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Webber beats Vettel to take maiden pole for Japanese Grand Prix
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Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Oct 2013   |  7:11 am GMT  |  320 comments

Mark Webber took his first pole position at Suzuka, the 12th of his career, the first since Korea last year, beating his team mate Sebastian Vettel into second place, with Lewis Hamilton third.

It ended Vettel’s run of pole positions in 2013 and his sequence in Japan – he had been looking for his fifth Suzuka pole in a row.

However Vettel was told at the start of the Q3 session that he had no KERS. Red Bull’s Christian Horner estimated that KERS is worth 4/10ths of a second. The team had changed the KERS system on Vettel’s car after FP3, but the problem remained intermittent. He had no KERS in Q1, had it in Q2, but lost it again for Q3.

It is the first time this season that Webber has outqualified his team mate. Webber was in a new chassis this weekend, after his fire and accident damage in Korea.

“It’s a great track. It was pretty good Sebastian had a problem, so it’s a bit of a hollow pole position because he still did a phenomenal lap, but you have to take your opportunities when you can,” said Webber. “It’s a very nice farewell for me to have pole on my last time at Suzuka. I’ll never forget sector one today.”

Vettel played down his issues, “Congratulations to Mark, he did a very good lap. We did have an issue in qualifying, but I’m not a big fan of saying, ‘If we’d had this or that.’ We were P2 today.”

It was Renault’s 209th pole position as an engine supplier, a new record in F1.

The pace was fast, the change of wind direction was significant. There was a tail wind on the straights, which was a headwind through the esses in the first part of the lap, which made the lap times much quicker than on Friday.

Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg maintained their strong run of form with fourth and seventh places respectively.

In Q1, Webber set the pace, with Hamilton and Alonso also looking quick on the harder tyres. The Lotus drivers were obliged to take a set of mediums, as were the McLarens, Saubers and Force Indias.

Jean Eric Vergne brought out a red flag three minutes from the end of the session, due to a bizarre brake fire at the rear. A change of wind direction meant that teams weren’t clear on what the cut off time would be. After the red flag, Rosberg felt he needed to use a set of mediums to be sure, lying 11th as he was after his hard tyre run.

In the ensuing last minute dash, Grosjean went fastest with a very impressive lap on hard tyres ahead of Massa, on mediums, while Sutil was eliminated. After accident damage in FP3 and a gearbox change he will move back a further five places from the 17th place he qualified in.

Both Williams cars made it into Q2, meanwhile Marussia’s Max Chilton did well to outqualify his team mate and both Caterhams. “Since the August break my performance has really improved,” said Chilton.

Both Red Bulls, Hamilton and Alonso got through without using a set of medium tyres.

In Q2 Alonso continued to find good pace from the Ferrari, to edge out Hamilton, while the Lotus pair looked very quick on the hard tyres in the initial runs.

Vettel left it late and did a stunning lap 1m 31.2s, over half a second faster than Alonso’s Ferrari, while Webber was 2/10ths slower than his team mate. Grosjean got very close, just 4/100ths off Webber’s time.

Perez, Di Resta, Bottas, Gutierrez, Maldonado, Ricciardo we all eliminated in Q2.

In Q3, Vettel had no KERS and also made a mistake in Spoon Curve. Webber managed to beat his first run time by 4/10ths. Alonso was in third almost a second off Webber’s pace.

Raikkonen, Massa, Rosberg and Grosjean did only one run in Q3, also Button and Hulkenberg.

In the final runs Vettel wasn’t able to beat Webber’s time, while Hamilton managed to edge out Grosjean. Felipe Massa had only one run in Q3, compared to two runs for Alonso, but the Brazilian came out on top once again. Alonso starts 8th, as Rosberg and Hulkenberg both got ahead of him.

This could prove a significant development for Massa, who is on the look out for a new team after being dropped by Ferrari.

Meanwhile the man who replaces him, Kimi Raikkonen, again wasn’t able to peak in qualifying, ending up 9th, three tenths of a second behind team mate Grosjean.

Charles Pic, already subject to a 10 place grid penalty before the event, became the first driver in F1 history to have a drive thru penalty imposed on him before the race. Stewards were angered that he had ignored a red light in the pit lane for the second time and imposed the penalty, which means that he will have to drive through the pits in the first five laps of the race.

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m30.915s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m31.089s +0.174s
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.253s +0.338s
4. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m31.365s +0.450s
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.378s +0.463s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m31.397s +0.482s
7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m31.644s +0.729s
8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.665s +0.750s
9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m31.684s +0.769s
10. Jenson Button McLaren 1m31.827s +0.912s

11. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m31.989s +0.699s
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1m31.992s +0.702s
13. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m32.013s +0.723s
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m32.063s +0.773s
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m32.093s +0.803s
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m32.485s +1.195s

17. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m32.890s +1.066s * 5 place penalty to take
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m33.357s +1.533s
19. Max Chilton Marussia 1m34.320s +2.496s
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m34.556s +2.732s * 10 place penalty to take
21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m34.879s +3.055s
22. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m34.958s +3.134s * 10 place penalty to take

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320 comments

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1

Well done Mark, great chance for a win tomorrow. A bit unsure why they didn't keep a set of mediums and just did one timed lap. Hard tire better for the race?

2

Grosgean actually made two runs in q 3 but aborted his first run due to a mistake

3

mark's start history it might not repeat itself; yet i wonder.

4

Yes but, Marks comments on the weight bridge which I've just heard now on Sky, sum it all up. To paraphrase he inferred to Hamilton that Vettel had no KERs in Q3 and thats how pole was acheived. To be fair he said the same in the post qualifying press conference and in my opinion it gives an insight to the mind set of Webber and the other drivers as to how fast Vettel really is.

Nonetheless it was a great lap from Webber and he was very honest about the performance he gained over his teammate.

Great laps too from Felipe Massa, Hulkenburg and Grojean. Hall of shame for the 2014 Ferrari drivers, though I am sure both wil race well.

Should be an exciting race.

5

I hope Webber gets a few more wins before his exit.

6

Lots of happy faces around the world after Q3. That wing is working......hope the tyres match. Mark deserves some good luck. Hope he wins.

7

Vettel for the win tomorrow though.

Has Sebs Kers is malfunctioning can they swap it with Marks?

8

Correction....Vettel had KERS on his last run. No excuses.

9

You can see Vettel had no kers in Q3 from the fact he lost all in sector 3, where they use the kers.

10

Yup no excuses. Vettel's been out qualified by Webber once all season.

Alonso bottled qualifying again. 5th time Massa has beaten him, Hulkenberg beat him again with the same engine and inferior chassis. Kimi lost to Grosjean for the 6th time in 8 qualifying sessions.

11

Trust me, I am not a fan of Nando (I respect his ability, but I am no fan). But, if this is the 5th time he has been out qualified by Massa then doesn't that mean, somewhere along the way, Nando has out qualified Massa on 10 other occasions - not exactly a close run contest, wouldn't you say?

12

He himself admitted he hasn't been in form this weekend and he clearly is upset about Maria's passing. Also Massa almost won a WDC and dominated KImi in qualifying, why shouldn't he be able to out-do Alonso every now and then?

13

Ummmm no Vettel did not have KERS on his either of the two Q3 laps.

The Hulk is seriously really really good.

Happy for Massa cause I think he needs a little positive outcomes to get him back into being competitive.

15

2 seconds a lap-Vettel doesn't need KERS anyway. What really happened? Mark got Seb's car toadey eh? Not too bad for a number 2 driver

16

Correction Vettel had no KERS IN Q3, Confirmed by Honer

17

Yes. My post was incorrect. .......thanks Brundell!

18

Hi James the poster brad Whityman claimed seb did not have KERS and Aaron is correcting him not yourself who correctly stated that seb did not have KERS

19

As it says in the piece...

20

Brad, Let me remind you Webber's pole is not hollow because not only Vettel had KERS at delivering full power, he had the best car designed by Newey and the whole RBR behind him; yet he could not get pole? How do you explain that Brad? And another thing Brad, Mark will win Suzuka with or without your good luck. Happy viewing, Brad!

21

It's great Webber is on pole but face it, if Vettel had had KERS (and he didn't) he'd have got pole by at least 0.2s I expect. Vettel still did his usual top quali performance.

22

Maybe Seb's mum got confused about which car she was supposed to UN-plug the KERS from... After all they're both the same colour.

23

Horner and Webber both clarified Seb had no KERS, then Simon at the end made a note of that half heartedly, now imagine if its Webber without KERS and had problens in FP3, there would be cries of foul play and the result would have been Webber 6th to 8th.

24

Sky commentary said Vettel did have KERS for his final run.

So did he or didn't he?

25

Your telling the wrong guy Simon. .....I'm with you.

26

Erm no he didn't and woyh no setups in the morning FP3 and a KERSless Q3 that was a phenomenal effort to put Seb 0.15 behind Mark, dare I say without that lockup and running slightly deep Seb would have been on pole on these circumstances but then its just 1 of those things, at least it gives all the Vettel haters some hope for tomorrow especially with Hamilton with his usual engine to the max trick to qualify for 3rd, Kimi and Alonso? Lol

27

Lewis is such a cheat! How dare he turn his engine revs up! Disgraceful!

28

It is exceptional that Seb can put in that lap without KERS, but we seem to forget Webbers car gives away a tenth or more in ballast setup. So really any time in the past where Webber was within 2 tenths of Seb, you would have to admit they were pretty much equal!

29

[mod]

I also saw the stories that said Vettel had KERS for his second run in Q3, so it's not as though you made it up. You didn't deserve to get jumped on b/c of it. It's since been clarified (from Horner) that Vettel didn't have KERS throughout Q3, so there you go.

Webber will feel absolutely no shame in taking pole, considering all the times he's gone into battle KERS-less.

30
Spinodontosaurus

I'm quite sure that running your engine at maximum power during Q3 is not a 'trick', nor reserved for Hamilton...

____

At the end of Q2 there was something like half a second between 2nd and 14th... crazy.

31

Actuallt I'm glad you asked that, its a easy 1 to answer, due to not having time to hone the quali setup in FP3 Seb was already on the backfoot for quali but then as you said the KERS cost 0.3 at least, the other time was lost at the hairpin with the slight lock up and subsequently running deep costing at least 0.3 alone, Webber was 0.4 quicker in that sector and just say 0.1 was the KERS the 0.3 that was missing was in that middle sector, but even with that mistake if he had KERS he would have beaten the 'qualifying expert' Webber to pole, hope thats more clear.

32

I have a question that I hope you can answer. On several occasions you have claimed SV is worth somewhere around half a second per lap. If that is the case, and KERS is worth 0.4 seconds/lap (according to CH) how is it that SV couldn't get the pole? Something doesn't add up 🙂

Btw, are you the same tealeaf that used to post on the BBC?

33

Incorrect.

Christian Horner confirmed that Vettel had no KERS throughout Q3.

34

He sounded pretty vague to me. He said intermittent use of kers i think. I'm pretty sure he did have it for that final run where he couldn't beat Webber though.... And then Webbber went ahead and put in another fastest lap -0.060 from his previous.

35

He said KERS failed in Q1, it worked in Q2, and then in Q3 it failed completely. Both timed laps were without KERS.

36

Good to see him on pole. Fingers crossed that there are no gremlins on board for the start.

37

by gremlin do you mean Webber himself?

38

+1, let's hope this is the day Webber gets a good start, and can race to the finish.

Vettel is going to make it soo hard for him to win.

39

Well, sooner or later, it had to happen to Seb, I guess ...

Still got quite close to pole.

Tomorrow could be interesting. If Webber starts more or less cleanly, Vettel on the dirty side, Hamilton on P3 ...

40

Talking 'bout dirty sides, just saw this:

http://deadsp.in/1eh6KzF

I didn't even see this as it happened. Don't think there's really anything in this, I'm sure he was just doing a quick adjustment over the clothes, etc.

Just stirrin' the pot ...

41

TV coverage said that VET had KERS on his last run.

Have not heard much from the Bianchi fan club lately, could it have something to do with being outpaced by his pay teammate?

42

Do you believe his team principal or TV coverage, do they have any evidence to prove their claims?

43

My TV coverage finished just after Webber weighed in, so no idea what Horner said.

But if I had choose, I would probably believe the commentators before a team principal in most cases.

44

Not a fan of neither, but clearly Bianchi is a better driver. One or two races is nothing...you need to see a bigger picture. Maybe some problems with the car...who knows

45

I think "the bigger picture" shows a gradual closing of the gap for some time, then basically level for a few meetings.

46

The vultures are circling...

47

Well Horner said that Seb had no KERS on any of his Q3 runs.

48

OMG!!! Who would have thought

Webber on pole >>> Wow!!!

Great effort by Aussiegrit, he has finally got the monkey off his back and yes it's seems the B spec chassis is more kind to him the other blasted one.

Having said that, it was a stellar job from Vettel to still manage P2 despite KERS issues though the mistake in the first Q3 run indicates Vettel is human and pressure gets to him at championship deciding races e.g. Brazil qualifying 2013.

Good effort by Lewis to steal away P3 from Grosjean but seeing as Grosjean did only one run, I would say Grosjean did a better job.

Oh yeah Hulkenburg gets stronger each weekend and also Massa & Jenson deserve a pat on the back. I think the latter two like the Suzuka track >>> Special mention to Chilton for producing unexpected magic at the back.

Last but not least, disappointing performance from the A list drivers Kimi and Alonso, for just like in 2005, they find themselves out of position but hey, good news for the racing fans as we're guaranteed plenty of action.

Alright see you on the tarmac, we have a very good mixed grid for tomorrow's race.

49

Couldn't this be the race where Webber gets 10th win and Vettel allo2s the WDC to b3 stretched out?

I don't know. I'm out of the predictions business. 😉

50

@ Sebee

Uh-Oh!!

I think you have just jinxed Webber.

51

Im not so surprised. There are other quick drivers besides SV. Mark has been quick for years. Didn't he win the prize for most fastest laps in a season.......twice?

52

That was Kimi ... 10 in a season, twice. Schumi did it once too (10 FL's, that is).

53

@ Brad Withyman

Oh, didn't know Webber has a fastest lap trophy somewhere in his cabinet.

For sure as shown in 2010, Webber can give Sebi a run for his money in qualifying but the problem is when his head drops, it's very difficult to get performance out of him and that's why I was surprised.

54

I believe you might be right 🙂

55

Place your bets for a trademark Mark Webber start issue!

Great lap from vettel without kers. Also Grosjean Hamilton and massa did really well.

Looking forward to tomorrow

James. ...great pod cast and I caught the tv interview with Murray. What a legend Murray is.

56

Your right man mark needs to get his act together, he has so many bad starts that it's probably all in his head at this stage. I would love to see one last MW win

57

Thanks! Spread the word

58

Great to see MW get a pole, now for the race 🙂

59

Great work Webber. Tv said Horner told vettel he had kers for his flying lap. Vettel locked up a front. Webbers lap was better and hes been on it all weekend.

60

Notice how nobody wants to accept that. I heard Brundel say it. Anyway, now we might have a fight for the lead. Have the jus jus masters hopped on vettels back? Its his turn 😉

61

Yeah it is funny some don't want to accept Seb had a terrible day starting from FP3. If its Webber with all those issue god knows what he and these Vettel haters would be saying, actually that was a great effort from Seb it shows what he can do from a car that wasn't tuned in and also was underpowered, if everyone is jumping up and down thinking this was an achievement from Webber should maybe look at themselves and wonder if Seb could actually win the title next year with a underpowered car, scary thought.

62

Please may I make a polite request? Would you please refrain from referring to anyone that isn't a fan of Vettel as a hater. I am not a fan of Vettel (I respect his abilities, but I am not a fan) but I certainly don't hate him.

We are all fans of F1 (I think/hope) and it must be possible to debate without being so aggressive.

Thank you 🙂

63

The word "hater" is not allowed on this site. We always try to spot it and mod it out, but your request here is reasonable and mirrors our own view

64

Horner referred to the first sector time being right up there, but KERS isn't used in S1 and not much in S3, Vettel was fastest in both. KERS is used in S2 where he lost 0.3s to webber but clawed back 0.2s on the rest of hte lap

65

Accept what? Webber and Horner both confirmed he had no kers throughout Q3. Sky was full of non-sense and false information today, not to mention they missed a ton of stuff.

66

I think that's a bit harsh on Sky. Crofty quoted SV's engineer, Rocky, during the commentary. He even mentioned the re-set method, joking that it wasn't ctrl alt delete. They must have got that information from somewhere - maybe the radio messages?

67

Accept that Webber has been outstanding this weekend. Can you do that ?

68

Also the only time vettel's kers worked was in Q2 and guess who was on top by quite some margin in that session.

69

Well done Mark, bring it through for tomorrow 🙂

70

I can't believe how many times things go wrong for Vettel. What with his Kers problems in Germany and Hungary. A DNF in Silverstone, now this. How much bad luck can one guy have.........

I joke of course. Good luck to Webber tomorrow I hope he wins as it would be great for him to go out with a final win.

71

Lol but you have a point, Vettel has had just as much car technical issues if not more than Webber yet its conviniently not acknowledged by the english speaking media and Hamilton fans, but the thing is Vettel can handle these issues and negate them and still win races and championships.

73

@Tealeaf

I have to say you are very balanced.

You have the "English speaking media" chip on one shoulder and the "Hamilton fans" chip on the other.

Absolutely brilliant!!

75

+ 1 Lol 🙂

76

Yes I too weep for the amount of bad luck Vettel has had during his three and a bit world championships. Honestly, how does he cope? 🙂

77

Typo: "... meanwhile the man who replaces him, Kimi Raikkonen, again wasn’t able to peak in qualifying, ending up 9th, six tenths of a second behind team mate Grosjean."

4. Grosjean 1m31.365s

9. Raikkonen 1m31.684s

78

Kimi is making Grosjean look like a valid F1 driver.

79

You're absolutely right!

Grosjean is just a GP2 champ... as the others GP2 champs, you know the like of Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Rosberg... your run-of-the-mill F1's drivers! 😛

80

Yes..The difference is 3 tengths.They are making it look more worse for Kimi

81

James, the difference is 0.319, not 6 tenths.

82

Both ALO and Kimi probably finish ahead of the rest, excepting Vettel. Old habits die hard: poor quali stellar race.

Now if that kers in the RB is a naughty little kers, maybe just maybe the order will change

1 ALO

2 RAI

3 HAM

Drinks!

83

All it takes is the usual start from webber and things will get back to normal:-) this pole is just a data point for statistics....tomorrow ispt will mean nothing:-)

84

Webbo will start well, but Massa will spin again [trying too hard] and will claim just one victim. Hope it isnt Webbs

85

Sorry....what is your definition of usual?

86

Real bad start for WEB, followed by kers issues... but just thought he might be in for a bit of luck, unusually.

87

are both the Lotuses starting on the hard tyres?

Will be interesting to know as to how was Kimi down 3tenths on Grosjean? They been very close to each other all through the weekend, within a tenth or too really, so difference on 3tenths in Q3 is a surprise.

However, if they both are starting on hard tyres we are in for some strategic action tomorrow 🙂

Alonso and Kimi, will have a lot to do, that makes in interesting is well.

All set for a good race.

88

No, both are starting on the medium tyre. They look very fast on the hards, though.

89

Congratulations to Mark, but I'm sure he would have preferred to take pole when his teammate wasn't disadvantaged. Stellar performance from VET, considering that he had no KERS. No KERS means - 0.4s.

Alonso and Kimi bad performances once again. Lewis - great as usual.

90

Stellar from Webber FYI...

91

yes, i am of the exact same opinion. vettel maybe didnt have KERS on his first Q3 laps but i distictly heard it said that he had KERS on his final runs. if so then webbers win certainly wasn't hollow.

what is the bet that the team mess up with his start?

92

Webber doesn't need any external help to mess up his own start.

93

Horner and webber confirmed he had no kers in Q3 for both laps. Don't believe everything sky says.

94

Webber called its hollow pollen- he wouldn't do that if Vettel's KERS was working, would he?

95

I didn't know flowers could do a fast lap time.

96

Surely not =)

97

'the team' mess up his start. lol

98

Are we that gulable?its quite clear that now that Vettel has the championship practically sown up,Webber is now allowed to compete and dare I say win one or two races.This accomplish couple things,the main one is dealing with Vettel unpopularity, the boings.Vettels unpopularity is because fans think he wins too easy,so giving a win to a sympathic figure like Webber,will please fans and make it look that Vettel is really that much better most of the time and just not a favoured number one,driving a Newy car.This is all PR,since after Singarpore and the suspicions,REDbULL has been toning down there pace within 3 to 4ths to make it look close and competive.

99

The biggest problem with F1? The fans are mad as hatters. Why do you watch a "sport" where you're convinced the results are all staged?

101

Steve, this is a How forum, not a Why forum.

102

I don't think the results are all staged but, surely, you must admit there is a certain degree of flexibility in the way the rules are administered. This is where conspiracy theories start 😉

103

Stranger things have happened in F1.

The 'B' spec car/replacement.

Horner quotes earlier in the week, 'we're in no hurry to sow up the championship'.

But Vettel has shown that he is pathologically incapable of not trying to beat Webber.

Maybe Bernie made a deal with them to preserve the mathematical possibility of continued competition to a time which they mutually agreed would be overall more suitable than this point, so early on.

We can see what happens, tomorrow.

I still like Grosjean to win.

104

"pathologically incapable of not trying to beat Webber."

+1

105

Yep, Red Bull tried the audacious experiment - how will the viewing public react to Vettel pulling a 20-30sec lead on the pack.

Okay, not well, as it happens; let's go back to the status quo where Sebastian maintains a lead that doesn't look too out of this world.

I grew up with the FIA for several years, changing the rules to clearly inconvenience Schumacher's dominance, and seeing, probably three seasons in a row, Michael overcome the obstacles.

While I shouldn't advocate such behaviour, if a car ever does find itself in front of Sebastian's vehicle, I think the FIA should temporarily suspend the 'one blocking manouevre' rule, simply because once his RB is past, it's all over.

106

I think your right. There seems to be a subtle change there.

Obviously Vettel won't stop winning or give positions to webber but I think someone has been briefed on the more pc/pr way to handle things

107

Pure fantasy

108
The Spanish Inquisitor

Alonso failed again. He is under pressure because he doesn’t know what to do in the next season. Out of Ferrari already. Ferrari is your sport tomb.

109

Alonso's not on the level of Vettel. He basically has one dry pole since 2007. He had a pole in 2008 but it was set with minimal fuel.

Next year Ferrari will consistently qualify on the third row with two of the worst qualifiers driving their cars.

110

He had no poles in 2008 but 1 in 2009 in Hungary.

111

Not on the same level as the driver who in very fast cars made loads of mistakes in 2009 and scraped over the line in 2010 and 2012 despite a performance advantage.

Seb is incredible in dominant cars but if you think he's leagues above Alonso you're mistaken. They are clearly better than the rest of the pack with Alonso much fewer mistakes when the pack is tighter and Seb being a better qualifier.

112

I fail to understand Kimi's lack of qualifying pace .has he really lost his one lap pace or is it to do with the tyres and the lotus car? ..his race pace is awesome, in sharp contrast to his qualifying one

Hoping for the Iceman to storm through the field tomorrow..

BTW still cant forget Suzuka 2005, one of the most exciting races ever..

113

Looking at the stats, one explanation stems to mind. Facts are as follows:

Up to (and including) the German GP, Kimi beat Romain 8-1 in qualis, since then Romain has beaten Kimi 5-1. Pirelli developed the new tire specification for Hungarian GP after the German GP

Obvious conclusion is that Kimi doesn't get the present tire to work for qualification, the previous tire suited him much better. I assume the issue is that his gentle driving style does not generate heat into the tires fast enough so he doesn't get the most out on one lap.

114

Maybe Grosjean has learned some trick on how to get the best out of his tires during his stay as Pirelli's test driver, tricks he didn't share with his older teammate...

115

Maybe Grosjean has learned some trick on how to use tires during his stay as Pirelli test driver, tricks he didn't share with his older teammate...

116

Who is to be blamed for that? Both Kimi and Alonso didn't qualify properly today. Do they still want to blame the new Pirelli for that?

In July they had the Young Driver's Test in Silverstone. Vettel was working hard evaluating the tyres while certain drivers were hanging their family jewels in the pool. Who's laughing now? Says a lot, doesn't it?

117

It is of course up to Kimi (And Alonso) to get on top of the new tires, I was merely pointing out the reason why Kimi has been struggling in qualis lately (as far as I see it) to the poster I responded to (Sanky).

118

Kimi has said that himself several times, including this weekend

119

I watched Suzuka 2005 yesterday, great race. I really have no clue what is happening with Kimi and Alonso, but they are really doing a poor job on Saturdays and therefore can only recover some places instead of fighting for wins. Just imagine them starting a bit higher up the grid and do the same magic they typically do on Sundays. Concern for Ferrari....especially because Ferrari cannot produce a car that is fast on Saturday for many years already.

120

Wrong. Schumacher put the Ferrari on pole many times. It's just Alonso who cannot deliver on a saturday. This is not Ferrari's fault. Excluding the factor that Ferrari signed the wrong drivers, that is.

121

He did, but most of those times coincided with a Ferrari that won at least 8 races a year and in 2002 and 2004 won 15 out of 18. I'm guessing that car was a little special?

122

Schumacher was given cars that were fastest on a Saturday multiple times in his career.

Alonso has never been given a car capable of regular pole position since 2008. On top of that he's older than most drivers and we all know that younger drivers tend to be faster over 1 lap.

I know you hate Alonso but chill out man.

123

Don't know but Ferrari might be concerned looking at recent quali for of their 2014 drivers

124

James, Kimi has been on the podium several times since the Ferrari announcement. It's not as if either driver has a bad quali and then follows with a worse race.

125

No I think it has nothing to do with the Ferrari announcement

The new spec tyres seem to have knocked him off his best in single lap pace

126

Why would Ferrari be nervous?

How can any driver be the fastest in the Race... For 55 continuos lap after lap... & not be fast over 1 Lap? Physics doesn't make any sense.

Ferrari 2014 drivers have already lost the WDC this year after having thrown some mesmerising drives to catch Vettel. Now they are going through the motions and waiting for this season to get over already with some fun & frolic. Grosjean & Massa are fighting for their seats... they have no choice but to get in there already.

Why Rogro & Massa were so slow for the first 12 races is the real problem. Kimi & Alonso are fighting for WDC, while Massa & Grosjean are huffing & puffing for a few bones when the season is already over. They'll do exactly the same next year, while Ferrari drivers will be long gone in the first 10 races of 2014. Fact.

127

reads like a wet Red dream, to me.

I think Grosjean is finishing his curing stage, and is ready to be a proper F1 racer.

Massa, one can only empathize with him, having been relegated to a supporting role for most of his prime, only with the rude machinations of MS in the Ferrari camp, working on proactively revising history to maximize his legacy and Kimi's apolitical nature, did Massa ever get a real shot.

I believe Lotus will keep Grosjean, and take the Hulk, if the Hulk doesn't replace Alonso at Ferrari

128

Funny, it used to be you're as good as your last race. Now its you're as good as your last quali!

129

Not only Ferrari. As a fan I am concerned too. Why didn't Ferrari take Hülkenberg? Not only is he in qualifying better than Alonso (see Suzuka), but in the race as well (see Yeongam). Despite driving a slower car, that is.

130

senna, Schumi was driving a Benetton in 1995.

131

@ Torchwood."Ferarri policy. “Always have a Champion in the car."

1) I'm assuming you meant Ferrari not Ferarri

2) Let's go on a journey back to 1983. I figure THIRTY years gives enough leeway.

The only time Ferrari has had a World Champion in the car is

1990/91 - Alain Prost

1995/06 - Michael Schumacher

2008/09 - Kimi Raikkonen

2010/13 - Fernando Alonso

Over the same period, Mclaren have had;

83/93 - Lauda, Prost and Senna.

98/01 - Hakkinen

2007 - Alonso

2009 - 2013 Hamilton and Button

Prost was a champion already, MSC too and won a further 5 WDC there. Kimi wasn't until Ferrari and Alonso obviously was.

Ferrari is a successful enough institution that they can hire the best drivers in the world, it's not because their philosophy demands it.

They didn't take Hulkenburg because this is a longer term game. They are seriously annoyed with Alonso. His nickname within Ferrari is "shit layer".

Hiring Kimi was done on purpose and was sealed before Hungary, when Alonso's manager went to see RBR about a vacancy.

LdM even said last winter to Alonso, when he wins a WDC then he can ask for specific team-mate. I think that says it all.

If as people suspect, Alonso runs before 2014, Hulkenburg will be taken on then. But even so, Ferrari's goal is Vettel and he is good friends with Kimi.

132

Why didn't Ferarri take Hulkenberg?

Ferarri policy. "Always have a Champion in the car."

If Alonso had not started to make his dis-satisfaction clear, then Nico may have been a shoe-in for the Massa seat, but once they start to worry that their current champion driver might be thinking of leaving, or getting himself sacked, they had to cover themselves by getting another champion, Kimi.

133

James, I have a question for you re the fast starting Ferrari. It is very scary for other team had they qualify 3rd, 4th on the grid as it put them 1st, 2nd by the end of the first corner.

James can you do some analysis re how Ferrari got such a good start as it is worth a couple of position. I think Ferrari needs only to qualify in the second row.

Thank you James

134

We already did that at the time of Monaco GP this year, with Mark Gillan.

135

I think its the "new" tyres.

Both Alonso & Raikkonen have this problem.

James, do you know if Pirelli is using the same tyres next year? If yes, then worrying for Ferrari. But if the car is quick, these 2 champions will be up there on race days even if quali is not ideal.

136

Pirelli have said that they couldn't use this years tyres because the loads of the 2014 cars would cause them to explode.

Yea... I know, right!

137

For all those who undermine/Criticize Vettel, today was an example of his talent & Speed!

P2 without KERS, goodness me!

Put any of your favorite drivers in that car without KERS, I don't think any of them would have managed P2.

138

Webber is using a low downforce wing. So obviously he will lose some time to Vettel in sectors 1 & 2. So overall i think Webber performed better today.

139

sorry sector 1 & 3.

140

If Anything, It was the might of the RB9 that was displayed today. No KERS and its still a RB 1-2 up front.

Looking at the sector times, It seems to me that Vettel lost 0.3 secs to Webber. Now whether that was due to lack of KERS or not, I can't say. But for sure, RB were easily 0.4 secs ahead of their nearest rivals.

141

In fact it is the might of the RB9 with Traccion control that is....

TC is banned, yet the RB car has it.... I also believe Alonso has it, this of course is pure expeculation, but Alonso can't qualify well, and race well... if alonso give his all during qualifying then everybody will notice his TC... I also believe the renaul power cars has it, Kimi is a very good driver but does not Qualify well and race well, same as Alonso.

i know I will get flamed for this, but it is my opinion, and I am entitle too.

142

In which car.....I would say that many drivers from the current grid would do the same today in Vettel's Red Bull. I am absolutely certain about it.

143

Many drivers would do same as Vettel in Redbull, the @AussieGrit outqualified Vettel in RB9 for the first time in 15 races... FYI

144

Would you name a few? remember Alonso/Kimi both lost to their teammates by 3 tenths.

145

Interesting how you point to one race as an example...

Younger drivers tend to have better 1 lap pace imo. I reckon rIcciardo would have taken poles in this years RB without a doubt. Let's see what he does next year.

146

Even with James clearly mentioning Vet has no KERS and team principal Christian Horner clearly stating the same, look at comment #2, they're saying he had it and lost it with that lock up. Astonishing fans!

147

Surely that shows how much further ahead the red bull is relative to the other cars? Without KERS and a RB driver finished ahead of the everyone but his team mate...that's bloody impressive, it also shows webber didn't extract the maximum from the car.

148

Raikkonen and alonso binned the quali as usual.

149

It doesn't matter to them anymore... WDC fight got over in Spa. Top Drivers only bother to rise when there is a Prize available for their efforts. Fighting with their teammates over some minor qualifying bragging rights doesn't interest World Champions this late in the season when the Championship is already done & dusted.

They used up all their energy trying to beat Vettel... Now they are chilling out, taking it easy and recharging for a brand new WDC fight in 2014.

Meanwhile, Massa & Grosjean are making the most of this lowering of guard by their champin teammates. Kimi & Alonso are wise enough to know when to peak, and when to chill.

150

If that is the case then ALO and RAI have already lost the 2014 season in addition to 2013. Real top drivers leave nothing on the track whether they fighting for 1st place or 20th place. Can you imagine Senna taking the rest of the season off? A true champion would never just go through the motions. Face it they are performing poorly or they have lost their heart.

151

I am more in agreement with you on this comment.

152

Also I believe for Lotus case, they are concentrating to giving all their support to Grosjean since Raikkonen is leaving. This will help to boost Grosjean's confidence next year to lead the team.

Let's not count the chicken before they are hatched, Alonso & Raikkonen may still be a good pairing for Ferrari next year.

153

Ferrari will have two drivers next year that cannot qualify. It hurts being a Ferrari fan. Luca, get Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg or Hülkenberg. Qualifying is too important nowadays.

154

I could be wrong, but I reckon passing will be pretty easy next year - fuel saving will be more significant and with the electric motor power boost being twice what it was, there will be more opportunities for passing - none of it related to traditional driver talents.

155

Rosberg.... hahahahahahaha stop it, it hurts!!!

156

And a lot of people were surprised by the Bulls decision to sign RIC for his quali and testing speed, a no brainer IMO.

157

I think Kimi made a few mistakes. But in Alonso's case, it is the car. For the past four years he has been telling the team to improve the car but they haven't done anything. He is giving 200% (whatever that means) but with all the experts in the team, they are unable to give me a race winning car but he has managed to drag this car to race wins.

158

Unlike you Rob, you sound as though you're defending Alonso.

Normally you quite rightly observe that he is amongst the worst F1 drivers, he is solely responsible for Ferrari not qualifying any higher and that his father Dick Dastardly has one over the F1 paddock.

Or is this a different Rob?

159

Apologies. I got carried away; I was being sarcastic.

160

I'm not quite sure I follow your logic. Both Kimi and Fernando ended up 0.3s behind their team mates. You claim in Kimi's case this was because he made a few mistakes, but in Fernando's case the issue is that the car can't go any faster? Which car did Massa drive then?

All in all, way too much is made of this "Kimi and Fernando can't qualify"-thing. They both have out-qualified their team mates this season 9-6 (and both team mates are known to be very quick on one lap), With Kimi, it's easy to see that the new Pirelli spec does not suit him during Saturday's, with the old spec he was trouncing Romain. Felipe has always been very strong on Saturdays, his problem for the past couple of season has been Sunday's.

161

Rob feels Alonso is highly over rated and generally highlights his negatives. For this qualifying session Rob is reasonably accurate - Alonso said the car wasn't quick enough, but based on Massa's time, it is likely that in theory, 4th could have been squeezed out.

That doesn't mean that Massa didn't do a better lap than Rosberg and Raikkonen and that the Ferrari isn't the fourth fastest car. Looking at the speed trap, there's no obvious set up bias for the race for Alonso versus Massa, unlikely 2011.

162

Oh, actally it was the wind this time around which screwed up Alonso's qualyfing laps. In India it will be somehting else - probably smog.

163

FYI

Vettel does not need a bad starting Webber...

He will get him as he got Hamilton in Germany, Spa, Barcelona or Alonso in Bahrain. Get your tissues ready or stop whining.

164

Germany was a horrible start for Hamilton, who got swamped by BOTH Red Bulls. Spa was better traction out of La Source for Vettel, and the RB9's ability to better carry speed through Eau Rouge than the Merc. No chance for Lewis to hold off Vettel on the straight there.

Barcelona I'll give ya, though Lewis wasn't helped at all by his teammate at the start there, helping to box him in, heading into turn 1. Lewis should've kept moving over as Nico moved over, as it would've forced Vettel to the inside and would've kept him in P3. As it was, Vettel wasn't able to get by Rosberg for 12 laps, which seems to negate your premise. And this at Spain, which was a nightmare race for Mercedes.

As for Bahrain, the difference in car performance in those early laps was stark. The RB9 was so nimble, whereas Alonso's Ferrari was lumbering. At the time, I likened it to a MiG fighter getting past a Lancaster bomber.

165

I see, the usual excuses: Vettel overtakes, it is the car, Hamilton or Alonso overtakes, it is the driver...

Vettel and Hamilton shared five times a row in 2013. Vettel won four of them. It seems, Marko manipulates not just Webber's starts...

"Vettel wasn’t able to get by Rosberg for 12 laps, which seems to negate your premise. And this at Spain, which was a nightmare race for Mercedes."

Well, Alonso didn't pass Rosberg until the first pit stop too and Vettel passed Rosberg and finished ahead of him in the end. BTW it was only a nightmare for Hamilton who got lapped by a couple of drivers..

"As for Bahrain, the difference in car performance in those early laps was stark."

yeah.. we all saw what Webber did in the opening laps in Bahrain. Vettel was P3 after the first corner and P1 after the third lap, while Webber couldn't overtake Massa and his broken frontwing on the track and pitted in lap 9. Stark? LOL!

166

I see, so every pass Vettel has ever completed is all down to him, and nothing to do with the great car underneath him? In fact, it was b/c of the car that he couldn't pass in Hungary, right? The car holds Vettel back ... yeah, that's the ticket!

Spain was a nightmare for Rosberg too ... unless of course you think P1 to P6 is a good day's work. For the pole-sitter to drop 5 places in a race w/o any incident to explain such a drop, is very bad indeed. I would say the worst ever 'clean race' for a pole-sitter in the history of F1, but hey, there's Rosberg's P1 to P9 in Bahrain this year!

167

Tissues ready: Check.

Let me know when you need them 🙂

168

Word is that because the spare RB was set up in case Seb would need it, it's missing a few little special tweaks that Helmut had done to Mark's previous car back at the start of the season.

Don't believe me? just watch Mark off the line tomorrow. This car won't bog down and Mark will have a ripper get away.

jk, but then again.....?

169

It's true! If you look reeeeeal close you can see where they had to sand off the #1 and replace it with a #2. Also, on the dashboard, there is a tiny plaque that reads "Ravenous Rhonda". Definitely Seb's spare car 😉

170

Helmut is the only spare mono-cock at Red Bull.

171

Hahaha! There is some funny stuff on here tonight...

173

Squashed silly conspiracy!!!

174

Nice theory, but they don't have spare cars any more.. Only spare monocoques that can be built up

175

JA, what was this talk about team orders from RBR?! I hope that's a joke. If this was the final few races, and Seb was in a close fight with another rival, that would be one thing. But Vettel's up by 77 pts with only 5 races to go! Alonso could podium the remaining races (3rd every time), and Vettel DNF each race, and still he could lose.

I will be disgusted if RBR employ team orders for the race.

176

Vettel will be racing hard despite the points advantage. Why?

Hasn't anyone realised he will equal most wins in a season if he wins every race now?

MSC is the holder on 13 wins.

177

SteveS, you believe that Webber hasn't followed more than a few Multi 12's in the past 4 seasons?

178

Webber has never followed team orders in the past, what makes you think he would start now?

179

I will be disgusted if RBR employ team orders for the race...

They wouldn't dare, would they?

180

Webs wouldn't follow them anyway.

181

It's all too confusing :S

182

Wow ! let's see. Most of us Webber fans expect a crap start. Why, well of course because Vet is better than Web. Give me and any reasonable fan some respect !!!!!

183

I will need to google: "Helmut + Marco + Voodoo"....see if Google returns pictures of Webber:-)

184

Raikkonen is 3 tenths behind Grosjean not 6!

185

Being Raikkonen fan it's always disappointing Saturdays of late. He is struggling very badly to generate heat compare to Grojeon with the new pirelli even though his race pace is very good. Raikkonen should sacrifice some race pace for quali just because he can have good grid position.

186

according to one report the chassis webber now has is the one used in hungary and it is heavier than the one demolished in korea....and he still managed pole.

187

Having a heavier chassis just means he has less ballast weight to move around.

All cars are racing at the same minimum weight, which is the car + driver.

188

Yeah but less ballast means far worse balance.

189

link please

190

This was reported by Sky TV.

191

Um, the Sky boys on the commentary today were informed and said on-air that KERS was back for Vettel's car for his final Q3 run, got reset in the pits before he went out for it, which explains Vettel's quick sector one time. The difference in laptime was Vettel locking up, running wide in the middle sector as shown in the replay no? Sorry James, but I don't think that if Brundle and his informants are indeed correct (just watched it all back as I have it recorded) that it would be fair on Mark, he seems to have beaten the Vet fair and square today so he should take all the glory.

Anyway well done to Webber, though I have a sneaking suspicion Mark's car will bog down at the start as usual and the KERS issue will magically move to his car overnight!

192

As has been confirmed many times Brundle was wrong. The BBC knew he didn't have KERS from the graphics which suggests the Sky commentary team just weren't paying attention to all the information at hand.

193

The graphics did not show KERS on that lap.

Vettel himself, Horner and Webber all said in their post quali interviews that Vettel did not have KERS in the laps that counted in Q3. Simple as that

194

How would Mark know that Vettel did not have KERS??

195

He told him as they got out of the cars. But his engineer may have told him before that via radio.He would know that

196

On same Sky coverage, team principal Christian Horner confirmed that Vettel didn't have KERS. You think Brundle has more info than a team principal. Seb's S1 time on both his quick laps was pretty identical, by the way KERS is not used in S1, it's used in S2 when exiting slow corners.

197

You think Horner is more believable than Brundle?? Its a question of credibility not who says what.

198

Hopefully the problem with Vettel's car will keep the people who say there is a conspiracy against Webber will keep them quiet!

Hope Webber pulls's off the win tomorrow!

199

"Fernando, Felipe is much faster than you. Can you confirm you understand that message, Samurai?" Hehehe!

Seriously though, I'm really happy for Felipe. Hope he gets a competitive drive next year. Really deserved the title in '08. A real shame about that accident in '09.

200

I hope he leaves F1, cannot stand him.

201

Can't you guys give credit where it's due?. Why are so many of you so one eyed!

Being an Aussie, I am a massive Webber fan, having followed his career since his Formula days.

But even I concede that Vettel is, on average, 3 tenths quicker over a quali lap.

What is wrong with that? I's okay to admit that someone is better at something than someone else.

So, let's give credit where it's due. Like him or hate, Vettel has some serious talent.

202

Exactly. I'm a big Webber fan, but Vettel is faster. That's just the way it is. Mark has lost a bit of pace over the last few years, it happens to all of them over time. Let's not fool ourselves, doesn't matter if your a fan if Vettel or not, he's one of the best, no question. Claiming otherwise is just plain silly.

203

and the same can be said of Grosjean, he is, on average 2 tenth quicker in quali lap than Kimi as demonstrated since Hungary!

204

& where had that got him on Sunday..? Do people appreciate that setting a car up for Sat does not ideally give you the best Sund car or vice versa..

205

Many point is why is it Kimi always manages to pass Grosjean no matter where he starts.Suzuka being the exception for quite some time. Kimi manages to set his car up and manage his tyres better through the race. I'm sure this is allowed for over the course if the weekend. That said he still needs to be a bit better quali and Suzuka was the perfect eg.. But unlike most others he made clear he made 2 small mistakes on his quali lap and the gaps were very tight on Sat..

206

Vettel won and Grosjean lead 26 of the 53 laps

Grosjean third 9.9s

Raikkonen fifth 47.3s

what's your point?

209

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/10/red-bull-f1-traction-control/

James,

can you give us an opinion on the article?

Thanks

210

Anyone noticed that Vettel's car seemed losing a bit traction at corners in Q3 after his KERS was down?

211

The word is because his Traction Control is some how linked to KERS!

212

Well I really didnt see that. The only thing I noticed today was the RB didn't produce this strange noise anymore.

Not even in the slow chicane before the main straight.

213

James,

I hope there is nothing to this really. But, one must accept that Vettel's car made a different sound to the rest of the cars that came around.

The different sound while not exactly identical to the sound on the Honda, does seem like a muted/inhibited version of the same.

I hope RB are not doing something funny. RB & Vettel really do not need to be doing any of this. Please tell me this is not true and put all the conspiracy theories to rest.

Regards

Vivek

214

The way the car seems to work is EXTREMELY clever, but highly unlikely to be illegal. The FIA (who know far more about it than us) have probably been checking this allegation out in some detail,and as we've had no rule clarifications, I suspect everything is in order. I believe the teams submit anything 'questionable' to the FIA before it's raced (generally speaking). It's a quick car, with a couple of quick drivers in it. It may well be right on the edge of being legal, but ultimately, Red Bull are just doing the job. I'm not a huge RB fan but (if I had a hat) I'd doff it to them. They have destroyed EVERYONE for almost four years now, and to be fair, that's against some quality opposition. Fair play to them.

215

The reason people love their conspiracy theories is that by definition they can never be put to rest. They can always say "But it COULD be true if ..."

216

I've said it many times. It's not possible with an FIA spec ECU to have traction control. All you can play with is engine mapping

217

I saw it. There's no way of doing something funny with ECU.

I'll ask Mark Gillan's view

218

James, I have a question for you if you don't mind plz?

on this tract how fast is the redbull machinery compared to it s closest rival both race pace nd qualy pace given that even without kers vettel was dat fast?

I know SV is fast but I get the impression that car really gives him a big advantage

219

Minor correction, I believe... but anyway:

"Meanwhile the man who replaces him, Kimi Raikkonen, again wasn’t able to peak in qualifying, ending up 9th, six tenths of a second behind team mate Grosjean."

I believe that's closer to three tenths to be fair to Kimi.

220

James,would you kindly clarify to everyone that Sebastian did in fact have KERS for his final run. He lost it at the start of Q3, but got it back just before his final run.. I do realise it means he has to rebalance the brake set up and get back his rythym but fairs fair.. Or was it wrong what was announced by Martin &DC?.. Either way it was a great effort by Mark- well done mate !

221

Or was it wrong what was announced by Martin &DC?

Crofty definitely said that SV had KERS in commentary (for the final run in Q3). He even quoted the method of resetting it from Rocky. I assume SKY have someone monitoring the teams radio messages and that is where the info' came from. It was after the race that Horner confirmed when KERS was and wasn't working.

222

Clarified. Vettel had no KERS in Q3. It was all Vettel's mad skils.

223

How do you know he had KERS for his final run?

224

I will say it again !- It was announced by Brundle and Coulthard during live commentary

225

Yep they got it wrong Apparently !

226

The sky team got it wrong on this occasion.

227

Or Alonso and Raikkonen saved tyres for the race? Every single lap does matter. Those two are old foxes. It might be not so simple as failed quali. With few more laps in the pocket they are stronger with strategy and tactics.

Anyway, this season is booooo'ed.

Another confirmation that RB uses KERS for the magic in the corners?

228

could be...

we'll see.

229

Hi James/ anyone can RBR work on sebs car to fix the KERS or is he in parc fermé

230

They'll just take take the Kers off Marks car and give it to Seb.

Simple.

231

They can fix the KERS, for sure. Might be limited in what they can play with, take off, etc., but they can definitely fix it.

232

Well done Mark and RBR. KERS or no KERS Seb still did a sensational 2nd lap too. I'll be holding my breath at the start tomorrow hoping Mark can get away cleanly. He hasn't been too shabby recently so I hope that holds for tomorrow. Not sure if there will be any team orders but it doesn't often come down to that with these 2 drivers. The team should be happy with a 1-2 either way. Mark should not feel this is a hollow 'victory'. Some days are lucky, some are not. At least he can be satisfied that Seb didnt go down without a fight. Maybe they should jettison Sebs KERS and replace it with some strategically placed ballast 😉

Nice run from Lewis in the dying moments too. Seems Fernando & Kimi like to challenge themselves on race day. They do make it hard on themselves sometimes. Happy for Felipe and Romain. This is a real interesting grid. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

Good luck to all your fav drivers/teams tomorrow 🙂

233

Im just a bit miffed by massa?! Im as a ferrari man through and through, but i am properly glad we have got rid, honestly, as nice a bloke as he is what use is a driver that only turns up the wick once his mind is settled towards the end of a season? None? Id love to have seen him do this well earlier in the season but he never has, nor did he do so last year, until his mind was settled. Few good qualys enough to make me sad hes going?? -no. Just remember, not only 6 days ago, was he going backwards into the hairpin at the start in korea. Does raikkonen do that kind of stuff often? Sad to see him go having SEVERELY under achieved all season, not sad that he will be replaced by a quality professional. Although.... Having wanted the man drowned after spa last year., would grosjean have been the better choice as a package for us........ You decide, because i cant!

234

On Grosjean vs Raikkonen, in qualifying the characteristics of tyres next year could be a big factor - probably more how good Raikkonen will be. Raikkonen being shorter like Alonso might have a packaging benefit too.

235

I think your pair of drivers for next year are too similar, great if the car is capable of good quali pace and the tyres need nursing, but a little past their prime.

236

im curious ..i remember kimi as being super fast over one lap in his younger days! but since he s been back...no great qualifying performances. !

237

China P2 on the grid.

Anyways, Kimi isn't in a happy place with Lotus at the moment. He was 9-2 ahead before the Ferrari rumour got strong. Since then, the team themselves aren't rooting for Kimi to perform coz of his Bonus Payments above Grosjean.

No excuses, but having a enviornment where people want you to succeed is very important for any driver. Permane said he was annoyed with Singapore Podium, and called Korea lucky.

Kimi has nothing more to achieve this season... And Lotus ins't exactly giving him reason to turn up. They are ever so eager to crisize their top performer since Ferrari announcement non-stop, 3 weeks in a row. Any employee would be affected. Kimi still gets podiums when things are not exactly rosy with his team. Same in 2009 Ferrari, Monaco podium & 2nd half.

Ferrari would be happy to see Kimi getting things done for his team, during this weird time of the season for him with Lotus. 2014 will be great, again critics are expecting Kimi to fail... But history states that Kimi always proves them wrong, every single time.

238

The bonus payments would be covered by the monies from constructors points, so no problem there.

With Kimi leaving, they would be silly not to give Romain priority. I also think that the change of tyres has affected their relative performance.

240
Alexander Supertramp

Dear Mark,

First of all, congratulations with your first pole of the year, you deserved it.

Secondly,for the sake of the race, have a good start. If you can't, promise me you'll hunt that German down as if he had just stolen your winning lottery ticket.

Sincerely,

Alex

242

I rate Alonso and Kimi the best in F1 when it comes to race craft. However, they are no where near the top any longer in flat out qualy pace. They sure make life harder on themselves for Sunday.

Great to see Webber get one last pole, but with no KERS for Seb, Mark must know he is coming in the race.

243

How can Alonso be considered best for race craft when he was stuck behind a Sauber for 50 laps last week? Hulkenberg out smarted him.

Alonso and Kimi aren't good qualifiers, haven't been for years (Alonso has effectively one dry pole since 2007), they consistently under-perform on Saturday, then people gush when they get their cars to at least where they should be over the course of 1.5 hours on Sunday.

244

Dream on mate, by far Seb is the best.

Stirling Moss has said recently Vettel is like Fangio. A few days ago Murray Walker considered the best ever three drivers Vettel, Schumacher and Fangio.

Enjoy witnessing one of the best F1 periods.

245

My hypo is that they saved tyres for the race. Suzuka has plenty of turns. They need flexibility for the pitstop timing.

246

Alo's and Rai's times as good qualifiers are over. This is age taking it's tall. Only Ferrari can't see this.

247

Surely @justafan, do you seriously believe that either Alonso or Kimi could have done better in qualifying this year, against the one lap pace of Red Bull and Mercedes? Prior to the tyre change they were the best of the rest, securing, on the average, fifth and sixth position, behind the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers, being noticeably faster than their team mates. Both have said that the tyre change hurt them, and, in the case of Kimi the team is obviously not helping him to solve the issues brought by the tyre change. In the case of Ferrari, they stopped developing the car some time ago.

248

Wow, your 'age' having a toll doesn't even make any sense logically.

Older drivers should be having trouble in the Race Distance of 307 Km.... But you are saying that they are getting fatigued over 5 km lol.

If age was a factor, It should be reverse don't you think?

249

Webber has said this year that the absolute last tenth of pace is the first thing to go with age. he didn't go into details as to how he knows or how it manifests itself - for example the time to make small corrections mid corner, and therefore the corrections become bigger.

250

Not sure you follow cricket. In 5-day tests, older and experienced cricketers do very well in short T20 format (4 hours if you are not aware), it is young who shine. In quali, all you need is one good lap always on the edge with total dedication: young usually are more risk-taking and hence it pays off very well when it works: recall how many times Grosjean cut the chicane in practice sessions, but when he nailed it, he was always good. In race it is more of skill to look after the tires, overtaking and pushing only when needed - all that comes with experience. Of course Kimi already admitted that he made a couple of mistakes besides the tires introduced after Germany by Pirelli are not suited to his driving. Before that he was trouncing Grosjean.

251

I assume that you are young, else you would know the answer.

252

It seems that Vettel has finally got some Webber luck now! It would be great to see Webber win this race 🙂

253

Software boffins at RBR work into the night...

$car2_bog_start = TRUE;

254

Too funny!

255

Multi 21, Seb. Multi 21!!!!

256

Kersus! I find this strange; very strange. Vettel has KERS problem and Webber gets pole. Is this something like the strange gear box problem Vettel had in Brazil 2011 where Webber won his one and only race of the year but Vettel still managed to hold on to second place?

Is there an element of WWE in F1 now? Newey is not in Japan which means definetely they are not expecting Vettel to win the championship in Suzuka. May be Bernie had a word with Horner to postpone the championship in the interest of sport, to increase viewing figures?

Also, let's not forget, Alonso still has hopes of winning the championship!!

257

I can't see it Rob. If Vettel wins the remaining races this year, he equals Schumi's 13 wins in a season.

258

Yep, definately room for suspicions with RB shenanigans. the kers is the Helmet control box.

259

thanx for this perspective, it does clarify, especially the Newey not in Japan.

260

I really can't see Seb playing along with that one at all.

261

Great to see webber on pole, no KERS on vettles car and suddenly we see power oversteer? Don't see that often? Maybe there's some truth in the KERS TC rumours?

262

And so every team on the grid is running traction control by your logic?

263

Good stuff Mark. Did anyone notice at the weigh-in it seemed that many of the other drivers were really chuffed for Webber, coming up to him and giving what look to be very sincere congrats.

Let's hope he can follow through tomorrow.

264

yes AJ, i certainly noticed the open 'bonhomie' extended to webber from all the other drivers. it was great to see and just goes to show that the other drivers recognise webbers talent...at the top.

265

Probably fair to say that the only people that don't like and respect him would be members of the blinkered finger boy fan club.

266

[Meanwhile, in the garage prepping for Q1...]

Newey: Hey Chris, we've got Bernie phoning in again, can I hang up?

Horner: God, no! Patch him to my headset. Hey, Bernie, what's up?

BE: Time to throw in the squirrel, Horner.

Horner: look, Bernie, do we really have to -

BE: Throw the squirrel in Seb's cowl, Horner. The one that chews the red wires.

Horner: No Bernie, not the KERS wire again! Can't we just throw the squirrel in the garage and use the peanut butter trick on Mark's car-

BE: The squirrel, Horner. For Seb, this time. No substitutions.

Horner: [sighs] Oh, alright. Can we at least be allowed to use electrical tape to try to-

BE: No, no touching the red wire after the squirrel is done with it! It's about the _show_, Horner!

Horner: [resigned] Right-o, then.

Newey: [head in hands, shaking his head in disbelief]

267

Hahaha! Laughing my ass off...

268

...lol. played out perfectly. So when will the script be complete for casting? Or r u thinking of a mocumentory?

269

Hilarious, well done. We need it more often 🙂

270

+1 awesome

272

Webber did not "beat" Vettel, Vettel had technical issues.

Perhaps celebrate that for once Webber managed to beat every one else in their inferior cars. Too often he cant even get 2nd behind Vettel.

273

If Ferrari would have built better cars in recent years then Massa would not have been beaten so soundly, and perhaps would have out scored Alonso over a year. Massa's problem is not his speed over a lap, but his inability to extract the most out of a difficult car over the course of a race, which is an indictment on Ferrari as much as it is on Massa. If he goes to Mclaren next year, and Mclaren has a good car he will beat Button.

274

Meanwhile in dreamland...

275

James, are you able to stay neutral, when it is clear through the home page of yous site that Red Bull is a senior sponsor?

It does not seem good policy to be helped by those than are being commented.

Please give us your thoughts, I think this matter bothers many.

Regards

276

Seriously? James's credentials are impeccable. Shame on you!! 😉

277

Red Bull is not a sponsor. The Red Bull page on the site is sponsored by Infiniti.

278

RBR dominates even with KERS problems, that car is just on another level!!!!!

280

One for those who say Alonso does not admit it when he does not a good enough job...

281

Just to also note that Mark weighs 75kg (very low for a man of 1.85m height) and Seb weighs 64kg (1.76m height).

So, Mark has to accelerate, corner and brake an additional 11kg in mass on every lap of every GP.

I just looked up most of the qualifying times for Seb and Mark over the past 3 years or so and it seems to me that, if they had been the same weight, Mark would have been on pole far more often than Seb. The times have always been very close but that 11kg additional mass in Webber's car appears to have been a major factor in the results.

It will be very sad not to have Mark starting in Melbourne next year. He's been a terrific ambassador for the sport.

Cheers,

Ian

282

Hi Ian,

To clarify SteveS' point, the regulations state that the minimum car weight including the driver without fuel is 642 kg. Next year the limit will be 690 kg.

There are some comments that the Marussia and Caterham cars are not at the weight limit. Next year more cars+drivers are expected to be above the minimum.

The lead cars will be at the weight limit, to the variation between drivers will be minimal. The car weight is adjusted based on driver weight at the time, so the cars are close to the weight limit.

What isn't the same is the centre of gravity. A lower centre of gravity aids performance on cars with aerodynamic downforce. Numbers on this are not readily available from teams in the same way as the 3 tenths per 10 kg of fuel. I've plugged some numbers and have come up with 0.1-0.3 seconds difference advantage for Vettel over Webber, but that is with several assumptions about the car characteristics and as to how it translates to lap time on the track.

Cheers,

Martin

283

It would be nice if F1 fans knew a little bit about F1. Every car + driver weighs exactly the same amount. Mark has to accelerate exactly the same weight out of every corner of every lap as does Seb and every other driver on the grid.

284

Well said. There's been a lot of blatant misunderstanding of the 'minimum weight' rules recently, fans of the sport should have got their heads around this one by now. An interesting solution to the 'heavy driver' problem that's being whipped up at the moment... Can't remember who said it or on which forum, but how about driver+seat=(say)85kg, car weighs the minimum weight minus 85kg. Would that be a level playing field?

285

the weight differential does play an important part though in setting up the ballast to max out the balance of the car. this is where vettel has much more latitude and webber is penalised by being heavier.

i would also think that webber being considerable taller than vettel could cause some changes to the COG factor but by how much i wouldn't know.

286

To add to your comment, it's a pity that F1 fans don't realise that although the cars weigh exactly the same, that additional 11kgs of Webber sits in the worst possible place for a car's balance, ie the driving seat.

With Vettel, that 11kgs of ballast can be placed on the floor of the car to balance it more efficiently.

Thats why Hulkenburg has been mentioned recently as too heavy for next years regs.

287

That's true but its also not as simple as that.

The Hulk is having trouble getting the top drive he deserves because of his height/weight.

Being lighter means you can put the 10kg ballast lower in the chassis giving a lower C of G which is always an advantage.

With tenths counting in F1 these days it makes a difference.

288

Did anyone else catch Alonso's comment, roughly; in Q3 the Bulls just push the turbo and they're away.

My impression from the comment suggest he believes the Bulls have got something extra, perhaps the putative 'traction control?'

I'm just reporting, not stirring OK

289
The Spanish Inquisitor

No, it was a generic comment. No team name was giving.

290

I cannot understand why Alonso/Kimi qualify so low? If tires are an issue, cannot they change the driving style a bit to be like their team-mates (esp. Grosjean)? I know it is a bit difficult to change in the last few years of your driving career, but they must try something different. May be they are trying, but that is not working. How many years will they be giving Vettel pole position and they start 5 places behind trying to catch him in the race? If next year, their performance in quali is going to be like this, they can bid goodbye to WDC.

291

Why is it Kimi was 8 : 1 out qualifying Grosjean before the tyre change. Why is it despite this Kimi still finishes ahead on Sunday-- how you set the car up for race day is what's more important isn't it

292
Alexander Supertramp

Grosjean is pretty quick over a lap and he needed more time to come to grips with the car than Kimi. I do believe however that Grosjean has thrived on the knowledge that Kimi is leaving and that Lotus will be his team next year. The way Grosjean has been handling the situation has impressed me. I also believe the likes of Kimi, Fernando and Lewis haven't been performing at their very best because they have lost some strength to compete against Vettel for the big shiny prize. They are fighting for the smaller honours- 2nd in the WDC/WCC- and that's not bringing out the very best out of them. Kimi's recent quali performances were mainly his doing and not so much the set up. Sunday is race day and brings the racer out in Kimi. Loved his move in the chicane today!

293

Age, simple as that.

294

Maybe they will both end up like Prost. SACKED.

295

Not sure about Alonso, but Kimi made 2 mistakes on his quick lap in Q3!!

Kimi is just trying a little too hard to beat Grosjean in Q3, and is making mistakes.

Till this weekend, since Hungary tyres were not really helping Kimi. However, this weekend he said he had that sorted out & all through weekend Kimi & GRO were quiet close to each other, but Kimi's mistake in Q3 didn't help.

I think, going forward, we should see better performances from Kimi on Saturday.

296

How could RBR allow Prodromou to be stolen by McLaren?!

297

The question is - why would he want to leave RBR? Stability is everything, especially at that level

298

Isn't Rob Marshall the head of aero at Red Bull, so this could be a promotion for him, one that otherwise might not be available?

299

Maybe he wants to get out of Newey's shadow? Not being 'The Man' must get a bit wearing for a highly competitive person... Good luck to him, I shall be watching how his career progresses with great interest. Somebody has to be the next Newey, as Newey himself was once the new Patrick Head.

300

Maybe he wants to prove himself without Newey?

301

Opportunity to step out of Newey's shadow and prove himself?

302

Ego? Pride? Job Title? Thinking grass is greener on the other side? Wanting to get out of Newey's shadow?

Ahhhh...the secrets!

303

Talking to Ted Kravitz yesterday, it seemed Horner implied, while neither confirming or denying, that Prodromou left, he wouldn't be able to start for McLaren for at least a year (based on being in the middle of a contract).

Prodromou worked at McLaren until 2006/7 (iirc) and perhaps going back with increased responsibilities, more money and perhaps a new challenge could all factor into it. Sometimes it could be as simple as some personal issues as well (not related to RB at all).

304

Bags and bags of money, I would assume.

305

Having the title as aerodynamics leader for McLaren F1 on your business card is also a pretty good bet.

306

RBR has the biggest bags! What just happened?!

Stellaaaaa!!!! ....I mean McLareeeeeeeeeen!!!!

307

Grosjean and Hulk keep impressive pace... Massa again quicker than Alo, I think same happened at the later races last year ... More concern for Ferrari... Anyways nobody really know how 2014 will be, and to have Two GREAT racing drivers may provide an edge that Maranello needs to be in the game.

308
Alexander Supertramp

Ferrari isn't exactly showing Red Bull skill on the technical side of the equation. I don't believe they can really trouble Red Bull next year. Fernando and Kimi could have a shot at the title next year, but that will be because of their own skills.

309

Wow, even without KERS the Red Bull is the fastest car!

Massa, Grosjean and Hulkenburg were all superb today, 2 of the 3 Lotus drivers next season.

310

It is all so very interesting...

the currents here, especially those under the surface, not to forget to mention the wind on the surface.

I find the patterns fortifying the conspiracy theorizers position that KERS is somehow being used as a traction control method, without definitive evidence being left behind via the ECU.

The fans disenfrachisement by the Vettel domination, and Red Bull's need to consolidate their position without any chance of somehow having any 'special treatment' of Vettel's set up, somehow identified.

Of course people want to look for a silver bullet behind why the Vettel-Red Bull package is so dominant.

It is bad for the show.

I saw someone mention that both Kimi and Alonso have a spare set of unused tires; is this true? Sacrificing grid position for three more laps on the tires might be an optimizing solution, if the traffic issue is mitigated.

Some of the poackages in front will be slower and very difficult to pass, i.e. Hulkenberg.

I expect Grosjean to go for it, which is warning to the top three qualifiers.

I am interested to see how Alonso will turn his off the line advantage at this circuit, where to go (to miss hitting slower cars)?

What I'd like to see on the podium, Webber, Grosjean, Massa, rain of the unreigned number twos.

311

I sincerely wish Mark to make finally his 10th in Suzuka tomorrow.

As for Seb he will clinch his 4th sooner or later so if he assists Mark directly or indirectly that would be his great farewell to his teammate.

312

Now why would Seb help someone who he perceives as having sabotaged him before? And why would Webber want or need help from Seb? I just hope that those two are grown ups now, and nothing silly happens. They should fight to earn their keeps. Victory tastes sweeter that way. How the two behaved at press conference today was certainly a positive sign.

313

LOL! Just like last year's Monaco GP, Webber had to depend on Schumacher's penalty to inherit a pole position.

This time, Vettel's disadvantage gave Webber the pole. Nothing to be proud of. But I guess if Vettel gets pole again, some people may not like it.

Lets see what Jedi moves can Alonso pull out at the start line. LOL...

314

Is there a bet on how many places can Alonso move up after lap1?

315

Is Pic still racing for Marussia, or what? Again, he's been penalised for running a red light in the pit lane after it was closed. He's been given a drive-through that has to be served in the first 5 laps of the race.

Good luck getting that 13th that way!!

316

Top performances of qualifying:

1) Felipe Massa. If there is something similar to a perfect lap, he managed that today!

2) Jenson Button. Astonishing peace through all sessions. This is his best track by far!

3) Nico Hulkemberg. Fantastic qualifying! His second best just behind Monza. Indeed noticeably better than Corea, and that was already pretty good!

317

Anyways... Sure we are all looking forward to another scintillating battle between the best drivers in the world. Thanks James for keeping us posted on the latest in the F1 world. Also love reading all the comments from all the fans around the globe. We seem to be going in circles though with all the rants about who is the best driver and what team is bending the rules(or cheating) and all that. I think we all probably looking for one of those seasons where one of the drivers win the the title against all ods. Someone who didn't even have the best package in the field. We have had that and there will be more, don't you worry.

318

any hint of a 'staged event' would never be accepted by webber. i would think that webber would rather park the car than accept a gift from vettel, and rightly so.

319

Funny how no one mentions that Webber's new chassis is lighter than Vettel's and then celebrate how he beat Vettel, without acknowledging the KERS of Vettel not working. In fact, people are celebrating like Webber won the championship, lol.

Whatever makes the sour grapes sour-er, I guess.

320

now that is an interesting comment K. please post your source vis-a-vis the chassis weights so that the veracity can considered.

some days ago i read an article somewhere on newsnow that actually stated the exact opposite although as i couldn't find the article i prefaced my post with that info. i look forward to reading your response.

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