F1 Winter Break
Button gambles and wins thrilling Australian GP
Button gambles and wins thrilling Australian GP
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Mar 2010   |  9:32 am GMT  |  367 comments

Jenson Button won the Australian Grand Prix for the second year in a row, leading home Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa. The game changing moment for Button was an early gamble he made to opt for dry tyres on a damp track.

Two Australian GP wins for Button (Darren Heath)

The race had everything Bahrain did not; lots of overtaking and drama, suggesting that mechanical grip, rather than aerodynamics is the real problem with F1 in dry conditions.

The start was chaotic; rain fell on the grid and everyone opted to run the intermediate rain tyres. On a greasy track, Fernando Alonso got away slowly from third on the grid and was passed by Massa. Alonso tagged Jenson Button into turn 1, which spun the Spaniard around and into Michael Schumacher, breaking his front wing. The incident dropped Alonso down to 22nd place.

Vettel led them away, with Massa into second ahead of Mark Webber, with Kubica fourth, Rosberg fifth and Button sixth. But the safety car was deployed lap 1 for a nasty crash between Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Hulkenberg.

The safety car was out for five laps and at the restart Button pitted for dry tyres. He went off on his first lap, but it turned out to be the right move and it took him up to second place and he was soon the fastest car on the track, which led to a mass rush to the pits for most drivers.

Red Bull left both cars out, pitting Vettel a lap later. This delay cost Webber massively, as he was on the wrong tyre for three laps and when he rejoined after his stop on lap 9 he was in sixth place.

Red Bull should have pitted one of their cars on lap 7, when most people came in. Operationally the team made costly mistakes last season and they did it again here, they were lucky that Button went off track on slicks, otherwise he would have taken the lead from Vettel with his early pit stop gamble.

Everyone fitted the soft tyre at the stops and most were hoping to make it to the finish on them, which required them to be careful on the tyres. In the end it paid off for the front four cars.

Vettel led from Button, Kubica and Rosberg, while Webber passed Massa but then went off track defending from Hamilton.

At this stage of the race, Alonso and Webber were consistently the fastest drivers in the field. Webber passed Alonso after the Ferrari driver was caught up in the aftermath of a pass by Hamilton on Massa.

While all this overtaking was going on, it was strange to see Michael Schumacher was struggling to get past Jaime Alguersuari.

The race changed on lap 26 when Sebastian Vettel went off the track after a brake failure, meanwhile Lewis Hamilton pulled off an astonishing pass on Rosberg around the outside of Turn 11.

The tyres started graining around lap 30 on some cars. Schumacher pitted for new tyres as did Webber as everyone waited to see when the others might stop. Hamilton pitted for a new set of tyres at the very moment Button set the fastest lap up to that point of the race, despite having the oldest tyres of anyone, illustrating that his smoothness was paying dividends.

But Hamilton was soon lapping 2 seconds a lap faster and Button had to decide how long to stay out before pitting for a second set of tyres or whether to gamble on staying out and trying to make the tyres last to the end. He chose to stay out.

Kubica and the Ferraris took the same gamble. In the closing stages as their tyres struggled, they were caught by Hamilton and Webber, but the pair collided as Hamilton came up behind Alonso.

Button went to McLaren partly to prove that his world championship win last season was not solely because he had the fastest car. He certainly proved today that his legendary smoothness and his instinct for making the right choices at key moments are also important reasons why he’s a winner.

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Melbourne, 58 laps

1. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h33:36.531
2. Kubica Renault + 12.034
3. Massa Ferrari + 14.488
4. Alonso Ferrari + 16.304
5. Rosberg Mercedes + 16.683
6. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 29.898
7. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 59.847
8. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:00.536
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 1:07.319
10. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:09.391
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:11.301
12. De la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari + 1:14.084
13. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 2 laps
14. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps

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WOW!!! What a brilliant race!! Jenson was just fabulous and deserves the ensuring plaudits for a brave decision to take the slicks over the inters.

For most of us ‘F1’ and ‘exciting’ are words that should be synonymous with the sport, today we had that!

However, the fundamental issue of over-taking hasn’t been solved long term but simply by the rain and safety car periods in Melbourne. For a driver as experienced as Schumacher to struggle to get past Jamie Alguersari for so long typifies the problem although we don’t know if his car suffered more damage than met the eye in the first corner melee.

Hamilton drove brilliantly and bar a bad team decision (in hindsight) his performance was exemplary, not that I’m particularly pleased to hear him wanting answers over ‘who’s call’ on the pit radio; surely just his ultra competitive instincts and frustrations boiling!

The fact he was closing so fast on the Ferraris yet was still unable to find a way past adds further weight to the cries of overtaking being a fundamental problem for future of F1.

Sure Hamilton will have some choice words to his team as well as to Webber...

I bet Alonso was suitably miffed having to follow Massa...

Vettel will lose some confidence as twice in a row from pole mechanical gremlins have robbed him of an almost definite double win!

Would love to be a fly on the wall in the Ferrari garage, as also Red Bull and McLaren’s....

Great to see Massa on the podium yet again despite holding back his faster team-mate who simply could not overtake! Kubica and Renault deserved that place after a very mature drive in difficult conditions.

Loved your question James regarding over-taking to Jenson in the post-race press conference, beautifully called and (as ever) diplomatically answered by the ever eloquent Button!


ok it is difficult for people to get by in F1, but its also part of a racing driver's skill set to make it difficult (but fair) when racing... so credit to Alguersari! For me Schumi is a racing legend, but you have to tip your hat to the Toro Rosso driver.

Take other drives from Alonso both today and also in the past at Monza and Turkey with Schumi behind him...

Sometimes watching the effort of others without actually making the move stick is just as exciting as watching lots of change in positions i say. Close racing, its all good.


I am not sure how much driver ability had to do with it... At times Massa was all over the place but Alonso was no where... Hamiltion was faster than Kubica who he couldn't make any move on and later Alonso who was really struggling with tired tires.

Personally I would like to know more about Rubens said, that they should increase the size of the slick tyres to increase mechanical grip, making being on fresher rubber an advantage over being on older rubber. Either that or Bridgestone need to take 'softer' tires to the races (super soft rather soft and so on), maybe if they combined this with removing the mandatory tyre stop/use both tyre sets rule it would give teams and drivers far more flexibility in their strategies.


what is that "ant" doing there? I obviously meant "and"


On improving the show theme how about letting drivers make all decisions regarding tire choice ant pit stop timing. As we just saw in the race that could give some interesting results.

Let's this part of strategy become driver responsibility and as soon as the race starts let's ban all communication regarding tyre condition, track condition and weather forecast.


nah - increasing mechanical grip is only going to make overtaking even harder - the higher the mechanical grip, the smaller the braking zones into a corner and better the traction for acceleration out of corners... also as a softer tyre degrades it spits out all those tiny marbles of rubber that make the road off the racing line 'dirty', giving reduced grip, so again the overtaking chances are reduced.

True the wear on the tyre will make them useful for a smaller window - but then you are back to who can eek out the performance on them - Lewis is not one of these drivers and so you are back to a status quo and a drivers ability to place his car in the right place to minimise another drivers chance to get by.

The exact opposite to when Martin Brundle talks about drivers being 'mugged' for position or making it too easy for someone to get by - its part of a drivers race craft and people like Alonso, Kubica are savvy on it.


Alonso passed a Virgin car on the first lap under a yellow flag...


on the same issue, the fia made the right call on using drivers as race officials. Otherwise webber would have been penalized for what i consider a racing incident.


I'm pretty sure he let it by again as we saw him passing a Virgin car after the restart with Schumacher right behind him.


Great drive from Button though!


Fantastic race, well deserved win for Button, I was most impressed with his call for the slicks and his consistant competetive times on worn tires.

James how do you think the McLaren team have reacted to Hamilton's comments and the wrong strategy decision - angry at Hamilton, disappointed with their wrong call or a bit of both?


I don't think Mclaren will give 2 hoots about Lewis comments over the radio... He is a hard charging passionate driver, that is what makes him so great, and do you not think that Martin and everyone who made that decision to bring him in for fresh boots were kicking themselves and being far harsher on themselves than the really quite mild comments Lewis made?

The reason Lewis got past Jenson wasn't because Lewis' tires were fading... Its because Jenson's tires had already gone off, he said as much after the race in the drivers conference and again on the red button.

Jenson said that if he stayed on his inters for another lap he was just going to fall rather rapidly down the field (which was quite tightly packed) and he said he was already seeing a drying line to took a calculated risk in going onto inters. If you look back at his 1st race win in Hungry it was because of his ability to utilise dry tyres on a damp track brilliantly, so I would imagine he thought it was a gamble well worth taking.

Until he came into a soaking pit lane and thought 'ooops' or some French word to that effect, which is what he said to Jake and the guys on the red button after the race.


like schumi at spa 1992.


Yes definite echoes of that race, when Brundle overtook Schumacher and then realised that judging by the state of his team-mates rear tyres it was time to make the change.


An amazing race and a great day for British motor sports. Congratulations to you Brits! Hamilton's display was astonishing, what an spectacular driver he is! I should say it was a pity he went off, but it was agains't Alonso so I was jumping and closing fists when it happened.

The saddest guy: Vettel. How frustrating!

The happiest: Button the winner and Rosberg, ahead of his mighty team mate.

Why not to have eighteen races in Australia?


he he he he he .. wat a pity!!!! ... wat british motor sports has done to take credit for everything as always!!! for excellent race happend in australia ?? :O ..... roseberg is invisible for most of the race .. how come hes happiest person ... Alonso shld be happiest person ...cruising frm P22 to P4 ....


Well, if you were as handsome as Rosberg, as rich as Rosberg, and coming from being discarded to being ahead of your 7 times world champion, wouldn't you be happy?

I'm only handsome and I'm very happy. 😉


it's not australia, it's the few drops at the start of the race.


So every race should happen in the local rain season... or with some sort of artificial irrigation 😉

Soumya Banerjee

Hamilton's case was dat of "grapes r sour". He cudnt get past Kubica anyway after hounding him for so long,& Kubica outbraked him once after Ham took the racing line!& had he stayed out,he wud hav been passed by webber & rosberg definitely.He should consider himself lucky 2 b in 6th.


We can't have 18 races in Australia... we need some of them to be in Brazil!

Avoiding the 'Tilkedromes'!


Not just Tilkedromes but also we need to avoid the deserts because I learnt in school that it never rains in the deserts (AKA Bahrain and Abu Dhabi!!)


Well, in fact... it does rain in the deserts. Not too often though.

What about having a GP in Finland? Ice is quite slipery. 🙂


Sand on a track would be just as slippery as rain - just need men with leaf blowers at every corner blowing it onto the track 🙂 on a more serious note perhaps it could be as simple as that they should just stop roadsweeping the desert tracks at every opportunity and leave the tracks to there own devices ??

Steve Greenwood

good point about the lack of rain, you might be interested to hear bernie has already had talks with Manchester and Aberdeen regarding staging their own GP's from 2011! 🙂


THis was the race that they all should be, Jenson you have a new fan, great proffesional drive, looking after the tyres and MCLaren... bad call.

James, got to ask the question about where you watch the race from, must be a change from the commentary box.


James what is your thoughts on Red Bull's reliability for this season? I've always been a big backer of Vettel but Red Bull have a less than perfect reliability record. Do you see this reliability issue continuing into this new year? Congrats to Jenson


The maestro Adrian Newey is renowned for producing blisteringly quick cars but also has a reputation for pushing the envelope a little too far on occasion leaving nothing to spare with the installations & packaging - but better an unreliable quick car than a reliable slow one - they can work on reliability but if the basic car is slow out of the box that is a much harder nut to crack.


i personally think vettel is hard on cars and cant treat them properly. thats a skill he needs to learn


Spot on with that one, he reminds me of Montoya, great driver but to hard on the car, Vettel is always pushing the car to the limit when there is cleary no need. Only himself to blame!!


I'm not James but I thought about it a bit. I think the problem lies with the designer. Adrian Newey is a gifted designer, but he seems to cut things to close. The second he left McLaren their car became pretty much bulletproof, and now it's Red Bull getting hit. It was ok in the 90's where every other car broke down anyway, but nowadays most cars don't break down.

Things looked up when Geoff came in and worked on reliability, but he left again. Let's hope this is just a bad start for Red Bull and not an omen for the season.


Great drive by Jenson. This is the way F1 can be interesting; through the degrees of tyre management by the various drivers and teams. If more variety in the tyre choices happens, good things will happen.


Cracking race James - as an Aussie shame to see Webber struggle but how godd is it to see drivers having a go! Great race! Good to see you on One as well James - look forward to seeing you action again throughout the year.


A great race from Jenson and Lewis, shame to see Webber hit Lewis twice, lucky it all ended up well, considering. Did I hear Lewis questioning whose call it was to bring him in, and saying it was a bad move ? I certainly heard Alonso being told Hamilton was rapidly catching him, 3.5 seconds behind, "OK I don't want to know" in a rather rattled manner.

Lewis was around 1.5s quicker as he caught Alonso, but could not pass once the track was dry, yes, both had shot tyres, but it still looks like Dry races will be terminally boring. As others have suggested, much harder tyres could be the direction to go in, these things are good fun when they are struggling for grip.


I read Alonso's tone as droll, I thought he was having a laugh with his team.


more power, less down force, hard tyres that can be abused.


Some drivers are more difficult to pass than others. 😉


Yes, but Hamilton has passed Alonso plenty of times, with no great incident, my point is that certain drivers try to play the hard man and threaten to crash into anybody who dares to pass them. This is neither fair nor good and the guilty should be exposed.

Hamilton was at his imperious best today, Vintage stuff, in tricky slippery conditions he consistently shows his talent, making incredible passes, safely, and somehow managing to come out on top of dogfights with similar or better cars. That for me is what clearly defines his as the best there is.


There's not much point in closing in on the guy in front at 1.5s per lap if when you get there you've taken the life out of your tyres - there's a good chance with the way Hamilton was charging around at 110% that if he hadn't taken the 2nd stop for tyres he wouldn't have had much left in them at towards the end of the race - rendering him vulnerable later on to tyre problems or being passed by others who had managed their tyres better.

I think today Hamilton was a victim of his own lack of thinking & assertiveness on the hoof and a result of being in the team for so long and not being used to / able to question & compute strategy calls for himself – too reliant on the people on the “Pratts Perches” on the pit wall – do you think Alonso/Schumacher/Button would have accepted that call no questions asked ? – nope -experience is obviously a wonderful thing and the lack of it done Hamilton today – on the bright side he now has a bit more of it to store away for use later in his career – but he may mentally question every decision they make now which will not be good for his surprisingly fragile state of mind – as Coultard alluded to it is a definite chink in his armour he needs to address & quickly.


Not very bad.

Anyway, this time, Hamilton still got some points, more points than in last race of 2007,when he failed his try to pass Alonso and also let him fall in trouble,a trouble worth of a World Champion.


Hamilton passing Alonso plenty of times? You mean when Hamilton was driving a McLaren and Alonso was driving a coffee pot. 🙂

I guess you don't include Alonso between those crashing into anybody who tries to pass them.

No doubt Hamilton is a great driver and a great fun to watch. He is aggressive, skilful and brave. But to be the best he would need to be more regular. He sometimes crashes against someone on red light, jumps over others coming out of a corner, or crashes against the wall when not fighting anyone.

No worries, there is plenty of time for Alonso to show you who is the best. You'll be welcome to the club. 🙂


Completely agree...Alonso has bigger balls than Massa. Nervous last 10 laps watching Lewis on Alonso but Massa needs to thank his team mate, he wouldn't have got a podium if Alonso wasn't there.


Also Hamilton nearly got Alonso. He was right in the middle of it when Webber drove straight in to him. Lots of passes happened in the dry because the track had so little grip. The way forward is to make all the tracks less grippy.


How on earth did you get this out so quickly, James? It was only half an hour ago I saw you on ONE (great job, btw)...

I reckon you'll get a lot of comments on this "The race had everything Bahrain did not; lots of overtaking and drama, suggesting that mechanical grip, rather than aerodynamics is the real problem with F1 in dry conditions."
as ever.

Think this race shows how people were overreacting ridiculously after Bahrain.


The only problem is Hamilton was going two seconds per lap quicker on fresher tyres than the Kubica + Ferrari train, yet still couldn't overtake any of them.

If it wasn't for some lucky weather and a safety car, this had every potential to be just as processional as Bahrain, for sure.


Did anyone else notice Alonso backing off from Massa just before Hamilton came up behind? I think he was making space so that he could defend without worrying so much about Massa in front of him. As the battle progressed, Alonso got closer and closer to Massa which was giving Hamilton more of a chance to overtake.

As for the Webber incident, Alonso had Hamilton covered into the corner so he wouldn't have got past anyway.


Yes - had noticed same thing. Very savvy by Alonso. In addition he kept the same average gap for several laps despite closing right up on massa in certain corners i.e. he must have been slowing each lap on other corners where he could defend better, then rabbiting from Hamilton before the danger corners.

Loved Alonso's Team Radio conversation too.

Team: Hamilton very fast and now only 3.5 seconds behind

Alonso: No more, I don't want to know


yes, i noticed that too. but wasnt sure of what to think..

now that i read alonso comments. he said he couldnt pass massa because his tyres where off..

so he was settled with 4th and trying to keep hamilton behind.


Great observation.

I saw that but didn't think much of it. Actually makes sense.


Some of the same problems were still there - on a dry track late on, Alonso was able to keep Lewis behind despite being much slower over the previous laps.

What this did show was that artificial was of mixing up the order like forced pit stops are not needed - natural racing wildcards like rain and safety cars can set a Grand Prix alight.

In-season, the best way of exploiting that and finding more avenues for wildcards is to work with Bridgestone to ensure that the cars and drivers worst on tyres struggle more over the long runs.

For 2011, slash the aero and boost up the mechanical grip.


The reason of "Alonso was able to keep Lewis behind" was not aero problem on F1, because we saw a lot of overtakings today.

Lewis easily overtook others, both not Alonso and Kubica. So credit to both Alonso and Kubica for both top notch defence!


Hamilton was in the process of passing Alonso when that stupid idiot Webber smacked into him again,Webber needs to understand that other cars and drivers that are better than him are allowed to pass him without being taken out.


You say for 2011 to slash the aero and boost mechanical grip, however, today the cars were able to follow more closely and overtake each other despite the aero being the same as Bahrain.

The main difference today was that the mechanical grip was low because of the rain. This resulted in the cars sliding more, as drivers had difficulty getting on the power out of corners and were struggling under the brakes, where the aero is less effective. The reduced mechanical grip levels made the cars harder to drive, which in turn will yield more mistakes producing more overtaking opportunities.

Increasing mechanical grip/reducing aero will only make the cars slower but easier to drive.

F1 needs the aero in the high speed corners to get the fast lap times, but needs less mechanical grip in the low and medium speed corners where the majority of overtaking manoeuvres are made.

In my opinion Bridgestone needs to develop a dry weather tyre that produces the same mechanical grip as an intermediate tyre on a damp track.


We are forgetting that cars are able to create mechanical grip because of the high aero downforce created by these cars.

Just because some of us advocate to reduce the aero side, does not mean we want higher mechanical grip.

When the diffusers are gone next year will help to see if this is the right approach.

Then we can talk about getting rid of front and rear wings!!!


Interesting point. Are you suggesting that we go back to having grooved tyres?


Yep, the rain was the main difference... and as a consequence, mid-race (before Vettel departed) I feel that almost anyone in the top eight felt they had a chance to win the race or make the podium at least... this galvanised the drivers into really pushing their cars (in conjunction with the track conditions); Webber and Hamilton were really giving it some jip 🙂 Others too. Resulting in graining and tyre issues... wondrous stuff.

Massive respect to Button, who when he hit the front of the race didn't go mad (taking the life out of his tyres), he maintained the gap to Kubica and was able to push, as and when he felt threatened.

Found it interesting that Button focused in on Prost's car at the McLaren centre - in the pre-race build up feature. More interesingly I found Hamilton's comments similar in anger and mentality to those he made in Monaco in '07.


I complete agree about the lack of mechanical grip aiding overtaking at the start of the race. As a drying line occurred, and with slick tyres, mechanical grip was increased and overtaking became much more difficult.

However, reducing the mechanical grip is not going to be possible this season; Bridgestone would never go along with that. This means that we would have to wait till next year.

Soumya Banerjee

Do u think alonso wud just hav let ham get by him!! 2 much is being made of hamilton's drive.Alonso was ahead of him in the turn when webber hit him.So if hammy cant overtake,then that means there still is an overtaking problem in f1,eh?


Race awareness is a significantly overlooked skill. All last season, the snippets from the Brawn team radio indicated that, while Rubens seemed to have little idea of what was happening around him (German GP for instance), Jenson seemed to communicate much more and have better awareness of what was happening and crucially, what was likely to happen.

I wonder how many points difference that made last year?


Great race. Hands up who still wants to reintroduce refueling?


Me! Can you think how much better this race would have been with refuelling?


You must by joking - refuelling would have ruined this race.


Jenson would have had to have chosen a different strategy.

I think the refueling ban allowed drivers the freedom to choose their tactics today and that produced a very exciting race.


Both of mine are up. Can I also put my leg in the air for getting rid of this stupid 2 compound rule. Let the drivers choose which one to use for all of Qualifying and the race but make them stick to one


Hi, i wonder if Mclaren's decision to bring Hamilton in for the second time was a good one? I mean he could finish the race in 3rd or 2 nd position.


He would have finished 2nd at least and possibly 1st if he was able to keep charging at a rapid rate. It would have been a McLaren 1-2 for the first time since Alonso left the team.


rubish, his tyres were destroyed, because he was pushing them to the limits, dont get me wrong, he was devastatingly fast and had a great race but he trashed those tyres good, he was sliding around the track when following kubica midway throug the race, he wouldnt have made it on the podium, no way


His tyres and performance were better than Kubica, as stated by Kubica himself. The reason he was sliding around was being in Kubicas dirty air.

He would have got a podium had he not pitted, possibly 2nd. I doubt he would have got past button tho.


It's pretty obvious that Button with no one in front of him and Kubica - who was so far behind Button to avoid turbulence, were able to "save" their tires. The Ferraris and those following had their tires trashed by following others closely... Aero does seem to have a MAJOR impact.

Soumya Banerjee

I agree with u.His race pace wud hav decreased had he stayed out.He's lucky enough to finish & he's no gr8 conserver of tyres.


Although its still difficult to overtake this race may keep the F1 doubters quiet for a week.

Great race from a lot of drivers, but from a Ferrari point of view despite two podiums I haven't been massively impressed with Massa. He does struggle when a car isn't perfect and in amongst the pack, and today cost FA a podium despite coming from last. Probably too early for anything certain but I wonder whether FA would want his mate Kubica to partner him next season. I hope Massa proves me wrong but he has a few too many off races, and still gives positions away positions far too easily.

Quick question for you James, Mclaren clearly have better race pace...is this largely due to not being able to run with ride height lower in qualifying? Have you heard from any engineers how much time this might be worth over a lap to Mclaren or other teams?


Button said in an interview on Australian TV that the team had the wrong downforce level for Bahrain, suggesting it was basically Monaco spec despite the straights. He suggested the new section caught the team out. Given the car has a straightline advantage through the engine and the rear wing, it has to lacking downforce relative to Ferrari and Red Bull. Melbourne is more of a low downforce track. Malaysia by reputation is a better guide for the rest of the season.


Melbourne is a medium to high downforce track, but agree Malaysia maybe a better guide and I think Mclaren might struggle a bit more in the next 2 or 3 races. But that doesn't answer my earlier question, Mclaren in qualifying are significantly slower than Ferrari and Red Bull compared to race pace. Is alot of that down to the ride height, with Ferrari and particularly Red Bull being able to run lower in qualifying and thus having more downforce?


Hi Ben. I may have misunderstood your original question, thinking you were talking Melbourne relative to Bahrain, rather than optimum qualifying pace to race pace.

Tyres still wear through load, so extra downforce comes at a penalty of increased wear. In qualifying this doesn't really matter. In a race, the driver of the faster car has to manage the faster wear rate (there are other suspension geometry factors that affect wear rate too). This gives some compensation for the McLaren's lack of downforce.

To go to your question to James, have a look at the Melbourne LG tech update on this site. There James says the benefit is 0.15 seconds, which is rather less than the apparent gap.

I hope this helps. I suspect the site won't let you reply to this post. If you have another view, please reply to my earlier comment.



Soumya Banerjee

it was bcoz of hamilton having fresher tyres.Button was no quicker than vettel or alonso.


A very exciting spectacle indeed. I see history repeating itself with redbull proving fragile and error stewn performance from a certain mark webber. Alonso had a great drive and he is surely the man to beat in the race grove. Button had a popular victory and it was great to see ferrari people congratulating him. Is things stand, its b.w ferrari and mclaren.


It is looking a bit like Mclaren's 2005 season; devastatingly fast Newey-designed car and superb driver, but poor reliability and slightly erratic team-mate.


so... alonso world champion again?


Agree, I had the same thought too ...


What do you think is going on with Schumacher? When I saw him and Alonso fall to the back of the pack on the first lap I thought we were going to see a real charge from the back of the field - Alonso did, but Schumacher couldn't! I even checked the timesheets during the race - at one stage Schumacher was consistently 1.5 to 2 seconds slower than Rosberg! Traffic is one thing, but this is Schumi!


He's said that he doesn't like the narrow front tyres, which make all of the cars understeerers at race pace, wet or dry. More stable but he can't take advantage of being able to drive high speed oversteer better than others.


Just think about the Ferrari replacements and how they struggled last year! His performance is still pretty impressive relative to these. It looks as though his pace has improved since the first race and if this continues there is no reason to think he wont be able to beat Rosberg later in the season.

To suggest that a driver could perform at the very top level instantly after 3 years out really fails to understand just how competitive formula one is and how close the drivers are to the absolute limit. This is the very pinnacle of motorsport.


Completely agree!

I was prepared to see how the twos charging from behind. It seemed that Schumy already has lost his killing instinct.

Quick Nick Rules

If we're talking about lack of killer instinct, look no further than Schumi's team-mate. Yes he was quick yesterday, but he got zapped around the outside by both Webber and Hamilton.

It summed up Rosberg and why he will only ever be very good rather than truly great - you would never have seen Hamilton or Alonso being overtaken around the outside at turn 11 the way Britney was, from the helicopter shot it looked as if Hamilton was lapping a backmarker, the move relied totally on Rosberg ceding the place, quite reminiscent of HHF in the late 90s, a very fast german driver but easy to overtake and his rivals all knew it.


Oh come on guys. Give Schumi a break.It's quite hard to comeback from a 3 year break.

Just think how difficult it would be for any one of us to settle down at work after a fort-night break from work?

It's the same for Schumi...3 years break, mind you in F1 is a lot of time.

I am sure he will bounce back...good car or bad car.


but he is closer to the front. His start was like the old times, and sooner or later he'll do something great.


Maybe the damage his car suffered wasn't rectified by simply replacing his front wing. He probably wasn't able to adjust its angle from thereon and no longer had the pace to keep up. I could be wrong of course..


guys alonso qualified nearly a second faster than schumacher. The ferrari's are so damn good. The Mercedes car is really off the pace. they are on the same pace as the rest. Look at rosberg. he was being overtaken by everyone. Schumacher just had a hard time overtaking the cars with similar speeds. In a way its good he had that incident. He probably got more experience in overtaking cars now. Will do him a load of good for future races. The mercedes isnt that good now. But once the car gets a half second more faster, expect the best of schumacher to come out.


It was a shame. I would never have expected him to get stuck long-term behind a Toro Rosso. The Mercedes is fast enough to clear that with a bit of patience.

I'm getting slightly concerned that he's not prepared to be as adventurous as he once was, ducking and diving past cars ahead.


I'm sure that will come with confidence though. Would it be better that he goes for a do or die move and take him and another driver off? Better to finish, get laps under his belt and points on the board at this stage of the season- especially for somebody coming back after a few years out.


F1 will benefit from Schumacher returning and its in the sports interests that he does well. It was tough conditions today, hes had limited testing and its difficult to overtake...lewis and fernando just one example today when one driver was so much quicker. As much as Heidfeld is a consistent driver, its good to have have MS back but yeah it would also be good to see him go wheel to wheel with at the sharp end. I'm sure it will happen


I guess, but a lot of racing at this speed is surely down to instinct and reflex. I wouldn't suggest Schumacher's lost those things but he's clearly not quite right.

His one lap pace is virtually there and I expect to see him beating Rosberg in qualifying regularly by mid-season.

It's great that Schumacher is back - much more entertaining than having Heidfeld in the car - I just hope he won't continue to be quite so anonymous on race day!


I thought the same, thought it was going to be epic watching those two scythe through the traffic. Still reckon its a bit early to judge Schumi, there is an element of expecting too much from him straight away and also under rating Rosberg who is a very good driver. I think we should judge him after a few races




Alonso was in the different league. It's really sad he wasn't able to pass Massa. Schumacher has showed that he is in the different league now - passed by di Grasi in Virgin and unable to pass Algesuari for 2/3 of race.


Not as good a league as Hamilton!!



Great race wasn't it. Just a thought, lots of people think this is the end of the honeymoon for LH and JB. Personally, I don't think it will. I think Martin can manage them quite well. Did you see the interview after the race? He handled the situation quite well ( with the wrong call), doing what a manager should.

What do you think ??


There is no point LH banging on about a 'bad call'. He messed up his qualifying and left himself too much to do in the race. The fact is that you could see the left rear tyres of many of the front runners blistering, and Lewis was no different. Button himself admits that he had to do something because his inters were not working. He then looked after his slicks and the race came to him. Even as afan of Lewis, I doubt that he would have been able to use slicks, at that pace he was driving for 50+ laps. If Lewis felt the call was abad one, he should have overuled the team...I suspect FA would have! What you end up with is one driver who read the situation and dictated it based on his own circumstances (JB) and the other who opted to let the trust the decision of the team (LH). Jenson may not beas quick as Lewis, but he is a more intelligent driver, and on days like this,the raw speed of Lewis was not enough!


You clearly are not a LH fan. Martin Witmarsh 🙁 what a dissapointment...


Just for the record, I am a fan of Lewis Hamilton. However, it does not prevent me from standing back and looking at his performance and arriving at my conclusions. No-one is trying to put Lewis Hamilton down, but he could have over-ruled the team and atayed out! A painfull lesson, but one I for one am confident he will take on board.


Well he's right..... I have no preference but I always said that this no refuelling would benefit Jenson.

Lewis' raw pace is far more than Jenson, and when you refuel and change tyres he can maintain it, but Jenson is reknowned for being able to manage tyres. He deserved to win purely because he used his head when it counted


Really great race today. It was a ballsy call from Jenson on his tyres and there was plenty of other action all the way down the field.

Lewis was so unlucky though and the accident late on sparked by Webber was a shame. Webber shouldn't be penalised though - at the end of the day if we want drivers pushing hard, accidents are going to happen.

I've wanted Jenson to prove he can make McLaren work for him. He's so laid back it would be easy to see Lewis dominate and Jenson is prone to drifting in racing. None of it today though, it was a superb performance from JB.


"... suggesting that mechanical grip, rather than aerodynamics is the real problem with F1 in dry conditions."

Totally disagree, what was stopping Lewis pass Fernando was some supreme defensive driving + the turbulent wake. In the BBC forum, Martin Whitmarsh says you have to be 3 secs a lap quicker than the guy in front to pass! The OWG were supposed to cut this figure from 2 secs to 1 secs I believe.


What? Supreme defensive driving? Alonso's good but don't kid yourself man.


I think what James is trying to say is that the cars were able to pass each other without too many issues earlier in the race when there was little mechanical grip (despite the same aerodynamics from the car throughout). As such if we can replicate that mechanical grip - i.e. very little - in dry conditions we'll be fine.

I still agree with your overall point, Alonso (and earlier Kubica) drove very well to keep Hamilton behind them.


Completely disagree on this one, Hamilton was only 0.3-0.5 secs behind Alonso for 10 laps, the problem was that as soon as he went off line to overtake on the dry track there was no grip - this is a mechanical grip problem.

The removal of double diffusers next year will allow even closer following but whats the point if the drivers are practically on a single lane carriageway?

Everyones worried about tyre safety if Bridgestone bow out this season - give them all rock hard tyres!


You are simplifying this down to one aspect which cannot fit all the conditions we saw. There can be no doubt from all the drivers comments that a lack of down force is experienced when running in the dirty air behind another car. That causes the car to slide about and the tyres to grain, causing a further loss of grip on / off line.

What was interesting in Melbourne was that this was only guaranteed at the end of the race when dry. Some other forces were at work at other times which negated this impact. I don't know if the moist conditions stopped the graining or that the mechanical grip was more evenly spread across the track.

I can see the possibilities for rock hard tyres and the absence of marbles. One thing I do doubt would be the ability to maintain traction in the dust / dirt off line. And again, what would be the performance difference for the rock hard becoming grained? If you could spray the track with a form of rubber compound in addition to the rock hard tyres, that looks to have possibilities?

Either way, the rock hard looks to be the only viable option that could provide a solution quickly. Too late for this year, but if you could get the teams to agree for one race when all the titles are over, it should give us a good clue to the way forward in racing conditions.


Totally agree. The excitement was all about there being mechanical grip off line in the wet, allowing cars to get close enough to make a move stick.


Rock hard tyres, smaller steel brakes and at least one mandatory tyre change stop where the driver has to drink a glass of beer or be penalised with a drive-through.


I think this ones nailed it


totally Agree!

Rock had tyres, no marbles on the track, and cars will be able to use the width to overtake.

It is sad and useless to watch them follw each other on the train-like rubbered-in single carriageway.

Rock hard tracks and no rubberized "railway line" would also allow for different, creative, alternative lines... as in MOTO GP.


Darn right. Tyres should be weighed separately and have a limit on how much rubber they can shed during the race.


Just thought of a point that hammers this home even more: We saw how close behind the car in front Lewis had to be before sharply turning onto the dirty line numerous times in order to overtake (so much so that he knocked his wing).

It is a regular thing to see this in modern F1 but 10 years ago you would rarely see a driver be so close before switching to the inferior line.


I also think aero is a problem but think we need more mech grip and drop in aero dependence. I think the views of a Toyota aero-engineer could be seen as biased (in JA's earlier blog)and does seem to be a lonely voice. I need to see more evidence that aero is not an issue as most of the drivers and teams are saying it is.

Can wind tunnels run two cars nose to tail to simulate the impact of dirty air?


I was holding my baby son at the time (who also loved the race so good news for me), I meant 'reliance' on mech grip should be promoted, sorry if it was a confusing message. Anything that allows driver skill to shine, as was the case today, should be welcomed. If turbulence reduces the aero performance of the car behind it then reliance on it should be reduced.


One other thing mentioned in that post (I believe) that intrigued me was that the semi automatic transmission might be a culprit, too. Makes sense when you think about it. A manual gearbox might re-introduce human error. 1 has 2 filling his mirrors, flubs a gear change, and 2 jumps him.


Mercedes have got a real problem haven't they, James? That was the sort of race where Heidfeld would have trundled around unnoticed and then popped up on the podium...

Hussein Lokhandwala

You get the feeling he would have. I'm reluctant to write MS off just yet, but don't really want to see him have another sunday afternoon like that.


He is driving a car that is a second slower than the best. the torro rosso is about .5 slower. Thats all. You think its easy to overtake cars? To be honest, it was one helluva race by Schumi. He was the only one who was overtaking cars of similar pace.


What a great race! Fantastic drive and thinking by Button, brilliant drive by Hamilton who could have finished second, amazing drive by Alonso from back end to fourth place, good job by Kubica with the worst car of them all finishing second and finally superb drive by Massa not giving up despite grip problems and Webber fighting hard.

Vettel must have felt hard done by brake failure.

Best race I have seen for a long time.

A hundred points to Eddie Jordan for the sprinklers idea.


I think this race gives credence to my thoughts on the aero article about how to get the show back. The wet start effectively allowed the teams to choose a single compound for the entire race and then the either had to make an extra stop and have fresh tyres, or keep the times up and no mistakes on the tyres that are going away. Only problem being that the option was durable enough to go almost the full race distance, so the prime was taken out of the equation.

As I said then, the simplest way would be to have the driver choose a compound before qualifying and have to use it only, but add to this that the option should not have a chance of going anything like race distance, and the prime should be marginal to do so.


100% agree. Basically what you are saying is go back to what it use to be like before this stupid 2 compound rule. If you add refuelling to that youll have variables in terms of strategies. This is what improves overtaking. If they also improve the aero to mechanical grip ration we are onto a winner


I'm not in favour of bringing back refueling, if there is a rule on the fuel, it should be more along the lines of maximum amount for the race, as the turbos were restricted to in the 80s, but you have to carry it all from the start. That would make more sense if you have to choose a single compound, otherwise you would just get everyone going soft and minimal fuel per stop. Carrying the full fuel will strain the softer compound more so potentially adding to the stops needed. As I say though you need the difference between compounds to be significant enough to mean that you either have speed or durability, not both.


I think you are confusing overtaking with changing positions. F1 is about the best car and driver, not about being setting pace laps.

With refuelling we lost the driver skill of best using their car and overtaking to the best strategy on the pit wall and moving up positions in the pits. As I said there should be no way that you can do the race on a single set of softer tyres, and only maybe on a single set of harder. Yes it may suit different cars differently, but then you get can this car/driver lose less time in slower laps, that that car/driver in taking extra stops. If even the most gentle driver on the tyres will still have to stop more when using softs than the roughest on the hards it will make a difference.

This change to driver skill against pit wall strategy may also account for the relatively poor showing of MSC, all his big achievements came in the era of less skill and car management (he never had to compete directly, he was not in competive cars when in the same race, against any of the true greats like Senna and Prost) and more strategy, so maybe all his championships should be credited to Ross Brawn. Of course these days as well people don't move over for him like they used to either.


Well I think that the cars characteristics may effect what they choose. The red bull seems to chew its rear tyres so it may have to race on hards to do a one stopper while a driver like Jenson may be able to use the soft tyres. By re introducing fuel stops it will allow greater margins on strategies and so produce more chances at overtaking.

Personally they should never have got rid of KERS. They should have made KERS unlimited in power and time. That way the most efficient system would have an advantage and the weight penalty would have been less


Mark really needs to calm down and race with his head.

He could have easily finished on the podium, but couldn't do it because he was racing so aggressively and at 110% all the time.


spare mental capacity. He hasn't any left when he is driving on the limit of the car. He is a good driver, but not world champion material.


He was only driving in such a way from being put in that position by staying out that lap too long in the first phase. I think it's great to see someone prepared to attack and be aggressive - unfortunately on this occasion it ended in tears but I think it's to be applauded!


Oh I absolutely applaud aggressive driving and attacking the driver in front.

However, I have to say that after his first off when he tried to take the inside line to defend against Hamilton, but unfortunatly he spun off the wet line, the way he was racing completly changed. It seemed as though he was racing in anger.

All im saying is that his aggression and eagerness could have been controled by being a little more paitent, kind of like how Hammy was driving.

Ah well it was great fun to watch him though, no doubt about that.

Thomas in Australia


Just wanted to say well done for an awesome job on OneHD. Really, class act. Bravo.


Great to see McLaren win and Jenson drove a really solid race but for those that are saying he drove a better race than Lewis are talking garbage.

Most of Jenson's race he was driving in clean air whereas Lewis overtook so many cars.

Lewis started further back on the grid and overtook Jenson when it was a true test of who could feel the grip the better.

Jenson's good but for me he is no Lewis, who, in my opinion is one of the best there's been and the most Senna like of all the current drivers, in fact the most Senna like since Senna himself.

I think Webber should be brought to task about how he took Lewis off as this by far not the first time he's done this.

Watching Schumacher lap after lap not being able to pass back markers says to me he isn't the the same Schumacher he was before he retired and it was revealing how no driver, however far back they are are intimidated by him, wouldn't be surprised if this season proves to be his last (Vettel to Mercedes and Kimi to Redbull anyone)?


Many are saying its 1-1 between Button and Hamilton. I disagree.

Button is beating Hamilton in races won 1-0.

Winning is what these people race for. Does anyone really think Lewis was content by his performace 2 weeks ago? I don't. Neither was Button. Button manned up, went to Aus and did better. Hamilton got distracted and blamed everyone to his own stupidity.

In my view Button is beating Hamilton in sportsmanship 1-0 too.

Look at the table, Button is 8 Points in front of Hamilton.

Hamilton is throwing his toys out of the pram early, just like he did when Alonso was his teammate.

As a Brit I was disgusted with his actions then, and the blatent team bias against Alonso.

I was again disgusted with Hamiltons actions last year with the stewards

And again yesterday, blaming the team when Button took the initiative and asked to come in early. Hamilton stayed waiting to be spoonfed the stratagey, he didn't moan when it looked like he was working till he got behind Alonso. He only moaned because he then showed how bad he is at managing his tyres, had he been 1 stopped like Button he'd have never made it home.

Hamilton has no idea about tactics, all he can do is race flat out, somthing he does pretty well. But when it comes to racing smart Alonso, Button, Vettel and Schumi are all his superior.

I can see him coming to blows with Button and his team soon if he doesn't start beating Button.

He is a bad looser and a bad sportsman. F1 would be better off without him.


What a stupid thing to say. Without Hamilton racing against Webber and Alonso like he did,then im afraid the race would have been boring.

Am I right in thinking you drive a 3 wheeler?

as its very plane to see you don't know anything about real motor racing talent.

Zobra Wambleska

No, just another Alonso fan.


Who are you to call him stupid? Besides you assert that F1 is better with out him, lol, do you love f1? he will be around for sometime to your dismay.


Haha, whats your point exactly. F1 would be better without Hamilton? A world champion and a blistering animal of a driver? Think you must be thinking of a different F1 mate, he was electric today and it was another element to a brilliant race.


I have been very interested in the varied comments especially last year when JB seemed to be slated for winning in a very competitive car (at least for most of the season anyway)and I am even more amazed at the crtics who still continue to slate him in defence of LH! As a an F1 fan I can't understand the relentless assumption that LH is the best driver in the modern age of F1, even though I respect that he is one of the more exciting. The facts are clear, he is an astonishing talent but one that is still developing and hopefully for the UK he will get better and better. However, like every great driver he has flaws in both his charachter and his driving style but this makes him the entertainer he is. His ability to force/bully ovetaking moves (especially in the wet) is unbelieveable, but one that relies a lot of the time on the other driver giving him space - he is sometimes to optimistic and puts himself in danger that relies on the other driver taking action. Today was a prime example - although Webber was at fault and obvioulsy had the red mist - LH was never going to pass FA there and by going off line and losing momentum it put him staright into the path of MW with signifcantly more momentum and the racing line! Good overtaking is clean overtaking and I believe LH has been very fortunate over his short career to date to have been given so much space on some audacious moves -although he struggled to bully Alonso!

The facts are that his poor qualifying put him in the middle of the pack and out of position.

His start was excellent and he benefited for the JB/FA/MS incident which probably promoted him 3 or 4 places higher than he should have been.

His move on JB was strong and fair.

JB made a tyre call that I believe was just as much out of frustration as anything else.

JB drove a race that had Prost/Senna/schumacher or dare I say Hamilton had driven, everyone would be saying it was brilliant.

Could JB have passed Vettle, probably not!

Could Vettle have lasted all the way on that set of tyres (Remember Monaco) probably not!

Would LH have passed Kubica probably yes, although it wouldn't have suprised me if they ended in the gravel trap either!

If LH had passed Kubica safley, would he have cruised upto JB - YES!

Would he have passed JB (subject to team orders?) - Maybe.

Would he have had to pit again for fresh rubber to keep his MAYBE LEAD - Lets face it YES!

The facts are simple F1 is about Maybe/Could Be/Should have been and JB made the most of it! He beat everyone inculding his TEAM MATE fair and square and people should recognise his skill in winning races such as these. We all remember Hamilton's wins in his Mclaren designed for him with a team structured around him. All but 2 of his race wins in his career have been in a car which was the class of the field (and the other 2 last year) were brilliant drives in a not so good a car. I think we should all bare in mind that he has not been driving a Minardi (Alonso) or a Benetton (Button) Sauber (Kimi/Massa)for several years before a race winning car is provided! Good F1 cars advance Careers!

By the way I think that LH is 2nd only to Alonso before everyone states that I am slating him - Button I'm not so sure but on his day he is top class - well done JB!


Sorry, I disagree with that had Webber not taken him out Lewis would have had Alonso by lap 58. No doubt


Well there was only 2 laps left and Hamilton had already been sitting behind Alonso for 8 laps until Hamilton made his first attempt which Alonso had covered, so how knows - that's Fernando Alonso in that car, Hamilton was never going to pass him as easily as anyone else, like he did with Massa and Rosberg. That's the difference between Alonso and the others, Hamilton was only marginally quicker than those cars that he made those brilliant overtaking moves on earlier in the race, but Alonso was on wrecked tyres and was 2/ 2.5 seconds a lap slower! It didn't happen so we'll never know.


What if? Could have. Should have!

Just like the off season antics. Who could have foreseen how that all played out?

Alternate 2010:

What if Ferrari had kept Kimi. Massa doesn't give them confidence in testing that he is back to speed, so Fisi gets a 1 year drive beside Kimi before Alonso arrives 2011.

Meanwhile Ross Brawn contacts his old mate Schumi to come back to F1... as joint and majority team owner forming the Schumacher Brawn Racing team. Jenson keeps his seat of course, and Schumi brings in Massa for the second drive in a driver/engine deal with Ferrari.

McLaren have Hamilton already, and bring on Kubica as the logical best available driver to partner.

Renault off load their team to new team ProDrive with star driver Alonso partnered up with Rally Star Petter Solberg who has made the switch to F1

Renault switch their 'factory' support to Red Bull Renault.

Mercedes meanwhile feeling jilted by both Brawn and McLaren, take a majority stake in the renamed Mercedes Force team. Sutil keeps his seat, but Mercedes German cash brings Heidfeld into the 2nd seat.

The winner in Bahrain and Australia? Rosberg-double driving for Virgin, who have been the standout team in testing after their CFD program discoverd a radical new aero edge that none of the traditionally designed teams had considered legal.


Hamilton's helmet is certainly Senna-esc. Hamilton is his own man, it's unfair to compare him to Senna, especially when his nephew Bruno is sitting on the grid.

If anything Button reminded me of Senna at Donington in '93 by taking what looked like a crazy decision to change to slicks early and made it work.

I don’t see why Hamilton should be fuming after his strategy mistake, he’s the one driving the car, he’s got plenty of experience, he should be making that call if he feels the decision to change tyres is wrong. In the other McLaren Button dictated his strategy to the team early on and won the race. Button was just the smarter driver. And in the record books it will say that Button got McLaren's 1st victory of 2010. The same could be said of Alonso's race, he was faster than Massa all weekend and considering he came from nowhere to finish right behind his team-mate, I would say he drove the better race, but Massa was the one who finished 3rd, it's the results that count.

Hamilton is a great driver, but he does seem to lack that racing savvy that Button and in particular Alonso seem to have. He needs to start taking responsibility for his strategy calls.


"Lewis... overtook Jenson when it was a true test of who could feel the grip the better."

That was a bit of a statemtent of who's top dog wasn't it?


the most skillfull driver wasn't the winner today. He lost the race on q2.


Bull**** The most skillful driver in Qualifying was the one who started from Pole - Vettel. Hamilton was 11th, that car shouldn't have been down there, he was slower than a Williams and a Force India for crying out loud - He underperformed in Quali, isn't he supposed to be the fastest in F1 over a single lap? The guy in an identical car was 5 tenths quicker.

And the most skillful driver in the race was the man who won it - Button. In a car which frankly isn't the fastest car, if anything Button outperformed the car. Hamilton finished 6th.

It's fair enough being a Hamilton fan, but you guys are just blind to the truth. Results are what count. Even Lewis himself will be disappointed, thinking I had a great race made some nice overtakes, but Jenson out-qualified me and won the race in the same car I'm driving! I need to shut up blaming the team like I did in Monaco '07 and if I feel the decision to change to new tyres is wrong then don't go in the pits like an idiot. I need to shut up and hit back and beat Button in Malaysia.


No, the most skillful driver lost this race in the curve after the start when he was turned around by Button who tried to squeeze his way through at the inside of the curve and said drivers racing line.

I know i'm going to be flamed for that, but oppinions are oppinions.


100% agree.


I think Hamilton had probably his best driver so far in F1 today, 100% driver of the day.
Let's be honest here, as good as Button's win was he lucked this to a fair degree.
It's always a gamble for whoever goes to slicks first and had Vettel not had a problem there's no way Button would have overtaken him, he isn't a Hamilton is he?
I agree I think Button knows who is the faster man of the 2 and it ain't him L)


"I agree I think Button knows who is the faster man of the 2 and it ain’t him L"

We he did outqualify Lewis didn't he???


Yes and for sure Jenson knew it! I don't believe Jenson would have come in for a change of tyres had Lewis not taken him as he did.

The next race will be very interesting as Jenson will be on the up and Lewis will want to prove to all who really is top dog.


The team dynamics are certainly going to be interesting. With Lewis's off-track antics this weekend there seems to be a real contrast between the young and fiery Lewis and the calmness of Jenson.

Actually it's interesting in the other teams too with Jenson, Felipe, Nico and Mark all outscoring their more fancied teammates in this race.

And plaudits for Robert Kubica and Renault too. Punching well above their weight in that race. Very impressive stuff.


Now we have the answers.

(a) Start all races with all cars on supersoft gumball tyres, and

(b) For Tilke tracks, split the grid into to halves based on the positions in qualifying. The even numbers get to start on the main straight, the odd numbers on a secondary grid opposite another grandstand round the back of the track.

That should really mix things up and give us a great TV spectacle.


And don't forget the track sprinklers!


Yeah! Sprinklers put on timers that randomly turn them on and off, just like real rain!


I'm so pleased for JB. Great race. Let's just race here 17 more times this season and scrap the rest 🙂


so you want to get rid of the classic venues, like spa and monza. Are you bernie on disguise?


It was just the excitement after the race. I must admit I'm really looking forward to the new silverstone layout.


Not a good idea at all. There is surely plenty of exciting moments to come on different tracks in Europe, Asia and South and North America, just to remind you tracks like Monaco, Spa, Silverstone or Interlagos just to name a few. In fact the variety is what makes this sport so good.


Great drive from Jenson! But I think Alonso's was probably the drive of the day..charging forward from 22nd after the first corner drama..keeping his tyres in place and holding off a much faster Hamilton towards the end..thats a champion's drive!


Alonso did well to recover after cutting off Jenson at turn 1. Yes - he did cut him off, leaving Jenson nowhere to go. In fairness to Fernando, does anyone think the ultimate cause was Schumi squeezing Alonso from his outside?

Looking at the incident where Mark punted Lewis off the track, it looked to me like Fernando had at least partially out-braked himself. It's quite likely that Lewis would have got him underneath on the exit if it hadn't been for Webber's brain-fade.



many drivers had the drive of the day today.


I fully agree. Alonso proves in every race why Ferrari chose him. The Masterclass 🙂


Jenson is so like Prost.. great to watch 😉


I agree, I was starting to think of him as Prof 2 by the end of the race. And to all those nutters who think Lewis' drive was better, you're forgetting that great drivers manufacture their own luck. Lewis is a great driver most days - but today? Not on top form.


I agree Darren. He is a really efficient driver and was faultless in the race.

Regarding Lewis making the 3rd stop, I wonder if there was any suggestion that it comes down to driving styles, and it was decided that he was unlikely to be able to nurse them to the finish? Or were McLaren hedging their bets? In hindsight it really seemed to hurt his race and I'll be interested to hear the reasons behind the differing strategies.

Congrats to Jenson though - a great result and I for one no longer doubt his class. His move to McLaren is no longer looking so silly is it? Brawn's team still have a lot to do by the looks of it.


Great race to watch, and the perfect responce to Bahrain. Im worried that it could turn out to be more a fluke (the race, not the result/winner) and that potentially Malaysia, if not China, will see a return to being more processional. We cant depend on the Rain being present at every race this season.

But well done to Jenson and a big amount of pity for Lewis, both played to their strenghts in the race and only a poor choice cost the later a podium spot which the both deserved.


Hi James,

Just on the reliability of the Red Bull, Vettel said it was a braking failure, and I noticed on his qualifying lap (pole) on saturday sparks coming from the left front wheel during the onboard shot (think it was third last corner). Could his race incident been avoided if they noticed it on qualy lap or do you think there is no connection between the incidents?


I think the sparks came from the endplates of the front wing banging on the runble strip on the kerb. The sparks were white, which is a telltale of titanium, and this is what is used on the skid plates on the undertray too. They probably are just to stop the wing end plates wearing away. Schumacher's wing was doing it when it was broken.

Pretty certain that wasn't brakes.


To me, the best driver of the day, the most entertaining was Lewis. He is pure class with car control. Button did well, but was just lucky he made the right call...that is all. Lewis i a class act.


I am continually amazed at comments like yours jesee.

Button was just lucky he made the right call? Like it was not a calculated move.

I am a jenson fan, but that doesn't exclude me from appreciating great drivers like Hamilton and alonso.

I don't think jenson is more talented than lewis, but his approach is just as effective over a race distance. Why that is deemed to be a poor relation to absolute pace is beyond me.

Prost had a similar style (but I am not putting jb up with alain prost) against sennas pace.


You make your own luck though, and it was based on judgement from Jenson and not just like rolling a dice.

But yes, Lewis drove amazingly. At one point I thought he was going to come through to win but Button did very well to just control his pace and tyres. It's hard to tell if Lewis would have steamed past Button if he'd got past Kubica as his tyres would have been worse off after following and attacking cars for so long, whereas Button had clean air.

Watching the lap times was interesting though. As soon as Lewis got up to Kubica, Jenson started going a second a lap quicker, so he clearly had some ability to react. But it would have been a good battle. Should have been a McLaren 1-2.


if it was raining during the full length, he might have won.


Hear hear, his drive today was 'Sennaesk' shame he got punished by both a wrong team call and Webber's driving, he deserved better.


he needs to start from the front, so he doesn't have to dog fight, with so many cars during the race.


Excellent race by Button. I would not call it a "gamble" though... Jenson said that "drivers know best the conditions out there", he said he "saw the dry line developing"


absolutely stunning race!! I´m not disappointed I made the early rise. Just wish the rest of the season could be like this. Now is everybody still complaining that this season is a failure? the gamble the top four took in staying out with the same tyres prove that there might be a case for tyre strategies. It´s true that had Fernando not battled the way he did against Hamilton, probably Massa would have been overtaken, and the heat would have been on Kubica, but it shows that if you´re determined, there might be a big prize by choosing not to pit.

very disappointed at Massa: his final standing does not show the quality of his drive: on track he was passed by everybody who cared to try, i think that in the next four races Fernando will demolish him!


Early rise? This was one of the few races of the year that was on at a reasonable time for viewers outside Europe to watch - at 7pm here in New Zealand - and of course, like many others, the start time was still later than sensible in order for you lot not to have to lose any beauty sleep. When will the FIA accept that a WORLD championship should not be subject to the demands only of one particular part of the world. True fans will get up/stay up to watch at any reasonable time. Most grands prix are shown here starting at midnight on Sunday night, so either I stay up till 2am or timeshift to 06.30 Monday morning. I don't mind doing that for events that have completely different time zones, but I do object to having to do it for countries (Singapore, Malaysia, China) that have only four hours time difference. Part of the excitement of travel is experiencing different cultures, climates and times - grands prix fans are actually denied the more exotic aspects of a world championship by having it neatly packaged in a convenient time slot with a 5 minute introduction to the location tacked on to the start of the event. It's like travelling the world and staying only inside the Holiday Inn wherever you are. Package tourist fans - who needs them?


Especially to see the McLaren team win - as in Bruce 'McLaren' the kiwi that created the team.


I'm from NZ too, totally agree with you Simon. But ah well, a bit unrealistic to expect change. We still get a few races in a good time zone, Japan etc


As exciting as the race was, when it is viewed with a rational eye, it will be quite concerning. Retirements and rain cover over the most pressing concern.

Hamilton had a tyre advantage AND a straight line speed advantage worth up to 2.5 seconds per lap over Alonso, and with 3 overtaking possibilities per lap he couldn't manage it.

When we get to Barcelona or Hungary, we could be in for some dull racing.

The change that needs to be made to the racing is not forcing a second pit-stop, but to ditch the mandatory use of both tyre compounds during the race. Qualify and race on the same compound. Two-stopping soft tyres v no-stopping hard tyres.


Don't forget boring boring Valencia, that will be dire again unless it rains


Good Idea mate it might just work.

P.S James great job on OneHD.


Great Race.

Hope to see KERS back soon and can't wait for next year when the double diffuser will be banned.


A very entertaining race.

I think this demonstrated to me that the comments from Frank Dernie that James posted after the Bahrain race were right on the money.

We need to make it possible for drivers to make the odd error, particularly when under pressure. The rain introduced this dimension at Albert Park and it was fantastic to watch. As the track dried however we slipped back into the same area as Bahrain in that it became impossible to follow cars that were only a second or two slower. Hamilton and Webber's frustration mirrored our own.

I'm not exactly sure how this can be achieved in the dry, perhaps manual gearboxes coupled with less aerodynamics? It's something the teams/FIA should consider perhaps.


Great..now all we need is variable conditions in every race.


"Alonso tagged Jenson Button into turn 1" Was it not the other way around? If Alonso had tagged Button then Button would have spun no?


racing incident.


No. Alonso drove into the side of Jenson who was right on the apex of the corner. It was Alonso going past Jenson, not the other way round. And Alonso was probably being squeezed by someone else (Schumacher?). It was the first corner of lap one. This always happens, because the track isn't wide enough for 26 cars. I can see that you are trying to find fault with JB, but I don't think many would agree with you about this. Watch it on TV, dis-engage fan boy mode, and then tell us again where JB was at fault. No?


Sorry mate,not an Alonso fan so "fan boy mode" wasnt on, from what i saw when i watched the race,button was on the inside and hit alonso,im not trying to fault button as you put it because as i saw it,he was on the inside and his front tyre hit alonsos,couldnt care less who hit who but thought it was worded wrong in the original article.


Maybe it's time to dis-engage Button's or McLaren's fan boy mode also? Even though it was racing accident, Alonso was half a car in front when it happened.


Funny that - you start a race with 2 columns of cars, and they all race to the 1st corner. It isn't much of a surprise that almost everyone goes around this corner as two nose-to-tail columns, so there are usually 2 (and sometimes more) cars running almost level.

So you'd think that a driver starting in the outside column would drive with half-a-mind to the fact that there is a car from the inside column going to be... on his inside.

A good driver will always try to manufacture things so that no-one is there, but that doesn't mean it is always true.

However, to my mind, Alonso seems to always treat the 1st corner as his personal fiefdom - that he can swing from the outside edge through to the inside apex with impunity. No matter the consequences.

Of course, this level of aggression can work - it can cause people to back off just because they know what you will do.

In this case, Alonso just didn't leave room for a car he knew had to be there. Both he and Schumacher had come from the outside column, so there were bound to be cars from the inside column in the mix too. He turned in, knowing he ran the risk of getting tagged.

A racing incident, but one of a type that Alonso seems to have a habit of causing. I can't help but feel he ought to be able to avoid them better.


Well at the time Brundle said it was 'zero per cent' Button's fault - perhaps he's a Button 'fanboy' also?


Oh and Kubica´s drive was absolutely world class! the way he held Hamilton with an underperforming Renault shows what an underrated pilot he is. Makes you think what he could do if he got his hands on real cars for a change!! Massa should learn a lesson or two from this guy!!


James, you'll be glad to know your book got a mention on the BBC F1 coverage today! Albeit in Coulthard's lap during the opening scene for about 2 seconds. A great book though, I might add! (Was The Edge of Greatness)


It was good to see it but I beleive Coulthard was asleep at the time 😉 Joking aside, it is a great book!


A fantastic race to be sure. A brilliant drive from Jenson, probably his most impressive win to date.

Unfortunately, this race should have been more boring in the last 50 laps. McLaren and Red Bull made a serious error pitting their cars for fresh tyres. Even I could see that the way the race SHOULD have unfolded was the top runners just remained out until the end of the race on the softs. It was clearly the optimum strategy given that it was known the tyres could last that long without wearing out, and how difficult it is to overtake in F1 these days. This mistake will not be made again.

I'm sure now the teams will have learned that it is not optimum to pit for a fresh set when noone else does. Therefore I fear that all the remaining races will be boring, unless there is rain. The problem with the new rules is that if you have a faster car and can't overtake on the track, there is NO pit stop strategy that can get you in front of the other guy. There's nothing you can do. It is really very depressing.

For example, under refuelling, Massa and Alonso could have jumped Kubica. Alonso could have jumped Massa and Hamilton & Webber could be much closer to the front. Surely that would have been even MORE exciting than the race that we had. Refuelling needs to be brought back for next year.

Another fact is that these guys are the best drivers in the world. They WILL make it very tough to be overtaken because they have the skill to do so. Improving the chances by reducing the wake and reducing the mechanical grip may be the answer, but overtaking a a slightly slower car will remain very difficult no matter what is done.

Additionally, refuelling made F1 unique. That is lost now.


That was certainly more fun to watch than Bahrain.. Thanks for your contributions on One, James - a very welcome addition.

Have to disagree with your call on aero vs mechanical grip, though. I think a big part of fhe overtaking in damp conditions was that the slower speeds made the aero less effective overall, so the dropoff from following was much less of a factor.


As a McLaren fan I was really quite irritated at Hamilton's comments both during and after the race. Obviously the team made a mistake but going on about how brilliantly he drove and criticising the team like that in public said a lot about him for me unfortunately. Save it for behind the scenes.


I wonder if its the same people complaining about Hamilton that also complained about Kimi not being 'pr friendly' enough. Seems people still arnt happy, even after a quality race. Hamilton is an individual and anyone who has raced anything from a kart onwards will tell you that in the heat of the moment, adrenalin gets the better of most of us. Lighten up and look forward to the next race.


Oh please... all over the world people enjoyed his racing... want do you want a tame racing driver? He was the icing on the cake! We miss drivers like him; like Ervine; Montoya.. Instead of all those political correct drivers its a blessing to see him on the track!


I think that it is good to see when a sportsman lets the world know rather than towing the line.

It shows passion. He drove a great race and was frustrated that others let him down.

He will be supercherged next week.


why? so the fans can't hear it? let things the way they are.


Hardly professional though, just makes him look like a bit of a spoilt brat to me, not good for the team at all.


I agree with those comments. Hamilton has shown in a number of situations over the past year or so a certain measure of impulsiveness, and lack of control.

Comments like those he made whilst following Alonso were interesting to hear, for sure. I guess getting busted by the Victorian Police for doing a burnout in his Merc near the track last night have have put a damper on his mood, but cracking the whip with your team over the radio is a bit unprofessional...

He is starting to come across as someone who thinks they are a little prima donna.


"Starting to think he's a prima donna"????

He's KNOWN it for years.

OK, from now on, let HIM make the call and put all that weight on his shoulders!


That was a great race and James you must be right to say it "suggested that mechanical grip, rather than aerodynamics is the real problem with F1 in dry conditions". There was an extraordinary amount of overtaking even after the track was totally dry. That must have been because Albert Park is a dirty, slippery street track, and the legacy of the early rain meant there was even less grip for the whole race.

So this makes the solution to F1's problems simple. They could use hard, less grippy tyres as suggested on this blog after Bahrain, but why not just leave the cars alone and make all the track surfaces less grippy. As you said in your tech report, Albert Park's road surface has low grip because it is old and smooth and made of small stones. Compared to the vast fortunes F1 could spend on solutions to the overtaking problem, it would be much cheaper to just resurface all the grippy tracks and make them slippery.


And it would be much cheaper to throw away carbon brakes than resurface all tracks.

Yes, too much mechanical grip is the key issue, but high-tech aero also doesn't makes overtaking easier.

The key feature to improve overtaking is bigger braking zone. Now, there are several possibilities how to make them bigger:

1. As you mentioned, resurface all tracks. Joke, of course. 🙂

2. Upgrade all track with sprinklers. Maybe not joke as previous, but still weird.

3. Put all cars on stone-hard tires. Possible, but fast cornering is essence of fast driving. So, why to reduce lateral grip of the tires? High lateral grip is not a problem. Problem is high longitudinal grip which considerably shortened braking zone.

4. Finally, throw away carbon discs and reintroduce steel braking discs. That's it, less longitudinal grip, longer braking zones, more ovartaking.

Way to go.


Seriously, everyone focuses on the cars but good races are almost guaranteed when the surface they are driving on is slippery, ie when it rains. It must be possible to make track surfaces less grippy.

Obviously it would be good if they did all the suggested modifications to the cars too but the reason why wet races are so exciting is because drivers slide, go offline and make mistakes. Whatever regulations are brought in for the cars will affect all the teams equally. For example you could get rid of carbon brakes for longer breaking distances which will help a bit but when two drivers enter a corner side by side they will still both have to break at roughly similar times. Historically most overtakes happen because of small mistakes like going offline or not getting a good exit from a corner. That's much more likely if the surface is less grippy. (No joke, of course.)


1) Get rid of Carbon brakes,

2) crop and control the wings,

3) make the tyres either destroy themselves rapidly or so hard that they don't grip and

4) put gearchanges back into the control of the drivers


Point 4 makes sense but also harder tyres would grain less and leave more of the track "usable" in a competitive way by drivers who want to overtake or try a different line. Drivers using different lines is something we have missed for years in F1 and its tremendously exciting for both spectators and drivers.


Great race, but I think as well as the damp start, the fact the teams were not forced to use worn tyres at the start and the wrong tyre (for there car) for part of the race made the racing better. I think if the teams were just allocated the tyre compound most suited to the track and there car for that weekend instead of this artificial rule of having to use 2 compounds the racing would improve as there would be more tactical options as we saw today with the teams having a free choice of which dry tyre to use.


jb did great, what really disturb me is the 2nd pit for lewis at the times when he was faster than rk and jb ahead of him,i think mclaren need to explain themeself better for this , and mark webber for me have to be punish for what i think was a dangereous driving period.


What a brilliant race. We saw it all. 2010 rules, boring? not today.


Totally agree James. Jenson proved the critics wrong today who said he can only win when he has the best car. Jenson has an incredible feel for the car and conditions, and I'm sure that played it's part in the decision to pit for slicks earlier than anyone else.

I also feel sorry for Lewis, who put in a truly stunning drive, which was just as impressive as Jenson's performance, and 6th place really feels an injustice from that. However, I don't really blame McLaren, as it's easy to say in hindsight that pitting Lewis for a second time was a mistake. At the time of the stop it appeared the right decision.

Overall a great race, much needed after Bahrain, and proves you can't judge the spectactle on one race alone. However it's clear that it's harder than ever to overtake in F1 now. Hamilton was 2 seconds a lap faster than Alonso in the closing stages, yet still that wasn't a big enough performance differential to be able to overtake.


I can't believe people are still complaining about overtaking. There was so much of it! The race didn't settle down for the first 41 laps and there was still more incident even after that. And there are clearly at least four teams in the running for the Championship, assuming Schumacher gets his act together.


I wonder whether Nick Fry is beginning to rue his idiotic decision to deny the World Champion, Jenson Button, what in the circumstances was a relatively modest rise. He certainly ought to be, the berk. I see reports that Schumi is in fact coining it to the tune of £27m a year including sponsorships, not £3m as was reported. Compared to that Jense is bargain basement stuff and delivers into the bargain.

The teaming of Button and Barrichello at Braun worked well, using the Brazilian's long experience to sort the car and Jense's skill to bring it home in front. The only problem arose when Barrichello screamed blue murder halfway through the season, threw his toys, and was allowed to try to usurp the number one driver when he should have been slapped down and told to do his appointed job.

Jenson Button, the thinking man's Grand Prix driver, and a gentleman as well. Spectacular doesn't necessarily always win Grand Prix, but in this case brains did. That is something Jense's team mate lacked all weekend, starting with his infantile boy racer antics off the track. That will always be the difference between the two of them.


That's odd, cos everything I read about the negotiations of that period stated that there was ample cash on the table from Mercedes to retain Button, and that he actually took an effective paycut from what would have been his new WDC salary in order to join McLaren for the 'challenge'.

Which rather puts your comments in the shade, except for the one where you state Jenson is a gentleman, since he is.


Well Schumacher, after three years lay off beat him. Ok he had a bad race but some suggests you need a car 3 sec faster so 10th isn't too bad for someone who was at the back of the grid. Jenson did a good job today but you have to look at more than one race. At some point fisi was beating Alonso and winning.


That was a fantastic race. A few points on it.

The Senna/Prost comparison looked apt today. Hamilton was clearly quicker at different stages (as he should with fresher tyres) but he couldn't have won the race in the way Jenson did.

There was a massive amount of overtaking in the early stages when the circuit wasn't very grippy. That's exactly what is needed to enhance overtaking. I'm not sure whether you can do it with different tyres/aero etc, but that's exactly what makes racing exciting. It's no coincidence that the overtaking stopped when the track was dry and rubbered in.

Webber is a serious Jekyll/Hyde character. Supreme in some races, today he will be embarrassed when he watches that again. Another mistake by RBR that could cost them another championship. Had they pitted one of their drivers a lap earlier they most likely would have won the race. A mistake which the other big 3 teams would not have made imo.

There were rumours going around last year that Jenson was pushed out of Brawn/Mercedes so Schumacher could return. If that's the case it seems to have backfired for them. Schumacher doesn't look the same driver that he was before. Being overtaken by a Virgin?! Combined with being stuck behind a STR. Not a great day for Schumacher. I wonder what odds you'll get on Heidfeld replacing him this season.

A great race, one of the best that I can remember.


only hope the next race is as exciting, but i doubt it. JB was excellent he drove with class and deserved the win after making that tyre change call. You could see how much Martin whitmarch was thrilled by that, i think Jenson proved something to him with by that.

Ham and Webber lost their heads and self-control Ham was ripping his tyres apart though i have to say he was racer of the day a fab performance he'll win a few races this season with gumption like that.

James, do you think Webber will has gone down in Red Bull's eye's i can him being replaced next season and not just because of his age.

Though it is only the second race, i think he and Schumi will have a stronger latter half of the season.

Also, James, any behind the scene's info on what happened once Ham's got back to the team. He was really angry when talking to Lee Mac from the Beeb.


Lewis could have made his own call to stay out longer and not pit a 2nd time.

Button made his own decisions in the race!

Why is Lewis blaming the team? Sounds a bit like a spoilt sore loser!


Agreed Alexx i think he might well do that next time round.


frustrated. And being beaten by his teammate not going down well. He is getting the same medicine he gave alonso in 2007.


some people just talk, with out knowing any thing at all, isn't hamilton who over taken button on the track what you saying. hamilton is real racer.


good point alexx.


James you've unsurprisingly underplayed the main scandal of this race; Mclaren's decision to bring Hamilton in. At the time Hamilton had been catching Button and it was only a matter of time before he got past Kubica. It's appears that the team weren't prepared to risk a squabble between Button and Hamilton and as a result Lewis became the sacrificial offering. This is one of the most outrageous things i've ever seen. There was nothing wrong with Lewis's tyres and his pace was good, yet inexplicably he gets called in to the pits. He'd already spent a number of laps disposing of Webber, Massa and Rosberg and then all that good work is sabotaged as he starts to close in on the lead. Unbelievable.


Lewis was complaining about his tyres going off and moaning over the radio for the world to hear when behind Alonso!

Obviously the team was then going to call him in for a tyre stop!

Jenson was managing his tyres and keeping quiet, therefore no need to call him in.


"Lewis was complaining about his tyres going off and moaning over the radio for the world to hear when behind Alonso!"

Er.. I think that was AFTER the pitstop for tyres, so it couldn't have been a factor in the team's decision to bring him in for those tyres.

Having said that, Lewis could benefit from thinking before opening mouth and inserting foot. You could forgive him during the heat of the race, particularly when jammed behind Alonso's Ferrari, but he should not have repeated it afterwards anywhere other than in Martin Whitmarsh's office.

Lewis' drive was very impressive, though, and if it hadn't been for Webber, he may well have got ahead of Alonso with an up-and-under on the exit. He is definitely a charger, and in a series where overtaking in dry conditions is possible, he'd be right at the front of the field.

In the F1 of 2010, however, I think that Button's ability to conserve the car's tyres and the experience to contribute his own tactical input to the decisions may give him the edge in the intra-team battle at McLaren this season.



Hamilton destruction his 2º lot of “soft” rubbers ..... that has hopes of which it had conserved 1º lot during 40? Button, if ..... Haminton, does not know.


I think you along with Hamilton, you need to review the situation. McLaren believed that Lewis would be so much faster on a new set of softs that they would easily make up the time for a pit stop. This was proven to be correct, what did not factor in was that as soon as the track dried, overtaking became impossible again. Being stuck behind Kubica with no where to go, the decision did not look that bad at the time.

Go back to that point in time behind Kubica and tell Lewis he will be 2 seconds a lap faster if he comes in, those wheels would be jacked up within a lap.


Take off the rose tinted specs pal. Pitting for a 2nd time seemed logical at the time. Lewis is hard on his tyres and stood no chance of troubling Button today.


After the event we know the soft compound could last the distance. That wasn't known a few hours ago.

McLaren were prudent to play it safe with one of the cars, and it made sense that it was Lewis. That "outrage" would have been considered a masterstroke IF the long-stinters' tyres tells to peices in the last few laps.

... And we all know what happens to Lewis when his tyres are spent anyway:



Well that's the answer to dull races. Every track should be fitted with a sprinkler system which is switched on twice, at random during the race, and is controlled by a local 8 year old...or Lewis Hamilton, whoever has the the highest mental age.


great comment.


the 8 year old for sure 🙂


Great race, and great coverage James.

I will be wearing my Rocket Red shirt to the gym this afternoon with pride.


Button's made his point: That he could leave Brawn and still win. Remember when everyone had Lewis shoving him to the back of the bus? That seems like ages ago.

As for passing etc.: Is it not in the nature of sports that matches are unpredictable? If it weren't like that, it would be sports. Every team sport has hyped-up matches that play out dull. Can we just accept that some races will be more interesting than others? Or even some decades? Today's race showed what's possible with the talent pool (drivers and cars) on the track in 2010. I'm savoring it.


The difference today was that the teams were left to their own devices...unlimited choices and no contrived pit stops. Give 'em some tires, some fuel, a decent track and let 'em get on with it. NO ORCHESTRATION REQUIRED.

Good on Jens.


Great race and excellent result for jenson. Very composed.

I was a little dissapointed with the attitude of lewis. I doubt he won any friends at mclaren. He's suffered from a bad decision today, but he lacks a bit of tact sometimes.

on the overtaking working group the theories seem to work in the windtunnel but not on the track.
Why are we not seeing some testing of different tyre compounds and and mechanical/aero grip levels. Surely fota between them can afford to mock up two real cars for testing the ideas.

Anyway, just an idea 😉


Hi James,

Just read Martin Whitmarsh saying that it needs a 3s advantage for a car behind to pass. Given the current regulations is it possible to have a slower tyre that is say 3s a lap slower?

That would mean that we have 18 more great races like the one we had today!


if mechanical grip is the true problem, why did hamilton lose all traction following at the end despite being much faster?


I was left open-mouthed in amazement on a number of occasions during this race, it was that good. Possibly the best race I've ever seen in terms of wheel-to-wheel action between the top drivers, in the 'modern' era of racing (which I class as 1998 and after when the cars were narrowed up and so on).

Lewis Hamilton's move to pass Nico Rosberg on the outside of turn 11 was one such occasion of my jaw dropping, though I cannot help but think, looking at the bigger picture that any sort of grip he has/might have had on the goings on at McLaren is slipping. He is known to be one of the hardest if not the hardest driver on his tyres - of the front runners at least - so does anyone really think he would have been able to pass Kubica and just saunter up to the back of Jenson Button? I think not!

This race reminded me of the late 80's and early 90's with the greats - Prost, Senna, Mansell, exactly the way it should be with the car topped up with fuel to last the distance, then see who are the best drivers in terms of racing and looking after their tyres. I don't think it was all down to the weather at the start, as most of the race was pretty dry yet we still saw action later on.

Seeing drivers who have changed tyres eating up massive chunks of time on those ahead, is something we never used to see when refuelling was allowed - again going back to years passed it reminded me of Mansell, and it is a hell of a lot better than anything we have seen for a lot of years in my opinion.

Worth noting that the vast majority of major contenders stayed on track and finished the race in the points, unlike other 'eventful' races in recent years caused by weather such as Nurbuergring and Fuji in 2007 where many of them were back in the team motorhomes long before the chequered flag. A proper RACE and I for one am over the moon with it.

Big well done to Jenson Button - underestimate this fine driver at your peril!


button is the best overtaker since montoya.


i did not see Button over take anybody in this race...other than that clever pit lane tyre change move...WHILE Hamilton and Alonzo showed they are masters at capturing lost ground very brilliantly...as we saw that at one time ALONZO was last.. and also we ALL saw Hamilton recover from all sorts of challenges...therefore in my view BOTH hamilton and Alonzo are the most skillfully daring racers on the grid today ..if you shut out Schumacher who we all know is a legend in his own right.


Precisely...he led most of the time by default...dont you get it? HE ONLY GOT AHEAD BY doing that clever tyre change early...and there was no way he could have overtaken Vettel....also HAMILTON was well within the time to strike when he was prematurely pulled in for tyres...then shunted by Weber


Button was leading for most of the race. Who was he going to overtake?


yeah right!!!! 😛 .... his ovetaking maneuvers in brazil 2009 r gr8 😀 ... he overtook .. hmmmmm ... lemme think ....grosjean first, nakazima then kaboyashi ... n kovalinien in pits .... n now hes best overtaker ?? nice!!! ..... dont forget Alonso 🙂 .... switch off ur fanboy mode only then u can njoy real racing .... lets hope we can discuss racing impartially


Did you text this comment from your phone?


Jenson was an 11/10! What a brilliant champions drive. I think he would have comfortably beat Vettel had the young German not retired - his pace on worn tyres was frightening.

I have to applaud Lewis Hamilton as well. He is a real box office hit - entertaining and as menacing as I've ever seen. Shame he was undone by a poor strategy and another amatuer mistake from Webber.


Great race for so many reasons.

BUT it just proves to me that they have to make changes, not the other way around.

This race was great for one reason - the cars were running different strategies.

The rain, the safety car, the track all added to the spectacle, but they didn't make the difference. What did was the little clause that says once you've started on intermediates you don't have to use both tyre compounds. This opened the door to different strategies, which is why we saw a great race as those who gambled had to nurse somewhat while those who switched could push. On another track with different temperatures/surface it could well have been Hamilton and Webber racing through for 1st and 2nd, but what great racing that would have been too.

They have to bring strategy back by doing one of two things;

1. Bring back refuelling

2. Remove the two compound rule. Still bring them, but let the teams choose how to run their race, just as they did today.

We need every race to be as exciting as this one was - and we'll only get that this year if they bring back the strategic choices.


In my opinion this race showed why the refueling ban is a GOOD idea.

Had we had refueling everyone would have had to make the 2nd stop which would have made the final part of the race less intresting.

The thing that made the final half of that race was that we never knew who would stop a 2nd time & who woudn't, Some pitted & lost ground but were stunningly quick while some stayed out & did the race on 1 stop, gaining track position but not having the lap time.

I loved this race so much more because it didn't have refueling, The way tyre strategy played out reminded me of the great races I watched in the late 80's/Early 90's which were so much better than the refueling races that made strategy more important than racing & pit passes more important than on-track overtaking.


Who says they'd have to stop again?

The fuel tank doesn't get smaller just because you allow refuelling again.

It's the perfect way of giving the very point you make at EVERY race - ie, we don't know who's gambled on track position and filled to the brim and who's gambling on being able to overtake and make up the time for one or two stops.

To me it's the perfect way of bringing in both strategy and overtaking because we'd have cars on different fuel loads and therefore different weights.

But it'll never happen this year. Australia was great to watch, but it's given them all the ammo they need to stall making any changes until next year.


"The race had everything Bahrain did not; lots of overtaking and drama, suggesting that mechanical grip, rather than aerodynamics is the real problem with F1 in dry conditions."

I don't understand this? Hamilton was flying until he came up to the back of Alonso. The problem was all aero! You don't suddenly lose all your mechanical grip when you come up behind a car that's 2 seconds a lap slower.


Hamilton destroyd his tires while trying to catch Alonso. It wasn't 2 seconds a lap in the end


Your tyres don't magically go off just as soon as you reach the car in front at the rate of 2 seconds a lap. Just what we have seen by every other car in the dry at Bahrain and Melbourne. Following behind another car in the dirty air and you are affected by the turbulence. Your grip is affected and the car starts to slide about graining your tyres. Take away that dirty air and your tyres do not grain, as ably demonstrated by button.


Don't you think Alonso is a better driver than Hamilton, that's why Hamilton can't overtake him for more than 10 laps - besides the aero and mechanical grip !!


That I know for a fact after watching Hamilton and Alonso in identical equipment. Factor in Hamilton being a complete rookie and not having raced many of those tracks and it's over whelming.


Hold on to that 2007 season!! It´s just about all you´ve got... oh please, will you get over it and start discussing present?


Panya I seriously believe that yr missing the point. Let's rate Alonso as a better driver compared to Massa. Why did Alonso got stuck behind Massa? Then see Schumi vs Alguesari: schumi got stuck behind him for a very long time. Then take Hamilton vs Alfonso in the end. Hamilton had fresh rubber (he had a second set of softs) and was on average 1.5 seconds faster at that moment. If it's mechanical or aero or perhaps both... Yes we saw a great race but still within the race we saw again the same problems as in race 1 or as we've seen in the past year(s). In dry circumstances it's almost not possible to overtake.


Hamilton has new tires while Alonso and Massa have old worn out tires. I read that Alonso could have over-taken Massa but he didn't want to risk his and Massa's position. It was better to score the points that he and Massa have rather than throwing them away if they crashed. Smart thinking - don't you think?


Reminds me of a saying "is it better to be good or lucky?" Button got lucky when the team put him on drys and why not, his poor driving from the start is why he was in a position to gamble. If he had driven well from the start then there would have been no need for a tire change gamble. Vettel on the other hand did everything perfectly this weened and was rewarded with a mechanical failure.


100% agree, shame not one of the commentators spotted this/


why does this bother you? Button admitted he killed his tires early on and had to change them, in doing so it worked out great for him, then Vettel's car died.... I think there was some luck involved with that.... I did not say one bad thing about Button


I don't think he did drive particularly badly at the start. He got caught up in the incident at the first corner after Alonso closed in on him. Thereafter, he could tell that for him, the intermediate tyres weren't working. It was Button's call, to change them, not the team's, and when he came out he was faster than anyone else by some margin. That was the good bit.

He screwed it up when he slid off, and had he not done so he would have ended up ahead of Vettel.

Yes, he was lucky that Vettel went out, and we'll never know whether his tyre management would have got him ahead of SV before the end.

I'm reminded of another saying: "You make your own luck"...


wait a few more races to pass judgment on him. It's hamilton1 button1.


After he past No1 corner from the start.

Great job done by Alonso!


James, I think you're drawing the wrong conclusion about aerodynamics vs mechanical grip. Hamilton was clearly unable to pass Alonso despite catching him so quickly because of the wake from Alonso's car robbing him of downforce and pace. In clean air, Lewis was up to 2 seconds faster per lap, once he got the gap down to around a second and he encountered Fernando's aerodynamic wake, that speed difference disappeared. Both cars were on a dry track. It was pretty clear the aerodynamics were the problem.


Where are all the cries for changing the rules this week? Leave the rules alone and let the chips fall where they may

Great race. Red Bull can't shake their long history of reliability woes - and this isn't the first time they've had break failures. Hamilton looking like a rookie this year more than any other, where's the champion's discipline? Alonso, on the other hand, had a remarkable race coming from last and having a good race despite being bottled up behind Massa for the most of it. .


Webber first pass on Hamilton was poor (he out braked himself and went off track) and his second was stupid.

Lewis lit up this race with his overtaking, electric stuff and he'll get the respect he deserves, if not the points.


I think the race today proved that these tracks that have no history and are funded by governments paying millions to Bernie arent actually very interesting, which is why F1 should go to interesting tracks not who pays the most money....

Also couldnt believe how bad Weber was today, it was like he had never driven in a race before, he was appalling! So many mistakes.

Very impressed with Hamilton, he was on it which is what we want to see on TV

george cowley ci5

unless it rains at the next 2 races,vettal will romp away(barring dodgy car) all you mclaren and button fans,take a step back,they lucked out that win today,,


With so many prospective title contenders I think luck will play an even bigger part in deciding who wins the championship than usual. The margins could be minute.

Vettel's been unlucky and two likely victories have been snatched away, but he'll be on the top step of the podium sooner rather than later. Reliability was Red Bulls' downfall last year but hopefully it won't blight them again.


agree, but the worl championship is going away from him. Rbr needs to start scoring, otherwise, they might not capitalize on the advantage, and the others soon will catch up.


That was za cracking race!

Best race for years I think its up there with some of the best races of the last few years.

Its looking like Bahrain was so boring an uneventfull (apart from the the circuits natural ability to produce boring races) that the teams were being very conservative and not taking any risks and were on a data collection exercise.

Today they actually raced! 😀

They tooks risks, some paid off some didnt but it made a great RACE to watch 😀

in fact made more interesting because there isnt a team dominating, races really are looking like they could go anyway with the top 5 teams producing a winner from anyone, suddenly its no longer about the best car, but the best driver, and the cream rose to the top today!


I dont get the idea behind call for more and more overtaking. Why do we want to see 'overtaking' each time a car gets at the rear wing of car at front. MotoGP has much more overtaking than F1, is it exciting than F1 ? No

Today whatever made the show exciting was not overtaking. YES. It was variety in strategy and way of thinking of guys at pit-wall and drivers which made the show great. Cars in F1 will never be close in performance. Even at their best, Ferrari is sometimes still better than McLaren and sometimes McLaren is still better than Ferrari. The difference in performances isn't marginal.

Also the criticism of Tilkedromes is quite justified. Many drivers today got punished for making mistakes and running on to gravel trap. With tarmac run offs, they would hardly loose 1-2 places.


I disagree with your comments that it wasn't overtaking that made today's race exciting, I think that was EXACTLY what made it so good! The drivers taking risks and going for the positions on track. You mention pit wall strategy, but that's been in F1 all the time but how many races like today have you seen in recent years? Jenson Button won the race through his own initiative rather than through following orders from the pit wall like some kind of robot, and that's what we want to see.

Tilke tracks though I agree with you on - not so much for the gravel traps, but it does seem that most of his tracks have lots of straights, and by straights I mean as straight as a roman road, followed by dull, slow bends. Have you noticed how much more overtaking there always seems to be at tracks like Interlagos and Albert Park where there are full-speed sections which are not exactly dead-straight but are curves? You would think that the 'wake' of a car is going to be at its worst if the cars are travelling in a totally straight line surely, rather than turning and the wake has a chance to diffuse slightly? I am not a scientist, but it seems plainly obvious from watching the racing.


Hamilton drove a great race and he's a fighter like Schumi used to be. But, I get the feeling that he is always going to be destroying tyres this season. Button on the other hand has a much smoother style and can manage tyres better a la Damon Hill. I've said this before and we saw it in Aus last night


I'm going to forget about the overtaking problems that still exist and just enjoy one of the most exciting races I've seen in ages.

There were brilliant drives (Button, Kubica and Hamilton in particular), dodgy decisions, inspired decisions and most of the title contenders sniffing victory if circumstances had played out slightly differently. Really need to watch it again to get my head around it!

It was great to see not just two drivers dicing with each other but three or four, and because of the conditions one small mistake was leapt on. So many questions, like would Vettel have just driven off into the distance? Did Hamilton need the pitstop and could he have won without it? Was Schumacher's car damaged, explaining his inability to get through the pack like Alonso did? Also, what happened to Sutil and where could he have factored in?

Mercedes don't look race winning (yet?) but it looks like Ferrari, Mclaren and Red Bull will be trading victories throughout the season. It's going to be fascinating to see who finishes on top!


There were no signs of Vettel driving into the distance and I think it is fair to say this was not the case in Bahrain either. His Red Bull obviously needs to deliver some race-distance reliability, and quick, if he is to be a contender for the title I feel.

Alonso as expected looking very strong indeed in that department, Massa not giving an inch and Button if he carries on in this inspired way, then who would bet serious money against him retaining his title come seasons end?

Hamilton might have been seething about his extra tyre stop (maybe still is), but at the time he was brought in, he looked to have reached an insurmountable object in Kubica's Renault. Otherwise if he was all over his gearbox the team woudln't have made the call we can be assured I feel.


James - nice cameo by your Schumacher Book thanks to EJ in the BBC1 build up!


What a race, brilliant.

Kubica did a great job today I thought, showed that he really is a classy driver.

Mark Webber - learn to overtake properly mate. Your great at setting fast laps, but everytime I see you behind someone with an equally fast car you seem to panic and absolutely mess it up.

Button was great today, well done to him. Hamilton was great as well, just needs to learn to keep his cool a bit more. They really are a Prost/Senna combination!


Great entertainment. Absolutely. I'm curious about Vettel's bad luck. Button smooth; Hamilton the icing on the cake (he who doesn't want to see a guy charging like hell like he did and who cares for his comments... it's what I want to see ans hear: he's racing!) The most astounding in the end I found the difference in position of Alonso / Schumacher and would really like to see a detailed article comparing those two in today's race. Looks like the crux to solve the F1 problems is to put water on the track :)=


What a great race! WOW!

McLaren took the gamble with Button on soft slicks and it payed off beacuse at that time it could've gone either way. But after Vettel retired, it was a relatively easy race for Jason and only required concntration.

For me th best stuff came with Alonso and Hamilton! No doubt about that... Alonso was hit by Button, taking the spaniard all the way to the back of the field. Fernando has started badly fo the grid because of wheel spinning and Massa overtook him as did a couple others and then was nudged by Button on a wet track, which made him spin and go to 22nd. To finish 4th in a race like that and only having changed tyres once and having to defend himself from a possesed Hamilton behind him at the end on relatively new softs was fantastic to see! It took me back to that race in San Marino where Schumacher in a much more superior car couldn't pass Fernando lap after lap! The same happened here and Hamilton's childnishness and bravery nearly cost him more than the points dropped when he was hit by Webber.

Boy! What a race... I can't wait for Malaysia!

Cheers Allen!


Really entertaining race today.

Impressed by superb Alonso's performance: Recovered from the back to 4th with aggressive driving while still reasonably managed his tyres; and his brilliant defense from Hamilton + Webber. His solid defense really frustrated Lewis despite almost 2 secs advantage from the McLaren. Had it Massa, Lewis would easily passed him in a blink of an eye. Massa is the worst defense!

Kubica performance also stellar on how he managed his position against Lewis which was a second quicker.


No, it wasn't brilliant defensive driving by Alonso. Hamilton was being hindered by loosing 10 points of front downforce from losing part of his front wing earlier in the race.

On a dry track overtaking again became very difficult due to the front end of cars washing out when running in turbulent air from the double diffusers. Alonso just had to sit there and make no errors to maintain his place.


and he did it


What an exciting race. Who could have seen it comming?

The most important to me is that the teammate battles at Ferrari and McLaren have swung around. Massa made a firm statement of his intentions today. No matter how much Alonso was faster, he will have nothing served on a silver plate by Massa. And Buton came away with a surprise win after many beleived Bahrain had set the tune to how the season will pan out. It will not be the walk in the park many, including me, expected for Hamilton.

On the other hand, Red Bull and Vettel are already set for playing the catching game again. They have the speed, but now they face Alonso and Ferrari. The odds are aganist them. It's a whole different ballpark compared to last year against a cash stripped Brawn GP.

And McLaren can still play the joker card in this all. It's just an issue of how long it'll take them to find the qualifying speed and challenge for the win ragrdless of rain or any other circumstances.


Another point that made this so good was the drivers had a different attitude, as Brundle pointed out. They all seemed to grow a pair in the last two weeks. Jenson and Lewis in particular were sporting a pair bigger than King Kong. Well done boys!


James, any comments on Webber's race? One can only be so clumsy and the feeling I get is that a reprimand is hardly any punishment at all. Hamilton had already avoided collision with him early in the race and then, in the end, there was nothing he could do.

What do the people down there think of Webber's race and incidents?


John Button said that we need sprinkles of water in every race from now on to make the race exciting. Unfortunately it is not going to be raining in every race.

Earlier I agreed with Martin P that Vettel does have the best car on the grid. I take it back now. Red Bull is unreliable & an unreliable car is not the best car. This is going to be Alonso’s season even though I’d love to see Massa winning the WDC. Anyway, after the massive disappointment from Bahrain I nearly cried out loud & decided to skip the grand prix this year for the first time in 10 years. But thanks to the condition change, I got my money’s worth.

James, would you agree that McLaren was influenced by Schumacher’s tyre change and that is why they called Hamilton back into the pits to change tyre? Kubica is my driver of the day & without any doubt Button deserved the win after making such a brave call so early in the race. By the way James, I did get to see you very little during the grand prix weekend. I was in Jack Brabham stand. I guess you were busy with your coverage stuff.


Just clocked the weather forecast for Sepang next Sunday. Wet! What a long week it will be.

Thanks as ever for a great website James.


Whilst there were many stories and threads to cover from the race, Alonso's performance was very special for me.

His start was atrocious, as he lined his wheels up on the white line (rather stupid); but to go from last to fourth was incredible.

His defensive driving on worn tyres was amazing, but it's a shame that we didn't see many of his passes on the TV coverage.


This is just what I was expecting from the McLaren line-up. At the moment, in terms of pure pace Lewis has the upper hand over Button but he hasn't translated that into a points advantage mainly because his head isn't in the right place. This is to take nothing away from the fact that Lewis was *extremely quick* yet again and made some good (one great - Rosberg) passes.

It's far from clear that calling Hamilton in was the wrong choice - he hadn't looked after his tyres at all, as Button had (one could see that from the laptimes - Button was driving very conservatively (as, it seems, was Vettel) until Lewis got behind Kubica and then it was basically green lap after green lap. There's a glaring inconsistency between Lewis' radio calls - first blaming the team for pitting him for a second set of softs, and then when he was behind Alonso saying his *second* set of tyres were destroyed (after say 10 laps)! This sort of petulance shows that Button has got under his skin in a similar way how Alonso did. And it was perfectly open to Lewis to make the tyre call himself (as Button did at the beginning of the race) - if he thought that he could take the softs to the end, he could have just said so..., but I don't get the impression that Lewis can read a race like that yet.

Apart from Button, the truly outstanding performance from Kubica - it was highly conspicuous how Lewis managed to get past many cars but Kubica seemed to be able to put his car in exactly the right spot for a number of laps - the Renault has good traction and also has decent top speed (*), but even so, Kubica seemed just so much more solid in racecraft than e.g. Massa, Rosberg etc. If anyone should be bleating about 'the drive of their life' it should be Kubica...

(*) I was interested to hear that Renault aren't going to try to develop an F-duct (I can't remember the exact quote, but it was something like they were going to continue in the same development direction as they were already planning) - is it possible they have worked out some other way of stalling the rear wing on the straights already?


[cough...cough]...remember when i said without the mandatory use of the two tyre compounds the races would be much better because we'd see a clash between drivers making tyres last and not pitting and those who eat them up and are forced to make a stop?

not such a silly idea now, is it?


I agree. I think all of this stage management is wrong. Teams and drivers should be free to choose their strategies without enforced tyre changes. Just like in the old days......The FIA want pit stops to give the race some interest, but a free strategy would give us much more interest on the track, and that is where it should be.


James, I think you got the wrong end of the stick on the mechanical grip argument...

When the rain came, the aero was negated with reduced speed - the cars were able to pull tight behind one another and use the slipstreaming to good effect...

To me it proves the aero is 100% the problem with F1... when Hamilton was closing down Alonso with a 2 sec advantage - he was able to do nothing with the aero disadvantage on a dry track...

Expect ultra boredom on dry tracks - aero needs to be reduced massively...

Current F1 cars cannot be considered race cars on a dry track, as they can't even slip stream...

The FIA have had years to fix this - they should replace Charlie Whiting with a proper engineer, who understands the problem, and does not procrastinate for years...


[i]The FIA have had years to fix this – they should replace Charlie Whiting with a proper engineer, who understands the problem, and does not procrastinate for years…[/i]

Engineers are ones who have created the problem...lol

Putting a driver's representative would be better move. Even engineers need driver's feedback for making decisions


Good point re. Whiting. I had a friend (now sadly deceased) who used to pal about with Whiting and Herbie Blash. Nice guys apparently, but 100% old Bernie cronies who lucked into their respective roles. No actual, proper, genuine qualification or experience when it comes to understanding how these cars are developed or operate.

Change 'em for someone who can recognise the issues affecting F1 and is prepared to act on them.


...and the FIA's overtaking working group was (until recently) headed by Tony Purnell a "true engineer". Charlie Whiting is responsible for seeing that the technical regs are complied with. As far as I know, he doesn't make them.


That is 100% wrong about Whiting and Blash. You have been misinformed there


I agree with Ron.

Aero is the problem.

If aero downforce is down, and mechanical grip is the same or similar then we will have better races.

I do enjoy the aero side of F1, but let's give them a challenge.

Next year will prove if our side of the argument is correct, when the diffusers are gone.

if we are right, then let's take the wings off these cars and give them more power (after 2012) with harder tires.

In the meantime i will enjoy these type of races


Before Lewis could beat Button, he had to pass the Ferrari´s something he didn´t do.

He complained about why he´d been forced to do a third stop followed shortly by the statement that his third set of tyres had ´GONE OFF´. He drove a great race, but I don´t think he could have done it on one set of slicks. At one point he was 2 seconds a lap faster than JB but his tyres wouldn´t have maintained that performance for the whole race and as it was the closer to Alonso he came, the more this advantage dwindled.


I wonder how much it would cost to install sprinklers to Tilkedromes?

Probably the cheapest option to spice up F1, eh...


Lewis ...box office stuff. The entertainer, excellent driving. Button...one lucky call that is it. What else did Button do today except run in clean air at the front? How can you destroy your tyres if you are not overtaking anybody. Hamilton showed me once more why i woke up early this morning...worth every minute of it!


Absolutely brilliant race - been watching F1 since 2001 and that, for me, is definately up there in my top 5 favourite races over the last decade along with Silverstone 03, Spa 04 and Suzuka 05.

Were you commentating on the race, James? Or were you just doing the practice sessions for Australia TV???

Keep up the great work with this site!


As I'm Polish I'm extremely happy with Kubica on the podium. However please note that he could defend his position thanks to thin dry optimal line on the track only. Mechanical grip is an issue. the quicker driver couldn't get past Kubica because wet track didn't provide enough grip for late braking. It's pitty that in Malaysia (at normal whether conditions) Renault will not be competitive given their current downforce at fast curves.


Hi James, I've gotta say I was duped by the F1 technical folk as well, thinking aero was the problem. But just look at that race! For me there were 3 distinct phases of the race that prove the point that Mechanical grip is the problem:

Phase 1. The wet conditions at the start - Aero downforce works pretty much the same in the wet as the dry, I forget what the percentage of aero effectiveness is in the wet, but obviously it's not quite as effective in the wet as the dry. But the major difference in wet conditions is the lack of mechanical grip because of the greasy surface and limited grip from the tyres, poor traction etc. At this point we had overtaking.

Phase 2. The point where everyone had changed to dry tyres, having been wet the track was completely green, no rubbish off line and dry. The aero was as effective now as at any point in the race, but the green newly dry track combined with the tyres resulted in poor mechanical grip. At this point we saw plenty of overtaking, probably partly due to some cars being out of pace position: Alonso charging through the field overtaking cars that weren't necessarily 3 seconds slower as the Overtaking Working Group suggest you need to be able to overtake! And also Hamilton overtaking various similarly paced cars.

Phase 3. No overtaking. The point when Alonso pulled up behind Massa and also Hamilton got stuck behind Kubica. Both were arguably behind slower cars. But at this point the track had rubbered in with a racing line and offline the track was very dirty, marbles etc. Even when Hamilton was closing in on Alonso at the rate of about 2 seconds a lap, he barely got an opportunity to overtake, but had this been in Phase 2 I think it would have been quite different.

Would you agree with my analysis?

I think Frank Dernie is correct. The answer - Hard tyres that won't rubber in the circuit and create marbles. Manual gearboxes. And perhaps instead of single lap qualifying as it was before, keep the Q1,2 & 3, but only allow drivers one run in each session, in the hope of mixing up the grid.

Gotta say I was rather annoyed at what Martin Whitmarsh said on the BBC, about F1 being held accountable for a poor show in Bahrain by the media. They should be held accountable by us the fans, without us there is no F1. It's time the FIA and FOTA listened to us the fans and sort out this overtaking problem in F1, perhaps we should all sign a petition or something.


Disagree. I haven't actually heard Martin Brundle even use the word 'marbles' in what seems like several seasons - and he used to refer to it all the time. Not to say they don't still appear from time to time, but today just reiterated that drivers can surge forwards til the reach a point a few car lengths behind the one in front, and usually from then on the churning turbulent 'dirty' air severely affects the ability to line up, lunge and pass.


Button has proved he needs exceptional luck to achieve anything... just like 2009, when Charlie Whiting only gave Brawn and two other lowely teams the green light for a double diffuser, and a 1 sec a lap advantage...

Button has proved nothing beyond that - he was overtaken by Hamilton on equal terms...


Off course Button was beaten by Lewis on Lewis´s terms, but Lewis was beaten by Button on Button´s terms.

It wasn´t luck that brought Jenson in, it was a judgement based on the amount of grip left in his tyres and the changing conditions.

It wasn´t luck that enabled Jenson to stay out for 50 or so laps, it was his ability to look after his tyres still put in some decent laps and not complain about them going off.

Lewis complained about his second set ´going off´despite moaning about having to put that second set on in the first place.

I suspect had he not changed, he would have complained about the first set going off at some point and this would have resulted in a loss of grip and no doubt a puncture an off or something similar.

Jenson won the race. The only luck there was Vettel´s failure. Button put himself into P2 and only a slip up on his first outlap denied him an automatic P1.


I completely agree with your comment about Schumacher. He was stuck for far too long and it just seemed unlike him. At the moment, Nico is making him look like the 2nd driver in the team.


Nico isn't making himself look all that good either. Passed on the outside by Hamilton, simply slow all day long and then missed a wide open opportunity to stick on the inside and overtake Alonso right after the back straight scramble. With lots of things happening, I don't remember him showing any aggression at all yesterday.


Rain is spectators's best friend. Without it we would have had another boring race.

In the wet I could see several small errors from every driver, different strategies, and some really good overtaking on the track.

What a difference from Barhain. Just hope we can have similar conditions in the next races.


WOW!! What a difference to Bahrain!


In my opinion, the best way to increase the interest is forcing Bridgestone to bring a wider choice of tyres! A rock-hard tyre, and a super-soft. that would really make it difficult for the teams to decide what to do. If the difference in lap-times is more than 3 secs, then everything will be wide open! What i mean is that if Hamilton's second set of tyres was a little softer then they would probably be another second faster than the others'. And he could easily pass Alonso no matter the aerodynamics! Sticky tyres would do the job just fine!


I am a bit surprised with some of the comments on here because it is just not factual. I think some viewers come up with a theory and blindly pursue it even when the evidence for it is evading them. Lewis did not destroy his tyres in Bahrain as was widely predicted and he did not destroy them in this race.

Lewis is harder on his tyres than most drivers but he has also adopted his driving and he is not sliding the car as much as he used to do. Lewis did not need more tyres at bahrain than any other driver and he did good in that race.

Button was not better than Lewis in this race. Button himself said he made the call because he was more or less getting deperate. He was going backwards and Lewis Hamilton had put a decisive pass on him. So anyone out there who think that Button is a bettr driver need to wait for the evidence.

However, McLaren have now signed a driver who is closer in performance to Lewis and more harmonious as team mates. What this should mean for the team is that when one is not having a good day the other can capitalise on it. That was something Hekki could not do.

McLaren made a bad call. They should have given Lewis the same option they gave to Button and tell him it is up to him what he wants to do.

If Lewis had stayed out he would have simply followed Kubica to the end or overtook him but he would not have gone backwards.

I understand why Lewis was so frustrated because he worked really hard and overtook alot of people and then lost some of it. I totally understand and he was trying really hard to make up for a bad weekend which he did but the result is not there to show for it.

I dont think Button overtook anyone in this race and so his job was alot easier. But as for team to team racing Lewis did overtake Button in the race and Button won't forget that.


Yes but you've just said that Lewis overtook Button because his tyres were causing him to go backwards and he was getting desperate, so he made the call. You can't have it both ways surely - either Button's tyres caused him to be overtaken OR Lewis is a better driver; which is it?


Jenson showed his class today and should shut the ignorant critics up.

Jesnson also showed how you should behave as a World Chamapion.......Hamilton acted like a spolit brat in blaming the team.

Well done Jenson!


I loved how he congratulated all the Ferrari crew before mounting the podium. I can't actually ever recall a winning driver also giving highfives to another team's entire crew, particularly one that the driver hadn't once also driven for...

It was an act of pure class.


Sure, it was great to see the Ferrari team congratulating Button. Shows the respect they have for jenson


It'll be interesting to see how Hamilton copes psychologically with his team mate beating him - whatever the reason. Will he be mature about it or throw his toys out of the pram?


Today, at the end of the race, I heard Alonso say: "I took some points from my main rivals to the title." (not literal though, and I think it was in Spanish).

Does it mean that he doesn't consider Massa a title contender.

Or did I miss something?


The comments were pretty much as you put them. I WAS SURPRISED AS WELL!! Surely one would consider Vettel, LH, and Shu the most dangerous rivals, but it is a complete disregard to other competitors to downplay them like that. I think FA dismisses Button and Massa at his own peril, especially the latter.


He said that in his spanish interview right after the race and he looked like he was too full of adrenaline to say anything really reasonable! And definitely looked like he had fun, too.

He mentioned Vettel, Hamilton and- Schumacher. That was a very funny interview!


fantastic job from alonso.

it is just funing that hamilton with 2 sec faster than alonso couldn`t overtake him.

forza alonso.


Fab race. I think two things were pretty clear today.

1. Hamilton, although undeniably quick in a Kimi'esque sense it terms of sheer 1 lap pace, doesn't appear to have the cerebral, strategic sense, to think about race strategy, whilst putting in the quick laps. For example during the race I note that Alonso asked his engineer, "why is everyone stopping"? He and Schumi are probably the best two examples of drivers capable of driving on the limit, whilst keeping enough spare cerebral capacity to think about the race, what others are doing and why.

For example I assume that Lewis didn't question his engineer's direction to pit for tyres, whereas perhaps someone like Alonso would have (and we saw that Button pro actively dictated his stop). Lewis is still young in terms of F1, he may develop the smarts to go with the speed, but he is far from the finished article yet, which would take him to the pantheon of F1 greats.

2. Overtake. Sorry to bang on about this, but clearly the problem is aero. When a driver on fresher tyres, who had been putting in laps at 1.5 - 2.0secs quicker suddenly is stopped in his progress, then frankly it makes all other theories as to the lack of overtaking as redundant. There was a marked difference in tyre degradation, as one driver was on newer tyres. I can't see aero ever being taken away from F1. I was opposed to this at first, but I quite like Bernie's suggestion of short cuts. Think about it. Each driver can take a short cut 3 times in a GP, that's it. It would lead to some strategic decisions as to when to take the short cut, and if so, would the overtaken driver do so the following lap, to take their position back? Would everyone take the short cut on the first lap? It would lead to some v interesting strategic decisions, frankly not that different to the old refuelling machinations that many people want reintroduced. It is the only practicable soluti