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Vettel leads Red Bull whitewash in Japanese Grand Prix
Vettel leads Red Bull whitewash in Japanese Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Oct 2010   |  8:51 am GMT  |  151 comments

Sebastian Vettel dominated the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka for a second year in a row, winning from team mate Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso.

The McLaren drivers finished fourth and fifth with Button ahead as Hamilton again hit gearbox problems. It was a new gearbox for this race and he may be needing another one.

It was Vettel’s third win of the 2010 season and the 8th win of his career. It puts him back in the championship hunt.

“This is our circuit,” said Vettel over the radio to his team on the slow down lap.

Vettel started the race from pole for the eighth time, but it was only the second time he has won from pole this season.

But Mark Webber increased his championship lead to 14 points over Alonso and Vettel. He was ten points ahead of Alonso at the start of the race. Hamilton is just about hanging in there 28 points behind, while Button looks like his challenge is running out of steam, 31 points off the lead with a maximum of 75 available. Unless McLaren get a 1-2 in Korea, it’s starting to look like a three horse race.

Clearly Number 1 in Japan (Getty)

Qualifying took place on Sunday morning for only the second time in six years, having been washed out by rain on Saturday.

Vettel took pole position, squeezing out team mate Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton did a mighty lap for third, which became eighth after he took a five place penalty for a gearbox change. Robert Kubica did an outstanding job to get ahead of Fernando Alonso, while Nico Rosberg again outperformed the car – and his team mate – in sixth. Felipe Massa could manage only 12th.

McLaren again found that the some of the development parts it brought to Japan didn’t translate to better pace and feel on the race track, the new rear wing in particular. They didn’t feel that they had done enough miles on it and so took it off. This is an area McLaren will be reviewing, as they have had some issues with bedding in new parts compared with their rivals.

Lucas di Grassi had a huge shunt on the way to the grid, his car turning right on the exit of the left hander at 130R corner.

The theme continued at the start. Petrov cut across Hulkenberg and hit the wall, taking both of them out. Petrov has been penalised with a five place grid penalty at the next race. Felipe Massa tried to go up the inside on the grass into Turn 1 and took Tonio Liuzzi out of the race, although there was no penalty for him. The incidents brought out the safety car on lap 1.

Webber got yet another poor start, losing second place to Kubica. But the Pole pulled off the track to retire, as they followed behind the safety car. His right rear wheel had come off.

This promoted Button to fourth place. He and Kobayashi started the race on the hard tyre and it was to prove the race’s main tactical interest. Hamilton was fifth with Schumacher sixth, having passed Barrichello at the restart.

Vettel led, from Webber, the Red Bulls pulling away from Alonso at a second a lap. Hamilton was tucked up behind Button, losing half a second a lap to Alonso as Button was on the slower hard tyre.

The opening stint was fairly dull, the Red Bulls driving away from Alonso and the McLarens. Kobayashi lit things up a little with a wild passing move on Alguersuari at the hairpin for P10. It was the first of many entertaining moves from this exciting young driver.

Hamilton pitted on lap 23, the leader Vettel on lap 25 along with Alonso, while Webber pitted a lap later. This promoted Button to the lead.

Schumacher pitted from sixth and found he’d been undercut by Rosberg. The pair got stuck into a spirited battle, Schumacher being told over the radio, there are no team orders but Rosberg has been told not to cut you up if you try a move!

Button and Kobayashi the two drivers who started on hard tyres, stayed out trying to make the strategy work.

Hamilton, recovering from his five place gearbox penalty, had a very strong race, closing on Alonso in the second half of the race until his new gearbox started playing up, he lost 3rd gear with about 15 laps to go. With Button on new soft tyres, he caught Hamilton very quickly and passed him.

Sutil’s engine blew on lap 45, leaving a trail of oil through 130R and the chicane. The German kept going in order to save himself a walk back to the pits.

Schumacher had been stuck behind Rosberg since the pit stops but on lap 48 Rosberg’s car let go and he crashed heavily.

Kobayashi on new soft tyres in the closing stages was electric. He passed Barrichello and Heidfeld, both at the hairpin, moving up to seventh.

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX, Suzuka, 53 laps
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:27.323
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 0.905
3. Alonso Ferrari + 2.721
4. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 13.522
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 39.595
6. Schumacher Mercedes + 59.933
7. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:04:038
8. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari + 1:09.648
9. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:10.846
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:12.806
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth + 2 laps
14. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
15. Senna HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
16. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
17. Rosberg Mercedes + 5 laps

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James, if Lewis has to change again his car's gearbox, will he be penalised with another 5 grid positions in the next race?


Probably the answer is YES:


28.6 For the purposes of this Article only, an Event will be deemed to comprise P3, the qualifying practice session and the race.

a) Each driver may use no more than one gearbox for four consecutive Events in which his team competes. Should a driver use a replacement gearbox he will drop five places on the starting grid at that Event and an additional five places each time a further gearbox is used."

So, would the gearbox be changed again, Hamilton would have a new five - position grid penalty.


Whitmarsh in his post race interview, when asked the same question, replied "no" because the replacement gearbox didn't last the full race, so no additional penalty.


Have found any thing related to this on the regulations? I've looked at it, and all I've found is what I copy-pasted here.

Sounds fairer to me what you say: if the new gearbox didn't last for at least one race, it would be too harsh to get a new penalty should the car require a new unit.


He will not be penalized since the replacement gearbox is required to last for the given race.


Kobayashi was the highlight of the race.


Hello James,

Did Alonso make a mistake in the final timed lap in Q3? He seemed comfortably quicker than Kubica in Q1 & Q2, but still landed-up a tenth behind him in the final standings.



What is Massa upto ? He is being non-serious and seems like he doesn't want to help his teammate and rather be content with the mediocre performances he is delivering.

Glad that Alonso got P3, which was looking difficult with McLarens being so fast this weekend. However, engine situation is still a matter of concern. As far I know they had Spa/Monza and Hungary engine available and they must've used the Hungary one on FAs car.


Hi James, Surprised that you didn't mention that stupid move of Alguersuari's on Kobayashi just after KOB overtook ALG on the Hairpin...


Fantastic race from Kobayashi. Well worth the early alarm just to watch him tear things up:)

And nice to se Schumacher excelling on this driver's track.


I am very interested to know what Kobayashi can do in a Ferrari .... Hopefully Sauber can give him a winning car next year with Telmex's money.

He is my driver of the day.


color me red & white, but i could easily see Koba as strong & entertaining #2 driver at Ferrari in 2012 if he keeps improving in 2011 🙂


Kobayashi driver of the day, a joy to watch . although I don't share the levels of adoration eddie jordan has for him.


Bit disappointing from mclaren again with new bit not working. How does Lewis gearbox problem affect him next race. Is he allowed to change it again?

Tried to email you about the Call in with eddie tonight but it bounced saying quota exceeded. Assume you didn't get it?


Got it. Thanks. They rang three of the fans who contacted us. There'll be a next time


I got on. Thanks James !


Yes, heard you. Great!


Driver of the day, Kobayashi - by a country mile...


Red Bull have now passed up two chances to lay down team orders to assist Webber. Singapore and Japan with team orders would have seen Webber 230 points to Alonso 206.

A 26 point lead with three races to go is like having one race win in the bag already.

Anyone else sense a 1986 Mansell/Prost/Picquet scenario developing?


If Horner doesn't brush his Vettelinism away quickly, we'll have a Ferrari or McLaren champion in less than a month...


It did look like Webber was not happy after qualifying or before the race started. Perhaps there was an "agreement" made? It seemed like Horner kind of overdid his answer regarding choosing a #1 driver in the pre race interviews (US telecast). "Methinks he did protest too much".


Or a 2007 Alonso/Hamilton/Raikkonen scenario...


Looks like it is turning into a three horse race. Give Webber's consistency this season, his slim lead is a fantastic advantage for him.


Fastest lap of the race Mark so well done.

7/1000 ths out for Pole.

Look out SEB !


Great Race, Kobayashi was the standout in my opinion, I dont know what Alguersuari was thinking when Kobayashi passed him?

I think Kobayashi deserves a better car, F1 needs drivers like him.

All this talk about Schumacher walking away at the end of the season looks a bit silly when you see Schumacher driving like he did today. He didnt look like a man considering re-retiring.

I know this next comment will upset you Englishmen but it was another boring race by Button gambling on an alternate strategy to compensate for his lack of pace.


Doesn't annoy this Brit. We have Lewis to make up


Good race, shame about Kubica, would love to have seen what he could have done had his wheel not come off (will Renault be investigated and maybe fined for this?)

My driver of the day has to Kobayashi, he is proving to be a fantastic racer and I really hope that Sauber can give him a competitive car next season allowing him to compete for podiums, because I am sure that if they give him the car he will wring every ounce of blood from it and get it on the podium and maybe even give them a race win. Given his effective rookie status this season he has really impressed me, yes he still has a few rough edges but he has the pace and can race!


Why fine Renault? Rosberg's retire was of the same reason so fine them too?


because Renault got investigated and fined when Alonso's wheel came off in Hungary a couple of years ago.

At the end of the day it was deemed a safety issue.


It must be down to three now. The numbers say its possible for Maclaren but they need a decisive upgrade. If they had one up their sleeve they would have used it by now.


Maybe the upgrade is up there, but just not quite ready. Korea maybe?


History says "not quite ready" is probably right. Maclaren had a brilliant innovation with the F-duct but they've been too slow all season to catch up with competitor's innovations. Hamilton and Button have both proved they have the ability to win the championship this season. But Maclaren have failed them.

Lets face it. There are at least 6 drivers (counting Kubica) that could win the championship if their cars were equal. Newey is the difference (or maybe the Ferrari back room). Maclaren have been losing ground since the start of the season and their drivers have been the only thing making them look competitive. Hamilton has only been failing because he is too desperate now.

Maclaren need to reverse the trend, upgrade their cars beyond their cometitors now, and beyond the improvements those others will also bring.

They haven't managed that since the beginning of the season. How can you think they will do it now?


Matt, have you forgotten the McLaren of last year? They started at least 2 seconds per lap behind the rest and somewhere around mid season they were becoming very competitive and were winning by the end of the season. This is a team that is capable of developing a car. Crunch time, yes, but don't count them out.


Can anyone explain why Mercedes pitted Schumacher so early? He had nobody to cover for except Rosberg, and Schumacher was gaining half a second a lap on him up until the pit stop, according to Live Timing. As it turned out it didn't much matter because wheels are in a habit of falling off Rosberg's car, but i'm still confused by their strategy.


What on earth happend to Kubica? How unlucky! Will he ever strike his luck?

I just so much want to see him brake through.

Congratulations to RBR. Mark has to be the champion now.


Kobayashi was just a man possesed today, we'd been told all weekend that although hes Japanese, he hadnt raced Suzuka all that much. After watching that, I think we was being sold a lie. Easily the racer of the day, and showing why Peter Sauber has retained him. I hope next years car gives him a chance to shine even more.

I would also give credit to BBC's 5 Live commentry team, David Croft was (in my opinion) just awesome today and was delighted to find that himself & Anthony Davidson somehow had taken over the main commentry from Legard & Brundle, abeit brifly, giving everyone who hasnt used the red button a glimpse into what they've been missing.

Feel for Hamilton, what might have happened if his gearbox (and luck) hadnt failed him. It could have robbed us of a possibly epic battle.


The contrast with the 5 Live commentry was unbelievable! The race/Kobayashi's move suddenly got so much more exciting! Think I'll try 5 live from now on....


Too right. Hopefully I wasn't the only one who laughed at the Leroy Jenkins comment as Kobayashi went for the pass?

Brundle is an excellent commentator but Legard is just too dull and makes so many little errors. Croft is enjoyable to listen to.


Kobayashi drove the last part of the race with three soft tyres and hard tyre at the left rear ...or maybe the green stripe disappeared after he past Alguersuari ?


I saw that too. It happened when they touched.

A little luck for Kobayashi- how much more impact would it have taken to damage the side wall?


That looks like that for Button/Hamilton then!

Shame about the cooling bung in monaco and side swipe by Vettel. " no fault ends to a race end the seasons chances for jens.


Schumacher was a lot faster than Rosberg this time, if he had passed Rosberg straight away do you think he could have caught Hamilton? When Rosberg fell off, Michael started catching Hamilton at 1.5 seconds a lap.
Any thoughts?


He started to catch Lewis 1.5Sec a lap after Lewis broke the 3rd Gear. Just like Jenson was catching Lewis 2sec a lap. I guess most of the time was lost in the hairpin and in the chicane after 130R. Lewis was driving only between 4th and 7th gear.


When is Robert Kubica going to get a competitive seat? When are polish company's going to start backing him up with some serious sponsorships? What a qualifying... and a what a start(some of it thank's to Webber)... bad luck!


I really think it its time to get him an opportunity. I wouldn't mind to replace the boring Jenson in Maclaren with Robert, but i guess Ferrari will take him to replace Felipe. Since Robert and Fernando are already good Poker partners maybe they do well on track (I hope they don't).


hehe, probably Britons hate you for saying Jenson was boring. He is good indeed and his driving style is elegant one.


I think he is a good driver, he is still the reigning champion, i just think he is boring, just like Fernando is most of the times. I prefer a million times Lewis making mistakes like he did in Monza, then to watch a guy drive a faultless 2/3 of the race in first, pit in, and watch other guy win that drove another faultless race, without having any go at the other. If it was Lewis behind Fernando i bet he would be all over is back.


Next years Ferrari if Massa keeps up with his current performance...!!! Useless...


James what do you make of Mclaren's pace at the Japanese GP? If you consider Lewis Hamilton's qualifying speed and the way he started to pull back Fernando Alonso with relative ease (when his gearbox was working) do you think Mclaren have finally found the pace they were missing?

I thought achieving third in qualifying was significant for Mclaren and it seems to me that the last 3 races may well start to play into Mclaren's hands.

That could make the last 3 races extremely interesting.


Another race I didn't enjoy.

I don't understand how Button's strategy was ever going to work?


Buttons's strategy was clearly team orders. Once it was clear that Button was slower on used hards than the pack on new hards, the obvious strategy is to cover yourself against Hamilton, however, when he pitted, he was 10s behind him.

Moreover, he pitted just after Hamilton reported his problem, so it looks like if McLaren wanted to sandwich the RBR and Alonso so that Hamilton could reach them.

If this is not team orders, then what is it? Button made it clear when he publicly questioned the strategy at the end of the race, so it was clearly done against his own will.

IMHO, between "Fernando is faster than you", and fabricating pitstops, the former is worse for the casual viewer, but the latter is more unfair for the driver, as in the first case the ultimate decision to allow someone through is the driver's, while in the second case, the driver is hand-tied. It's exactly the same stuff that Brawn did on Barrichello (forcing him into un unlogical three-stop strategy) to allow Button to win.

All the turmoil against Ferrari in Hockenheim is pure hypocrisy. Should Button were not British, we would have a new scandal all across the media (remember Monaco'07).


Augusto Baena


There is room to construct team orders conspiracies at every race where there is a motivation to find one.

A team can always file a complaint relating to the use of team orders for FIA to investigate using all the telemetry and radio transcripts.

I also don't share your belief that Massa willingly allowed Alonso to pass at Hockenheim. Seeing Massa's post race reactions, it is more reasonable to conclude that Massa was coerced into allowing Alonso to pass. If so, should n't there have been a FIA representative in the Ferrari garage to protect Massa's WDC hopes in the same way that FIA imposed one of their representatives on the McLaren garage in 2007 to protect Alonso's WDC title?


It seems that you are determined to conclude that team orders were being used at McLaren on the basis of a strategy that didn't work out for Button.

If it was my decision, I would not have a problem with granting access for everyone to see the telemetry and all radio transcripts of all teams. No doubt some will find evidence of team orders because they have reached that conclusion even before seeing the evidence.


What I am saying is the following:

1) ex-ante strategy ("the tyre gamble") was a legitimate strategy by Button

2) as events unfolded, I was looking at the timing data and I was wondering why didn't Button covering himself against Hamilton to protect his position when it was clear his gamble hadn't payed-off

3) Not only me, Button himself has questioned his own team strategy quite vocally (I have provided the quotes)

I am not jumping into conclusions without looking at the evidence, what I am saying is that, whenever there is a strategy that (a) seems illogical under the light of the interest of the driver, with the information available at the moment (which is the case), (b) that happens to benefit his team mate, that happens to be leading in the DWC charts, there is "prima fascie" room for some questions to be made on whether there were team orders or not.

Maybe there is a legitimate explanation, maybe not.

That said, I am for team orders, as it happens in every single sport (even individual ones, eg in Athletics, cycling world championship, etc), what I am against is to setting-up a scandal when Massa allowed Alonso thorugh in Hockenheim and not when Kovalainen allowed Hamilton through, or when Brawn fabricated sub-optimal pit-stops so that Barrichello wouldn't win over Button last year, or when Massa and Kimi did suboptimal strategies in Brazil in their respective years. We either investigate all cases, or forget about all of them, I am for the second option.




Absolutely no way were there team orders in this. I've got a post explaining it all, coming up shortly.


I think you are looking for a team orders conspiracy at McLaren where non exists.

In hindsight (a wonderful thing to have) Button's strategy may have been sub optimal but that is not evidence of team orders per se. Martin Whitmarsh suggested that the strategy was Button's choice. In any event, both McLaren drivers were on very different strategies, unlike blatant driver swaps such as that used by Ferrari at Hockenheim 2010. Not surprising that Ferrari's radio transcripts were investigated by race stewards.

I don't see that Ferrari are treated any differently to other teams with regard to access to radio transcripts etc as you seem to imply when you say "other cases".


Button's tyre gamble (ie qualifying on hards hoping that softs would degrade quickly in a track that had been washed by Saturday's rain and therefore allowing him for a long 1st stint) was legitimate, and it seems likely it was a Button's idea.

However, as the race unfolded, Button's acts were completely illogical. Hamilton pitted on lap Button on lap 39.

On lap 22 (just before pitting), Hamilton was 3s behind Button.

On lap 24 (after pitting), Hamilton was 20.6 seconds after Button.

In every single lap between 24 and 39 (bar one, lap 27), was Hamilton faster than Button (both on hards, but Hamilton's were fresher).

The logical thing to do is to pit to ensure you exit in front of your rival, that is, when the gap went below 18s. This happened on lap 26, and that's the logical moment to pit.

Obviously, there is a risk of softs degrading on Button's car for 27 laps, but (a) it's a RISK, while pitting after Hamilton had reduced the gap was a CERTAINTY (b) softs were unlikely to degrade, as they had stood well for Hamilton for 23 laps and (c) Button is probably the best driver out there in looking after his tyres.

Button's team had all the information there on the relative performance of softs vs hards. Button was lapping on high 36s before pitting, and low 34s after switching to softs, so it didn't make any sense any way you look at it.

More interestingly, Button pitted exactly after Hamilton's performance degraded (Hamilton's laptime on lap 37 was 1:35.6, on lap 38 was 1:37.6, on lap 39, Button pitted).

But don't take my opinion for it, take Button's: "As soon as we saw that the others were quick on the Option and I wasn't able to pull a gap, or pressure anyone in front, maybe it would have been sensible to pit at that point." (quoted in Autosport) He questioned the (absurd) strategy publicly ( http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/87378 )

Now, I would like to have access to email and radio conversation between engineers, MW, JB, and LH, and access to the telemetry data, for them to explain such a non-sense strategy, unless they were preventing Button from racing Hamilton.



Have you ever criticized the Spanish press?

Perhaps you need reminding that the spanish press are also very capable of throwing a media storm as they did for Alonso against McLaren in 2007.

There was no evidence of team orders at McLaren in 2007 in spite of Alonso's protestations but that didn't stop Spanish politics influencing FIA to impose a representative in the McLaren garage. Why not one also in the Ferrari garage this year to protect Massa's WDC hopes?


You are missing the point. The question is whether Button's strategy was optimal for himself or if his strategy was fabricated by McLaren to benefit Hamilton against Button's own will, as his post-race declarations seem to imply.

JB in autosport: "We need to look at the data but to stay out when everyone else pitted was probably the wrong thing. Maybe you should cover the people that you are racing and we didn't do that."

"The people" he was racing was Lewis Hamilton. He should have covered himself pitting so that he exited in front of Hamilton, and not 8sec behind. It was a complete non-sense if we analysed it in the light of JB's interests.

What I wonder if why don't we have access to all the radio transcripts, emails, etc, as we have had in other cases, to judge for ourselves.



Apparently it was based on the assumption that the performance of the softer tyres would drop off quickly in the race, which didn't happen. Just like it didn't happen in every other race so far this season, so I don't know why Jenson seem so surprised about it!


I almost believe part of that strategy was to slow down the Bulls to possibly allow Hamilton to catch up with them and get a chance on a pass. It almost worked that way for Alonso, good thing Button pitted when he did a few more laps and Alonso would caught up with Webber and he would had to try to overtake Vettel and/or Vettel overtake Button with all the risk that means. In the end RBR did the right thing pacing themselves responding to drivers behind them when needed and not doing any risky overtakes and in the end just pacing themselves behind Button just waiting for him to pit gambling that Alo wouldn't catch up or if he did not be able to get past and be able to out pace him once Button pitted (which they did at least increased the distance then kept it steady). Looking at Webbers last lap they could gone a lot faster making the margin to Alo lot bigger but there was no point in doing so and risking damage or crashing and just hold back enough to try avoid catching up with backwater teams.


Great race for Red Bull... great race for Lotus too. With all the retirements 12th place was up for grabs for one of the new teams and it was Kovalainen who got his hands on it. That should lock up 10th place and the last of the constructors' prize money, unless Virgin or Hispania can do better than 12th on one of the remaining races. Well done Lotus!


Most mature race from Vettel all year


I agree, seemed humble on the podium as well.


Kobayashi is definitely my favourite driver of the moment. And although I really like the Sauber team (as everyone does, I think), I hope he manage to find a better car in some years. This guy deserves it!


Anyone notice how Button's been mugged into turn 1 the last two races?


I've been resolute about Hamilton's chances after the last 2 races, but I'm struggling to be optimistic about it now.

He has been impulsive and impatient and that's really made him look foolish in Monza, especially, and Singapore.

Karma has seemingly gotten the better of him, and his luck hasn't just run out, but turned to bad luck. The fiasco with the gearbox has really ruined his chances. I think he'll take one more race win this season, in Interlagos, but it won't be enough.

Does anyone know what the situation is with the missing third gear? Is the new gearbox a write-off, or could it just be electronic or something else non-fatal?


Kobayashi's drive really had me on the edge for the better part of the second half of the race. Overtaking moves on the inside and outside of the hairpin, physical contact with Alguersuari, he had me repeatedly questioning "Will he be gunning for the next driver ahead within the possible timeframe?" . Well, his answers were all a resounding "Yes!".

So with that, I'd like to thank:

a) Mr. Sauber for his faith in this young rookie.

b) Kobayashi for his determination and really bringing back the meaning of a true racer.

To the sponsors:

a) What are you all still waiting for ? It was some big airtime today for Sauber's team today and more to come....




did you notice the amount of mistakes lee mckenzie made?! it was awful!


I think what you mean is:

"Did you notice the number of mistakes Lee McKenzie made? It was awful!"

You made seven mistakes in two sentences of only 13 words, my friend.


I think Lee did brilliantly. If you've never had to fill like she did in qualifying for ages and as Martin and I did on several occasions, it's really tough. To have do it on your first ever time presenting a show as big as that is really impressive. It's easy to criticise but take it from me, that is one hell of a difficult job



I read the original comment on sunday. My first thought was not to comment, just because I knew that anchoring the F1 show would be a difficult task for Lee Mckenzie. I think you got it spot on with your comments, objective as ever! As for the original comment, the only thing i'd say is "let's stick to talking about the subject matter"


Give her a break!


Give her a break. I actually enjoyed. And with time it can be better then Jake.


Anyone notice how the BBC cast was all kinda down because Vettel won? And how they tried to take away things from his performance (oh look, Webber so close...oh my god a fastest lap by Webber....not mentioning the fact Vettel was just backing off).

All close friends, or rather, unofficial lawyers of Webber, is why.

So next time they mention how RBR looks down when Webber wins, they should look in the mirror first.

Whatever happened to unbiased reporting, for heaven's sake. I mean I understand if they root for Button or Hamilton, because they are British and BBC being the national broadcast cooperation of Britain. But Webber is an Aussie and he gets defended and brushed up more than the British drivers. To the extreme.

While fact of the matter is, Webber had more pure luck then Vettel to be in the position he is now. Take Kubica's drop out for instance.

Anyone who claims Webber is on the same level as Vettel is in my view, dellusional, i.e. the BBC cast with Coulthard being Webber's biggest cheerleading groupie.


I guess Vettel will benefit from more favourable commentary than Webber on RTE. Why not pick up this feed if you can understand German?


Yup I said it. Sorry I dont see it.

Unfortunately as an Australian we are subjected to the BBC commentary which is understandably very pro Button and Hamilton. However I certainly wouldnt say that they show any biases towards Webber over Vettel. In fact I dont believe Webber until recently has been given the credit he deserves, he has always been quick and aggressive, sometimes prone to a rash mistake but that's a sign of a man who pushes the boundaries of his abilities and that of his car in search of results, somewhat similar to the criticism facing Hamilton at the moment.


1. Webber will be a deserving Champion,

2. RBR have shown favouritism towards Vettel over Webber.

3. Vettel has been quicker than Webber in qualifying (narrowly) but hasnt been quicker over a race distance, mainly due to his inexperience and arrogance.


As a fan of Mclaren, all I can say is "your posting is 100% correct, and that's why Mark Webber will deserve to be crowned WDC" The driver who has for so long has suffered bad luck on many occassions is now "riding his luck"


I'd still prefer to see a Mclaren on top.


I gather your not a Webber fan. Most of us have seen the amount of bad luck he has had and it's just nice to see him have some success in the twilight of his career.


Yes the BBC hate Vettel thats why they said he was untouchable all weekend and had him on the post race forum, all just reverse psychology to lull him into being overconfidence to hand the championship to their mate Webber who has driven appallingly all season, being completly outdriven by Vettel and thats why Vettel is 14 points ahead of Webber... oh no wait.


Too true Richard. And surely no one can begrudge Webber some luck. He was wearing the "unluckiest driver" tag for a long time. And driving for Minardi? He should take all the luck he can get- he's got loads of crap in the Karma bank.

Istanbul isn't the first time Vettel has buggered a podium finish for Webber. How many times has the opposite happened?

PS. Vettel is German so does he get to win it on penalties if its a draw in Abu Dhabi?


BBC feed lost for 6 laps near end in Canada on TSN. Engine sound only from the track for 6 laps. What a joy to otherwise routine GP. Surely someone can soon grasp the fact that fan want SAP audio stream without commentary from track. With the iPad app I'd really rather have option to hear no talking.


Kobayashi was amazing!

Quite suprised at the pace of the Saubers this weekend. Had he not messed up that one corner in qualy Kobayashi would have been in the top 10. Heidfeld did well to keep rubens of his back in the remaining laps too.

Feel sorry for Lewlew though, 3 crashes in a row, gearbox change and then loosing 3rd gear.

I think this championship is going to redbull. Fundementally its just too quick a car.

James are there any rumblings in the pits about other teams copying the redbull pullrod suspension system? We know Lotus are at least - just wondering if VMM and SFM are considering it. The design allows for a really skinny back-end allowing the rear beam wing a full span of uninterrupted airflow. Not to mention the extreme sculpting on the sides allowing full use of the diffuser.

This is the only thing I can think of that is different to the other top teams now that they all have f-ducts, blown diffusers and (for ferrair at leastr) flexi wings.


I have thought for some time that it is something to do with their pull rod suspension. No one ever seems to talk about it?

As you say it is the only thing they do differently to the other teams, and I really doubt the advantage they have is just because of a slightly better diffuser and slightly better other things, it has to be something fundamentally different. As you say it allows a very compact back to the car.

It will be interesting to see....


We will see next year. Lotus are going pullrod as well I think.


James or anyone else what is the view on this article below copied from another site, to me it seems more than a silly rumour and has some substance?

It is all reference Felipe Massa and his 'situation' within the team.

The Brazilian was drafted into Ferrari and raced as Michael Schumacher’s understudy in 2006. In 2007, he was overshadowed by Kimi Raikkonen who went on to win the title. In 2008, he missed out on the championship by just a single point and 2009 was the infamous year where he was nearly killed. 2010 has been a difficult year for Massa. he had to move aside in Germany, so that Fernando Alonso could win the race in order to help his world championship challenge. It smelt like Schumacher/Barrichello from years before.

At the time Massa accepted the decision, but has become increasingly unhappy both on and off the track. His performances have slid, and he doesn’t look happy in the garage. On Thursday ahead of the Grand Prix, Massa told reporters that he “Didn’t want to be a 2nd driver, only the first driver. I don’t want to be another Rubens Barrichello”. Hastily, the boss of Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo said that he was still a number 1. But how can a team have two number ones? Especially when the other driver is Fernando Alonso. Lets not forget 2007, when Alonso was challenged at McLaren and he didn’t accept it.

Italian Press and the Suzuka paddock have been awash with rumour that he was ready to leave the team. The main teams he is being linked with are Renault, and believe it or not – Force India. The latter statement shows just how far the little team based in Silverstone has come, to attract a driver like Felipe. Word in the paddock is that now Raikkonen has declined Renault, Adrian Sutil will leave Force India and head across to Enstone to partner Robert Kubica. This leaves the Force India door wide open for Scotsman Paul di Resta to take over from Tonio Liuzzi, and Felipe Massa could slot in as the number 1 driver within the team.

So it looks like Felipe may hold the key to the driver market this season. If he leaves, it leaves a completely empty race seat with Ferrari – who could potentially be the drivers championship winning team. Both drivers at Red Bull and McLaren are secure for 2011, so it would be likely to be an outsider driver coming in to the team. They have a range of options. They could select a youngster, one of their young driver programme drivers, but this is highly risky for the team and they would have to be confident that the driver could perform at the highest level straight from the off.

Their other option is to bring in someone experienced. Kimi Raikkonen rejected Renault for the team, as opposed to rejecting the prospect of Formula One. Could he make a sensational come back to F1 with Ferrari? Another possibility could be Michael Schumacher, the tainted son of the Italian team, has allegedly been offered an ultimatum by his Mercedes Benz bosses – perform or face the sack. Returning to Ferrari would guarantee him continued legend status, and almost certainly a competitive car. If Schumacher did leave Mercedes, then Nico Hulkenberg could go across to the all German team – his race seat at Williams is rumoured to be being offered to Pastor Maldonado, the GP2 World Champion.


If I was predicting it, I would say felippe to Renault, mark to Ferrari for his last year and kimi to redbull.

I don't think alonso would really want kubica in Ferrari as he is proving to be a genuine contender for the future.


I like the way you think Andy C. After the way RBR have handled themselves this year I would love Webber to take the no.1 with him to Ferrari.

Kimi in the Redbull would work nicely as well.

I hope you're right


I'm hearing Webber will retire if he wins WDC.


Great script


To beat Alonso in the team you have to beat him on track. Let's forger Germany and all we see - a small shadow of Massa in the picture of Alonso. I'm not against Felipe but Fernando is in the different league.


How can he beat him on track? When he does, he's told Alonso is faster and to let him pass.


David, Massa got pounded by Alonso politically well before he got on track. Masa has simply lost his will to compete on those terms. Don't give up on him as a driver, he'll find his old form once he's given a fair shot at winning in a new team.


I think you missed the point he has not been in the position since when he has had to concide to Alonso, he has now become really slow and is just nowhere he got eliminated in Q2 and Alonso made it into Q3. to me it was a different Massa we saw today than the Massa we saw at singapore as he started at the back but made the first corner there!


I could not agree more, I am a Massa Fan but he is getting pounded by fernando, but where is the same Massa that gave Raikkonen and Schumacher a run for their money on more than the odd occasion. I just cant understand whats gone wrong surely at this stage of the season he should be able to work the tyres by now.


Kobayashi - like a breath of fresh air even though he was at home. Otherwise a boring race.

Those Red Bulls are so fast, but not on the same 'design' level as other Teams!

george cowley ci5

f1 allways seems lacking,with out a mad bad japanese driver going for it,kobi i salute you,BANZAI


did digrassi's car have a mechanical failure? hard to understand driver error with digrassi.


A rather uneventfull, dull race for the front runners, save Lewis' bad luck and Kubica's problem early in the race. The fun was in the middle pack with Kamui providing a lot of excitement. The Maclaren drivers are practically out of the running. The WDC will be decided by the performance of the Red Bull drivers. It is theirs to win or lose.


I am a die hard Schumi fan but I think Kobi is easily the most exciting driver of the season.

He overtook, he didn't crash.

The thing is that if driver A fights with driver B, we want to see some gladiator action between the two just like Kobi did.

It doesn't happen often which is a shame really.


great race again from the bulls&fernando, but been a mclaren fan i have to say the lack of common sense from lewis and martin w have seriously damage my confidence in both of them, is one thing making mistakes we all do, but a complete lack of commonsense approch to vital races its a big joke


I have a question. Why didn't Mark Webber join celebration with Vettel and staffs after race ? As he hates Japan, he just wanted to leave Japan as soon as possible ?


I thought the TV director was pretty poor today. Too much Yamamoto! And we didn't ever get to see Schumi's pass on Rubens, not even a replay. From the last little bit we saw of it it looked like a good move.


James, could you elaborate on Ferrari's pace over the race? Alonso didn't finish a mile down on the Bulls even though they appeared mightily dominant in qualifying and the earlier part of the race. Was this down to traffic at the end or the team asking the two drivers to not push harder than required? Or was the Ferrari genuinely up to pace over a race distance? If it is the latter, how does that translate for the remaining races?


I don't think the Ferrari was upto the pace of the Mclaren today, nevermind the Red Bull.


If thats the case then how come Alonso beat both Mclarens?


Lewis qualified P3 but was given a start grid penalty and then raced with a faulty gearbox.

Jenson (arguably) would have out qualified Alonso had he been on the same tyre strategy as everyone else.


Gearbox problems for Hamilton stalled his advance on Alonso and had to drop back.


Because Hamilton had gearbox failure (at precisely the moment he was taking half a second a lap out of the Ferrari). And Jensen was on a silly tyre strategy.

Look at qualifying. Who was faster Ferrari or Mclaren?


Renault should have quietly negotiate with Kimi and get him signed. The difference between Kubica and Petrov shows how much further ahead they could be with two of the strongest drivers.


How good was it to hear Crofty for all of 5mins...! Lets hope the BBC were listening because you could hear the groans for miles when Legard was plugged back in.....!!!

'that's a decent inlap', 'looked decent enough', 'it's at least decent.'......!!! Do me a favour!


I know I wished i could have kept the 5 live commentary PSDont forget about the final charge the final push!!!!


Isn't the 5live commentary available on the Red Button?

Crofty and Brundle for BBC One next year!

And I have to say well done to the Beeb. They lost the main feed, so rather than face the prospect of running to the end without commentary, they quickly patched in another feed.


Aside from Kobayashi's masterful display at the hairpin it was "Boring"!.F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport but they still broadcast in inglorious LOW DEF,even NASCAR is HI DEF.One bonus was near the end the commentary went down & we got to listen to the cars instead of the two Ronnie's,a rare treat that should be repeated,often.HAM gets a 5 place penalty due to the actions of the Aussie stockcar steerer & the cost just keeps on going,another 5 place pen next race due to another gearbox failure,if McLaren fix the same gearbox do they still get the penalty?,"its still the same box".Time to take some of the rules back to the logical state they were in pre the Mosley head swell era.


I think he is ok for the next race as it was due to change anyway. I think they have to do 4 races.


That was a brand new gearbox. McLaren could have changed Hamilton's box after Singapore, as he had not finished the race, and not taken a penalty. But they didn't, as they wanted him to race with the Singapore box, and then he'd have a fresh one for the final three races, in case he was still in contention at Abu Dhabi

However the box broke during third practice due to damage from Singapore, and McLaren were forced to change it. As they were doing so during the grand prix weekend, it was a five place drop.

But as I understand it, because his new replacement gearbox broke, he is able to change it penalty free


I'd love to see McLaren replace Button for Koby.
can you imagine that guy in a McLaren alongside Hamilton?
that would bring the fight to Red Bull and Ferrari.

I don't think Koby would approach race weekends hoping for his rivals to drop out to gain places.


If you were a team who didn't believe in team orders would you not want 1 really good driver who's title challenge might fade by the last 3 races and 1 excellent driver? This way one ends up driving for the other but gaining a lot of constructor points in the belief they can win.

From a Mclaren point of view I'm not sure they need a competitive driver and actually Koby is hardly what you would call consistent.


Do you really think that Koby could drive the performance challenged McLaren significantly faster than Jenson?? I think not....


why not.?


Probably one reqason is thats he's only scored 27 points this year and Button has scored 189(although, I hear you say, he's not in a McLaren)... All the doomsters last year predicted Hamilton would thrash Button, but with only 3 points difference that didn't happen either. The fact is that the McLaren is not fast enough - if it were more competitive both Hamilton and Button would be further up the rankings - simples..


That would make Maclaren have like 2 race finish, since most of the times Hamilton and Kob would crash trying to impulsively overtake... I like to watch but in the team perspective maybe its not the best choice.


maybe, but F1 is longing for multiple teams with truly exciting lineups. not a lead 'racer' and a 'steady but safe' back up partner.

this could be it.

sponsors and fans would love to have such an exciting line up. the closet we have is the Red Bull pairing, which is great but imagine a an aggressive McLaren line up to take the race to them....


He would clearly benefit McLaren - 2/3rds of Bulls, Ferraris and Mercedeses would never reach finish line.


I love the way you say that Hamilton is still in the hunt but Button is out of steam now as if the 3 point gap makes a huge difference. Don't make me laugh. It's a three horse race now sadly.


Don't count your chickens ................


I don't know why so many people are down on Button. (I'm talking about Macca fans, not James)

I am no fan of his, but let's look at some history:

1. he lost points even though there were no driver errors: Monaco & Spa (where he was minding his own business)

2. I hope I don't reopen a can of worms, but Hamilton could have received 2 penalties down to his own performance: Canada (for running out of fuel in qualy which would have sent him down the grid) and when he passed the safety car.

If those are factored in, he had a better season overall than Hamilton.

Just something I have thought about.


Good point on the two penalties.

Don't get me wrong guys I hope it's a five horse race to the end but the top 3 drivers need DNFs for the Mclaren guys to have any chance in the drivers championship.


Like many I'm amazed by Kobayashi.... he's just confirmed the promisses he showed end of last year. He's no double a great driver and an unbelievable fighter. Would like to see him in a top team.

Is he gonna be the first Japanese to win a GP? He deserves it.


Hi James,

Is there a safety issue with these hand-operated F-ducts? Watching on-board camera with Kamui Kobayashi, you see he's only got one hand on the wheel for a significant chunk of the lap. Surely that's grounds for these things to be banned? A knee is one thing but the back of a hand, requiring it to come off the wheel?


I think it's certainly not ideal! Not been a safety issue so far, though


Whenever we get to see onboard footage of the 2 Red Bull drivers, I'm always surprised by how much more Vettel appears to use it. It could just be the lack of footage, but it appears that he uses it to greater effect than Webber.


Kobayashi is for real!! Hope he'll drive for a top team in the future.

Andrewshould be working

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Whitmarsh's talk of upgrades being fitted and thn taken off is just smoke and mirrors to hide the shortcommings. My guess is that they've closed the book on develping this car and focusing on next season. he talk of upgrades is purely to keep RB and Ferrari ploughing resources into this seasns car. If nothing else, in the close season McLaren have to look at their persistent bad calls from the pit wall


How the hell can Massa get away with no penalty while Petrov is sent back 5 places?



Totally agree.

for Petrov, he just run on the straight and his rear wheel just touch the Nico wing when he have to avoid Nick from the right side, it just accident if there is no wall there, the damage won't look too bad.

but for Massa, he put the car inside the corner which he really know there is no place to be, then hit apex and go across to hit force india out, the only place he can be is follow Rosberg no space to try to overtake from inside, this is really stupid driver mistake that he suppose to get the panalty.

Petrov didn't do the danger move, while Massa did.

In my eye, Massa should get the Penalty more than Petrov.


Nice summary, James!

Question - do you think Red Bull have settled things down behind the scenes now? Mark and Seb don't look like best friends, but they both seem to be saying the right things in public (which wasn't always the case!), and Christian Horner's post-race quotes have become much better.


I think there is a fierce competition between them, as always. Will it spill over again as it did in Turkey? I doubt it, but if its between them at the final race, it will make for a very strange atmosphere


If it's between them at the final race, whoever has the points lead gets a free "turn in" on their teammate into the first corner lol


Well, that one turned into a procession, after five cars exited on (or before!) lap 1.

Red Bull won both Brazil and Abu Dhabi last year (I think...!), and Korea is a wild card. If Seb can go win, win, win, he'll pick up 21 points minimum on Mark. Come on Mark, one more win...


I'm not fussed about the driver's championship this year (I think eventually the anger & disgust at the behind-the-scenes messing around in the teams has worked its effect and I'm starting to disengage from F1 after 30 years!) so the race was pretty boring to me, except for the breath of fresh air from Kobayashi.

But I have to say, for a sport that is meant to be the pinnacle of technology, how on earth do they explain two cars losing a wheel when they are just driving along ... and one of them when going slowly?

F1 is really losing it



QUESTION ? . . . . About the Hamiltion Gearbox

If there is mechanisim problem which can't fixed it externally, not the electronic control. if it need to be changed to the new gearbox, will hamilton get another 5 grid penalty again ?

look like now there is hopeless WDC for both McLaren driver. unless Mark must have at least one DNF, otherwise it is over for Mclaren now.


If you want to hear the gearbox fail and you have the race on PVR, then do the following:

Go to lap 38, onboard Hamilton camera. Follow the engine sound when he exits the hairpin. That seems to be when 3rd gear failed.

I am not a mechanical engineer, but it doesn't sound like an electronic failure.

It sounds like a mistake in the upshift by LH.


Red Bull looked quite dominant at Suzuka, but I think McLaren look better in terms of pace compared to the Ferrari. Hamilton's lap in Qualifying was superb, proving that despite not doing many laps in practice that he is clearly the fastest driver in Formula 1. I think Red Bull will be strong in Korea, weaker in Brazil, weakest of the Top 3 teams in Abu Dhabi. McLaren will be just behind Red Bull in Korea, and fastest in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, with Abu Dhabi being tailor-made for Hamilton and McLaren, in the same way Canada is for the both of them. Ferrari will be behind Red Bull and McLaren in Korea and Brazil, as well as being behind McLaren in Abu Dhabi. I also think that Kubica and possibly the Mercedes could have a say in who wins the championship.

Off the topic, in Friday's press conference, the team representatives were asked about who their teams would run at the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season, Norbert Haug didn't seem quite sure about who would be running for Mercedes. I can suggest two drivers for you. New All-Japan F3 Champion Yuji Kunimoto, whose team TOMS is sponsored by Petronas, as are Mercedes, making it a perfect match, and Force India test driver Paul di Resta if Force India are not going to test anyone, as he deserves a race seat in F1. What do you think, James?


I'm not sure that Di Resta is eligible due to his role with FI this season. Will be interesting to see who Mercedes go for. I hope to see Jules Bianchi in the Ferrari


I definitely agree with Jules Bianchi driving at Ferrari for the Young Drivers Test. He is a huge talent, despite having a tougher season than expected in the GP2 Series.


I really enjoyed this race,plenty of highs and lows and the track layout is superb.

Red Bull very much in control as was Alonso to a lesser extent,each time the McLarens seem to close in he appeared to have enough in reserve,Hamilton closed in very quickly,but it stayed around the 3 second mark long before his gearbox started to give trouble,and Button couldn,t get any closer to attack.

I,m sure Alonso just paced himself and his engine,but in the press conference he said something quite telling.

A question was asked to him regarding the comments he made about podium finishes,are they enough? a race win must now be his target,he just smiled and said "no"....

As for Kobayashi he was certainly entertaining,i don,t however share the view he deserves a better car...yet,some of the moves were in blind faith the other driver didn,t turn in,and it was home turf which as they say can make all the difference. Mclarens gearbox woes from what we heard after is mechanical rather than electronics,Hamilton mentioned lots of nasty noises,and Whitmarsh also backed this up when he said downshifts were limited to 4th,my guess is if its an internal issue it will be another gearbox for Korea,in which case another 5 grid drop for Hamilton,maybe James can clarify.

Andrewshould be working

McLarens tactic of shooting Button off long on the primes was the perfect way of slowing the RB's charge and backing them into a charging LH. For it to work Button should have let Lewis through early on instead of bottling him up behind him for so many laps. In the end Lewis' gearbox failed but had Button followed the tactics correctly it may have been an ineresting race


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Thought I'd better elaborate on my above comment.

My first thought was that your choice of the word 'whitewash', James, was a clever double meaning that alluded to the, as yet unresolved, flexible wing controversy -- as well as the result of the race.

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