F1 Winter Break
Button takes another well judged win in China
Button takes another well judged win in China
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Apr 2010   |  11:38 am GMT  |  229 comments

Jenson Button won a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix today, his second win of the season and one which puts him on top of the drivers’ championship.

It was a 1-2 finish for McLaren with Lewis Hamilton following his team mate home having made twice as many pit stops. It takes McLaren to the top of the constructors’ championship.

“This victory is very special,” said Button, who stopped only twice in the race. “It is not luck we came out on top today. We chose correctly in the conditions. It was a tricky race and again we called it right. It’s not just about being quick, it’s about calling it.”

Like Melbourne, this was another race about Button’s correct strategy choice of tyre in changeable conditions and in which Hamilton made up for the wrong calls by charging through the field, with some stunning overtakes.

McLaren confirmed that it was Button’s own call to stay on slicks. Hamilton also confirmed that he personally made the wrong decision – and a very late one, he was almost past the pit entry – to switch to intermediates.

“I had an eventful race,” said Hamilton. “Jenson made a better choice on the tyres, It wasn’t easy. I chose very late (to go to inters) and clearly it wasn’t the right choice.”

Button is fast disproving all the critics who said he was out of his mind to join McLaren after winning the championship last year. He’s outqualified Hamilton 3-1 and has won two races thanks to making the right calls and relying on his own instincts. Once again, as in Melbourne he made the right decision and it gave him the platform to win.

It was a drizzly start to the race and Button chose to stay on dry tyres shortly after the start, when most of the field went for intermediates. Nico Rosberg and the two Renault drivers and Kovalainen did the same thing.

It was the right decision, as the intermediate tyres went off almost immediately and everybody was soon back into the pits to switch back to slicks. This meant that the leading group opened up a large gap over the others.

This gap was reduced to nothing by a safety car, which was deployed on lap 22 for clearing debris from Jaime Alguersuari’s front wing.

This helped the big names, who had lost out through making the wrong tyre calls early on and it was tough on the four drivers who had made the right call.

If the decision to deploy the safety car seemed marginal and possibly made in the interests of the show, it was fully vindicated by the race it gave us as a result.

One of the highlights for F1 fans was the first mano a mano battle between Hamilton and Schumacher. There were two battles today and in both of them Hamilton showed the seven time champion huge respect, giving him a lot of space. Schumacher was lacking rear end grip and traction and Hamilton was 2 seconds a lap faster at that point, but Schumacher used all his race craft to stay ahead for as long as he did.

“Michael was very aggressive, probably one of the most aggressive drivers I’ve ever raced against, but he did a great job,” said Hamilton.

They had a second battle later in the race in the rain, after Schumacher made an earlier call for intermediates than the rest and got back ahead of Hamilton.

There were controversial incidents involving both McLaren drivers; Button slowed right down into Turn 14 in preparation for the restart after the safety car, causing the rest of the field to bunch up and almost caused a mass collision. But this brought no sanction from the stewards.

Hamilton raced Vettel into the pit lane on lap 6 for the stop where they reverted to slicks. He got ahead. But Red Bull did the faster stop and, as they were released from the pit boxes, almost simultaneously, Hamilton came into the path of Vettel, who resisted him, by gently easing him towards the right. Both drivers were reprimanded for their driving, the second race in a row for Hamilton.

It was another great day for Rosberg and Kubica, who have both had strong starts to the season and made the absolute most of the cars they have. Rosberg qualified fourth, led the early stages and lost the lead to Button on lap 19, when the rain began to fall again and the lap times went off by 10 seconds.

Rosberg went off track and rejoined, but it allowed Button to close and he eased past on the run down to Turn 14. But Rosberg took another podium and once again eclipsed his team mate Michael Schumacher. It is the first time in Schumacher’s career that he has been beaten by a tem mate four races in a row. Schumacher said afterwards that he didn’t judge how to use the current generation intermediate tyres properly.

“It was not good for me and not good from me, ” he said candidly. “It is frustrating that I was not able to get my tyres together better. My strategy in that respect was not very impressive as in the last 10 laps my tyres were just gone.”

Kubica had another very clean race, built on the platform of his “best ever” qualifying performance, made all the right calls and looked after his intermediates well to take a strong fifth place, from eighth on the grid.

For the fourth time in four races the pole sitter did not win the race. Red Bull had dominated qualifying, but things went wrong for them when they made the early stop for intermediates. Webber damaged his front wing and the front jack, which then affected Vettel’s stop. After that it was a fight and they seemed to take more out of the intermediate tyres judging by the rate at which they wore them out.

“Today was chaotic,” said Vettel. “To get sixth isn’t bad. We started on pole but we struggled quite a lot with some conditions. It’s very on/off in these conditions. We need to understand why we were not able to be there straight away on tyre temperatures after restarts and pit stops.”

Fernando Alonso made another storming drive through the field, but this time he was recovering from his own mistake, jumping the start, which brought a drive through penalty. He made five visits to the pits in total and yet still managed to recover to take fourth place, helped significantly by the safety car for the Alguersuari incident.

* Watch out for my FX Pro Strategy Briefing early next week in which we will fully analyse how and why the key decisions were made in this race.

CHINESE GRAND PRIX – Shanghai, 56 laps

1. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h44:42.163
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1.530
3. Rosberg Mercedes + 9.484
4. Alonso Ferrari + 11.869
5. Kubica Renault + 22.213
6. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 33.310
7. Petrov Renault + 47.600
8. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 52.172
9. Massa Ferrari + 57.796
10. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:01.749
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:02.874
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:03.665
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:11.416
14. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
16. Senna HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps

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Jenson Button is the real deal in F1 and this victory today goes along way to putting some people (yourself included james) right!

Button gets a bad press for not being this all action racer that journo's portray Alonso & Hamilton to be. But in all honesty he's a clever driver who keeps his cards close to his chest and knew exactly what he was doing by joining McLaren and I can't wait for the media to start backtracking!

People will always find excuses for Hamilton and Alonso when results don't go their way becuase they have there own reputations to protect as much as anything!

I'm delighted for Jenson today because his stretegy and driving won it. Thats a real 2 fingers up to all those that thought it was the car last year and he'd been punching above his weight (again that means you James).


You remember that James put Button down as his driver of the year right?

Not sure where you think his anti-Jenson agenda has come from. Also dished a lot of praise to him after Australia.


To your last comment, yes the first half of last season was largely down to the car.


As compared with 2008 where the ENTIRE season was down the Hamilton's car.


Button is by far the best second driver at McLaren since I am watching races-mid 90s. I give him that.

Respect is earned.


Indeed, after the first half of the season, Barrichello never once finished behind Jenson on the track again. Ross Brawn himself was mystified regarding Button's move to McLaren, and it was Button's explanation that he wanted to beat Hamilton in the same car that finally made sense to Brawn.

It would appear at this point in time that he's managing to do it. Which I didn't expect to be honest back in January. However, I predicted the McLarens would win the Constructor's Championship before the season started, after the major testing session in Spain.

I think my money's still safe on that one. I have a hunch that neither driver will win the Driver's title however.


Add in Germany as well!

Button 5th, Barrichello 6th.

Over the entire season, Barrichello finished ahead of Button on the track 4 times

Button finished ahead of Barrichello on the track 11 times.


"after the first half of the season, Barrichello never once finished behind Jenson on the track again"

Brazil Button:P5 Barichello:P8

Abu Dhabi Button:P3 Barrichello:P4

Singapore Button:P5 Barrichello:P6

Hungary Button:P7 Barrichello:P10

Except on these occassions


I just think though that it takes more risk, commitment, and general excellence to drive fast and be able to overtake than it does to make good strategy calls and look after tyres. However, I acknowledge those things are still a part of the game.

It's a shame that the current rules though don't give the risk-takers a bigger payback.


PaulL. The risk taking your referring to is being done because Hamilton HAS to do it to keep up with Button. It's not high quality risk. It's low grade, should have qualified better so I could be in a better position to win risk.


To be fair I believe they do now give risk takers bigger payback since we now have 25 points for a win!



All credit to the winners, and what a wonderful race it was - I was exhausted by all the on track events, and I was just watching on the TV!

In reference to the back markers, now Virgin are officially the least reliable team on the grid, do you know what happened to their race?

It seemed like neither of the cars actually moved off the grid, though I think I spied Di Grassi later on doing some testing runs. Do you anything about their situation?


There can only be 1 winner, Kieran! 🙂


oh, the trouble a mis-placed S will lead to!

I might try and argue that Kovi was a winner too, because he beat a Williams in a (relatively) fair fight. But I haven't got the energy.


Di Grassi had a clutch problem before the start and missed it. Glock had an engine valve system air pressure problem on the grid. It couldn't be fixed.


Kind of a "victory" for Kovalainen, too, isn't it!


im getting good at picking this Button fella to win. '-) said before and will keep on saying it until james agrees Button=Prost , same same.

Great win fella


crucial win for Button and with the title being a 3way or 4way fight another win for him when we're back in europe will make him, like last year, almost unassailable.

that's not to say I agree that JB is the best out there, but it must encourage him no end to see a rival being so "uncool" as to jump the start!


well, in all honesty alonso barelly jumped it.

its not like he missed it completely. it was almost perfect within 1000th of a second.

so i dont think he was "uncool".


I don't know - Button looks very good in changeable conditions race but very ordinary in normal races. Lewis has alot to learn from him in the way he handles the intellectual side of the race, that is for sure. It is going to be tight no doubt but ...


When he's won 4 World Championships and won 50 Grands Prix, yes, Button will then equal Alain Prost. Until then, he's a work in progress. I would note also that Alain Prost finished 2nd in the World Drivers Championship on 4 occasions as well. That's a very long haul for Jenson Button to catch up to.

I'm happy to concede that seemingly, Jenson Button is rather kind on his tyres however - which is a good thing in 2010's rule set.


same here. it is like prost vs senna im mclaren again. However mind tht Prost was slower than senna only in qualifying but had 42 fastest laps against sennas 19 or something.


Massa so poor in the wet again.


Very poor! Struggled all the way through, Alonso way outperformed despite his penalty. Massa appeared to have no determination or 'drive' to get through the pack like Alonso and Hammilton did? Is Massa's confidence still a little dampened since his accident??


Nope - the power struggle is well and truly alive in the Ferrari garage. Wait for the fireworks.


I don't know so much, a struggle or a strop? I am a big Massa fan but I am starting to feel Alonso already has him beat... he has never seemed to be able to charge through the field regardless of the environment, Hamilton and Alonso are in a different league on that basis and unless Massa qualifies up the field... I can't see a 2008 repeat.... Alonso will triumph in the Scuderia and hopefully both titles will come the S.F. way!


Great race!!

As good as Button was, it was great seeing Hamilton on it overtaking and fighting with many drivers throughout the race.

Good luck getting back to the UK James....!!


Could it be that the main problem for Michael Schumacher is that, three years ago, he could take the car around Maranello and sort out the differences with new tyres etc., now, with in season testing banned, he doesn´t have the opportunity to sort thing out between races.

I know the other drivers don´t either, but he was used to that, and that was one of his strong points.

michael grievson

He also had traction control


Sorry, some of you are missing my point; that he was used to being able to sort problems out between races, now he no longer can do so. He and the car were one, but if you can´t drive it, except in free practices etc., you can´t ´speak´to each other long enough!


Good point - surely practice would help, but also, I think he needs the 'fire' back; that desire to go out and win it all.. He looks and sounds waaaay too cool and 'glad to be just driving' afterwards. He is certainly not making it easy to watch him...!


Now it seems Heidfields decision to be Test driver for Merc will pay off? Can't see Schumacher stayin in F1 (certainly not another season) if his performance dosn't improve?


I hope Merc take Lewis instead. I am very curious to see how Lewis would work with Brawn.


he doesn't have the advantages he had in the past. Fiorano, bridgestone, perfect reliability etc. I thought he was going to beat barbie from point one. My mistake, compliments to rosberg, on a well fought podium.


he has had quite a lot of time in the car now. each race has 4 hours of practice, 1 hour of qualifying and about a 1.5-2 hour race.

His setup today was obviously rubbish, but he could have chosen to copy Rosberg's like Vettel copied Webber's setup.

To be fair these race weekends (apart from Bahrain ) have been unusually challenging. if after the Barcelona updates he's not doing better then it's time to worry. presumably they will try to resolve whatever problems he thinks he is having with the updates.


He said that Nico and him were practically on the same set-up.


Wernt they on almost the same set up but different wings as michael didnt want to use the new one that was brought to the race but Rosberg did ??


His only strong point is that, except for his 2 first championships, he had BY FAR the best car in the field. The ferrari of the early decade was so much ahead that even Schumi's teammates were often second! It was a battle of arrows against nuclear weapons....


Amm I got to correct you lot there. Firstly clear no1 status is "earned" on the track as he did with pretty much the same boss he had. And 96 Ferrari was crap yet he lapped four secs faster than anyone in Barcelona 96 and finished one min a head. And I suppose if he wins it's the car if not he is rubbish.


Tommy, check your facts. You are flat out wrong. 2002 and 2004 were the only season that Ferrari had the undisputed best car. This is easy to verify if you take a minute to google before you post. 🙂


I think many factors contribute to his poor performance. The age, 3 year absence, lack of clear #1 statues etc. But your argument is also true. I never saw him as an exceptionally fast driver instinctively, but a very hard working and clever one. Clearly with testing prohibited, he was deprived one of his strongest points.


And Max Mosley's secret FIA deals with Ferrari a missing - what did you expect?


Another great race, fantastic to see a McLaren 1-2 for the Brit fans.

I'm sure there will be more criticism of Lewis' driving but he has really lit up the first few races with his overtaking.

Alonso also pulled a killer move - a cold-blooded killing on his team mate in the pit-lane entrance! Yow.


nice to see the all British Maclaren team beating the all German Merc team!!


That last minute overtake must have caused the team to panic a bit. Wouldn't they have been waiting there with Massa's tyres ready, or are the inters not driver specific?


does anyone have this info? i was also thinking about it!


He was by far the most exciting driver on the track, some of his moves were brilliant - turns 8/9 sneaking up on the inside, and the move on vettel and sutil was brilliant...great great race, yes he had a moment or two with vettel, but being released into the path of the red bull inside the pit lane was the only really dangerous bit, and that was not his fault.

Button was fantastic, he really performed today with the rain, he just seemed to know where the grip was and when to change tyres!

With the rain stopping and starting repeatedly it was very impressive for button to hold onto his lead like he did, and for Hamilton to progress so much faster through the pack than the red bulls...


had it been lewis instead of fernando pulling that move on his team mate or any1 for that matter every1 would be saying what a big cheat he is



What race have you been watching my friend???

He did pull that same move on Vettel. :)))


Lewis did the same move.

That area is still considered part of the race track so its all fair game.


Had it been Lewis doing jumpstart stewards would give him a warning


well, he did the same on Vettel, didn't you see it?? that was before this pit-lane shenanigans ...


I wish we had heard Massa's radio transmission after that move by Alonso. Best overtaking move of the year so far!


Two big issues to that race:

1. Ridiculous second-safety-car deployment

2. Hamilton pit-lane driving

ad 1.

I have been watching F1 for 5 year and I've never seen SC after that minor event of Alguersuari’s front wing damage. He damaged his front-wing however it was lost in the pit-lane, at the place where it could be easily cleared. I understand there could be some debris whilst nobody saw it on the track! Apparently someone wanted the pack to get closer to leading four front-drivers.

ad 2.

In my opinion Hamilton made 2 breaches to regulations: raced Vettel when they both were leaving pit-stop and raced Vettel when Vettel had already entered into pit-lane. Especially latter was unfair as Hamilton gained position

by crossing pit-lane which is CONTINOUS line.

Before race the drivers ask stewards to make more strict approach to regulations. And still nothing has changed. I'm not a fan of Ferrari nor McLaren however it seems to me that Federation Internationale de l'Automobile is transforming from Ferrari Internationale de l'Automobile into Mc'FIA.


After Mosley's vendettas with McLaren, it is so odd seeing the stewards not penalising Lewis. We need to remember that this is the way it is supposed to be so there is really no McFIA,


I thought the reason that they brought out the safety car when they would not normally have done so was due to the inexperience of the marshals. It was pointed out earlier in the weekend that China has no grass-roots motorsports to draw experienced marshals from, and I'm sure that Charlie Whiting took that into account when deciding for the second safety car.

I think your comments on the pit incident are very harsh. We saw Massa allowed to keep his win in Valencia on 2008 after a more cut-and-dried incident, so how is the FIA in McLaren's pocket? Positions on the pit lane mean to it was almost certainly too late to stop Hamilton once Vettel could be seen to be moving. After that, Hamilton should definitely have let Vettel go, but what was Vettel thinking in pushing Hamilton towards the pit crews? It was very, very, lucky that there wasn't a team servicing a car there.


Have a look at the replays and then have another think about your comments on Hamilton.

On the initial entry into the pitlane Lewis and Seb are dead level with each other so you can't say that either had priority over the other.

As regards to the release, you can see from the slo-mo view from Vettels car that Mclarens lollipop goes up no more than half a second after Red Bull.

Now if anyone has the reactions to notice in that half second that the Red Bull is moving and be able to put it back down to stop the Mclaren from leaving then they are probably fast enough to be driving the car.

After that it was 50/50. Lewis should have backed off as soon as he saw Seb was in front and Seb shouldn't have squeezed Lewis towards the garages.

Agree with the SC comment though, seemed like a bit of a NASCAR fix


Actually you could argue that since Seb was actually driving within the clearly delineated white lines that represent the actual pitlane, and Lewis snaked in from the side at the last moment, not in the pit lane, that Lewis may have stretched the rules or even broken one. Apparently, given he didn't get a penalty, it must have been legal. Still, it was questionable.



So you mean you have a better knowledge than the stewards and ex driver rep combined ha.well i guess comments are free


you are right Djones!! I think that the stewards' decisions the previous 4-5 years has made many people to lose their fair judgment for good!! This year we're finally watching racing. It's stupid to start giving penalties for nothing again!


Actually good point here. I can see that you must be a Kubica's fan judging from how angry you are at that second SC. I am his fan as well and I am equally crossed because it cost Kubica dearly. Never before a few bits on the edge of the track caused an SC, it really begs a question why it did this time round?

Did anyone see a reason for the second SC? And do not tell me it was because someone wanted to spice the show up! That is just silly, there is a line you cannot cross. Is this racing or a flying circus?


Well, there *was* debris on the track. It is quite plausible that the race director could have considered it essential that the debris be removed -- getting a puncture in that corner could be nasty. If so, the safety car was necessary -- it is quite ridiculous to expect marshals to go onto the track without a safety car. The amount of debris is immaterial.

Double waved yellow flags are alright if marshals are dealing with cars in run-off areas, but not for rubbish that is actually on the track.


I agree that Vettel went to push Hamilton toward the garages which was unsporting and should have been penalized.

Hamilton did not release himself, his team did. So why blame the pilot?


In this instance the pilot was racing in the pitlane when he clearly did not have the right to do so. He was not even in the pit "lane" (white lines) he was driving on the outer fringes of the team's pit boxes. (not sure what the term is for that). Lewis was lucky two weeks in a row with his dodgy driving. I think that pretty much cancels the Spa incident with Kimi.


Jenson is proving us all wrong, isn't he?! His McLaren switch is proving to be a stellar move. He truly is a great Champion! And a very funny Grand Prix winner. He always makes me smile 🙂

I am a little mystified by Schumacher. He doesn't look very comfy with the car, does he? Unlike Hamilton who is truly a joy to watch.

James, we're four races down in the season. I am eager to find out your in depth view on how this Championship is shaping up for the (new) teams, the drivers and F1 in general. It looks like Button, Vettel, Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso & Kovaleinen are in the zone right now?! Kovaleinen is doing miracles with that Lotus.


Well Oliver, it's still too early to tell! Maybe in a couple races' time, Alonso or Hamilton or even Webber could be leading the championship....Let's wait and see what happens. It's a very interesting season!! Many great drives so far, most of them Hamilton's! Kubica is just a pleasure to watch! Schumi???? Oh dear...


Speaking about the Zone , and making miracles with the car, you definitely forgot Kubica !


your right, he is pushing the team really well as well.


Another great race.

For me this confirmed a few thoughts I'd had previously.

Button and Hamilton is eerily close to Prost V Senna in terms of driving stlye if not talent.

Vettel is similar to Massa, when things are going their way they are untouchable, but once they are in the pack then they seem very limited. Do you agree James?

We are set for a great season, but this is mainly due to RBR's shocking decision making so far this season. If they can have a few clean races they'll build a big lead.


James - it is 4 races this year without a winner from pole... but also Hamilton was on Pole in Abu Dhabi (the last race of '09) and Rubens was on pole in the previous race in Brazil... neither won... So it's actually 6 races where the pole sitter hasn't won (the last race was Vettel in Japan 09.

Great race today - it's good to see the Stewards letting stuff go without silly penalties... let them race I say!


Again it was down to Jensen's ability to pick the time to change, but mostly to preserve his tyres, if Lewis could only do the same (and have only two pit stops instead of four) he could have been ahead of Jensen.

Nice to see Schui wake up a bit and have a little tussle with Lewis, but frankly he is improving too slowly, he has none of his old fire, it seems like a holiday for him.


I'd hazard a guess that it's a darn sight easier to preserve your tires when you aren't having to overtake.

Hamilton makes up amazing ground, and yet still gets stick for being unable to preserve his tires! Well, I'm sure if he'd settled for a lower position, and not bothered overtaking so many people then his tires would have been just dandy.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but this point keeps on getting repeated to the point where it becomes received knowledge, and goes unquestioned and unreasoned.


Ive made this point so mant times in as many posts. Its so obvious.
This is not to take away from Jensons drive, but to compare their tyres after both having diffrent races is plain stupid. Lewis's tyres have done far more work than Jensons this season.
And remember, Lewis has shown he is still a fast driver even on worn tyres. He did it in Oz, in Sepang and also today.

@tried true - its positive because it shows his ability to cover ground. Every driver need that. He will have better qualifying position someday, so that race pace wil stand him in good stead.


He's making up ground that he (in theory) lost through poor qualifying. How is that a positive thing?


Its his own fault he's so far back in the first place though.Again this weekend even without major incident on Saturday he was out qualified by Jenson.


Yeah! good point, should have thought of it myself.


completely agree Phil! Lweis did well to preserve and drive those last few laps on those tyres after how hard he pushed! Still can't stop thinking i would prefer someone like lewis to win who pushes hard and actualy 'races' to someone who makes a better decsion and cruise at the front (and still had just as badly bold/worn tyres as lewis?!)


Didn't I say yesterday Alonso looked nervous? What is your opinion about Alonso's move on Massa? Was it the right thing to do in that way?

What a fantastic race for McLaren. I'm glad Button got the upper hand again, although I bet Hamilton will end up higher than him by the end of the year (I wish he proves me wrong).


"nervous" yes, can't see Fernando inheriting the nickname of his predecessor at Ferrari!


It's really frightening what I am reading

"If the decision to deploy the safety car seemed marginal and possibly made in the interests of the show, it was fully vindicated by the race it gave us as a result."

No it is not vindicated. It has a name RACE FIXING and it's punished by prison. If there was no reason for deploying safety car it shouldn't have been deployed.

It's terrifying that You writing it like it was a good thing.

It changed outcome of the race. What about good decisions made by Button, Rosberg and Kubica? It doesn't matter?? SC on and their progress was lost.

I don't care about all the fuss with pit lane overtaking or Button breaking under the SC but this is the problem. Referees can and should decide about the outcome of the race?? And it's a good thing? Please tell me that it's not true.


Agree 100%


Actually I have revised my view slightly on this now having talked it through with some engineers - I think Charlie was concerned about the inexperienced Chinese marshals clearing debris and deployed the SC for that reason,


Holy words, completely agree. I have hoped JA's opinions had been unbiased by now. I think JA should clarify his propensity to accept mistakes in the name of the SHOW...


Seriously, James? I can't believe you believe the end justified the means. You really need to start covering the NASCAR circuit. Their whole philosophy is based on manipulating the outcome of the races to keep the so-called 'fans' entertained. But I guess they do sell more T-shirts than any other series...


Well that is an extreme example...


c'mon rehto, seems to me u r short of memory, seeing massa almost became mr. pirate-patch if not worse due to some debris connecting with his mug...i think whitting was cognisant of that in his decision to sc the race to clear tha track.


@marasa biggie I'm not saying SC decision was wrong or not, but suggest that it wasn't needed and was possibly made in the interests of the show is terrifying! Rest of my "rant" was to emphasize just that.


maybe whiting's sense & awareness of what is dangerous but hadn't heretofore bn considered that much of a danger changed post-massa 'kaplang-to-the-mug'incident.Your argument becomes a narrower and thus less frightening(as u suggest), degree-of-interference arg in the sense that tha director, [in] clearing tha track is now to b the analyst that has to account for these variables - time taken for backmarkers to reach debris-site w/out stewards endangerment, how much debris ought to b cleared,whats dangerous or non dangerous debris... u get my drift.


The punishment for race fixing is not prison.


No it's far worse, you have to spend a day with Bernie.


I agree completely.


I second that. This whole improving the show thing just got incredibly ridiculous, it was edging on a Muppet show. No, it definitely was a Muppet show.


I completely agree, what the hell was James thinking when making this comment?


Mr. JA, could you please try to find the justification of the stewards decisions, against numerous accusations of the F1 (as a sport) fans, that all the decisions (2nd SC and only reprimand for HAM) are against the safety sport spirit and they kill equality?

Accusations also say that:

Accusations say: 1. There was no reason in the 2nd SC but to let HAM reach the leaders.

2. Letting HAM know that he did wrong and not giving him any real penalty, leads to more reckless driving (of a poor driver in a great car) in the future and possibly to a more severe results of it.

It is very sad, that there are no equal rules for everyone and Blue Eyed Boy is treated as a 'Prince'. F1 is no longer sport, it is a machine to make money (only for some).




greg, i can´t agree with some of your points. It has to be proven that there was no reason for SC: indeed I´m willing to admit that it seemed strange from the outside, but do notice that a loose bolt from Barrichelo nearly killed massa last year: so sometimes small incidents can become huge. And by the way none of the drivers that lost the lead -mainly rosberg and kubica, have complained. I think the problem resides on the regulation regarding SC: maybe when it´s out drivers could switch to a gear capped at a max speed similar to the one they use in the pit lanes: that way no one would gain an unfair advantage and times would remain similar to the ones before the deployment of SC. Nonetheless this has a huge setback: SC are often a blessing in dull races, and F1 can be terribly dull at times.

Second, I´m no Ham fan, quite the contrary, but labeling him a poor driver is straight blindness. many say that his performance owes to the car: that could be said of most drivers by the way. The fact that he was nursed into a winning car from the start is subject to a lot of debate, but I can´t see any pilot in his right mind denying himself such a career opportunity: it would be nothing short of stupidity. And Hamilton always has to prove himself: Vettel, for example, has gained notoriety as the next big thing, but has an ability for thwarting himself that really begs the question of whether he really is the next big thing. Hamilton on the contrary delivers a show more often than not, and when he learns how to control his hot head, and quits trying to win over everybody by reinventing his persona constantly, he will establish himself as one of the greats, no doubt. And, I will say that I am an Alonso fan.


Well, if HAM is so good driver, than why, with such a good car (the greatest on the grid) he is still and still loosing positions and has to chase the leaders. Taking over slower cars looks exciting, and that is all what is great about him. He looses 11 points to his team mate. Open your eyes people.


Kubica said he lost podium because of Safety Car.




I must say I'm not happy with Hamilton escaping penalty once again. It was clearly dangerous driving, they were not side by side like Hamilton told, Vettel was half a car ahead, that's not a reason for Hamilton to drive all pitlane by his side in the middle of the white line. What if they had touched harder and Hamiltons car would have hit some mechanics? Pitlane is not meant for this kind of racing.

In my eyes Hamilton is becoming like young Schumacher already, he thinks there are different rules for him and for others.

Sooner or later something bad will happen to somebody and only then people understand that should have given a penalty for him, maybe he could have learned from that.


Fully seconded. We seem to have got back again to the situation which obtained in blue-eyed boy's first F1 season when no example of outrageous behaviour or cheating was enough to earn him the smallest penalty. Last year saw the beginnings of equal treatment, yet here we are again. First the weaving, clearly against the rules, goes unpunished, and he seems to be duly emboldened, unsurprisingly, to chance his arm yet again.

But for dangerous, in fact potentially murderous driving, his attempt to overtake from behind Vettel by driving through the actual pits (not down the pit lane) eclipses any of his previous efforts. It is nothing short of a miracle that no-one was killed, and if he had touched Vettel while trying, unbelievably, to race him there, not just one but many people could have lost their lives.

As for Vettel, I am baffled as to why he should even have been considered for any penalty in the first place. Vettel drove down the pit lane in the approved fashion, did not drive outside the pit lane, and presumably did not exceed the speed limit or he would have been pulled up for it. I fail to see how he can reasonably be blamed in any way for the idiotic behaviour of a n other trying to overtake him from behind by driving through the pits.

Just how long can this go on for before someone is hurt?


How can he overtake Vettel when they both are limited to the same speed limit?


I agree with you that Hamilton should have dropped back in behind Vettel after the pit stop but your view of the incident seems one sided and inconsistent.

In order to overtake one car must be going faster than the other and as you say if that was the case that would be caught by the speed trap. So it's fair to say that Hamilton was holding position rather than overtake.

You also say "It is nothing short of a miracle that no-one was killed, and if he had touched Vettel while trying, unbelievably, to race him there, not just one but many people could have lost their lives."

It's clear to see from the on-board camera that Vettel saw Hamilton next to him and pushed him further over towards the pit area. Not really sure how that can be described as driving down the pit lane in 'the approved fashion' and it's something you obviously didn't notice or just chose to ignore.

I think both drivers were lucky to get away without penalty as both behaved in a dangers manner but calling it murderous is going way too far!


good post.


That's fine, as long as you think that Vettel should have also been penalized:- that is the first time I've ever seen a driver steer towards another in the pits.


Webber was penalised with a drive-through for a similiar incident with Nick Heidfield in Spa last year


Come on people!! The stewards' decisions the last 4-5 years were an absolute JOKE!! Don't take them as precedents!!!! They are obsolete!! Let them race, and be assured that if anything really bad happens there will be penalties! We just HAVE TO forget all the bad stewarding of the past 4-5 years!


Well, since you're talking technical, u should take into account then, that these cars are not only made of carbon fibre monocoques, but they also have perfect braking. and really for those cars it would take less than a blink of an eye to completely stop from 80km/h to 0. everybody in the pit lane has a lot more time than a blink of an eye to get out of the way. Also, why are u talking on behalf of everybody in the pit lane? I bet, if you ask them they would say it's fine. Danger (even a slight one like that) is inherent in their jobs and they love it. Otherwise they wouldn'y do it!


2 cars jostling for space at 80-100 kms an hour with people protected by nothing but fire suits? That was really dangerous stuff. I think we all know how seriously injured people can get if the cars go out of line in the pit area. I think the Hamilton never had the advantage, should have backed-off and come in line behind Vettel. "Racing passionately and intensely" is fine, but it doesn't mean you jeopardise the lives of other people when you yourself are protected by re-inforced carbon-fibre monocoques


Jenson is a real thinking driver. His decade muddling round in the midfield means he's one of the very best at reading conditions and knowing when he needs to be on which tyre.

It makes for an interesting battle with Lewis, who is clearly much more swashbuckling. He had another stunning drive today and in more ordinary conditions quite possibly would have won the race today, especially given Red Bull's various issues.

Having both of them is giving McLaren a great all round squad - some Red Bull and Ferrari are lacking at this point.


True there, I think both Alonso and Hamilton should have been punished. These continuous warnings do nothing but promote syndrome of impunity. Lewis also shabed webber off the racetrack in the last turn. Very dirty driving from him again, i thought he should have been disqualified from the final protocol of the race.


He was pushed wide by Vettel on his inside.

You have a short memory, Webber did far worse to him in Australia.


Watching the Webber/Hamilton incident in slow notion, Webber actually was alongside and tried to turn in on Hamilton, who had nowhere to go as Vettel was on the inside. Webber then got deservedly pushed wide by the two other cars.

Webber seemed to keep his mouth shut and not complain about it at the end of the race, probably because his team told him he was in the wrong to start with.

We've seen some dodgy race moves by Webber already this year and this was another one, Don't be so quick to blame Hamilton for everything.


QUOTE " Lewis also shabed webber off the racetrack in the last turn. Very dirty driving from him again, i thought he should have been disqualified from the final protocol of the race."

Racing incident. In the same way Webber took out Hamilton at the last race. I could say payback time, but it wasn't really.


revenge does not justify that move.


I would be interested to know the thinking behind the second safety car - it didn't really seem justified to clear some debris.

There was some chat on the BBC feed about the experience of the marshals - was it related to this? Was it on blind/wet corners?

I'm also interested by the anti-Hamilton feeling. Racing into the pits was also done by Alonso (and as Martin G points out - this caused Massa to slide of the track), but there's not a lot of bleeting about that. Hamilton was completely blameless in the release - if anyone is to blame, its the pit release man. The replayed showed they both restarted at pretty much the same time, but Vettel got much better traction, so they ended up side-by-side. It also showed Vettel turn into Hamilton to try and force him closer to the garages (and pit crews), but again, no bleeting about that (and that was dangerous).

It seems that Hamilton is the whipping boy for a lot of people, and the reasons are unclear. He is far and away the most entertaining driver this year. He is in the top two or three best drivers in the sport. He is a racer and the sport's called motor RACING, not motor processions.

I for one am glad that we've got drivers on the stewards teams now - they seem to be letting the drivers get on with the racing, and we do have consistency in their judgements.

Looking forward - could we finally get an exciting visit to Barcelona (volcanic ash permitting - I see the Moto GP race next week is postponed)? I hope so, and I hope the drivers are allowed to race ...


Alonso overtaking Massa on their way into the pits; I didn't know you were allowed to race and overtake in the pitlane? Especially as he caused Massa to run into the gravel trap!


Presumably there was no clear rule which could have readily been applied in this case to justify penalising him. But perhaps while a certain other is seen to be able to get away with blue murder all over again, it is hardly surprising that some of the rest of the field don't try to push the envelope in this most competitive of all businesses.

It was a thoroughly nasty and ruthless piece of driving, no other word for it, but coming from someone who has said he was perfectly happy to accept victory in a race that had been fixed by his own team, I wasn't in the least surprised by it.

We have a World Champion now who is a gentleman on and off the track. It's just a pity that some of the others can't be bothered to try to emulate his sporting attitude to the game. But if officialdom is prepared to condone what is going on now, there is little likelihood of anything changing until tragedy intervenes.


the pitlane is just another part of the track: overtaking is allowed, if you don´t like that, maybe you should watch curling.


I would have thought that if the pit lane was intended to be a place where drivers could race each other and overtake, it would have been designed for that purpose and made wide enough for cars to drive side by side. That clearly isn't the case because it simply isn't that wide.

OK, I may be in the minority and I'm used to that, but I think that the race track itself is where drivers compete with each other, and that the pit lane, and its ancillary components, have an entirely different function altogether, which is to SAFELY facilitate tyre changes (and refuelling in the past).

Such competition as does take place there is, and should be, between the teams of mechanics, rather than the drivers themselves.

As far as I'm concerned once the cars are off the race track proper, safety becomes the main and overriding priority. The place for gladiatorial displays is the race track itself.

If the pit lane is intended for duelling, then why is it speed limited, which is entirely inconsistent with that?

If this part of the track is truly intended for racing as well, then that needs to be spelled out, the track widened, and redesigned to suit that. Which would defeat its whole purpose.


There was nothing wrong with it.

This is a competitive sport not a Mr Nice Guy competition. Win in legal way you can, and accept no prisoners. That's the type of competitive attitude and racing I want to see.


I think Alonso just got fed up being stuck behind Massa all the time so I can understand his frustration as he probably would have finished much lower down the field had he chose not to overtake Massa. But to overtake in the pit lane entry is to say the least controversial. But Massa said he made a mistake and lost grip on a pool of water just before the pit entry, so I can see why Alonso jumped in especially as they both knew that whoever gets there first would not have to wait behind for the other Ferrari to be serviced by the pit crew.

But why Ferrari would want two drivers in the pits at the same time?


pitlane starts few hundred meters after the left hander by which time FA had overtaken FM.


That was before they entered the pit-lane.

Hamilton did the same on Vettel -- before his pitlane shenanigans...


Wow. great race. I really enjoyed it.

Who here watched the BBC F1 forum? Wow, that was embarrassing. Poor Norbert. He was so deflated. Schumacher too in his interview looked really quite teary eyed. His car just didn't seem to be working for him. I hope it was a technical issue, because he got absolutely slaughtered today. Everyone and there dog overtook him whilst Nico was doing such a good job.

I'm glad Lewis keeps screwing up his qualifying or making bad tyre calls because it doesn't half make the races interesting. someone should count up his overtaking moves in the 4 races. It surely must be some kind of record. It's pure entertainment.

Jenson got it right again. I was amongst those who thought he was a bit lucky with his tyre choice in Australia, but hey respect where it's due. We are beginning to see a pattern forming here.

...So lets hope we have the rainiest season in Europe ever this summer. It makes great races.


Regardless of kind words from LH, it is increasingly looking like a mistake for MS coming back to F1.


Does anyone else find Jonathan Leggard the most [mod] and infuriating commentator?! Really I could have done a far better job today, he is often irritating but really just all over the shop today. Failing to understand the tyres, Brundle had to keep correcting him, then there was that brilliant bit where Algersuari's front wing came off, and Leggard was convinced it was his rear wing...then he mistook webber for a renault...he also made silly comments towards the end about how it would help button and hamilton if more rain came down(!)

It seemed to me that Brundle was having to correct him far more than you would hope, you could sense a weariness in his voice.

Murray made mistakes but he was hilarious, just brilliant and so he could get away with it, but I am sick to death of leggard...

James, please take his place.


Everyone makes mistakes, and Murray was famous for that - yet he is the most loved of all!

The only thing I can't stand is that he talks over the top of Brundle ALL THE TIME. Guys - go back to the 'one mic' method.



I'm sure he is a nice guy, but he will say anything! I expect the Ferrari's to be mistaken for number 9 buses at some point...

he is the only annoying thing about the BBC coverage which is 4.5 million times better than it was on ITV, apart from JA being absent!


I would guess that you have a huge majority agreeing with your opinion of Leggard. He is a football commentator and keeps pausing, waiting for the next kick before resuming a sentence. Unfortunately the BBC doesn't acknowledge the viewer's feelings about the matter and he is still there.

I always listen to Ant and Croftie's commentary instead either on the red button then sideways or online on 5Live. Nice to see Ant in the Forum afterwards on his birthday.


Yes please! James you would make a far superior commentor!


It was a tough race for him today, so much going on. I had the live timing in front of me found it hard enough working out where everyone was, so trying to commentate on top takes some effort.

Sure he gets a few things wrong, but if you listen to Crofty on 5 live, he does the same also, i'm sure James would admit to the odd error too.

The only gripe I used to have were his catch-phrases - 'he's on a charge' or 'that'll do' (when clearly it won't). But now find them entertaining.

If you stop looking at all the negatives, maybe you'll enjoy him more. And you should be thankfull we have such great coverage here.


I agree, I find legard overly simple in his technical understading of the sport. He is clearly radio commentator that would be better suited to horse racing.

Its frustrating for people who have been watching 18 years, like myself.

Still give him this season he might improve and grow into the role.

There a thought, lets bring back Murray and have him alongside James and Martin.


I too was shouting at Leggard from the sofa.


The way in which Hamilton is allowed to disregard the rules is sickening. First he's let off scot-free with breaking a clear-cut rule that says you're not allowed to weave. Now he's allowed off with an unquestionably dangerous release from the pits - something other drivers have been penalized for in the last couple of years. He's also allowed off with driving in the pit slow lane (which is against the rules and downright dangerous), with creating his own pit entry (and effectively backtracking on the track) after having already passed the pit entry, with passing the car in front in the pit entry, and with shunting the car in front off-track under a safety car. Top that off with his teammate being let off with creating a dangerous situation by slowing so much under the safety car that other drivers had to swerve or even go off-track to avoid collisions, and you've got a totally tainted race yet again. Hamilton in particular is allowed away with basically anything this year, no matter how clearly set in stone the rules are.

It's disgusting, and if it continues much longer, I'm just not going to care about watching races any more. I don't see it as even a slight coincidence that a long-time, recent McLaren driver took part in the decision to let McLaren off with several clear infringements of the rules, and a couple of very questionable (if not definitively illegal) moves. There was a major conflict of interest here.

And you know what? I knew in advance that no action would be taken, which makes it all the worse. Reprimanding Vettel makes it all the more ludicrous, because he didn't do any of the above, and the only thing he did do was defend his position from a car that had been released illegally into his side, rather than waiting until he was past as the rules dictate.


Firstly there is no rule that mentions the word weaving. There is a rule about blocking someone tying to overtake, which is quite different to breaking the tow, if it is illegal to break the tow the sporting regs need changing to say so. (I know there is another para mentioning "any abnormal movement")

Secondly if it was a dangerous release, that is a team penalty not a driver penalty, he goes when the lollipop is lifted, it's not his decision when to go, he cant see anything coming down the pit lane, behind or beside him with 14 blokes around him blocking the view, not to mention other teams pit crews also out.

So when he is released with wheels spinning on the paint and suddenly finds Vettel in his path, is he meant to break, (which probably would have spun him,) and say "After you Brittney" anyone else then coming up behind him would have piled into his back end.

Thirdly the reason Vettel was called in was because he deliberately moved to the right, pushing Hamilton dangerously further into the working pit area, look at the replays Vettel had almost a car width free on the left, there is no question that the did it deliberately.

Was it only last week that someone said how this was a pro Hamilton forum? 🙂


lewis does something controversial every race and every time he is damn right? this is ridiculous already. Unsafe release is punishable with drivethrough. rules do not care whether it was teams or drivers fault. It is a drivethrough period.
I was [mod] on schumacher and FIA all those years not for the reason to see another of his kind emerging. And now, all those brits who were mocking schumi 24/7 for his conducts are defending hamilton every single time. [mod]


Don't let the screen door hit you on your way out


Very funny comment!


Mr Knox, you're being ridiculous now. But if you want to give up watching the F1 show, there are plenty of people who will take your place if LH continues to generate excitement.


Exciting losses. 🙂


Nothing ridiculous about it. There is a rule against unsafe release from the pitlane (which McLaren violated), a rule against driving down the pit slow lane (which Hamilton violated), and a rule against deliberately backing the field up by slowing dangerously behind the safety car (which Button violated). All three of those rules exist for safety reasons, and all of those rules were violated by one team and its drivers. At the previous race, one of those same drivers -- Hamilton -- violated another rule that exists for sportsmanship and safety reasons, banning weaving.

Four violations in two races by one team who can do nothing wrong in the eyes of some -- including the stewards, who apparently could care less about sportsmanship or safety these days.

Shameful. If you want to continue watching it go right ahead, but I prefer sports that enforce their rules evenly. How come other drivers get penalized for unsafe release, but Hamilton doesn't?


The move Alonso did on Massa (which hardly will increase the harmony in the team) made me wonder, don't both drivers have their own pit stop teams? If so, how did Ferrari handle the situation? Did they swap the teams in a snap?


Is this not in reality one of the first times that Schumacher has driven an F1 car without traction control? He does seem to struggle putting the power down...


Officially it's not - there was no traction control on the Bennetons in the 90's. There was a strong suspicion that there was though ...

I must say I am hugely impressed with Rosberg this year. I thought he was over-rated and that Schumi would destroy him. He's really raised his game - much respect due.


In his Bennetton days, Schumacher was famous for developing a car which was almost undriveably twitchy due to oversteer. But it was a form of controlled oversteer that he wanted, very much like a form of "drifting" actually. No traction control for long spells during the Bennetton days, and also during the lean years at Ferrari too.

Somebody made the observation earlier that they never felt that Schumacher was an instinctively uber fast driver, more of a hard working driver.

I couldn't possibly disagree more. Those first seasons at Bennetton, the in car shots of him taking Eau Rouge flat, while every other driver in the field lifted - including Senna no less... that footage to this day is the most startling footage.

Schumacher likes an F1 car which can stick like rails when he wants, but which can also drift when he wants. He mixes the two perfectly. Today's car was stepping out on him even at 40% throttle, corner after corner.

Schumacher will get there - he's too good not to. Mercedes will back him, and they'll spend what ever it takes. You can rest your bottom dollar that Ross Brawn, already has next years car on the testing bed - built exactly to how Schumacher likes them built.

That's a shame for Nico Rosberg of course. Unless old Keke walks into the factory and threatens to punch out Michael's lights to get some parity, that's how next years Mercedes F1 cars are going to turn out.


Fantastic post - and I do hope you're right about next year's Mercedes!


Top race. The Tortise did it again. Looking forward to that FX Pro Strategy Briefing.


Great analogy to the tortoise against the rabbit race. The tortoise slow but wise and the rabbit extremely fast but a bit thick. Great one Big Jim, excellent.


So much happening in the race, it is difficult to take it all on board. We should install a variable sprinkler system on all tracks, irrespective.

One thing I cannot understand is Alonso's overtake of Massa in the pit lane?


Firstly it wasn't pitlane... pitlane starts few hundred meters after the left hander...

secondly they were side by side and Alonso had the inside line. Perhaps FM shouldn't have been napping.

thirdly, isn't racing we all wanna see? i dont see anything wrong in that incident.. it was an overtaking move by all means :S


Well done Jensen and Lewis!

Hats off to Jensen whose choice in joining Mclaren seems to be a smart move more and more as the season goes along, Or was it a smart move by Mclaren in offering him the drive??)

Hamilton is probably the quickest racer out there, and has made the past 3 races more enjoyable to watch and I hope that Barcalona finally rewards his fine drives with a win that I think noone can deny he deserves. As a Brit, im delighted its 'our boys' that won the day.


Wow. I was actually exausted once the race was over. I had to keep my nerves to not shout at the TV at almost every lap and wake up my neighbors, not to mention wife.

What an intense and exciting race, and to have a McLaren 1-2 in the end! it just beats all my expectations soundly. Button has definitely raised his game to another level this year as a result of having Hamilton on the other side of the garage. Both, in their own ways, have been fantastic.

If only Mclaren can find that tiny bit more they need in qualifying, they won't need any rain for future 1-2s.


By the way, Moto GP Japan was cancelled. Will you guys and F1 itself get back to Europe in time for the Spanish GP?


Not saying I disagree with the decisions, but the stewards look like they've gone softer this year!


I think they are better. Both the Hamilton and Alonso incidents were racing incidents and the ex racing driver on the stewards panel treated them as such. This more laissez faire approach is much better than that used the past where Mr Moseley could make politically expedient changes to race outcomes using the stewards.


thanks god james you don't hide it in your comentary when alonso makes a mistake. Good overtake on massa though.


Its about time Alonso showed some aggression towards Massa. This is the Alonso I know and the Alonso people love, hate and fear on the racetrack. He's ruthless and thats one quality all past WDC have. Love him or Hate him the move had to be done. With Ferrari's policy he would have never gotten permission to pass Massa and he' clearly a better wet wheather driver. Massa is by no means an easy customer and has prove it this season at times. But on race day Alonso has been faster except maybe for Malaysia. I know its not good for team unity but in life sometimes you have to do what you have to do. The championship is going to very tight this year and drivers need all the points they can get.


Alonso is clearly a far better racer than Massa and if it continues I could see Massa's days in the team being numbered.

Now Kubica and Alonso would be an amazing battle.


Not something you usually do to a 'team-mate'!



Indeed. I think at that point Alonso knew, it's either pass Massa or be stuck behind him all race, like it was in previous races. I'm no fan of ferrari but without that overtaking manouver, they probably would have gotten some 7th and 8th position, Alonso would have lost some places on the pit and then be stuck again behind Massa in the race. I'm sure Massa ain't happy about, the press release from him sounded more of a words of ferrari than Massa.


while if you do the same thing to Vettel is fine?? probably just for fans of the Little Liar (aka LH).


Vettel and Hamilton aren't teamates, so yes they fight everywhere including the pits.


and why should team-mates not fight everywhere? is that your new personal ruling?


Good on him i say - otherwise Alonso would probably been stuck behind Massa for another race.

I think its great that Massa has made such a comeback from last year, but from what i can see Alonso is clearly faster than Massa and needs to be in the right position to make good the speed he has. Just hope Massa will raise his game a bit more as he has done in the past, but until then Massa needs to stop holding up Alonso.


It is because of this manuvoure that Alonso was 4th and Massa 10th. He took priority at both the pit-stops and Massa landed-up waiting behind him losing precious time.


Great race, although I feel sorry for the Renault team who lost out badly thanks to the second safety car. It would have been nice to have seen Kubica on the podium again. Petrov looked mightily impressive as well, coming back to 7th.


I do no understand why Vettel got reprimanded. He was driving in the pit bewteen the lines as he supposed to, Lewis was driving front of the garages almost. He should have backed up and followed Vettel. He didn`t, he kept driving along the line next to Vettel. And it didn`t happen because Vettel didn`t give him a room it was Hamilton`s decision to do so. It is also nothing to do with the realease or wheel spin.


Hamilton was in the wrong to keep fighting in the pit lane, but where Vettel drew his reprimand was swerving towards Hamliton. On the race track that fine, but in the pit lane it forced Hamilton towards the pit boxes as he backed off. could have been very dangerous if they were mechanics out at that time in those boxes.


you don't understand because you (we) are not privy to information. The replay shows that Lewis was released slightly behind Vettel (no problem there, the 55m rule is for a car in the pitlane, not someone behind you in the pits). Vettel gets good traction, lewis almost loops it while slipping on the paint. Lewis 1/4 carlength behind Vettel, with Vettel slowly squeezing over, forcing lewis farther onto the blue paint. Finally at the end of the pitlane, Lewis cedes and pulls in behind.

So maybe during the drivers meeting, it was discussed that cars must allow their competitors room on the 'driving' side of the blue paint. So maybe Lewis is thinking "he has to let me into the lane..... Maybe at the meeting following the race, the stewards were more upset with Vettels' driving, not Lewis.

maybe? I don't know, you don't know. I do know that most people that post are not 'experts'


Because Vettel moved over to the right, pushing Lewis further towards the pit boxes.

He did not just keep his line, he moved over. You can argue whether or not Lewis should have backed up, but the decision of Vettel to move further over exacerbated an already dangerous situation, and I assume that this is why he was reprimanded.


I agree Hamilton shouldn't have been there in the first place, but Vettel deliberately swerved into Hamilton and pushed him further over the blue line. A reprimand seems fair for both drivers.


True, Lewis should not have been there in the first place but Vettel's move was a little aggressive. If he had made contact with the McLaren it could have been a problem.


Great race James!

It seems we are heading for a three-way fight between Button, Alonso and Vettel for the championship 🙂

michael grievson

A great race. Good to see button on the top step and rosberg 2nd in the chamipnship. People say he'll be beaten by Schumacher eventually but 2nd in the standings after 4 races shows a lot of skill and racecraft.

The renaults aren't doing too badly either


Great win by Button, I believe this is what Hamilton needs, he was becoming far too comfortable in that team, funny enough I think the pressure is now off his shoulders he now knows what he is up against, Lewis needs to come back home and regroup, and I feel he shouldn’t be a shamed to call his dad back. Camp Hamilton thought one world championship was enough so they put their guards down, well big mistake, Hamilton is getting caught napping all the time by Button, he needs someone he can trust in that McLaren garage.


James, how many reprimands does a driver need before a he is given a penalty?


James, also explain the difference between a reprimand and a warning (as issued in Malaysia).

Clearly the two are different.


Was it a great race, really?

Think about it... periods of drizzle... nobody knew for quite sure what the wheather was going to do. Button stayed out on drys, like Rosberg did after the first safety car, Rosberg had the slide off with a 6 second gap while leading, the other main runners opted for intermediates. In and out. In and out. Then it dried again. Then it drizzled again, supposedly for only 3 or 4 minutes but it didn't let up.

I personally found it a very frustrating Grnd Prix, to be honest. There were periods in that race that the cars looked like bowling pins after a strike by a bowling ball. Falling all over the place.

Certainly, the pit crews earnt their money today. That was possibly the most pit lane action I've seen in 15 years.

Still, for mine, not a race for the ages. Button's two wins thus far have had an element of gambling to them. That's quite interesting insofar as they say that Champions make their own luck, and seemingly, that's what Jenson is managing to do this year.

I'd also suggest that Lewis Hamilton is about to implode with his own built up levels of frustration. My view is that by the 3/4 mark of this season, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will be sworn enemies - however, it's also my view that neither will end up with the number of wins that Prost and Senna did. The media will doubtless talk the rivalry up however like it's the 2nd coming of Prost vs Senna once more, however.

The bottom line is that McLaren didn't have a 1-2 today by luck alone. They provided cars which had the pace, and they provided teamwork in the pits which also supplemented the pace. Kudos to the team for a sparkling 1-2 finish on a day when the lottery conditions could quite have easily seen them have a 7-8 finish!


I see why you are called Boo! That was a great race, by any standards.


I am quite disappointed in Alonso this year. He hasn't had a mistake-free weekend thus far this season. Bahrain: made a mistake in qualifying. Australia: Poor start, collision dropped him right down the field.Malaysia: Poor decision as a driver to not put in a banker lap in tricky conditions. China: Jump start, screws up another opportunity to win the race.

His driving has been sublime but this championship is the closeset we will see in the last 20 years, and you have got to cut out on the mistakes.


All drivers make mistakes every weekend(little ones at least)and the one with the fewest might just win the race.

Can't fault Alonso in the first two races-Melbourne he was way ahead and Button should have backed out,a tarnished win for Jenson in my book.

Alonso's mistake at Sepang was pushing that Ferrari into retirement at the very end,he threw points away he may need later.

I am still evaluating China(I'm busy),let me just say all the top drivers still have time to make their mark this year.


Robert, one of the main reasons I started supporting Alonso in 2006 was his ability to be consistent and make no mistakes while being on the edge.

That consistency in terms of race pace, set-up work etc. is still there. But he is making mistakes. And in a season like this you cannot make mistakes.


Sorry but what a loser Felipe is if you compare him to Fernando. +1 pitstop and Alonso still managed to finnish in 4th while Massa stayed 5 places behind. Maybe it's time for Ferrari to clean their eyes and glasses. Just think how long Alonso has been held in two races before (one suggestion - by team orders). Those guys are in different leagues.

Jeremy (CapeTown - SA)

My driver of the race goes to Lewis!!! Brilliant driving and will always support you !! No matter what the critics say..


entertaining race... great call by button and rosberg..

Mclaren leading both championships going to europe... now the development race begins!!!

once again lots of overtaking by lewis and alonso... both standout as good overtakers to me.... some great moves!!!

i just hope shumi gets bak to his groove in the upcoming races.. it will only make it more exciting



I think Hamilton's overtake on Vettel and Alonso's on Massa were both alright as long as they are not illegal and don't cause the team to lose championship points in the process.

In the case of Ferrari, I am glad that Alonso did it because we've seen enough of team orders and there needs to be intra-racing as well. Alonso is, in my modest opinion (however worth-it it may be), is the best driver on the grid at the moment and there is no point following Massa if he is much faster than him.


I wish I viewed the race. Didn't Button, in the press conference, admit that it was McLaren's call to bring him in? Similarly, didn't Hamilton admit that it was his idea to pit?


Erm, no! And to bring the point home MacLaren and Lewis gave Jenson the credit for making the call.



I am totally shocked by your comment

"If the decision to deploy the safety car seemed marginal and possibly made in the interests of the show, it was fully vindicated by the race it gave us as a result."

Artificially altering race results in NEVER justified. The safety car should not have been deployed and Charlie Whiting owes the drivers and fans an apology for such a sham move.


I agree.


Well not really. There was debris on the track and he has to make a balanced judgement, but it certainly felt to me like it was triggered rather easily, it had a US racing feel about it, but he's in charge and it didn't in no way is that "artificially altering race results," as you put it.


I looked at Adams youtube clip, and it seems that Massa passed Alonso at the first part of the pit entrance, and Alonso just retook the position at the turn.

I think, perhaps Massa gave it back.

I'm glad the stewards are just handing out repremands instead of penalties, as it leaves the results alone.

Seems Jensons' style of driving can be competitive with Lewis'.

Seems like this might be an interesting season afterall. But rain is the primary

reason it's been interesting.

One last thought. I thought the safety car pulled off before Jenson bunched up the field.It seems to me that this is allowed as long as the safety car has pulled off, although not if it's still on track.

Most forms of racing allow the lead driver to set up his restart as he wishes as long as the safety car has pulled off.

Appears that I say seems too often.

Should have gone to school in England, and learned how to harvest a thought.



Hamilton is clearly the driver of the day, he does as many overtakes in one race than some drivers do in a season.

Having an ex-driver on the panel seems to be doing wonders for the stewarding, at last there is some common sense and an understanding that the result on the day should stand.

All this speculation about 'what if' during the pitlane incident with Vettel and Hamilton is utterly pointless; you have to judge it by the consequences and there were absolutely none.


The driver of the day is the driver who WINS.


Sooo, Button wasn't the driver of the day at Interlagos last year? Come on! Of course he was. I'm not saying anything controversial; the driver of the day is the guy who drove the most exciting/most daring/most skillful race and often that isn't the guy who wins.

Button had an easy race today with a good call on strategy. That's it. Hamilton overtook half the field and provided the most entertainment and excitement. For that reason he gets my vote. Honorable mentions go to Alonso and Petrov.


So officialdom should stand back and allow a competitor to get away with thoroughly dangerous and idiotic behaviour which misses killing people nearby by a hair's breadth?

Admittedly that does seem to be what they are content to do at the moment under the Todt regime. Not what I would have expected of him but presumably that is the way he wants to run things.


I assume the idiotic behaviour you refer to is Vettel pushing Hamilton to the right and towards the Williams garage?

'A hair's breadth' from killing someone? A little melodramatic MartinWR. Niki Lauda came within a hair's breadth of dying in 1976, two cars running side by side down the pit lane without incident hardly compares. o_O


Grow-up Robert. If somebody came close to dying back in 1976 and in an accident involving only the concerned person, that is really no justification for 2 racing drivers to risk the lives of other people just because their 'ruthless and racing instinct'. Martin is absolutely right in saying that people could have been killed because of this irresponsible behaviour.



Vettel was within about 5 inches of putting Hamilton into the air lines. Thats why it was dangerous. If he'd hit that it would have caught up in his car and probably pitches him right.

I have to be honest, I dont mind the racing into the pitlane, but guys doing it while there are people left and right in the pitline (wall and pits) should be stopped.


The thinking man's F1 driver does it again. All power to his elbow. The highly unpredictable conditions so far this year have clearly favoured someone who can use his grey matter and not just a heavy right boot to get to the finishing line. Unfortunately this entertaining situation may not continue for the rest of the year.

The use of a monopoly tyre supplier has meant there was no incentive to produce tyres which had to balance speed against fragility. Clearly there was little reason for Bridgestone to supply tyres that repeatedly wore out and damaged their reputation in the process. As a consequence the art of tyre management is likely to take a back seat as the weather improves from now on, to the detriment of the spectacle.

If boredom does start to set in again, as seems not improbable, perhaps someone will take the idea of randomly sprinkling a drop or two of H20 on the track from time to time a bit more seriously. It might give the tacticians grey hairs, but it would sure as hell liven things up for the paying customers.


James, may I ask if you think the worries about lack of excitement after the Bahrain opener are now long forgotten, and the current rules are now set in stone?


Well there's not much impetus for change after the last three races, but weather has been the decisive factor in each of them and you cannot rely on that!


Boring and slow Button is one lucky chappy...

If Hamilton ever gets the right strategy call from McLaren, Button will be roadkill...

Fundamentally - Button is just so slow, that he depends on others making mistakes to achieve anything.

I'm not at all impressed by either of his two wins this season - they were inherited, and not earned...

Just glad Berne's dopey Gold Medal system is not effect, as todays race proves that system does not recognize the true racers at all... at least under the points system, Button is still a sitting duck, waiting to be blown out of the water.

His luck will run out sooner or later...


Before you all start replying to RON, I'll warn you: Don't feed the troll!

End it here.


Button is going to prove me right, whether you like it or not...

Please contiune to watch, and you will witness it before your eyes...

Luck has an expiry date...


Yeah, he's so slow he's outqualified Hamilton, widely regarded as one of the outright fastest on the grid (If not THE outright fastest) three out of four times. He also won two out of four races, double what anyone else managed. But that's got nothing to do with skill or speed, does it? No, of course not. He's just blessed by a magical fairy who for some reason decided to wait until 2009 to notice he had a job to do.

Honestly, what on earth are you wittering on about? He overtook Nico for the lead today, how is that inheriting the win? What is it about the fact Jenson does his driving differently from the way Lewis (Say) does his do you not understand? It's not WORSE, it's DIFFERENT. Button is not slow, he's consistent and measured. Hamilton is quick and aggressive, led by the warrior spirit.

They're two different styles of driver. Neither style is inherently superior. Aggression-style drivers frequently have better "outright" pace, but what actually matters is "race pace". Outright pace can give you good race pace, but there are other ways to do it, and Jenson often makes use of those other ways.

Honestly, this sport is a lot more complicated than "drive the wheels off the damn thing until falls apart" and when you belittle the talent of people like Button you just sound like one of those blowhards who wants F1 to be a control Formula - That is not this sport. If you want a sport where all-out aggression is what wins, every time, it's not F1.


Well said Paul!

The system recognises the people that win the race, and that finish on the podium (as Lewis did also).

The people who just keep knocking Jenson are looking more and more exposed as time goes on.

Good luck to Lewis and Jenson. I'd love to see one of you win the WDC this year.

I would love to be a fly on the wall tonight in the Ferrari debrief when they get to Alonsos move on Massa. It was a ballsy move, but I doubt it did anything for teamwork 🙂


If you constantly get hindered by your slower teammate and have to comply by a non aggression rule, you´re not winning the Championship. One thing about Alonso this year is he delivers fantastic drives but messes up as well. He needs to up his game a notch or it will be too late.


As a Hamilton fan, it may not be pleasing but let's face it, Jenson is doing a better job on strategy calls. I just hope Hamilton is learning something about his weaknesses and where he needs to improve. I think 2010 is the year Hamilton really learns. If he takes this positively, Button joining McLaren may be the best thing that happened in his career.


"If the decision to deploy the safety car seemed marginal and possibly made in the interests of the show, it was fully vindicated by the race it gave us as a result."

Umm, that's just like saying allowing a handball goal is justified if it keeps the match more exciting. Shame on you James Allen.


yeah 🙂


It's not the same at all. Handball is against the rules and is a free kick to the other team. If the ref doesn't spot it, then that is the fault of the lack of technology to help him make his calls.

In F1 the Race Director Charlie Whiting has all the video feeds and data you could ever want. I know because I went up to Race Control in Silverstone a couple of years back to review what I thought was a dodgy decision by the stewards and Charlie let me in and showed me the incident from several angles.

Today there was debris on the track and Charlie felt that it needed a safety car. It didn't lead to a different result, other than it gave guys like Alonso a chance to get ahead of Kubica and Petrov, who were in the lead group that didn't stop some 40 seconds up the road from the rest . I felt it was a bit of an American-style deployment, but it's Charlie's call.


Firstly what a race, f1 as ever provides the weekly fix of drama and excitement required.

However I see not many people have touched up on this and would like to see peoples opinions, after hamilton, vettel, webber and co pitted back for slicks I was interested to see the McLaren sitting on the back of the red bulls and even passing, whilst admittedly these were not bone dry conditions, but they were not wet enough to see the benefit of webbers set up (which was geared to a more wet weather set up). From what I can see, on race pace the McLarens look like to have caught the Red Bulls with Ferrari falling a tad behind (still infront of the Mercs thought)


Ron: I don't understand your comment at all. The leading driver needs only to drive as fast as he needs to in order to maintain the lead. It is no different a philosophy to Chapman's assertion that a Lotus car which lasted longer than the race wasn't light enough!

Jenson out-qualified Lewis today. He out-thought Lewis today. As a result, he didn't have to drive as aggressively to secure the win as Lewis had to in order to secure second.

Have you not noticed that life's winners in general appear just a little more effortless, and a little less totally-committed than the also-rans? Lewis in his championship year was just that - he seemed not to need to drive as he has this year.

At the end of the day, it is a competition, and it is hard for the second-best package to win! You may not like Jenson's style, but that is a mile away from suggesting that Jenson is simply roadkill-in-waiting!


Moderators: why are my comments from my silasdenyer@gmail.com address not getting through at all (they don't even show up as awaiting moderation, they are simply black-holed), whereas my comment from another email address (this one) has magically appeared?

Seriously, what have I done to deserve this? Can you perhaps email me back (at this one: silas@ragfactory.org.uk) to let me know? Thanks!


It happens to me frequently. Just as you sound to be, I started to take it personally briefly - suspecting my opinions weren't welcome (cue sarky comments from the others).

But I suspect the reality is that the site is so good it's just become too popular for the technology and/or moderators to cope with sometimes. I'm sure it'll get resolved in time.

I just stick with being pleased if a comment appears, grateful if James takes the time to respond to a point and understanding if a comment "disappears".... as long as the articles keep coming I think we can forgive that now and again eh?


I think the problem is that, from my other email address, comments don't appear at all - i.e. I can't see them as "awaiting moderation" on my own computer.

It may well be that there are some quirks in the system; you're right, it has got very popular around here.

That said, since there are sometimes competitions which are won according to the level of contribution throughout the year, it is a little, err, awkward if the system doesn't allow all contributions to get through 🙂

In the mean time, needless to say, I didn't want to publish my email addresses, and now I can't get a mod to delete the earlier post!


That's a fair point about the free yearbook for the top ten commenters. Sorry about that.


Nothing. This one got through. We occasionally have an issue with an email address - our number one commenter Rpaco had an issue earlier this year, but thankfully it is rare. Suggest you use this one and thanks for your input - Mod


In town without law was inflicted unless the rules. Hamilton is like a test pilot of the legislation. Their excuse is never knowing that you speak when asked about their maneuvers.



One thought: if we say Jenson was "lucky" on his/the team's tire decisions, we'd also have to say that Lewis was lucky (and Jenson unlucky) to make up a 50 second gap for a somewhat controversial (to say the least) safety car period.

He almost certainly wouldn't have been pushing button so effectively the end without that.

Luck goes both ways sometimes.


Amritraj, you're getting way too excited, how was anyone anywhere near 'getting killed'? What I saw was two cars driving side by side down the pit-lane, how alarming!

I cited Lauda as an example of what coming close to death really looks like, just to get some perspective.


Another great race - that's 3 out of 4, should we start to think that this not may not be the dreadful bore so many feared? Again, weather assisted, I admit.

And if there's one thing that's certain in life, it's that the Spanish Grand Prix will be like watching paint dry...


Hi James

question for Christian Horner FX Pro Strategy article.

I would like to hear C horner's justification for not splitting strategy on that first pit stop. Maybe both drivers wanted to pit for the intermediates but at that stage there was no proof that it was the way to go. Everyone knew Alonso was going to be penalised for the jump start so Red Bull was essentially running 1-2. I have to say that it was one of the worst decisions I've seen by a leading F1 team. I mean they just handed the win to someone else. Trying to second guess weather conditions is fraught with danger. These guys are F1 drivers - not soothsayers. The cardinal rule is to be on the right tyre for the current conditions. I'd like to hear what the other teams were thinking about on this issue; particularly Ross Brawn and Mike


Maybe RB might learn something.

I gotta say that if Red Bull want to be considered a top F1 team then they need to stop making such fundamental mistakes. The Chinese GP should have been a relatively comfortable 1-2 for RB.


So in 1986,when Michael Andretti slowed at the line and was beaten by his father on "Father's Day" in the closest finish at that time it was fixed?I watched that race in Portland,Oregon,I do not believe that.Nor when Dale Junior won at Daytona the summer race following his father's death there.It just isn't possible.Piquet's accident did not ensure an Alonso win,even though that was an attempt at fixing a race-a successful one-but at what cost.If any governing body was caught doing that,the perps will never be involved in racing again.Sure there is cheating,but what is alleged here is fixing of races-no,not in any top series in the world.

James should have said that the SC deployment simply resulted in a better race then their otherwise would have been,a simple mistake by a guy with an ever increasing amount of work on his desk due to this wonderful site.He has my forgiveness anyway.

The stewards(as in Malaysia)are interested not only in adherance to the rulebook,but safety.The rain was increasing at the time of this questionable deployment and that played the major role,not making a better show.


On Hamilton vs Vettel in the pit lane:

Is the "speed limiter" that the cars employ an easy device to override?

Obviously it is meant to stop you going over the speed limit, but is it hard to actually override it to slow down?

I'm wondering here if the "duel" between Vettel and Lewis really came down to the fact that, for those few seconds, it was easier for Lewis to stick to the limited speed - even if it meant running tyre-to-tyre - than it was to try to slow, drop-back, then regain the limited speed.


Heidfeld would have done well in that race.....


"If the decision to deploy the safety car seemed marginal and possibly made in the interests of the show, it was fully vindicated by the race it gave us as a result."

I don't know what this means, and if it means what I suspect, I don't agree.

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