarded as a pole for Schumacher, then Barcelona counts for Hamilton.

      So here, they are:

      Australia, Malaysia, (Barcelona), Hungary, Italy, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

      My heart bleeds for what could have been!

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/results/default.stm

      1. Michael says:

        @ EsseDBee No doubt. Mclaren has really botched up LH’s season. With all the screwed up pitstops and reliability issues it’s no wonder he’s leaving. I mean what difference does it make if he drives for Mercedes or Mclaren next season? He’s not going to win a championship. For a top team Mclaren is a very underachieving team. I will keep harping on this MARTIN WHITMARSH needs to be fired. I have no confidence in him as a team Boss. The man is a train wreck.

      2. KRB says:

        Officially, both (Schumi at Monaco; Hamilton in Spain) do not count as pole positions.

        Looking back to Spain, they should’ve known they had no force majeure argument to make, and so should’ve just told Lewis to coast it back to the pits. I forget where it was that he stopped out on track, but I’m pretty sure it was over halfway. He had 300mL still to work with, and might’ve made it back. Oh well, spilt milk ‘n’ all. Story of McLaren/Lewis’s season this year.

  11. Tim says:

    With Massa on the clean side of the track in #5 slot & an excellent start (which he usually gets), he could get the jump on Vettel. With weather, of some sort, predicted, this could be a wild race.

    Tim

  12. Andrew says:

    Great qualli for Massa, Webber, Hulkenburg, Button and Maldonardo too.
    Why would you miss a weigh-in for a 10 place penalty? Seems pretty amateur after all the effort invested to get to that point?

    Also another a pet hate of mine in the post quali interviews, Webber does a great lap, and the only question he is asked is about his teammate. I know the WDC is the big talking point this weekend, but IMHO its a bit rude going for the scoop ahead of a showing a little respect. Good on him for brushing it off.
    At least it wasn’t Massa coping it again.

    1. Bill M says:

      I agree i thought it was Rude that Time and Time again Vettle is ALL Speed wants to Interview or talk about

    2. James Clayton says:

      I couldn’t have the sound on where I was. I was wondering why Webber was looking so grumpy.

    3. Andrew H says:

      I agree, I found that question to Webber very insulting.

    4. trullifan says:

      Hulkenberg seems to get better and better. I wonder why he lost out on the McLaren or Ferrari seat. A pity he isn’t as marketable as Perez or Massa.

      1. Andrew M says:

        When the McLaren seat became available I think Perez was the smarter choice than Hulkenberg. Since then Hulk has put di Resta in the shade and Perez has faded a bit, so they are more equal.

        Ferrari clearly wanted to keep Massa on for one year, possibly with the intention of a big name marquee signing for 2014…

  13. Mingojo says:

    It seems wet set up for Alonso’s car, perhaps Kimi too. It could be a good race Championship wise if there’s rain. Let’s hope for a lot of rain tomorrow.

  14. Bring Back Murray says:

    Got to love Bernie’s comment today.

    “Who’s most deserving of the title?”

    “Hamilton”!

    Here here!

    80% chance of rain tomorrow – bring it on!

    1. Steve Pritchard says:

      Hear hear even. The most deserving is the one with the most points!

    2. stoic little says:

      I’m a Ferrari fan but agree with you. Can you imagine that McLaren having the reliability of Ferrari, or a Ferrari having the aero of McLaren this year. That RBR would be owned. :)

  15. Antti says:

    I wonder what Lotus are thinking about yet another unnecessary collision involving Grosjean. Even if not all of them are completely his fault, for a reason or another he constantly finds himself in these situations, and often, like today, he could’ve avoided them with more clever driving. Is this going to influence on him getting the drive at Lotus next season?

    1. Chromatic says:

      Doesn’t look good for Romain. What they’ve lost in points and dollars is massive.

  16. Peter says:

    Everyone has been talking about Red Bull, but McLaren have been the best cars for a while in my opinion.

    1. Miha Bevc says:

      Agree. They had the fastest car over the season. The best at the start of the season, before summer break, and for the last couple of races. But everybody is talking about fighting Newey, not Vettel.

    2. trullifan says:

      I remember after Australia some reporters already claiming Button and McLaren will win 2012′s titles. It’s interesting how many twists this season already took and thare may be more to come in Brazil.

    3. Andrew M says:

      Red Bull was clearly the class of the field in Suzuka, Korea and India. Since then I think McLaren and Red Bull have been equal.

  17. Chromatic says:

    Dunno, but I do not expect LH to win this race!

    Grosjean???!!??

    Surely the story regarding Lotus is that RAI went into quali without the benefit of track or setup time.
    Would Kimi not have been better off not setting a time in Q3 and saving a set of mediums?

    1. PDiddly says:

      You must be French !

  18. Rich B. says:

    alonso’s biggest problem is mclaren, he needs to beat one of them let alone vettel.

    1. James Clayton says:

      If Vettel finishes outside the points (highly unlikely, admittedly) then Alonso doesn’t need to beat either of the McLarens

  19. Simon L says:

    Very interesting qualifying, glad that Hamilton looks set to leave McLaren on a high!

    A couple of questions though James,

    1. How come Massa’s had such a dramatic change of form of late, now out-qualifying Alonso twice in a row at a crucial time? From being utterly lacklustre all season he’s been either neck-and-neck with Alonso or a fair amount ahead for the last four qualifying sessions now.

    2. Alonso won the wet Malaysian Grand Prix as his Ferrari was the best at generating heat in its tyres. However, the car was lacking in this area in Austin and seemingly this afternoon as well, on both occasions in the dry. Why the difference? Might this suggest that in its current spec that the Ferraris may now underperform in a wet race tomorrow?

    Anyway, I’m really looking forward to a great race tomorrow; it’s going to be a nailbiter…

    1. James Allen says:

      Wait and see what it does in the rain, I still think the Ferrari will be good on the wets/inters

  20. Jim Dee says:

    Alonso will be 5th by the first corner. Massa will move over and block Nick. Even then I think even the most optimistic of Alonso fans will admit he needs more help either gremlins or sprinklers. With a McLaren 1-2 it could be a bad day for Ferrari.

    Good luck to all, and goodbye Michael.

    1. KRB says:

      Nick who? Is Heidfeld back again?!

      1. Jim Dee says:

        No not Nick Who. Nico, thanks!

  21. SP says:

    Seems like both Vettel and Alonso were lacking a little in pace compared to their team mates, so I wonder if theyre both banking on the weather tomorrow and opted for a wet setup. Only time will tell I guess.

    If we go with the trend from the wet weekends this year, it seems as though Ferrari and RBR had the edge on other teams. But its been a while since then…. Mclaren may have got over their issues with tyre warm up in the wet and Ferrari may have fallen back due to the lack of dev.

    Whatever happens, I feel that we’re in for a cracker and one more final twist to this season 2012 :)

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it was a bit or nerves, tensing up.

      Team mates have nothing to lose, both are quick here always and it’s the last race.

      1. Paul says:

        Interesting to compare to other great title showdowns such as Schumacher v Hakkinen, where both went on to another level.

  22. Robert N says:

    James,

    any insight view on the setups for Alonso and Vettel? Did either opt for a higher downforce setup?

    Also, what are the different forecasts for rain? Do some say rain from start to finish, and others possibly dry?

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t think there’s much in it from speaking to engineers. Clearly RBR misdoing the usual with downforce ahead of straight line speed

      McLaren is at 313km/h on speed trap, RBR 303 and Ferrari 308.

      Maybe a little softer rear bar for Alonso, was one rumour, which may explain why he was understeering, but

  23. jose - perth says:

    Hi,
    Before qualy commenced the cameraman following FA showed him going to check the track just next to Ferrari’s pit wall. We see Domenicali hanging around looking anxious but FA never, ever, makes eye contact with him. He talks to the engineer and then leaves looking right thru his boss as if he weren’t there. What was that all about, James, do you know ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure you can tell the whole story from a TV snippet. Dangerous to draw conclusions.

      However I saw it as SD looking tense and ALO wanting to project calm

      1. KRB says:

        Was interesting seeing Vettel looking at the timing screens at the driver weigh-in station. I dunno if FOM was just replaying earlier footage, but they went back to that shot again and he was still there, squatting on the weigh station. If that was live, then he was there for nearly 2 mins!

  24. F12012 says:

    Lewis is on some form right now, love watching him drive an F1 car, gona really miss him trying to get pole

    No doubt Alonso will pull something out if the hat tomorrow

  25. Grant says:

    LH 7 poles officially but 8 if you count catalunya!

  26. Irish con says:

    Any chance a repeat of 2008 last lap. Would be brilliant. F1 at its very best. I think there will be twists and turns with both guys being the champion at different stages during the race.

    [mod] Those guys doubting Fernando havnt got a clue what there talking about. We are in a golden era in terms of drivers, just be happy.

  27. jim griffin says:

    Is it possible they fueled Massa light, not even enough to finish the race but be quicker to cause some chaos up front? Just saying, there not afraid to throw Massa under the bus to help team Alonso.

    1. mwoerne says:

      Well, considering cars have run low-fuel qualifying since 2010, I highly doubt this would be the case…

    2. Hendo says:

      Are the weights of the cars published after Q3 so we could tell if someone ”’(Massa) only had half a tank full?

      PS Goodbye Michael – thanks for the memories

    3. James Clayton says:

      You mean ‘will fuel’, right? They don’t qualify on race fuel these days.

      That would be very risky strategy. What it, for example, Massa was holing 10th place and circumstances had led Vettel to be in p11 with Alonso in 3rd? Massa running out of fuel would give Vettel the championship.

    4. Jimbob says:

      They qualify on empty anyway…

  28. Steven says:

    Nico in 10th, maybe the car is not THAT bad. Lewis has got to be worth .300-.400 of a second. Maybe it wont be that bad for Hamilton next year.

    1. femi akins says:

      I’m as big a Lewis fan as they come but no way is he finding 0.3 – 0.4 second over Rosberg. Unless ofcourse Rosberg turns out to be no where as good as we thought. This would mean Uncle Schummy had really lost a lot a pace.

      More likely, it would be like his battle with Jense. Faster but not enough to shake him off or dominate as Rosberg will have a lot of his own days.

      That’s Maccas problem. Having equal drivers is fine but when they are with milli seconds of each other albeit consistently and the other teams are on par or have better pace with just as good drivers you shackle yourself.

      You win races but no titles. If you are going to be equal you need to choose who to back a lot earlier so you can focus on them – I think.

      Anyway,each team to its own.

      May the best man win today.

    2. trullifan says:

      It will be interesting to watch the Lewis -Nico battle. If Lewins wins by 4 tenths, that would be very impressive.

  29. Sarvar says:

    Most pundits on BBC F1 & SKY re expecting/backing Alonso to win WDC but my feeling is the outcome will be similar as US Elections 2012.

  30. jb ham says:

    Alonso is running with less camber to maximize wet tyre grip and life. Look at the photos.

  31. Matthew says:

    James, we’ve seen numerous silly collisions this season that could have been avoided if one car realized another was there; whether it’s Karthikeyan and Vettel in the race, de la Rosa and Grosjean in qualifying, or one of any number of similar incidents. Is there any possibility of F1 adopting a similar system to Indycar, with spotters around the track alerting drivers when another car is in their blindspot and attempting to overtake? That collision today was really frustrating to view, because it was so avoidable but didn’t appear to be the fault of any one driver.

    1. James Allen says:

      It all happens to quickly on an F1 track.

      1. James Clayton says:

        People always complain about the size of wing mirrors. We all understand that they’re that small for aerodynamic benefit.

        Am I missing something, or isn’t the solution for the FIA to regulate a minimum size for the mirrors? There must be a reason this isn’t possible? Because it sounds too simple…

  32. Truth or Lies says:

    Fernando and Sebastian both looked a bit out of sorts in the few close up shots from today’s tv coverage and Fernando certainly isn’t driving with the same certaintity as before. I guess Massa’s improved speed isn’t helping his confidence either and it’s all about confidence.

    Will be really interesting tomorrow that’s for sure. I thought all along Vettel was home and dry, but now after not winning in Austin and a patchy Q3 today, it’s just might fall Alonso’s way. Shades of 2010 all over.

  33. sammy says:

    Hope it will start raining during the race tomorrow, otherwise I suspect we will see a boring start behind the safety car.
    Alonso for WDC and Vettel DNF (by Massa).

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      “Alonso must win the WDC” – “Do you underdstand that message”

  34. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I imagine Vettel DNF and Alonso P4…

  35. Oly says:

    Let’s enjoy the race, and I hope the best driver will win WDC.

    “As long as Fernando has a steering wheel in his hand he is always there”
    Mark Webber

    So, GO NANDO, GO !!!

  36. Panagiotis says:

    I guess Seb’s face after p4 was due to +35 Massa, +28 Alonso’s places gained on starts!? What the heck face that was from the leader and driver of the best car around? I don’t get it but hey I support Ferrari, come on Ferrari!

  37. FerrariFan says:

    Cant wait for tomorrow. So nervous. I hope it rains. I am sure Massa will overtake Vettel and Webber at the start. Have to see how aggressive Vettel will be at the start to defend. Massa makes up a lot of positions at the start. However, it will be very disappointing if the race starts behind a safety car due to rain. That will rob us of the excitement. I don’t think Massa will be used to take out Vettel as its being suggested by some here. That will be very obvious and similar to Nelson Jr crashing in Singapore. However, if massa overtakes Vettel and Alonso is chasing him, Vettel can be really aggressive in his defense but Alonso cant take any risks.

  38. Quade says:

    Goodluck to the best man.
    For those hoping Massa will take out Vettel, I hope you realise that Webber can take out Alonso too.
    Its a long shot, but both Ferarri and Red Bull can bend the rules and act funny until both are disqualified from the championship, making the WDC suddenly a battle between Lewis and Kimi.

  39. Craig Baker says:

    Hi James,
    I have an alternative constructors points system where the final result is still in doubt. In this system a win is worth 25 points, 2nd 24points, 3rd 23points all the way through to the final finisher. If the car is forced to retire you get 0 points.
    Applied to 2012 so far.

    1. Red Bull 725
    2. Ferrari 704
    3. McLaren 629
    4. Lotus 629
    5. Force India 560
    6. Sauber 482
    7. Mercedes 471
    8. Williams 467
    9. STR 467
    10. Caterham 320
    11. Marussia 258
    12. HRT 156

    In this system every team that has a car that finishes will gain points towards the constructors.

    1. James Allen says:

      Imagine the taxes they would have to pay the FIA next season!

      1. James Clayton says:

        How much money are the FIA getting from this new deal? Is it enough for them to (theoretically of course, we know it’ll never happen) ‘sponsor’ the lowest ranking team. Rather than having to find pay drivers, the FIA could sponsor a back marker team and provide an automatic promotion system from GP2 – the winner of the championship automatically gets a drive.

        Of course, GP2 not being an actual FIA sport could be a hurdle (one of many) to any system like this being put in place.

      2. IJW says:

        Don’t give them ideas, James. :-)

    2. KRB says:

      That’s like the NASCAR point system, w/o the win bonus. I think the current points system has worked well. It’s screwed up the historical stats, but you can make adjustments for that.

    3. Alex Y says:

      While I would perhaps give some extra points to the race winner/ podium finishers, I think the idea of all finishing cars getting points is a good one. It stops teams like marussia overtaking caterham in the constructors simply because one race happened to feature a large amount of retirements.
      Having said that, the system now gives midfield teams an added incentive to try and score any points- maybe adopt craig’s system until (if) the slower teams become more competitive!

  40. F1fan4life says:

    An interesting prelude to the race but as I’ve been saying 2 races ago it is over and Vettel will be champion. I think the race will be bone dry and therefore nowhere near as exciting as people hope. I predict the excitement or what little there will be won’t be from the championship but just the battle for winning this race.

    One thing I can say for sure is that Ferrari don’t deserve a WDC this year. Alonso does but Ferrari does not. Given last year they started preparing for this year early, they’ve gone from making big predictions at the start of every year to pathetic excuses after. I like Domenicali but I really hope he is put to task and di montezemolo more so.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Not to mention Pat Fry…!

  41. ciao says:

    RBR issues

    Short lap + back markers
    Top speed for overtakes
    High ambient & KERS/alternator
    Others gambling on drying track
    Felipe the start demon

  42. goferet says:

    Say, is it just me or is there a slight correlation between Tennis and F1?

    Here is why:

    i) You see both of these sports are currently going through a golden era with 3 top athletes at the top of their game

    ii) Nadal is just one year younger than Lewis, whilst Vettel is the same age with Djokovic likewise Federer is the same age as Alonso.

    iii) Federer came onto the scene when he won his Grand Slam in 2003, same year Alonso won his first race plus both were World Number 1s in 2005/2006

    iv) Lewis & Nadal were World Number 1s in 2008 and these two tend to win Grand Slams and races the same weekend.

    v) Novak and Sebastian were both World Number 1s in 2011 and both dominated those seasons.

    vi) Earlier in the 2012 season Federer was back to holding the World Number 1 ranking just like Alonso was leading the championship only for Novak to come through towards the end of the season and reclaim it.

    vii) Lewis’ 2012 season was ruined by reliability, the equivalent of injuries in tennis that made Nadal withdraw from the rest of the tennis season.

    Etc…

    1. Andrew M says:

      Good stuff! I hope “Nadal” isn’t hamstrung too much by a really poor choice of tennis racket next year…

  43. Davexxx says:

    I have a simple question. How did Maldonado miss the weighing? How is it done: did he simply drive past the FIA scrutineers trying to divert him into the weighing garage? And does the team have any responsibility here, I mean, are the team informed the car has to be weight-checked and so they should tell the driver, or aren’t they?

    1. James Allen says:

      There’s an on board shot where the red light is clearly visible

      He was a bit fired up and missed it

  44. JohnBt says:

    Not knowing what will happen with the weather is great. Anything can happen at the first turn. Will be an interesting script which is very normal at Interlagos.

    All in all, a very good season and finally it’s down to the wire today. Couldn’t have asked for more as a fan.

    No DNF for Vettel, and Alonso charging up to the front which has been happening ever so often. The final score to settle for them.

    I dont know why, but I’m hoping for Massa to win this race. But Lewis will be in control and having fun.

    Murray Walker, “OH My God!, I have never seen that before….and the world champion is……”

  45. Schumi fan says:

    Hope this last race of the season proves to be a classic in history. I definitely hope it will rain throughout the race today to make it more enjoyable to watch, but at the same time I hope there won’t be any DNFs (especially for Vettel, Alonso and Schumi) so that the title goes to the best driver, and Schumi can drives strongly to get a good ending to his career!!

  46. Kimi4WDC says:

    Anyone else share my opinion that Stewart’s decision to call in Maldonado, considering he was not fast at that point and it was a crucial time with not much time left in a session, is questionable? And on top of that they give him a penalty.

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a random check. Everyone goes through it at some point!

  47. Going to be a great race (I hope)esp. if it rains

    Start will be crucial as always, I think especially for Alonso as he needs to make sure that he doesn’t get too far behind

    Then it will be who switches tyres at the right time if it rains, or mechanical issues if it doesn’t

    I think it will also be very interesting to see if Vettel makes any mistakes under pressure as well

  48. Ashboy says:

    Massa will use a RB8 number 1 as his brakes for the first corner, which will leave alonso 4th on the first lap. Then it will be upto webber to try and keep him of the podium he would need.

  49. Deborah Farrell says:

    Fantastic quali from Lewis! The perfect race result would be a win for Lewis with Massa on the podium. I have been impressed with Massa in the last few races and would love for him to finish the season on a high note. With regards to the WDC, it’s Vettel’s to lose although Alonso the magician will drive the wheels of that Ferrari. I love Alonso’s grit and determination and would love nothing more than for him to win the WDC but benefiting from others misfortune might be asking too much. I just can’t see Vettel having a DNF or Alonso finishing ahead of him.

  50. Barnaby says:

    This year should’ve been Lewis’s.
    He has drive faultlessly and superbly.
    Robbed of several victories and decent points through no fault of his own.
    Lets hope Mercedes have a rule bending secret for next year.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH McLaren Mercedes
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
MTS
Industry-Leading Testing and Sensing Solutions
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer