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Lewis Hamilton
Vettel on pole for Korean Grand Prix as rivals fall short again
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Oct 2013   |  7:10 am GMT  |  228 comments

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for a Korean Grand Prix in an anticlimactic qualifying session, by two tenths of a second ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The German set the pole lap on his first run and was able to cruise back to the pits on the second run, knowing that the Mercedes cars had not beaten him.

It was the 42nd pole position of his career, his 6th of the season and the third race in a row. The threat from the Mercedes was there, but Vettel had it all under control with a lap which got the maximum out of the car.

“I had a very good lap on my first attempt and I knew it would be difficult to beat it,” said Vettel. “As expected Mercedes was strong, especially in the middle sector. We are good on the straights, which is good for the race, so I think we have the balance right and we can be happy with what we have achieved.”

Hamilton starts the race on the front row alongside Vettel for the fifth time this season, saying that he felt he had got the most from the car. He also thinks he can challenge Vettel on the opening lap tomorrow. The key to beating Vettel is to stop him getting away at the start.

Mark Webber qualified third, but with the ten place penalty he will start 13th. Webber ran a low downforce set up and a longer seventh gear, to allow him to pass cars in tomorrow’s race.

This promotes Romain Grosjean to third. Lotus has brought the longer wheelbase car to Yeongam, which should be stronger in the race, than in qualifying. Raikkonen had only one new set of tyres for Q3 and made a mistake. He ended up 10th on the grid, the fourth time in six races he has been outqualified by Grosjean.

It was clear in the final sector that the Ferrari was lacking rear end downforce in comparison with the Red Bulls and Mercedes. Alonso qualified 8/10ths of a second off the pace.

Vettel had set the pace in the final practice session, ahead of team mate Webber and then the two Mercedes, giving an early indication of form.

The performance gap between the medium and supersoft tyres was just under a second for most teams, so it was interesting to see which drivers felt the need to use supersoft in the Q1 session.

Hamilton set the early pace in Q1 on mediums ahead of Rosberg, Alonso and Raikkonen. The Red Bulls and Grosjean left it late, until eight minutes from the end, to come out of the pits, on the medium tyre.

Estaban Gutierrez found 1.3 seconds on the supersoft and that frightened a few of the front runners into using a set of super-softs. The predicted cut off was 1m 38.8s, just a tenth more than more than Gutierrez managed.

Di Resta ran into trouble, being held up by Jules Bianchi’s Marussia in the blind corners of the final sector. He didn’t get eliminated however, as the two Williams were too slow and were both eliminated, for the fourth time this season, along with the Caterhams and Marussia. Bianchi was given a three place penalty and a reprimand for not letting Di Resta through, as the Frenchman had been buidling up to a hot lap at the time. Kimi Raikkonen set the pace on supersofts.

In Q2 most people did their first run on used supersofts, Hamilton and the Red Bulls took their first set of supersofts. Hamilton set the pace straight away on 1m 37.824s, two tenths ahead of Rosberg.

The fastest five cars, the Red Bulls and Mercedes and Grosjean, didn’t do a final run in Q2, but of the drivers who did, both McLarens were not fast enough as both Saubers made it through, with Hulkenberg in fourth place.

The two Toro Rossos, Force Indias and McLarens were eliminated. Button missed the cut by 0.038s. He was held up by Raikkonen on an in lap. Vettel was the fastest car in Q2.

In Q3, several cars went straight out, but Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen and the Saubers waited.

In the first runs, Webber was ahead of Hamilton and Rosberg, while Vettel was almost three tenths of a second faster than Webber with a terrific final sector of the lap, managing to squeeze more from the supersofts in that final sector.

On the final runs, Vettel was the last car to go out. Raikkonen was on used tyres, everyone else had a new set of supersofts.

Webber went straight into the pits, knowing that only Hamilton had beaten him, so he would be 13th with his ten place penalty.

Vettel and Hamilton took the front row for the fifth time this season. A confident Romain Grosjean moves up to third place.

The forecast for tomorrow continues to suggest that there will be rain around, although it may be more in the morning than the afternoon when the race starts.

With 150 points available from the remaining six races, three more wins for Vettel will give him the title for the fourth time, regardless of what his rival Alonso does.

KOREAN GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m37.202s
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.420s +0.218s
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m37.464s +0.262s
4. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m37.531s +0.329s
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.679s +0.477s
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.038s +0.836s
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.223s +1.021s
8. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m38.237s +1.035s
9. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m38.405s +1.203s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m38.822s +1.620s

11. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m38.362s +0.793s
12. Jenson Button McLaren 1m38.365s +0.796s
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m38.417s +0.848s
14. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m38.431s +0.862s
15. Paul di Resta Force India 1m38.718s +1.149s
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m38.781s +1.212s

17. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m39.470s +1.129s
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m39.987s +1.646s
19. Charles Pic Caterham 1m40.864s +2.523s
20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m40.871s +2.530s
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m41.169s +2.828s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m41.322s +2.981s

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228 Comments
  1. Eric Weinraub says:

    Glad I checked who is on pole… now I won’t have to waste 2 hours watching a race already run. Yawn. TG EPL, Ligue un, Series 1 are exciting as this is now a complete waste of time.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Waste of time? No interest? Funny you can find the effort and the urge to commment on here, In reality I’d bet you’re still hoping for a Hamilton victory, and you’ll probably be watching the race.

    2. Basil says:

      Unfortunately, I must agree with Eric.

    3. Me says:

      Good riddance…

    4. All revved-up says:

      Adrian Newey not in Korea? Is that true? If so – that’s another 2013 milestone. Even Red Bull are switching their technical focus to 2014.

      But I’ll be watching the race and enjoying it. Will be fun to see how far up Kimi and Webber get; if Sauber can beat McLaren; the continuing Hamilton vs Rosberg season long battle; and the demon start by Alonso.

      1. Hugy says:

        Well said! There is much more to the race than just the first car.

    5. Grant H says:

      Im hoping for a good start from Lewis, thats his best chance under slip stream, whoever gets 1 second clear will most likely control the race to mind

    6. Spinodontosaurus says:

      Don’t be disheartened! Last season the front 3 rows shared the trend that the guy on the dirty side jumped the one on the clean side into T1 (So P2 past P1, P4 past P3 etc.). Hope for the same tomorrow.

  2. odah says:

    Good job Sebs

  3. mbugsuli says:

    nice for saubers at least, a team who really works for more, allways

    1. All revved-up says:

      Amazing 2nd half season turnaround for Sauber. Beating both McLarens. This augurs well for 2014. Hulk is really unlucky. Caught Sauber in their off form year.

      Hamilton on the “dirty side” might just set him up for a nice slip stream into the lead by turn 2.

      1. Grant H says:

        I think hulk is lucky actually better that the car has come to him now when teams are looking for drivers, hope he gets lotus or perez’s seat at macca

  4. Tealeaf says:

    Good job from Hamilton and as usual Vettel. The sheer raw pace from these 2 drivers are far above the rest, Alonso? Expect his ‘TC’ start to kick in at the start yet again and fly into the top 3 at the end of lap 1.

    1. clyde says:

      TC ….what a load of tripe

  5. goferet says:

    Well now, I expected qualifying to be a lot closer than that at the front but seeing as Vettel is able to put the power down 20 meters ahead of everybody else, I guess I should have known better.

    Nevertheless, good work by Vettel for getting the job done and OMG, if Sebi’s form continues, won’t he become the only pilot in the history of motorsport to have out-qualified his teammate at every race >>> Flummoxed!

    Nice to see Lewis get back on form and well done to him for splitting the Red Bulls, at least we will have some action at the front just like Austin 2012.

    The Ferraris looked posed to make an attack from their grid position and yes it’s always fun to see Alonso pull the wool over his rivals at the start.

    Brilliant performance from the Saubers for getting both cars into Q3 and with a small performance gap between the tyres, I don’t think drivers starting from Q2 will get that much of a tyre advantage.

    Shame about Jenson for not making it into Q3, I guess, it’s incidents like this between Jenson & Kimi that made them not get along in the past.

    Lastly, disappointing from Maldonado taking into account he has the new parts which his teammate doesn’t have.

    P.s.

    No problem is it rains in the morning, just as long it rains heavy enough so we have a nice damp track by the afternoon.

    1. Jaybrig says:

      There are various examples of drivers whitewashing their teammates in qualifying throughout a season. But for webber, who has shown top pedigree in qualy in his career, this will hurt.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        “There are various examples of drivers whitewashing their teammates in qualifying throughout a season”

        I’m not disputing this fact but can you name 1 please? especially in the last 15 years.

      2. Bartholomew says:

        Alonso vs. Nelson Piquet Jr, 2008.

    2. Equin0x says:

      It’s funny how you word everything so ir praises Hamilton to no end, shame you didn’t say the same thing for Rosberg last race when he “split the Redbulls” and smashed Hamilton by nearly half a second? then you repeat Hamilton’s pathetic comments about “20 metres earlier”, would you have said it if he didn’t pull that stupid face and said it? How do you know he wss on the gas 20 metres earlier? Where was he earlier? Out of every corner? Did you get a tape measure and went on the track and measure? Also another dig at Pastor? Why? Because he had issues with Hamilton in the past?
      Anyway wet or dry I’m sure I’ll be watching an interesting race, Jenson will do better in the race as usual.

      1. Colombia Concalvez says:

        A angry Jennie Button fan ?, partly because of Jennie Button McLaren is now a midfield team, the guy is useless without Lewis’s set up as you can see for yourself and earns too much for doing absolute nothing impressive.

      2. Rich B says:

        biggest load of nonsense I’ve ever read and i’m not an angry jb fan

      3. Doug says:

        Yes…wise words…don’t look at the points he’s got this season in a very poor car…we wouldn’t want your opinion to look stupid!

      4. goferet says:

        @EquinOx

        Yeah Lewis saw Vettel’s onboard footage and from experience and the fact that he’s a racing pilot, came to the conclusion that Vettel was getting on the power 20 meters early.

  6. John Beattie says:

    As much as a juicy traction control theory spices up the end of season, the one thing the competitors cannot replicate is SV on the pedals. I’m not a fan of Seb but, the lad is on another level. Schumacheresque….? Confidence with caps lock on!

    1. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Schumacheresque ?, Schumacher got decimated by Rosberg 3 years in a row with equal status.

      1. Albert says:

        Yes, but a couple of years before that, he was the most dominant driver the F1 has ever seen. Or did you think he just started racing in 2010?

      2. Anil Parmar says:

        Hes referring to his first career. And schumacher matched nico in 2011 and 2012; just a shame he was so unlucky with mechanical issues, especially in early 2012. Oh well, those failures were another record for him I guess!

  7. max says:

    James, u didn’t really comment on ferrari and their lack of pace??

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, it’s a lack of downforce, particularly at the back. You can see it clearly on the on board cameras

      1. Anil says:

        Yeah the back end is literally all over the place. Genuinely believe its engine related tbh and that the engine itself doesnt lend itself to using the exhaust gases to feed the diffuser; they’ve found no advancement in the area since 2011.

      2. clyde says:

        Engine related ??? …yeah right :-)

      3. Yago says:

        Their tires were destroyed by the time they arrived sector three. It was due to lack of downforce, as you say. Pretty serious thing!

      4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Do you think the lack of downforce, leading to sliding, is causing the Ferrari to wear our the supersofts over the qually lap quicker than say the Bulls, further affecting the laptime?

        I see Alonso has been critical of the Pirellis here saying he cannot push qually to the max as it finished his tyres. It obviously bugged Hembery considering his very unprofessional response back.

      5. Grant H says:

        Ferrari’s rear end was loose like a whores drawers!

  8. Feral says:

    No real surprises, but a little rain could make it interesting.

    Not happy as a F1 fan the penalty handed to Webber, 10 places a bit too much (I don’t have a problem with the 3 strikes but I think 5 places would of been more acceptable to make the race more interesting)

    Vet.Also,Ham, – Also starts will put him up there – Grosjean could replace Ham as I don’t have a lot of confidence in Ham/Merc having a trouble free race…

  9. leonp says:

    Another win from the first corner race for Vettel, no point watching the race. Shame Mercedes couldn’t put up a stronger challenge. Time to hand Vettel the championship and use the remaining races as tests for next year.

  10. Richie says:

    If we have a repeat of this kind of domination next year, then I think we have to question the relevance of F1 as entertainment.

    All the constant money issues and the need for artificial elements to ‘spice up the show’ say to me we’ve reached a point where technology is simply too good to produce entertaining racing. It’s sad but I can’t see how F1 can exist in 5-10 years time.

    1. Nick says:

      I agree, which is why I understand why there is booing when Vettel wins, it is so boring and predictable.

    2. Emanuel says:

      That’s what was said when Schumacher and Ferrari dominated in the 2000′s and also back in the early 90′s with the computerized Williams. In the end no matter the technology, it takes a human being and his/her guts and skills to make the difference.
      If Vettel dominates next season again, he will be looking for another challenge and the cards will be re-shuffled. Alone the fact that Riccardo isn’t nearly as consistent as Webber and he will spend some time trying hard making his mark against Vettel, which will lead to carnage, should make next year way more entertaining to watch. Have I mentioned there will be new engines and turbos and Kimi and Alonso at Ferrari. Don’t you worry about F1. It will be alright, despite or perhaps because of all the negative comments.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Actually Ricciardo is just as fast if not faster than Mark, and obviously younger and more hungry he even beats Seb on the Simulator, but his race consistency is questionable, we’ll find out.

    3. SteveS says:

      “If we have a repeat of this kind of domination next year, then I think we have to question the relevance of F1 as entertainment.”

      How long have you been watching F1? This year is more entertaining than most in its history. It used to be that the winning driver would lap the entire field.

      1. Richie says:

        I’ve been watching F1 since the 80′s, so yes, I’ve witnessed domination like this before. It’s a combination of that with other factors that worries me. If falling viewing figures and escalating costs continue I’m not convinced F1 can weather the storm as it has in the past.

      2. John S says:

        +1

        The cost to attend a race is just immense. How am I supposed to convince friends not into f1 to join me when tickets cost at least double than tickets to their favorite sporting events?

      3. Clear View says:

        I hear ya, falling viewing figures can only affect the money sponsors want to pay for less exposure than they currently get and tv companies won’t eventually want to pay big if the pay view model starts to collapse as no-one wants to pay for something they don’t find exciting/interesting any more. Less money in, must mean less money out from FOM combined with less sponsor money for the smaller pay view exposure is gonna hurt all the teams big or small. These are my biggest worries for the sport as a whole. There needs some tough decisions made and soon.

        My feelings are that the car that starts the year must do 5 races before any upgrade packages are bought out, then another 5 before more upgrades, this way people like redbull who bring new/upgraded parts to every race will be in the same position as sauber et al. Also forget testing, it only helps the rich teams, no testing levels that field too.

  11. Richard says:

    Well no surpises here, although I expected Red Bull to be further ahead so perhaps Mercedes have improved, but not enough. It’s not just about getting the fastest lap, but about the way the power is put down together with cornering agility. In the race Red Bull will pull away, with Mercedes falling away a bit at the start of the race. Lotus will be strong, and Ferrari will move up near the front. Rain may unsettle things so we will have to wait and see, but I expect Mercedes to be stronger in the second half of the race such that one of them will be on the podium.

    1. Yago says:

      As you say Vettel will pull away easily. Actually, you are not totally right on Red Bull, the difference was bigger than in Singapore. Vettel made his time on the first lap, but traffic did it impossible for him to improve on his second round. Hamilton improved, so the difference is smaller than it should have been. The only difference with Singapore is that here Webber was finally a racing driver, and was closer. Expect a Singapore type of performance tomorrow if it stays dry.

      On Ferrari, they are going here worse in race pace than in quali pace, due to tire degradation due to lack of downforce at the rear end. So don’t expect big things from them, specially with the supersofts at the beggining of the race. But I guess Alonso will find out something…

      1. Richard says:

        Well Of course Vettel did not do a second run in Singapore either but it was quite close with Rosberg as a consequence. They are different circuits things may not be as cut and dried as we think, and of course the weather may also intervene. I hope Hamilton can take the fight to Vettel, but Mercedes does not have the speed or agility of the Red Bull. Alonso will of course initially make up ground, but the degradation will pull him backwards later on. Grosjean may also be one to watch!

  12. kfzmeister says:

    Hope Hamilton and Vettel get into a scrap tomorrow. Hoping that Ham can slipstream Seb on the long straight.

  13. Matt H says:

    Another race for second place. Think ill pass on this one!

    Maybe red bull could be kind and leave vettel on the jacks and drop him to the back for a laugh they’ve already won both championships by a mile

  14. Harshad says:

    Ok so Hamilton fell short again!
    baring safety car/rain threat, it looks like Vettel could win it by leading race from start to finish.

    Grosjean great job, he has real chance to overtake Hamilton at the start and podium finish should be a real possibility.

    Alonso, starting 5th I suspect he will be 3rd/4th by the end of lap1, Ferrari will be difficult to overtake on the straights though.

    Kimi and Webber will have a lot of overtaking to do if they have to get any where near a podium.

    1. Grant H says:

      Grosjean is looking great at the moment, maybe he has put the gremlins of the past behind, kimi’s onboard lap in comparison looked rubbish

  15. Sammy says:

    Boring qualifying session.

    Another cruise to victory for Seb me predicts!

  16. Random 79 says:

    Good effort by Sauber, otherwise business as usual.

    Keep an eye on Mark tomorrow, from 13th hopefully he’s going to be the one doing the real racing ;)

  17. Paige says:

    Looks Gutierrez is really finding his form. This is really great to see, and I’m glad that Sauber has had a lot of patience with him. The kid showed in the lower ranks that he has plenty of talent- as many young drivers have. He needed to improve, for sure, but he also needed to be given a chance and to be given some time. Of course, it helps a lot that he has a better car, but he’s also really close to Hulkenberg’s pace, so he has stepped it up from his side, as well.

    I really hope this continues and that it sets a trend for the future. People are complaining that there isn’t enough talent in the pipeline coming into F1, but there have been and are plenty of talented young drivers who’ve gotten the chance and it didn’t work out because of the limitations of their teams or because they weren’t put on the right development program. (Red Bull program, anyone?) And if a driver doesn’t get one of the rare opportunities to drive a top car, he’ll never have success, anyways. It’s not like it is in NASCAR, where the teams are all relatively even and a young driver going to any multi-car team is going to have a real shot to win.

    1. Elie says:

      You took the words right out of my finger tips.

      Also the dilemma over “Hulks’ Bulk” is just crazy.. He’s showing that even if he’s carrying 10kg more than average he can still fight at the front with his skill. If it ends up 15kgs more than the min weight requirements next year- he’s still going to find 3/10sec over the average driver anyway I hope he gets the chance to drive either in Lotus or Sauber next year. Seems fitting as we’re talking about chances..

  18. Glennb says:

    Congrats to Seb again. Nice lap as usual. I was surprised to see him abort the lap. The sector times were not awful. Possibly a team decision to ensure Seb could abort his lap and save a little rubber. That would make sense with Webbers penalty.
    I was thinking they would leave Mark out of Q3 and start him from the pitlane with new tyres and a speedy setup. I guess that’s why I’m not in F1 :)
    Hope the Saubers have some race pace. That will make the race a little more interesting for the minor points.

    1. Glennb says:

      Ooooops…. 3rd sentence.
      i was surprised to see *Mark* abort the lap.

  19. Harsha says:

    James, off topic but kinda related to qualifying times, I was wondering if the recent comments with regards to driver weight has any impact on heavier drivers, like Jenson, Hulk and Mark. Could this be a reason why they don’t get so many poles? For example, Mark was .2s off Vettel, due to additional weight? That being the case, should it not be the case with all GPs? How is it that Button or Webber, even Hulk put their cars on pole? Teammates underperformed? Is there a way these heavier guys can adjust their driving times to negate this advantage? Worth an analysis?

    1. Clear View says:

      Currently the car with driver are always under weight and they can add ballast and use this ballast weight to help get balance in the car (added front or rear) if you start with a driver car combo that is over weight to start you are screwed from the start. So due to the extra unexpected weight of the new power trains, which are heavier than the original predictions and therefore leaving less weight for the driver to make up to hit minimum, only the lighter guys are being considered and even then they may not need any ballast which will hurt car set up some what. I read 1kg of weight = 0.03s per average lap. The teams all run their cars as light as possible hence the reason for random weighbridge checks, I would imagine with minimum fuel for FIA testing purposes the cars only way a few grams over minimum weight, I’m sure James will correct me if I’m wrong. So running anything more than a few grams over weight will eat into your cars competitivness and be undesired. This is why drivers weights are being examined. If they simply raise minimum by 10 or 15kg the problem is gone. BUT we all know F1 teams can’t agree and those with lighter drivers will argue for keeping it as it is.

      Very unfortunate side effect of the new regs and power plants. They are around 10-12kg heavier than predicted when the rules were written.

      1. Harsha says:

        That being the case, would it not work for the teams with lighter drivers as they could add that much amount of more ballast to compensate and shift the weight distribution for more downforce? Being a complete noob here..But trying to understand it at the same time..so bear with me if it sounds stupid..

      2. Clear View says:

        I would guess the lap time gain of running lighter than your opponents is greater than the gain for running the same weight with a better distribution. Especially if your runnj g say 10kg lighter than the man next to you and you can do it legally. I believe that 10kg of extra weight is around 0.3sec/lap if I remember correctly from James’ race previews about fuel cost on lap time. If you can run 0.3 quicker for 60laps that’s 18seconds which is near as damn it a pit stop, so you could live with aero deficit from having less ballast to move round, which may hurt your tyres more , but if it gives you a free stop then you can pretty much always have fresher rubber than the guy who are running over weight with no balast to move round for extra scope on set up because if you’re already over minimum weight you sure as hell ain’t gonna wanna add even more so it’s loose loose to the heavier driver car combo.
        To sum it up : running over weight with no spare ballast to help with set up is going to give the guy who is bang on weight with some ballast to help set up and handling a tremendous advantage as his car is lighter and therefore quicker and he will have a better setup and ballance due to being able to place ballast where it’s needed and this will just make his lap time advantage even greater. If you got half a second a lap advantage over your rivals and it’s legal, there is no way you or your team are going to want to give that advantage away by allowing an increase in minimum weight. Obviously the teams with heavier drivers or teams struggling to bring down the weight of their car, are going to be all for the increase and will lobby hard, but unless all teams agree the change can’t be made as far as I know, even a majority vote would be hard to get the change, esespecially if over half the teams have at least 1 driver who comes in with his car under weight before ballast is added.

        I hope that helps you understand, no question is stupid if it’s rellevent. You never stop learning about F1 as it’s a living evolving entity.

  20. RogerW says:

    Let’s hope it rains ….

  21. Scuderia McLaren says:

    Wow! This guy is going to pass Senna’s 65 poles before he gets even close to Senna’s 160 odd races!

    This is the new Ayrton Senna. I am proud to be living to see the emergence of Sebastian Vettel.

    1. vd says:

      He is great but he is no Senna, he can stack up as much numbers and statistic as he can but will never have the charisma and charm. Don’t get me wrong Vettel is incredible and if we need to make a literature parallel, he is a successful great novelist, but Senna was a poet.

      1. clyde says:

        +100

      2. justafan says:

        Vettel doesn’t need to crash into rivals to win a Championship. That’s the biggest difference to Senna, the crashing poet.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        He did that once (1990), and he took inspiration from Prost who was the first to crash into his rival to secure the F1 crown(1989). Even then, Senna returned to the track and overtook Nannini to claim victory in Japan, but Prost and his French pal, the president of the FIA, Balestre, still needed to intervene to take Senna’s victory away in 1989.

      4. Jaybrig says:

        +1 lol

      5. vdl says:

        Everybody picks his champion and is so complicated to compare different eras with different stories and circumstances, but I’ll go for Senna celebrating in Brazil ’91, and leave to you “ding ring ding yeah baby that’s what I’m talking about” of any of Vettel wins, if that’s what you like.

    2. SteveS says:

      If Ayrton Senna was driving today people would hate him. “He only wins because he has the fastest car, he’s always putting the car on pole and then racing away for the win”, they’d say. “It’s boring”.

      1. trev says:

        Senna won multiple GP’s in his Lotus against the much quicker Mclaren and Williams

      2. anon says:

        Vettel got a pole and won a race in a Toro Rosso!

      3. Anil Parmar says:

        Senna beat Prost in 88 in the car. Im not sure if you’ve ever heard of Alain Prost but he was a pretty big deal…

        Senna also had this thing called charisma; there was an aura about him and whenever he spoke everyone would just shut up and listen.

        Oh. And his performance in the 86 and 87 cars was nothing short of outstanding and in dominant cars he was incredible.

    3. Elie says:

      I will tell you now Scud Mac- if he ends up with 12 titles and twice every other stat–he will never be as good as Senna.No disrespect to Seb. but if ask anyone that saw Senna drive and they will tell he was one if a kind.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        words of wisdom, at last.

      2. Jaybrig says:

        You don’t know that vettel isn’t or won’t be as good as senna. Wasn’t it Giorgio ascanelli, former engineer for senna, that said when vettel was at toro rosso, “twice in my life I have been touched by perfection”, referring to vettel and senna.

      3. Elie says:

        Yes I do know ! I’ve seen what Senna done in a bad car and in the wet-every single race- every single lap- he was on it and no one else came close and there were drivers called Michael Schumacher and Prost around him.In Brazil 1989 his ridiculously under steering Mclaren that was stuck in 6th gear had to be wrestled for 5 laps. He could not even raise his arms to hug his team and could barely hold the trophy.
        I’ve seen what Sebs done and Im starting to see how he thinks and while he’s brilliant- he’s not even close. What Kimi did to him at Hungary on 30 lap tyres is just one small example. There are many examples including how many times Webber out qualified Seb previously and his reaction when he gets beaten by lesser cars.

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      Normally scud, i take some form of pleasure reading your comments, but this one is insane. I guess you’re looking for a reaction, right?

      Senna raced a Toleman and nearly won in his fifth race. Forget Seb’s Toro Rosso, that was a Red Bull with a Ferrari engine.
      Between 1985, 86 and 87 he raced a Lotus that was at best the fourth best overall, but Senna got pole positions and 6 race wins.

      His first dominant car was the 1988 Mclaren, and he took 13 poles in 16 races and won 8 races. This against a driver that is ranked in the top 5 in history.
      In 1989, the car was generally better than the competition and once again secured 13 poles. Various issues with unreliability and a team-mate called Prost meant no total domination by Senna.
      1990, Ferrari were equal to Mclaren, yet he won the WDC.
      By 1991, the writing was on the wall and the Williams Renault developed into the fastest car.
      92 and 93 were dominated by Williams, and yet Senna still performed miracles such as at Donington in 1993.

      If you want to compare dominant eras, you can only include 1988 and 1989, when he took 26 poles from 32 races.
      The unreliability of cars made a difference to the amount of wins and the fact that he was teamed with the second best driver in the world meant something.

      Put Hamilton or Alonso against Seb and let’s see the stats at the end of 32 races. I guarantee it wouldn’t compare.

      But as I said, I know you know all this, and I’m full aware that you want to provoke people.

      Strange

      1. Rockie says:

        Why this silly line all the time it sounds stupid and seems uninformed.
        “Forget Seb’s Toro Rosso, that was a Red Bull with a Ferrari engine.”

        The redbull was a midfield car as well so whats the redbull with a ferrari engine like its the same car today with a faster engine.

  22. furstyferret says:

    Im afraid both mercs will get swallowed up in the first few laps on full fuel they are so sluggish, the last third there pick up real speed but it be to late_1st vettal_2nd grosiean_3rd Alonso. ?

    1. Karen says:

      mmm…. listening to Ross Brawn talking to one of the Sky commentators this morning (cant remember who) he was mentioning how well Hamilton’s car did fuel-wise. Methinks that might mean they will be planning to under-fuel Lewis to keep up with Vettel. Problem is Mercedes always seem to mess this up – how many times have we heard them telling their drivers to slow down and save fuel – you used to hear it a lot in previous years when Michael was in the team too. So Lewis may do well to start but will probably have to fuel-save and lose places at the end.

  23. anon says:

    Was Hamilton sulking in the post qualifying interview because Merc made him wear a cap or does Vettel just have him completely demoralised at this point??

    How about Alonso? Only out-qualifying the Saubers with their works Ferrari engines by 0.2 of a second. Kimi beaten again by Grosjean. 1.3 seconds. I know he has a back problem, but 1.3 seconds?? I think Ferrari have made a mistake committing next year to two guys who consistently struggle to get their cars higher than the third row.

    I think a Vettel win with Hamilton and Alonso making up the podium in any order. Alonso should have a strong car again and will gain places at the start due to how strong the Ferrari is off a standing start and will be at least third by the end of lap 3.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      The engines in the Sauber are identical to the Ferrari.

      1. anon says:

        Okay so Alonso could only out-qualify a car with the same engine, a far inferior chassis, and a small budget by 0.2 of a second. And let’s not forget Hulkenberg qualifying third ahead of Alonso at Monza!

    2. Ealdfrith says:

      “I think Ferrari have made a mistake committing next year to two guys who consistently struggle to get their cars higher than the third row.”

      But of course, just put Vettel in Alonso’s (or Kimi’s for that matter) car and he will deliver P1 after P1.

      Genius…

      1. anon says:

        Vettel in the Ferrari would have won the 2010 and 2012 championships. He’d also be leading this season. Up until Spa the Ferrari had been on balance the best car. The Red Bull had only been quickest at Bahrain and Montreal yet Vettel still built a big lead on the field.

      2. Anil Parmar says:

        Vettel built a big lead on the field due to alonsos retirement in MAL and his drs failure in Bahrain. Also Merc were were nowhere back then.

        And I think most people would tell you that Alonso in the 2009-2013 Red Bulls wouod have walked to the championship; can you imagine Alonso making as many mistakes as Seb did in 09 and 2010 and struggling in 2012 as much as Seb did before the diffuser upgrades in Singapore?

        Top drivers will win in top cars. Put lewis, Seb and Alonso in the best cars and they would challenge for the title, easily.

      3. Bartholomew says:

        @Anil Parmar- Alonso made quite a few errors of his own in 2010- Australia turn 1 incident, China jump start, Monaco missed qualifying, Britain cut corner while fighting Kubica, Belgium crash. Further, Alonso has certainly left more points on the table than Vettel this year, especially at Malaysia and Monaco.

        Vettel didn’t even really struggle that much in 2012, especially in the races. Though he improved in the second half, it was really after Valencia that he lost ground inthe standings, when his alternator went while leading. He also led the championship after Bahrain/Spain.

      4. anon says:

        “Vettel built a big lead on the field due to alonsos retirement in MAL and his drs failure in Bahrain. Also Merc were were nowhere back then.”

        Vettel was leading comfortably at Silverstone when his car broke down. That’s 25 points gone.

        Alonso retiring in Malaysia was due to a driver error and the problem in Bahrain was exacerbated by Alonso using his broken DRS for a second time, which meant a second pitstop. Plus he still got points that day since he had a really good car. When Vettel had a problem at Silverstone he got zero points.

        A”nd I think most people would tell you that Alonso in the 2009-2013 Red Bulls wouod have walked to the championship; can you imagine Alonso making as many mistakes as Seb did in 09 and 2010 and struggling in 2012 as much as Seb did before the diffuser upgrades in Singapore?”

        Really? In 2009. The Brawn was untouchable for the first half of a the season. Vettel was incredible in 2009. It was his second full season in F1 and he out drove his highly respected teammate. Came into Webber’s team and beat him.

        I think Vettel made a couple of mistakes, but it was his third full season in F1. Webber made a big mistake at Korea, Alonso made a big one at Spa. Both mistakes cost them championships. Both drivers were far, far more experienced than Vettel.

        As for 2012, you’re forgetting that Vettel won Bahrain and was comfortably leading when he had an alternator problem at Valencia. Webber only beat him three times in that first half of the season. Big deal. It’s not like Webber beat over the course of the season. Alonso’s teammate beat him in 2004, 2007. Hamilton’s teammate beat him in 2011.

      5. Bartholomew says:

        Well, I think with him or Lewis it’d get closer to the front row on a consistent basis.

      6. IMHO Seb would qualify higher than Alonso or Kimi. It is just an opinion. Just check his times at Toro Rosso…

      7. Clear View says:

        That Toro rosso had the RB chassis, after the ’08 season that was outlawed and Toro Rosso had to design their own hence why they have not been so competitive since, they ain’t got any Newey in em!

      8. James Allen says:

        At the time RB used a loophole whereby the car was designed by Newey for Red Bull Technologies a 3rd party company and the two teams both bought their cars from that party. So the Toro Rosso was essentially a Red Bull with a different engine, arguably a better one than Renault at the time – Ferrari had won the 2007 title remember.

      9. Fada says:

        + 100. Why even border waste some calories replying such naive comments.

      10. clyde says:

        Heh Heh

    3. Elie says:

      Kimi putting his car into the wall on a Friday probably didn’t make it perfect for Saturday. But I’m guessing if you look at what he did at Singapore I wouldn’t right him off just yet..also 10:3 in his favour on Sundays should tell you something..btw he’s back is ok – he doesn’t need excuses.

      As for Fernando he will jump a few places at the start like he always does and stay there till the end.

      As for Ferrari- they don’t hire drivers who are good for 2 or three races a year. They hire drivers who are good for. 2 or 3 seasons and in this regard they have 2 of the very best. So lets no throw the baby out with the bath water just yet…

  24. Warren G says:

    Doesn’t appear as if the driver can make any significant difference on this track. Most of the teams are lining up in pairs with the team mates seperated by less than 2 tenths in a lot of cases.

    Hope we get a good race but without any kind of outside interference (rain, loose turf, reliability etc), I can’t see it. Such a shame how the season just fizzled out.

  25. Mickey78 says:

    @James,
    What would be the reason for you removing my comment
    placed at the article “Horner dismisses suggestions Red Bull are using banned traction control system” ?
    Really strange, i thought everybody is allowed placing their comments, aslong as it is in a decent way.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Obviously I don’t know what your original comment was so I can’t comment on that, but I can tell you I’ve had one or two deleted.

      So far as I can tell it was because they were just a bit too silly or perhaps a bit too caustic, both of which usually happen when I’ve just finished work and I’m tireder than usual.

      There’s also the fact that that article is a few days old now and I’ve noticed that the fresher comments get modded first, and sometimes ones that are too old get left by the wayside altogether.

      Either way you have to accept that it’s Jame’s site and it’s up to him what goes through and what doesn’t…even if his decisions do leave you scratching your head at times :)

  26. Oddz says:

    http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/24182/8955706/sebastian-vettel-under-fire-from-fellow-f1-drivers-after-singapore-comments

    James what do you think of Vettel saying the other driver are hanging their b***s in the pool?

  27. Andrew M says:

    Never underestimate what Alonso can do during the race obviously, but at this rate I think Vettel will sew up the title comfortably before Abu Dhabi. India might even be possible, meaning he’d sew up the title at the same point of the season as 2011. Who’d have though that before the summer break.

  28. Rob Newman says:

    Not sure if qualifying on pole is an advantage here. The cars following will get a very good tow on the straight. Grosjean could be a threat to those who on the fist row. Hope he keeps his nose clean.

    Ferrari has improved and expecting to be on the first or second row but the drivers failed to deliver.

    Webber’s taxi ride cost him massively and has put his best friend on the cleaner side as well. Some people are always lucky.

    Hamilton should keep his eyes on the fast starting Ferraris rather than on Vettel. He is not fighting for the championship but the Mercedes duo needs to make sure they finish in front of the Ferraris.

    1. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

      “Ferrari has improved and expecting to be on the first or second row but the drivers failed to deliver.”

      Really…. a report with 10 graphs to explain it, please, and don’t forget to mention 2000 pages of bibliography…

    2. Sasidharan says:

      the person who was lucky, always came second in Vetel era, and also lost to Kimi by

    3. Yago says:

      “Ferrari has improved…” LOL Are you sure you are watching 2013 F1 championship?

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      I wish there was a tool where you could click on a name and see his previous posts.

      If you are only starting to know Mr Newman, you will start to see a pattern emerge.

      Basically, the Ferrari is the fastest car on the track, but it is being held back by the performance of the Spaniard, who really has been lucky with his wins, his starts and his championships.

      Newman has never explained himself to me, but I suspect he had his wife taken by a Spaniard at some point, so hates them all..

      1. Rob Newman says:

        LOL! well, you need to see who was the luckiest person when both Rosberg and Webber hit trouble during the race today.

  29. Grant says:

    Webber still gets a podium, even though the setup on his car was changed to race-setup, given the penalty.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Was a good effort, shame to see it go to waste.

      No free rides in F1 it seems :)

  30. bearforce says:

    I am not nearly as knowledgeable as a lot of people on here but to me that pole lap looked amazing to me.

    I am a huge Vettel fan and the lap was so smooth and it looked effortless. I always think the best sportsmen makes things look easy, effortless and graceful.

    a Bram ba am baba..
    ding ding
    Br-Br-Break It
    ding ding
    Bem De Dem!

    1. Marco says:

      Easy to spot vettel fans, no need to say.
      Iabadabadoo

      1. Random 79 says:

        Yes they stick out like…well, like a finger ;)

  31. James you just have to give it to Adrian Newey. The man is a genius. Vettel too for maximising the car on all tracks. Mind I hope Hamilton wins tomorrow though.

    1. anon says:

      Newey was no less a genius in the 2000′s when he didn’t win a single drivers or constructors title.

      He does have Vettel piloting his machines now. That’s the big difference.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Yes, but the Red Bulls tend to break down a bit less than the the old McLarens did.

      2. Jaybrig says:

        Excellent point, which is frequently overlooked. Just to be clear, that’s 10 years with no championships. 10 years. Genius? Maybe, but clearly demonstrates you need lots of other factors, including a top driver at the top of his game.

      3. Anil says:

        The difference in the early 2000′s was that Ferrari made huge advancements in terms of facilities and most importantly reliability. It took the other teams until 2007-2008 to replicate what Ferrari were doing in terms of reliable parts. Macca could well have won the 2003 and 2005 titles but had numerous failures.

      4. anon says:

        Ferrari’s reliability was a function of having by far the best driver in the world driving their car. McLaren had to push and push their machinery to the limits in order to make up those few tenths Schumacher had over their drivers.

      5. SteveS says:

        That’s a bit of myth making. Kimi had three DNF’s in 2003 but only one was mechanical. Vettel had worse reliability in 2010 and again in 2012.

      6. Anil Parmar says:

        SteveS, I wasn’t talking about Seb in 2010 and 2012..

        Ferrari made incredible strides in the early 2000s and left everyone behind. 2003 should have been Williams’ year but reliability and driver inconsistency let them down. James Allen did a great book on Schumacher called the ‘Edge of greatness’ on those years, I highly recommend you read it :)

      7. Andrew says:

        Even Damon Hill could win in a Newey car. He must be the weakest world champion in history.

        See how Vettel does in a normal car one day…

      8. furstyferret says:

        [mod] hill wasn’t the greatest driver f1 has ever seen, but you do not get his record without being a very good f1 driver..

      9. James Allen says:

        Please don’t insult other posters

      10. Andrew says:

        Furstyferret

        Who is a weaker world champion than Hill?

        I’m not saying he was a bad driver but he only won the championship because his car was so dominant and he had a rookie team mate.

      11. Bartholomew says:

        Hill had numerous chances to win the title (1993-1995), yet only did so once in 1996, with a rookie teammate. Hill isn’t that bad, though, he did well for Jordan in ’98 and Arrows in ’97.

        Vettel delivered the title three times (becoming the youngest champion), both by dominating a season to a greater extent than Hill ever did, and twice having to fight tooth and nail against an experienced teammate and/or other top drivers.

        Though the Toro Rosso was designed by Newey, it was a “normal car” (or worse) by performance. Vettel at 21 put it much higher than it deserved (looking at his teammate, Toro Rosso’s other results both pre and post Vettel, and Red Bull Racing’s results pre-2009 reg changes).

      12. Gazza says:

        @anon

        How do you account for 1992,1993,1994,1996,1997,1998 then?

        Vettel didn’t drive the cars in those years did he.

        Conclusion.

        Newey doesn’t need Vettel. Its more the other way around IMHO.

      13. anon says:

        1994? Schumacher won the championship and was beating Senna 20 points to nil after two races. He was also effectively robbed of 40 points by punishments that hardly fit the crime.

        This was despite being in the inferior Benetton with its weaker Ford engine.

      14. clyde says:

        Yeah right

      15. Elie says:

        Anon you don’t have a clue. Different eras different regs. Mclaren cars had at least 7 Merc engine failures, gearbox failures, rear wing fall off, electrical failures between 2003-2005 alone. They cost one of their drivers almost 2 certain WC in 2003 and 2005.. So make like a book worm and read up before you post meaningless posts.

      16. Clear View says:

        Here here, there is a lot of difference between knowing your s#!t and knowing you’re s#!t…….

      17. hero_was_senna says:

        Bear in mind that those years also saw a Ferrari designed by the only other design genius, Rory Byrne.
        And he’s been working hard on the 2014 Ferrari since March..

    2. Tim says:

      It’s like James said in an earlier blog, it’s the symbiosis of car and driver. Remove either one from the equation and you have nothing.

    3. Pargo says:

      And yet if it was Lewis driving the Adrian Newey car, Lewis would be branded the genius.

    4. Rob Newman says:

      Why do you want to give it to Newey? I didn’t see him driving the car.

    5. justafan says:

      Yet from 2000 to 2004 Newey had no response to Schumacher’s devastating speed. Sam in 1994 and 1995.

  32. Laurence H says:

    I think Grosjean’s first win is coming before the end of the season… It just needs a Red Bull mistake…

    1. Yago says:

      It’s a very good chance for him tomorrow if Vettel fails. They are incredibly fast around here!

    2. Rob Newman says:

      I don’t think it needs a Red Bull mistake. This guy is good and the car is also good. It is a matter of time. He just needs to control his excitement.

  33. H.Guderian says:

    REALLY? VET on P1? Are you sure?
    Did he win the race? REALLY?

    This is totally out of the blue.

    (Boooooooring!!!)

    1. SteveS says:

      Comments like that? Boooooring!

      1. H.Guderian says:

        Do you like to see VET win race after race, WDC after WDC??? So… Relax and enjoy.

        (Switching to MotoGP)

    2. bearforce says:

      Here is something for you http://thewonderfulworldoff1.tumblr.com/post/49846287601/f1marv-fernandos-2006-celebrations-never-say

      and people complain about Vettel’s finger. Sheesh….

      1. Elie says:

        Their great celebrations!– better than someone sticking a 1 finger in your “face”.. Like we don’t know he just came first-he’s a moron

      2. Bartholomew says:

        If Vettel wants to celebrate by reiterating his position, then he should be allowed to do so without armchair critics calling him a “moron”, thank you.

      3. Elie says:

        No one said he can’t

      4. Bartholomew says:

        Except for the bit where you threw in that childish insult.

      5. H.Guderian says:

        HAHAHAHAAH!!!!!

        Great post.

        Thanks!!!

    3. Grant says:

      We must thank RBR though for at least sandbagging during free practice.
      Otherwise the whole weekend would have been just boring.

  34. Matthew Cheshire says:

    What’s happened to Kimi? Is it the back injury, poverty or his motivation moved to Marinello already?

    Grosjean is making sense of the number one driver promotion.

    Two races behind Alonso and Ferrari will have a high cost back marker. Again.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      That’s funny because I can’t remember Kimi qualifying on the back row in his first spell at Maranello.

    2. Fireman says:

      He made a mistake on his only run in P3. Also, he hasn’t found proper setup for the new tires. Too much understeer.

      1. Matthew Cheshire says:

        I hope you are right. Kimi’s Q1 time would have just got him out of Q3. Something was wrong somewhere.

        But Grosjean is also qualifying higher consistently now. So something isn’t right there either.

      2. Fireman says:

        Kimi also had damaged front wing during P3. They noticed that after the qualifying.

  35. Mark Taylor says:

    Webber had no chance against Vettel in the 3rd sector due to his low down force setup. At least his 13th grid place will give us something to look for in the race as he moves up the field… I have a feeling Vettel will be lonely up the front for 55 laps

    1. Yago says:

      Good point. Pretty good lap from Webber. But it was more due to traffic affecting Vettel’s last lap.

  36. KRB says:

    Frig, I watched this, and the BBC feed at times had only the sounds of Coulthard in the studio, no engine sound at all. It was quite bad, you could hear Coulthard shuffling his papers!

    Is that down to the poor infrastructure at the track, or just a one-off? I seem to recall something similar happening last year here as well.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Watched it on One HD (Channel Ten) in Aus and it was fine.

      Coulthard shuffling papers: Could be more exciting than the actual race tomorrow methinks :)

    2. Rob Newman says:

      I watched both Sky and BBC. Didn’t have any problem at all but I watched on the BBC HD channel.

  37. MickeyRSA says:

    Lotus to win, Red bull follows

  38. danny11 says:

    This is just a big joke! I was into racing myself when I was teenager (go cart) and to see car this dominant trough out whole year is simply boring and it is hurting the sport big time. Has almost nothing to do with Vettels ability and like Hamilton sad it is not the driver that him and others are up against but car that is miles ahead of others! Give that car to any of drivers from top 10. and he will be a champion. I know some of Vettels fans will ask; So why is Webber not wining then. Simply because after season 2010 when he as beating Vettel on regular basis he is not driving same car as him, period. And now he is being kicked out of team like a dog. I will stop watching races this year and if RBR continues to dominate next year I will stop watching it completely, maybe even for good! I did the same during MS era and I have been a fan of F1 for full 30. years! Good job Bernie! Do something or you will lose a lot of F1 supporters and a lot of your precious money!!!!

    1. K says:

      Dominant through put the whole year? Are you sure you watched the entire season?

      The RBR was not the fastest until 8-9 races in and they were still leading, Vettel and RBR. The fastes cars were Ferrari for the first 5 races and then mercedes for 4-5 races and Lotus was always around and RBR too. Since the summer break only is RBR the best car.

      The amount of sour grapes that is making people make up stuff is hilarious to observe though.

      If you don’t like to see a team that does the best job win, you need to try another sport.

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        I think you need to rewatch the races again.. Not saying Rb were as fast in the beginning as they are now, but the car has been very competitive at every track, which cannot be said about Lotus/Mercedes/Ferrari. The other teams have been far more inconsistent.

      2. anon says:

        Up until Spa, the Red Bull was only fastest at Bahrain and Montreal. Sure it was always up there – much like Alonso’s “slow” Ferrari was always up there last year. Vettel being able to bring in strong finishes without the fastest machinery was due to Vettel’s driving ability. I didn’t see Webber winning races or finishing consistently on the podium.

        Vettel’s been consistent and hasn’t made a mistake all year. Alonso and to some extent Hamilton have had the cars to take the fight to Vettel but have been inconsistent. Look at Monaco were Alonso basically threw in the towel. That was after winning comprehensively with the best car in Spain. Alonso should have had a lead over Vettel going into the summer break given how strong his car was in the first half of the year.

      3. Lewis says:

        K you’re deluding yourself saying the Red Bull wasn’t quickest until the 9th race, rewatch those races again and you’ll see that barring Australia, China and Spain the Red Bull has been at least the equal of every car.

      4. K says:

        Where did I say it was not competitive? I clearly said the RBR was always around there.

        Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus had the faster car in most races before the summer break (just watch the races) but RBR had the better team operations and driver performance.

        The guy I was responding to was talking about a ‘dominant car through out whole year’, which is totally false, RBR did not have that before the summer break.

      5. Miha Bevc says:

        You are right. RB are dominant after summer break. But most “fans” will forget that. They already did!

      6. Alexander Supertramp says:

        Ferrari had the fastest car at some races, Lotus was often “faster” by needing less pitstops and Mercedes has been behind Red Bull all year on sunday. Vettel has been very deserving/consistent, but the speed of his car was also very consistent. I have said it before, nobody wins a race without a fast car and I believe Seb has had a fast car (capable of winning) at every race this year and there is not 1 other driver out there that can say that. I’m not taking anything away from Seb because his driving has been very very strong, I just don’t believe anyone can argue that Seb has a car advantage as well.. He didn’t have a car advantage in let’s say Spain, but the consistent speed of his car over a whole year at clearly every venue grants him a general car advantage. This is my subjective view on Vettel vs.Kimi’s car:

        -Australia:RB quick in qualifying,good in the race. Lotus better on the tyres. RB 8/10, Lotus 8.5/10

        -Malaysia: No specific car advantage for RB IMO, but car very capable of winning the race-demonstrated by the 1-2. The Lotus was struggling. RB 8/10, Lotus 6.5/10.

        -China: Good qualifying by Kimi, Seb’s choice not to run in Q3 compromises his race, but he recovers from p9 to p4 with a podium worthy car (faster than Hamilton on p3). RB 8/10, Lotus 8/10

        -Bahrein: Same podium as 2012, no coincidence. RB has quali edge over Lotus. RB 8.5/10 Lotus 8/10.

        -Spain: Lotus better on tyres, Red Bull competitive. Red Bull 7.5/10, Lotus 8.5/10

        - Monaco: RB quali advantage, very important in Monaco. RB best car of the week-end. Within fractions of Mercedes in qualifying, but Seb would have covered the race distance faster than Nico had he been in front.RB 8.5/10, Lotus 7.5/10

        - Canada: Rb fastest of the week-end, easily managing gap during the race. Lotus very inconsistent. RB 8.5/10, Lotus 7/10.

        -Silverstone: RB just as quick as Mercedes, Hamilton better than Rosberg/Webber, Vettel better than Rosberg/Webber and on par with Hamilton and Webber on par with Rosberg. Lotus there or thereabouts. RB 8.5/10, Lotus 7.5/10

        - Germany: Rb advantage in qualy, Lotus better on tyres. This was a Vettel win for me. RB 8/10, Lotus 8/10. This race among others shows that Vettel would be a deserving champion in 2013, also winning with equal weapons.

        - Hungary: Jenson killed Seb’s race, Seb could have been the fastest on track. Lotus was strong, competitive. RB 8.5/10, Lotus 8/10

        That brings Seb’s car total to 82 or 8.2 on average. Kimi is on 77 or 7.7 average. This makes for a small-medium car advantage, but most important it shows that Seb has had a very strong car at every race. After Hungary, before the summer break Seb has a 38 points advantage on Kimi. My subjective view: Car advantage from Vettel on Kimi, but not enough to legitimate 38 points. Seb has IMO been better than Kimi in 2013.

        My conclusion is the same: car advantage vis à vis kimi: growing through the year, but combined with very strong/most consistent drives. The car advantage is there, but should be put into perspective. Vettel could/would probably still win this year’s title without the advantage -if for instance every rival had a 8/10 car at every race. His own performance has been on par with his machinery wich results in a devastating combination. Let’s just hope that the car advantage disappears in the future, he doesn’t need the training wheels.

      7. Elie says:

        Completely wrong. Lotus doesn’t work on low downforce track-Canada/ Spa/Monza- doesn’t work in the wet– it’s not even a 6/10 on those tracks.

        It’s great to give Seb credit in a car that works on all tracks and all conditions -mark webber has proved that-even if Sebs car carries greater reliability and different configurations. Kimi embarrassed Seb at Hungary on tyres three times older.. And a car that was 1/2 second slower — so go back to the drawing board and have a rethink won’t you …

      8. Bartholomew says:

        +1 Alexander Supertramp, thank you for the subjective, but very fair analysis.

      9. Bartholomew says:

        @Elie – It was near impossible to pass in Hungary, especially with RBR’s low top speed, and without Kimi making an error (like Webber vs. Hamilton). “Embarrassed” is far from it. Webber has definitively NOT proven how good the RB9 is, sitting 5th in the championship, with no wins.

        Also, Alex’s analysis is only for the first part of the year, so not including Spa/Monza, the latter of which Grosjean outperformed Raikkonen anyway (plus RG outqualified KR at Spa).

      10. K says:

        The car advantage was there after the summer break. Before that it was mainly Ferrari the first 5 races, Lotus, Merc and RBR were around here and there.

        You left out a lot of things in your post there intentionally.

    2. AK says:

      Good to know its all about the car. So far Mercedes has 8 pole positions and Red Bull 6.
      Still Vettel has more pp than either Merc driver !

      Since 2010 alot of things happened, one of them was Vettel getting better and gaining in experince and confidence. He was younger then than Ricciardo, Hulkenberg or Grosjean (who is 2 years Vettels senior)are now and they are still given time to make mistakes and lern from them, right. And Webbo getting kicked out ? He is the oldest driver in F1 now, obviously he isnt driving a Red Bull until his pension plan kicks in and it was time for him to make room for a young charger. It was his choice anyway.

    3. David says:

      I do not agree with your view. These periods of domination don’t last forever, and I kind of like knowing I am watching a record being set. It lights a fire under the other teams and drivers that will eventually topple the champion, and it all begins again with someone else. Also, people should appreciate the incredible battle going on within the top 5 or 6 drivers, it is very entrtaining. And finally, your assesment of Vettels ability is way off. He is a world class driver and to suggest it is all the car is simply not true. When people like James, Gary, and David Coulthard etc. tell me Seb is worthy of his title, I believe them.

    4. Jaybrig says:

      Danny11 You should watch wwe, it’s staged so you’re guaranteed to watch entertaining matches that are never one-sided.

    5. Bartholomew says:

      A fan for 30 years he claims, and yet silly enough to believe that the reason a late 30-something driver (who holds the record for most races before a win) can’t keep up with an improved young 20-something (who was the sport’s youngest ever racewinner) is because they don’t have the same car.

      You just can’t make this stuff up.

    6. SteveS says:

      “I have been a fan of F1 for full 30. years!”

      I’m suspicious. F1 fans forums seem to be overflowing with people who claim to have been watching F1 since Fangio was in diapers, but whose recollections of the sport are highly faulty. Though they do say that memory goes as you get older!

      A lot of these professed “greybeards” seem astounded and upset to discover that THE DRIVERS DON”T ALL DRIVE THE SAME CAR IN F1. Perhaps James should do an expose on this startling development.

      1. danny11 says:

        Be suspicious as you want but you are just another wannabe F1 fan that knows only stats and fact that he can find from internet. As opposed to you I personally at least have recollections and you, you don’t even know how turbo charged engine sounded so pls shut your drooling mouth up!

      2. Bartholomew says:

        Surprising that this passed moderation. None of that drivel explained how Webber has a different car after 2010, in which MW lost, despite Vettel having more mechanical issues.

  39. dkfone says:

    Hi James,
    I have been a Formula 1 fanatic since 1998 and for the first time in a long time I am wondering is there any point getting up early for this one? I see another Vettel romps away, Alonso comes through, Merc night quite quick enough race. What do you think?

    And thank you very much for the site and fascinating interview with Mr. Newey!

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s always worth getting up

      Hamilton could get Vettel on the opening lap and then any things possible

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        I forgot to get up this morning and had to watch the rerun. I hope I don’t forget tomorrow.

      2. dkfone says:

        Thanks for replying James. I think I will get up after all!

    2. Bayan says:

      I don’t understand why people thing f1 is boring if there is a team/driver dominating. I always find the races fascinating albeit some more than others. These are unique cars driven at their limits by some of the best drivers in the world. I also enjoy watching the strategies play out.

      1. Clear View says:

        That’s the way I feel about F1, I couldn’t really give 2 hoots who wins the race or championship, drivers or constructors! I am facinated by the way the who thing come together from the team aspect and to be fair I’d watch lawn mower racing if they went fast enough to feel it’s a tad dangerous. This series is not just a driver series and not just a constructor series it needs both to work in harmony to achieve the dizzy heights that RB and SV have.
        I will always get up and watch live, I love it! I’ve watch F1 over 30 years but really only paid attention to the details since around ’98. I can remember the iconic moments I’ve seen over the years but for sure I can’t give any stats off the top of my head lol, come the last race I’m only interested in next year not picking through the left overs.

  40. Fada says:

    Really good lap from seb, i must say. Webber who was sacrificing ultimate quali pace in order to facilitate some overtaking on race day did a 1.37.4, Lewis going all out , did a 1.37.4. That just shows how a step ahead of every other team RB is in terms of raw quali pace. The sector 2 times suggest to me that the W04 is fundamentally on Par with the RB9 in terms of sheer downforce, as has been the case for most of the season. The RB9, however, has the perfect balance in all 3 sectors. Especially in S3 where its all about slows twists, tight turns and good traction. The clever blokes at RB have done a good job with that engine cut torque map thingy and make no mistake about it, it is paying huge dividends right now. There’s no doubt that other non-Renault teams are going to find means and ways to take advantage of this.
    I personally am hoping for a Lewis win tomorrow. Lets see how it all goes

  41. AlexD says:

    Just wondering…how many people stopped watching F1 recently? I find this blog to be everything I need on F1….watching race weekend is pointless.

  42. Valentino from montreal says:

    Vettel is already at 42 poles in his carreer ..

    NOT NORMAL …

    He’s always ”ON IT” … a killing machine ..

    1. dean cassady says:

      … and, unfortunately for everyone else (including fans), getting better, noticeably, almost race over race.
      But I sure would like to see him go somewhere else, and see what he could do.

    2. clyde says:

      Actually hes driving a killer machine :-)

    3. Miha Bevc says:

      True. But then again… Vettel is NOT NORMAL. He is exceptional, whether people like it or not.

    4. Elie says:

      He’s never driven a car Not designed by A. Newey..just sayin…

      1. Bartholomew says:

        He started his career with BMW Sauber actually.

      2. K says:

        The 2008 Torro Rosso was not designed by Newey. People keep mentioning a lie.

        Torro Rosso used the chassis of the Red Bull which was by Newey, but everything else was done by Torro Rosso, nothing to do with Newey. So aero, packaging, mechanics, setup, etc…nothing to do with Newey.

      3. Elie says:

        K.. Are you serious read your own comment back.. If they used a Red Bull chasis and the Red Bull chasis was designed by Newey– what does that mean ?????????? Please don’t waste time by just being oppositional- we all know the other bits on the car can’t be the same… Please Don’t use the word “lie” if you don’t realise what you are saying.

        Bartholew- thanks You are right. His rookie time was with BMW Sauber and he did take we while to come up to speed – he was not Raikkonen or a Hamilton but he clearly impressed enough for the TR drive..

      4. K says:

        I stated a fact. Only the chassis was the same. Everything else was different and Newey had nothing to do with it. That is at most 10% of the car under Newey and 90% not. How can you say it is designed by Newey? That is a lie.

        ALFONSO DE ORLEANS-BORBON:

        “The chassis could have been designed by Newey, but the rest, especially the aero package, which does make a massive difference, was not. Also the whole rear of the car is designed for a different engine, which Red Bull had no input, especially since different engine contracts prohibit any interaction or technical exchange. So yes, Newey designed maybe 25%, but the other 75% was done by Ascanelli and Tost. In engineering terms that means that it was not designed by Newey, even if he contributed.
         
        Another point to keep in mind, remember that Red Bull and Toro Rosso were and still are two separate teams. Which means that everything is done in-house, including all engineering work for set ups and race strategies. Newey had no input with that either, which drops his final contribution with Toro Rosso compared to Red Bull to probably less than 10% total. That is a huge difference.”  

      5. Elie says:

        Blah, blah & Blah again- the chassis although is 25% of the car- is the most crucial part of the car- if you don’t have that right- aero & suspension do not integrate properly. That and the fact that teams copy the aero bits gives them a good basis for the cars aero package. The 2008 TR did take design cues of the Red Bull so I would suggest there was a lot more input than just chassis- despite what Alfonso says.
        Ascanelli yes- he was the designer/ tech director.
        Tost NO- he is team principal and has a background is operations – he’s NOT a designer or technical person.!
        Despite all this I appreciate the car is not a Red Bull. You must be a woman because you’ve got the detail all wrong and your still arguing over nothing..AND you’ve already been moderated for making it personal- which is a just an exercise in futility here.

  43. C Lin says:

    James, what happen to Raikkonen?
    He can’t possibly lost his talent suddenly.
    Could it be tyres?
    I remember Grosjean saying he hated the earlier tyres this year but the “new” tyres are better. Could it be the other way around for Raikkonen? Puzzling.

    1. Fireman says:

      Yeah, Kimi said that they haven’t found proper setup for the new tires. Too much understeer. Today he made a mistake on his final run.

  44. Tom in adelaide says:

    I think F1 would be better without simulators.

    1. Clear View says:

      Why? I’m genuinely interested to hear your opinions.

  45. Marcelo Leal says:

    Kimi is a great driver, but the season is done for him.
    From all the drivers on the grid (some pay to drive), he is the one that is clearly that just because of the money.
    His contract was based on reward for points, and Lotus already has a big debt with him… no sign on the horizon when he will receive, and he already has a contract with Ferrari for next year. Cannot be WDC.. seems not he does not have any interest in anything anymore (no that before he did).

    1. Sujith says:

      Really? That is why he is paying for his own plane tickets and racing.. because he has lost interest in everything….

      1. Ding wamage says:

        It was more than 5 years ago when he last put a car in a wall if I remember correctly. A cynic would ask if this was just a simple mistake or a message to the team? Just joking, but if motivation was ever an issue, this would be the time. He’s not being paid, has back pain, can’t fight for more than 3rd in the WDC and even that isn’t likely to happen, and has secured a great drive for next year, plus his team is clearly ***off with him for leaving. If I were him, I doubt I would turn up for races anymore this year.

      2. Elie says:

        Yet he got in the podium from 13th at Singapore- the toughest drivers track with back issues…there’s no racer like Kimi

    2. Harshad says:

      You seriously didn’t watch Singapore’13/Monza’13 did you?
      He just made a mistake,and paid the price.
      I think this weekend he is just trying too hard!
      On this track it seems it is difficult to overtake because of two back to back DRS Zones.
      However, atleast info from Speed traps suggest that Kimi’s car has better top line than Grosjean,clear indication that car is set up for overtaking tomorrow.
      Just watch Tommorow’s race you will know.

    3. dean cassady says:

      no!
      just maybe, Grosjean is getting the latest updates, and support, since Kimi is going back to Red?

      1. Chromatic says:

        I guess so too. Plus painkillers may be a factor. They uaually warn against operating machinery …

      2. Sujith says:

        I don’t see the need to speculate when Kimi himself has said what the reason is. He said, it was the change in the tyres which does not suit his style (he was fighting the front in Singapore). To be noted, he still did not complain, he said.. he will work to get the speed back.

        And Romanin said… he did not like the tyres before the change. He likes these tyres better. If I was running the Lotus team and if I am seeing Grosjean is quicker I would certainly support him. It is not because.. Kimi is going back to RED overalls. You can see it clearly in the race, when Grosjean is faster and ahead the team gives him first preference.

    4. Fireman says:

      That’s completely false.

  46. Lucas Wilson says:

    Unlike many people, I will be watching tomorrow. Hamilton has proved many times he can take it to Vettel (Austin 2012) and as a Mercedes fan I hope he can pull it off. Even if Vettel wins, the sheer dominance of the RB9 is simply beautiful to watch.

  47. Alexander Supertramp says:

    I bet all the people yelling they won’t watch the race will do so anyway, they should if they claim to love F1.. Let’s share the pain and watch the race, even if RB serve us a massacre.

    I don’t mind RB winning, but I guess it’s just the way they do it. They don’t beat the other teams right now, they crush their will to even compete. Grosjean is starting on P3 and he says he’s not thinking about catching Vettel. Even Lewis, a fighter ’till the end, does not sound too optimistic despite starting 2nd.

    Red Bull have been pushing like hell to wrap the championships as fast as possible because they want to be in a strong position in 2014. The results of their dedication have been devastating. This is a team that was never going to lose the championships in 2013, but also a team that was able to open up a gap so big to ensure them the moral victory of the championships just because they need to focus on winning even more in the future. Red Bull’s hunger for succes has not been satisfied yet and anyone who believes they will fall off the top next year will have an anticlimactic experience. They are not 1 level above the rest, try 2 or more..

    But as always, I will be rooting for the underdog- Go Merc!

  48. Tara says:

    Could someone please explain to me why commentators and some of the general public think Paul de resta deserves a better seat?
    From all I’ve seen of him (especially the last 2 years) he acts like a moaning [mod] who doesn’t deliver.
    I’m genuinely curious…

    1. K says:

      If you take notice, the only ones praising him are some in the British media. No one else (except the few polite compliments others say when they are being questioned about Di resta by those same people in the British media).

      The main reason Di Resta is in Force India is because he brings those free of charge Mercedes engines, which cost a lot of money.

  49. Gazza says:

    James,

    Id love to know your take on Gary Andersons comments regarding Lewis Hamiltons understanding of the RB9.

    This is what he said in his column on the BBC1 website.

    “I’m not sure Hamilton has it in him to understand the concept of the car, how it works and then go out there and exploit it to the maximum”

    After reading Andersons technical breakdown of how the RB9 coanda effect works even I got the gist of it.

    Anderson seems to be implying that Lewis is not fully capable of this.

    Seemed very disparaging to me.

    1. Miha Bevc says:

      That was good article. I recommend!

    2. Miha Bevc says:

      Mr. Anderson is saying “he is not sure”. It is not a fact. Maybe because he didn’t help McLaren back to winning ways. But Hamilton may prove Mr. Anderson wrong as early as next year… Mercedes is obviously on the up.

    3. furstyferret says:

      I think thats how todays designers think of anderson, a man who designed what fantastic piece of f1 machinery, he comes across as a bitter old dinosaur , hes got real issues with hamilton, even when he was in the maccas he was allways making little snide comments about hamiltons apparent lack of setup, and praising button at every opportunity, untill halfway through 2012 button was lost, and went down Hamiltons setup route, he miraculously changed his tune..

      1. Clear View says:

        Totally agree, I used to like Anderson’s insights, but now he just seems to have his head where the sun don’t shine. He looked at this year’s Macca for mins and said it’s revolutionary and will be quick…. Very wrong, then I can’t remember which car but he was like “the problem here is blah blah blah”. If he that good one of the teams would make him an offer better than the BBC and he’d be desgining cars again, I’d say he about same age as some of the other prominent characters up and down the pit lane but the only way he gets to still travel and watch the races for free is to be a pundit on what can only be descibed as fading BBC coverage. I prefer Ted Kravitz all day long, simply because he doesn’t tell you how the car should be, just why it is how it is and how it works!

  50. Sujith says:

    I don’t see any reason as to why I should not be watching a race when most of the people here are finding an excuse not to be waking up for the big show….

    Yes.. it is predictable… Vettel’s dominating SO WHAT?

    The way I see it.. when the other teams do manage to beat them…(which of-course someone will) it will feel a lot sweeter… “The higher they are, the harder they fall” :P

  51. cometeF1 says:

    The start might be the best part of the race so don’t miss it.

    Actually I don’t really mean that. I can understand why the dominance of one or another might appear boring to some. If your only interest in following F1 is who gets to first place, it surely is boring at the time being.

    I would say it is a bit like only recognizing the gold winner at the Olympics. You would be missing on a lot of great sporting feats.

    There is a whole lot more to enjoy about a F1 race than who finishes first thankfully. Don’t get me wrong. I rather see a fight for the top spot. Yet, if that is not to be, I still fine pleasure in seeing good racing further down.
    Marc

  52. dean cassady says:

    Grosjean for victory in Korea.
    His time is now.
    I expect very, very aggressive racing by Hamilton, and Vettel… I don’t believe that he can back off, even though he has it all to lose.
    Hamilton will go for it, and take that much extra risk, Vettel won’t back down, and something has to give.
    Grosjean on one less tire stop and a saved set of supersofts.

  53. yst_01 says:

    I hope there is no start behind the SC as in 2010. Vettel tricked Hamilton and Webber twice from P2 in the following years.

    Let’s see how he manages P1 in a dry start.

    Oh, and by the way, an all time great, evergreen, ridiculous radio message from Korea:

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

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