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Vettel maintains 100% record In India, but Mercedes and Lotus challenge
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  25 Oct 2013   |  11:47 am GMT  |  91 comments

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull showed no signs of loosening their grip on the 2013 World Championship as they completed another dominant Friday ahead of this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix.

A KERS issue for Vettel in the opening stages of FP2 was quickly remedied, allowing him to repeat his pace in this morning’s session and complete a clean sweep in Friday practice.

Mark Webber kept the forthcoming four-time Champion honest as he ended both sessions in second place on a weekend that is set to bring the Red Bull team much joy.

But once again Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton in particular are taking the fight to the Red Bulls, with quite tight margins at this stage.

Today’s result leaves the Milton Keynes squad on the front foot, with Vettel needing just a fifth place finish, regardless of Fernando Alonso’s finishing position, to wrap up the title. Whilst the teams Championship should also come without much difficulty as they currently hold a 148 point lead, needing a lead of 129 points heading in to the final three Grand Prix.

Vettel has taken pole and led every race lap around the Buddh International Circuit in its two previous years; last year he was fastest in every track session, a daunting prospect for any competitor hoping to have a chance of victory this weekend. He has also led 52% of all the racing laps this season, so is very much the form man.

Behind Red Bull there is an exciting battle for second and third place in the Constructors’ Championship between Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus. Lotus are in the process of playing catch up on the two ahead, sitting 23-points off third place. But their recent form has been second only to Red Bull and today’s sessions illustrate that they will once again be near the front, particularly on Sunday.

The tyres were a talking point, as the left front tyre in particular on the soft compound graining badly after a few laps. But several drivers managed to get them to go through that phase and stabilise. A first stint of around 12-14 laps looks possible for the race as part of a two stop strategy. For drivers starting outside the top ten, using the medium tyre for the first stint could make for a challenging strategy.

A one-stop race is foreseeable for some and Lotus have a car that is able to make its tyres last the duration, unlike Mercedes who may be forced in to two stops.

The Mercedes pair have looked competitive on the medium tyre over a single lap run, but were unable to maintain that pace over a race stint. Whilst Lotus were once again able to show consistent pace during the longer runs as the session reached its end.

Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that his one lap pace must improve if he is to have a chance of winning again in his final four races with Lotus. But eighth place and a spin gave signs that the Finn is not fully comfortable at this point in the weekend.

Sergio Perez and Jenson Button completed the top ten for McLaren, ending the day just over a second from Vettel’s pace. However, with Vettel half a second quicker than Grosjean in third, the McLaren pairing will be satisfied to be within touching distance of the leading four teams.

James Calado took the place of Paul Di Resta in the Force India for FP1 due to the Scotsman being ill. Calado ended the session half a second adrift of Adrian Sutil, before Di Resta took over this afternoon.

INDIAN GRAND PRIX, New Delhi, Practice

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m25.722s 35
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m26.011s +0.289s 38
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m26.220s +0.498s 36
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.399s +0.677s 36
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.430s +0.708s 39
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.582s +0.860s 40
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.601s +0.879s 41
8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m26.632s +0.910s 32
9. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m26.857s +1.135s 40
10. Jenson Button McLaren 1m26.972s +1.250s 39
11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m27.304s +1.582s 17
12. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m27.375s +1.653s 36
13. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m27.429s +1.707s 31
14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m27.491s +1.769s 40
15. Paul di Resta Force India 1m27.608s +1.886s 38
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m27.720s +1.998s 23
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m27.949s +2.227s 34
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m28.431s +2.709s 30
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m28.692s +2.970s 39
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m28.799s +3.077s 32
21. Charles Pic Caterham 1m29.366s +3.644s 37
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m30.164s +4.442s 27

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91 Comments
  1. TGS says:

    Do you know why Ricciardo was sidelined for the latter half of FP2 James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Damaged the car when he ran over a kerb

      1. RC says:

        Thanks. DR has just been off color since RBR announcement. I have a feeling that he’s gonna crumble under pressure next year. Either he’s getting bad advice from MW or his own ego been validated/inflated since going to senior team. Hope he comes through ok next year, but looking less and less likely.

      2. Bryce says:

        Bad advice?

  2. 180110 says:

    Yeah, should be REALLY tight for 3rd place on the podium and for places 4,5,6,7,8 between Lotus, Ferrari and Merc. Interchangeable and anything possible for these places. Button and Perez should be 9th and 10th.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Sauber will break this. They could play a blinder with Hulk, qualify as far up as he can then start on the hard tyre, even if he gets to Q3.

      The softs look like a disaster zone, 4-5 laps of life, especially on full tanks.

      So much so I wonder if anyone, say Kimi if he reaches Q3, would consider doing 1 lap on them and exiting to a clear track on the hard tyre.

      1. All revved-up says:

        Interesting. If that happens the race will be fun to watch!

  3. James,

    I’ve heard reports that Red Bull are going through their soft tyres much quicker than the likes of Renault and Ferrari.

    Is this true and if so do you think Ferrari and Lotus might be able to mount a challenge for the win this weekend?

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari looked pretty good on long run on soft. Red Bull only did short runs so you can’t draw so many conclusions. I think they will do more work on it in FP3

  4. Matt says:

    Hi James,

    Any thoughts on the four-wheels off the track corner-cutting that can be seen from Alonso and particularly from Vettel?

    Not everyone appears to be doing it so surely there’s an advantage being gained over those sticking to the track limits?

    Thanks
    Matt

    1. James Allen says:

      Won’t be allowed in quali and race. So don’t worry!

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        No doubt, especially as it’s being labelled ‘cheaters corner’ already.

      2. TGS says:

        Lol, which corner is it?

      3. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Not sure what specific cutting event is being referred too, but I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary compared to what has been accepted the last two seasona – something that can be easily demonstrated by watching Raikkonen’s Q3 lap that is still available on F1.com.

    2. SteveS says:

      You can see multiple drivers cutting corners in qualifying at every GP. Given that they all do it, nobody gets an advantage.

    3. Juzh says:

      Everyone was going of the track if you actually watched fp with your eyes open. Just check last year’s raikkonen quali lap. He was off the circuit literally in every other corner.

  5. goferet says:

    My advice to Vettel after clinching his championship in India would be to immediately retire from the sport at the end of the season for how else would he explain the lack of domination in future seasons seeing as on average drivers lucky enough to get good cars have about 2 seasons were they dominate the sport.

    So according to me, better to leave the fans with doubts about your skills than to tarnish your achievements for unlike Vettel, former champions could just pull out the age card as the reason for lack of success.

    Anyway, it’s looking like a glorious Red Bull walk in the park but what the fans will keep an eye on is whether Webber can show up like he did in Japan.

    If we have another Webber pole (unlikely) then we have a fight on our hands both on the pitwall and on track.

    Apart from that, it will be fun to see how the fight for second constructor place pans out seeing as Lotus, Mercedes and Ferrari seem to be evenly matched.

    My guess is, it will boil down to the number 2 driver and of the 3 teams, Massa is the weakest link so Ferrari are in danger of losing out.

    As for Kimi, unfortunately, one lap pace isn’t something you can turn on/off like a switch. You either have it or you don’t and when a driver loses it, it’s usually gone forever and in Kimi’s case, the new 2013 tyres aren’t helping the situation.

    The Force India, Sauber fight for 6th place in the table will also be interesting to follow and after today’s running, Hulkenburg was happy on the medium tyre so I expect some good points from him.

    Overall, I look forward a nice strategic battle as the 2013 soft tyre has caused a couple of headaches for the teams as shown by China and Germany.

    1. unF1nnished business says:

      LOL! You actually think Sebastian Vettel cares about your advice?

    2. Sebee says:

      Zoom out one layer, should RBR also retire? Everything you say about Vettel would apply to RBR too.

      Or zoom out another layer still, should F1 as a sport retire as it becomes increasingly more about marketing money and less about sport? At least we’ll have those memories of the glory days of F1. We can talk about Senna ad nauseam.

      And since 2014-2020 has not been written yet, what makes you think Vettel falls off? F1 is a money sport, and there is no shortage of that stuff at RBR – and that’s without me ever drinking the stuff to support the team. Imagine what RBR will do should I ever drink a Red Bull or two?!

      1. goferet says:

        @ Sebee

        What makes me think Vettel may have a difficult time in the future is because in economics there’s a concept called the law of diminishing returns

        Or in lay man terms, the higher you go, the cooler it becomes.

      2. Sebee says:

        What about…

        No risk. No reward.

        :-)

    3. NickH says:

      Kimi said after FP it’s more to do with the camber and tyre pressure limits they imposed that are really the issues for his qualifying. His qualifying was pretty good this season till they changed tyres + tyre camber limits etc..

    4. Tealeaf says:

      Vettel will just bring more torture to the english speaking media and Hamilton fans, he will no doubt win more titles and the jealous haters will have to bring out more excuses and theories to tarnish his achievements, Alonslow and Hamilton will be red eyed with bitterness and continue to fuel Vettel’s motivation by trying to get the fans to hate Seb and between now and the end of the decade maybe Jenson and Kimi can claim another title each, love to see the face of Alonso if Ferrari pair Seb with him and then blow him into retirement.

      1. Vettelforever says:

        I don’t think Vettel would risk his legacy going up against the likes of Alonso.
        Look what happened to Schumachers reputation when he came up against a decent driver like Rosberg.
        Much better to have team mates like Webber at the end of his career or Riccardo at the begining. It means you can chase down the titles and statistics without the hassle of worrying about your teammate to much.

    5. Random 79 says:

      I see what you say about Vettel; sure he could retire now and be essentially undefeated, so obviously that’s a good point.

      But the flip side is that already people are saying he’s only so good only because he has a good car.

      To really prove those critics wrong he has to do the same in a less competitive car. Whether that’s a Red Bull (you’re right, they can’t stay at the top forever) or another team (a red one perhaps) remains to be seen, but until he does that the question will always remain for some:

      Was it the man or the car?

      I tend to think it’s both, but that’s just me :)

      1. Sebee says:

        Didn’t he already do that in 2010 and 2012?

      2. Random 79 says:

        To an extent yes; the RB6 and RB8 weren’t quite as competitive and he had to fight harder for the championships than in 2011 and this year, but the Red Bull was still arguably the best car in those years.

        If I was going to argue for him winning in a less competitive car I’d point to Monza 2008 when he won in the Toro Rosso…but then I imagine his critics would respond by saying that that was a wet race, anything could have happened, doesn’t count.

        As you probably already know I’m not a Vettel fan, but the more people criticise him (and especially the more they boo him on the podium) the more I feel inclined to defend him.

        Yes he has been lucky enough to have a great car under him for the last few years, but that doesn’t automatically mean he couldn’t win without one.

  6. clyde says:

    Hi James
    Gary anderrson has aninteresting theory on red bulls dominance http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24659085
    what are your views on this ?

    1. Richard says:

      And is that going to be allowed in 2014?

      1. SteveS says:

        What makes you think it’s allowed in 2013?

      2. Richard says:

        They already passed the FIA test in the recent Grand Prix so it has to be allowed for 2013.

    2. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

      The key of the RBR success is the use of super material….
      Everibody, repeat it one million times.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Are either Newey or Vettel classed as a super material?

        And if so are they on the periodic table?

        Neweyodium, Vettelonium…nope, can’t see them anywhere :)

      2. bearforce says:

        I thought is was magic material RBR were using. When did RBR start using the super material?

    3. Crom says:

      There has long been speculation about Red Bull ride height adjustment, Gary’s is an interesting ‘angle’ on it

    4. jmv says:

      If this is true… I also read this on Scarbs blog: http://scarbsf1.com/blog1/2013/10/10/analysis-red-bulls-hot-t-tray-in-korea/

      If true then Red Bull are using flexing floors, which is illegal.

      The FIA must make it mandatory for next race that the titanium skid blocks are thermo-isolated fixed i.e. that no heat is transferred / conducted through the joints (for “safety reasons”).

      I think F1 fans are entitled (after the wrap up of the WDC and WCC in India) to see whether Red Bull and Vettel can maintain their dominance without this innovation.

      It would make QUITE stain on the 2013 titles.. similar as diffuser-gate in 2009.

      1. Toni says:

        Well, it is not illegal, because, IF (and its a big IF), it indeed works based on thermal expansion, that is a side effect, not the main function of the part.
        there is no way to say it is illegal (but it is outsmarting the competition, that is F1 one!).

        but indeed the FIA might require that the supports are “isolated”, although it will hard to define “isolation”.
        Its probably simpler to say they will heat up the support to 200ºC (or any temp they deem suitable) and that the flexing test will be “hot”… ;)

        Actually, there is nothing in the rules that says the floor must be in one material. And so it suffices that you glue different materials (2 different layers), and the different thermal expansion will create some kind of warping (flexing, if you will), in whatever direction you want.

        And no, you can not thermally isolate the whole car ;) Even with great effort, pieces get hot (ALL of them)… Did you ever hear a car drop out because of overcooling? :P (actually, you can do it to the brakes, but even there its easy for the driver to adjust, and its not race terminal; OVERheating… that usually doesn’t end well).

      2. Juzh says:

        hahahahaha what a joke. You really have a short term memory. Just about every rule restriction in the past 4 years has been aimed at clipping red bull’s dominance. diffuser height, DDD diffusers, flexi wings 2010, flexi wings 2011, rubber wings, of throttle ebd, ebd all together, aggressive engine maps, DDRS, floor holes, outboard mirrors.. list goes on.

      3. bearforce says:

        Yeah lets dumb everything down. Lets stomp on innovation. Why do teams spend hundreds of millions to compete and differentiate their cars within a set of guidelines only to have it taken away because the other kids are not as good. Watch GP2 ten if you want to watch exactly the same cars running around and no excitement of tech development. Or is it that you are just having a tantrum because your team isn’t winning.

        Just for your guide RBR has had so many innovations taken away from them to help the less gifted teams compete. The less gifted teams include all of the other teams Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes. Every time the FIA takes away an innovation form RBR they are still faster.

        Things is mate its not just Newey, its also Renault and their super engine programs and Renaults fuel efficiency meaning less weight. It is a whole bunch of great ideas and technology in all areas of the car.

        Instead of being a misery guts about it get excited about the brilliant innovation, clever ideas and cool technology being invented.

  7. Rob Newman says:

    I think most of the front runners will do a two stop. The pit lane seems to be long but overtaking is possible. There is no point risking with a one stop strategy.

    Webber looks to be in form. Expecting Vettel to take the championship on the top step of the podium and hoping the KERS issue won’t recur.

    Worried about the Williams. Hope they can sort out the issues with their tyres.

  8. dean cassady says:

    too early to confirm patterns.
    the circuit will evolve rapidly.
    there may be a possibility of one team dong a single stop, but right now, it looks like a long stretch on the mediums, definitely into a grey zone for viability, let alone competitiveness.
    If Grosjean qualifies well, saving most of his soft tire for the start of the race, then can do a one-stop, he has an outside chance of the top step.
    Kimi MUST do better on the single lap; his target is the top man in Red; the 2014 intra-team oompetition at Ferrari is well underway.

    Gary Anderson wrote a fascinating article, postulating that Red Bull have a system which enables them to run the car lower at the front and higher at the back, to maximize the overall concept (of the car) to produce the most down force and maximize the diffuser; good reading.

    If there are tire management issues, I don’t expect Mercedes will be able to go strongly throughout the race, though one of them may yet qualify in the first two rows.

    Let’s se if Sauber can figure out the circuit and give Hulkenberg yet another chance to mix it up, at the front, (but behind the bulls).

    Force India looks lost.

    Ferrari are struggling.

    With lot’s of potential passing opportunities, even if Kimi qualifying 6, 7, 8, 9, he still may be able to score 3rd, 4th, by the end.

    Should be a Red Bull 1-2, unless Grosjean can put it all together; he, and the team, have been trending in this direction.

  9. McLaren78 says:

    Apologies for the negative comment I’m posting, but wake me up when this season’s over!

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Try pretending in India 3rd spot on the podium is the most important thing to obtain. ;)

      A bit like last year, ignore the Bulls and look at the awesome battle we had between Alonso, Button and Hamilton at the start.

      Plus, you never know, the KERS could be dodgy and give us a race for the win.

    2. H.Guderian says:

      Ohhh… come on!!!

      VET in P1 is a surprise. Really EXCITING.
      Anything can happen on Sunday.

      Can’t wait to see this race.

      ;-)

    3. Rob Newman says:

      Why don’t you watch some other sport instead of going to sleep? :)

    4. Paul D says:

      Agree! Awful isn’t it. A great deal rests on 2014.

    5. tim says:

      Going out on a limb here, but… WAKE UP. IT’S OVER!

    6. ferggsa says:

      You will wake up on your own, don’t worry

      If you think it is not worth watching, then think of all moonlighting fans in North America that stay awake, India transmission is from 3 to 6 am (depending on exact location), something European fans never have to do

    7. F1 Bobby says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. It’s dreadful. The TV pundits try their best to stay enthused but it’s as bad as the Schumacher years.

      Here’s a tip, ITV4, BTCC. Season finale was incredible.

      1. Thunda65 says:

        These past 3 races are the only time I have actively chosen not to watch a Grand Prix- a sport I have followed closely since the mid 1970′s. Vettels total dominance of the sport has completely ruined it for me, and the hollow nonsense spoken by the pundits in an attempt to make it seem more exciting just makes it worse.
        The F1 result should never be a foregone conclusion, and we have now had 4 years of it. As someone else has already posted, 2014 is going to be a very important year for F1, because another year of this will see more and more fans lost to the sport.

  10. Grant H says:

    Today is no surprise the teams have surely all stopped developing thier cars opting to work on 2014, basically from korea the downforce level is all similar so we should more or less see the same pecking order as we have seen in the last couple of races, maybe abu dhabi could be the one exception as that is all stop and go corners but then RB were fastest in singapore too, so if i were a betting man and there was no influence of weather or reliability i would expect mr vettel to clean up in these races given the performance they have found since singapore. Be nice of webber could get a win, only chance for the others is rain / reliability or a good start

  11. MickeyRSA says:

    Kimi better improve. It’s frustrating seeing Grosjean doing a great job and not even competing for 2nd or 3rd in the Championship. If he doesn’t do well this weekend, I’m heading to Grosjean as my new favourite.. #a really frustrated fan#!!

    1. H.Guderian says:

      Don’t worry.
      Kimi is clearly being punished by Lotus.

      1. Joe_in_Miami says:

        Totally agree. Lopez wasn’t gonna let Kimi get away with the no pay comments. Teams do that all the time. McLaren to Alonso 2007, McLaren to Lewis 2012, there are many examples.

    2. MISTER says:

      Lotus are favouring and even probably going as far as setting Kimi’s car as oposite as he asks.

      This is so they can show to their sponsors that Grosjean can do the job next year and that losing Kimi is not a big deal. Showing to sponsors that Grosjean is matching or even beating Kimi in the last 4-5 races, is a way of misleading sponsors.

      I’m not buying for one second that this is Kimi at its best.

  12. Andrew M says:

    Time for some “di Resta on his way out of Force India” conspiracy theories I think.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Maybe a Maldonado money to Lotus theory would be more credible…

      If that conspiracy theory was the case it sounds like a great way for Vijay to instantly lose all his credibility for running good drivers in his team.

      It’s a joke that the collapse of the 2013 FI car, going from contender to undrivable dog, is getting dumped on Paul. Especially so considering what he did earlier in the year and at the last race with Autosport awarding him a 9/10.

      Just because he stepped up as team leader and voiced legit concerns to help motivate and push the whole team – I mean he didn’t say he wants ‘someone else’s car’ nor did he say ‘it’s totally undrivable man’.

      The team collapsed in 2013 due to the mid-season tyre change and also the limited budget of their development team thinking they had Sauber etc beaten by moving totally to the 2014 car so early.

      If Vijay drops Paul it’ll be one of his worst decisions in F1, that is save for his choice of shirt for his F1 Show interview today. wow! ;)

    2. Robb says:

      It is kinda funny that FI knew on Thursday That Paul would be too ill to drive in FP1, but would improve enough to drive by FP2.

  13. Glennb says:

    From watching FP1 + FP2 today I can’t see anyone going with a 1 stopper. The race is ~60laps(?). RB were struggling to do 8 laps on the soft with fuel. Kimi wasn’t doing much better on them either. Hulk hated them, Merc not too impressive either. Alonso did quite a few laps but at an old lady pace. If someone managed to get to lap 20 on the soft, the medium would need to do 40 odd laps. It might happen but I just dont see it being a fast or even safe option.
    I’m looking at a 2 stopper. Lap 10 & lap 35 ;)
    Go Webber!

    1. Alberto Martínez says:

      Totally agree with you!

      James, what would be the optimal time to pit for those in the top 10 (soft tyres) trying a one-stop strategy?

  14. Harshad says:

    James, Ferrari looked arguably the strongest over long stint of Soft tyres, how much of James Allison input is responsible for that?

    1. James Allen says:

      They were good at it already! If anything they could do with someone who can make them faster in quali !!

      1. Harshad says:

        confused!, I thought Ferrari always looked strong on Medium & Hard, but struggled on Soft/SuperSoft with graining.
        However, today they looked good on Soft…Stronger than RBR/Lotus over long runs.

    2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Ferrari being not bad on the softs probably means, (start underline, bold, massive font)ANOTHER (end underline bold..), Ferrari strategy disaster.

      I mean, what’s the point in being the team that stays out on the softs because they are in a pretty bad condition instead of a terrible condition, when everyone else will be undercutting, going faster on the fresh harder tyres.

      Like last race, if you have two cars ahead of your competition, Ferrari, Ferrari, Sauber. It should never be the case when the undercut is faster that you end up with the Sauber pitting before both cars. They need to look at Lotus, especially if they can make the hards last better than most.

      There endeth the lesson, wake up di Monty, wake up Domeni – please!

      …and relax ;)

      1. All revved-up says:

        Unless Ferrari can do one stop less because they can make the softs last.

  15. KRB says:

    A 1-stop for Lotus? It’d be nice if they could pull it off and be competitive, though I’ll be surprised if they can.

    It’s the same old with RBR … the car’s a monster. The only thing that will stop another 1-2 Vettel win is reliability, or contact on the first lap.

    It’s also odds-on for another all-Renault podium, which would be the 3rd in a row. What clever engine mapping can do for you.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      “or contact on the first lap”

      That won’t work either, Lewis tried it at the last race and went out, Fernando tried it at the start of the season and went out. It’ll need the Mr Hyde version of RomGro back to work, but I prefer the Dr Jekyll RomGro.

  16. Nigel says:

    Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton in particular are taking the fight to the Red Bulls, with quite tight margins at this stage

    That sounds like something Christian Horner might say.
    The margins on the medium are not very tight at all, and the Red Bull tyre preservation looks excellent.

    The softer tyre, on which Lotus and Mercedes appear a bit closer, is unlikely to last long enough to be relevant to the race.

    If Grosjean and Hamilton are taking the fight to Red Bull, they are severely outgunned.

    1. Craig says:

      I agree. If being five and seven tenths behind (respectively) constitutes as ‘taking the fight’ then I guess i’ve learnt nothing in my 20 years of watching the sport.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Grosjean and Hamilton were keen to take the fight to to Red Bull, but by the time they got there Red Bull was already down the road.

    3. KRB says:

      Outgunned? Doesn’t that require both to have, uh, guns?

      Every team outside of RBR is bringing a knife to a gunfight.

      The RB9 cannot be out-raced at the moment, and the team is prepared to move Webber out of the way for Vettel (so he can try for the Ascari record, as HWS alluded to), so only freak events can stop a Vettel win. I didn’t think it could get any easier than 2011, but I was wrong.

      1. KRB says:

        … to take the point even further, Williams’ knives are of the plastic variety, while the likes of Caterham and Marussia go into battle having only framed pictures of said plastic knives. ;-)

      2. Random 79 says:

        I don’t know – those picture frames can do some damage if you use them right ;)

  17. Harshad says:

    At this stage it looks like RBR 1-2, they are miles ahead of anybody on the medium tyres!
    It’s the soft tyres that are giving them trouble, but I’m sure they will work that out overnight.

    Lotus duo if they can qualify well, might look to challenge RBR for 2nd Podium, throw Alonso in there and it does look like an interesting race.

  18. AJ says:

    C’mon ….. Someone… Anyone….. Please .
    Fingers crossed that there’s some kind of surprise to make things interesting.

    Geez, can’t believe I’m saying this but perhaps its even a good time to give Bernie’s sprinklers should get a try out.

  19. All revved-up says:

    Adrian Newey back trackside! After skipping Korea and Japan to focus on 2014 car.

    He must be using this weekend to test out his 2014 ideas already! With all the vizflo on various parts of the RedBull.

    And to join in the WDC celebrations. Hope the team enjoy their curries!

  20. Sebee says:

    Thanks you Alonso for today’s laugh of the day.
    Would be wonderful if JAonF1 had a daily “Fast Laugh” section. Until such time fan, it’s all on our shoulders! :-)

    But as for his title rival Sebastian Vettel, who is on the cusp of a fourth consecutive drivers’ title, Alonso said he is not in a position to judge the German’s greatness.

    “I cannot (judge), because I have not been close enough to him,” said Alonso to a round of laughter from reporters.

  21. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

    but Mercedes and Lotus challenge…

    OMG, your are very optimist…

  22. adnpandy says:

    “But once again Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton in particular are taking the fight to the Red Bulls, with quite tight margins at this stage.”

    Yeah yeah, whatever.. I barely bother to watch it any more. If it’s on as I pass the TV I’ll sit watch a few laps but that’s about it… Not many years ago I would get up at silly O’clock to ensure I didn’t miss a moment.

    1. K says:

      “the driver I like is not winning the title so I now dislike f1, its so boring with that german kid winning it all”.

      Any F1 fan can see the good fights in each race. People who say F1 is now boring are not watching anything but their own favorite driver losing.

      1. adnpandy says:

        Have you heard anyone new to the sport saying “wow, I love this new F1 it’s so exciting”? I doubt it.

        I suggest viewing figures are in decline.

        I acknowledge that it’s not Redbull’s fault no one can compete with them but I believe that a consistent and prolonged domination of any sport dulls it’s appeal to viewers and spectators, even when you support the winning team. Which by the way I do.

  23. Giorgio says:

    James,
    MW’s by about 10 kg weight disadvantage against SV, so are their cars the same weight? (i.e. about min. 642 kg)
    if so is sebastian’s car more “properly ballasted”? so he’s (SV) more happy with the balance,
    or just in this season this doesn’t matter so much?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes they are the same weight and Vettel’s has more ballast

      1. RC says:

        Since the sun shone on F1 since 60 years ago, this has always been the same way. Just because a few news outlets make this a news and SV [mod] clenching onto straws. Should we also disallow Bolt since he has a longer stride than others.. seems only fair right. LOL.

    2. dufus says:

      I dont think James will go to your 2nd question but i will.
      Of course 10kg of ballast you can put anywhere is a huge advantage.

    3. All revved-up says:

      Most likely Seb’s car has a lower centre of gravity because he has more weight at the bottom.

      F1 favours drivers with small brains and large b**s.

      They have a lower centre of gravity.

  24. shri says:

    We can enjoy the race from P2 onwards as in the last few races.

    Fight for P2 in constructors and FI & Sauber fight will be good to watch.

    We may see some drivers put a show of their life to save their F1 careers.

  25. Sebee says:

    Hey,

    Some reporter asked Webber yesterday how he felt going to the Le Mans series after another death in that series. Was that reporter refering to that unfortunate incident involving Sean Edwards, or was there another incident in Le Mans series?

  26. Simon says:

    I see Williams have been fined another €60,000. Where does this money go?

  27. jakobusvdl says:

    How are Caterham and Marussa progressing? i assume that their qualification times must be within the 107% cut off, but are they closing the gap on the midfield teams so far this year?
    Any chance of a technical comparsion between these reams cars and the catsup the front of the grid?

    1. jakobusvdl says:

      Or possibly ‘between these teams and the cars up the front of the grid’
      (I really must learn how to rein in the predictive text tool)

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