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Vettel keeps cool in all-action Malaysian Grand Prix
Vettel keeps cool in all-action Malaysian Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Apr 2011   |  11:36 am GMT  |  261 comments

Sebastian Vettel maintained his 100% success record this season with another win from pole position in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Jenson Button finished second and moves into that position in the championship, while Nick Heidfeld gave Renault a second consecutive podium, one which was again based on a sensational start.

Vettel leads (Red Bull, Getty)

The race gave a very vivid example of F1 2011 style with the DRS adjustable wing and the high wear Pirelli tyres leading to a lot of overtaking, some of it absolutely thrilling. We had three cars abreast into the final corner at one point and a very spirited battle between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso for a podium which led to contact. Neither man ended up on the podium, Alonso had to pit for a new front wing, while Hamilton’s fourth set of tyres gave him real problems and he had to make a fourth stop, which dropped him down to seventh.

But despite Vettel’s smiles, it was a day when reliability issues at Red Bull raised their head again with both drivers unable to use KERS during the course of the race, a big disadvantage. The importance of KERS was highlighted by the failure on Mark Webber’s car at the start, which lost him positions at the start and then made his chances of recovering more difficult. He was carrying the extra weight of the system with none of the performance. Later in the race the same was true of Vettel.

Despite a few spots of rain after a dozen laps, the conditions were dry, with track temperature of 31 degrees, but the humidity was an incredible 88%.

At the start, Vettel got away cleanly, Hamilton was boxed in behind him and this allowed Heidfeld to sweep around the outside into second place from sixth on the grid. Behind them Webber had a poor start and with no KERS available to him, he was swamped by other cars. Both Ferraris went through, with Massa getting past Alonso in the process.

Webber fought with Kobayashi for 9th place, the Japanese enjoying a straight line speed advantage over the Australian thanks to his KERS. It was very frustrating for Webber.

With rain on its way, drivers were told to look after their tyres, so as not to need to stop before coming in for wet tyres. In the end they all gave up waiting for rain.

On lap 11 Webber was forced to pit for slick tyres, his first stop of four on the day. He took a different strategy from his rivals, partly because he is heavier on his tyres. It was a good recovery from 9th on the opening lap to finish fourth.

Hamilton pitted on lap 14, but then rain started to fall. Luckily for him Red Bull pitted Vettel a lap later for dry tyres as did Jenson Button. Alonso came in on lap 15.

Kobayashi ran long on the first stint, running second around lap 17. It set him up for a two stop strategy, one less than everyone else and a strong finish in 8th place, using the Sauber’s gentle action on the tyres to good effect.

Vettel drove a measured race at the front, maintaining his margin, keeping his lap times consistent and fast while managing the tyres and the engine revs. Behind him a lot changed over the course of the race. Any one of five drivers could have joined him on the podium and for most of the race it looked like it would be Hamilton plus either Alonso or Button. But Hamilton had a series of problems, including a collision with Alonso, which knocked the front wing off the Ferrari.

Although the result for Ferrari wasn’t what they had hoped for they will draw encouragement from having competed with McLaren and one of the Red Bulls after their lack of pace in Australia and in qualifying at Sepang.

“Today we were fighting wheel to wheel with the McLarens and with Webber so that was a nice surprise,” said Alonso, who added that the collision with Hamilton was due to his DRS wing not working on the straights, forcing him to race Hamilton in the corners. He was called to the stewards after the race and had 20 seconds added to his race time so he dropped to sixth. Hamilton was similarly punished, so Alonso stayed sixth, Kobayashi was classified 7th with Hamilton 8th.

Hamilton pitted earlier than he needed to on occasions, he still had good pace when he came in at least twice. He lost a place to Button with a slow second stop. He also took a different strategy in terms of switching to the hard tyre at the second stop. His pace on a second set of hard tyres in the later stages of the race was not good and he lost ground, being passed by Heidfeld and Webber and needing a fourth stop. We’ll analyse his strategy decisions more closely in the next couple of days.

No doubt a major talking point from the weekend is the amount of overtaking and the more ‘chaotic’ style of racing. Purists will argue that a lot of the passing was artificial – caused by the new DRS wings, KERS and the on-off nature of the Pirelli tyres. I thought it was entertaining, if rather hard to follow at times. But if the Bridgestone years were like being in a sweet shop and getting only the odd goody, today does feel like having eaten all you can see. There was a bit too much going on.

But I imagine that new fans of the sport and people finding it for the first time will say, “F1’s pretty cool isn’t it?”

Vettel thought it was pretty cool and well he might. He now has twice as many points as his nearest challenger. “A great day,” said Vettel. “It was quite different to what we saw two weeks ago with the tyres. It was difficult (to judge the stops). Lewis had a problem and I realised Jenson was behind and I could comfortably control the gap. I love what I do and I couldn’t be happier. KERS is something we have to work on, it was crucial at the start and it gave us what we needed there, but we had a problem and had to turn it off. We cannot stop pushing, things were much closer here than in Australia.”

Button finished second, having managed a 19 lap final stint on the hard tyres. It was McLaren’s 200th podium in partnership with Mercedes.

1. Vettel Red Bull 1h37:39.832
2. Button McLaren + 3.261
3. Heidfeld Renault + 25.075
4. Webber Red Bull + 26.384
5. Massa Ferrari + 36.958
6. Alonso Ferrari + 37.248 (& 20 sec penalty)
7. Kobayashi Sauber + 1:07.239
8. Hamilton McLaren + 49.957
9. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:24.896
10. Di Resta Force India + 1:31.563
11. Sutil Force India + 1:45.000
12. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
13. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
14. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1 lap
15. Kovalainen Lotus + 1 lap
16. Glock Virgin + 2 laps
17. Petrov Renault + 4 laps

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James, you commented earlier after Australia that the Ferrari is hard on its tyres, yet after this race Fernando Alonso said:

“We wear maybe a little bit less the tyres than the others, so we can keep more consistent laps and here was a very good feeling.”

I think Australia was a one-off. Traditionally the Ferrari has been very kind to its tyres. Your thoughts?



You wrote a time ago that RBR may using quasi-KERS because of lighter batteries. Do you know how many laps they need to charge fully theirs batteries?

Are you aware to what extend RBR car’s exhaust differs from Renault one?

I could see that rear wings’ moving part has different size in each team. Could you provide us closer analysis which team’s wing is the most effective one?

Thank in advance

Best regards


RBR deny the start only KERS, but that is how Vettel ended up using it yesterday and his start in Australia was pretty tidy too. I don’t know, there’s something that doesn’t add up there. The whisper I got in Melbourne was a strong one




James, it seems to me that the DRS & KERS are somewhat artificial means of overtaking, but when we see some great racing by two great drivers (Alonso & Hamilton) the moves are penalized. Surely this is not the racing people want to see?


why bother racing!

RE The Alonso/Hamilton penalty. wtf? why? The FIA has gone to all the trouble of artificially improving “the show” with DRS and KERS not to mention all the other bits and bobs being banned and/or tweaked… and then when we get 2 bitter rivals banging wheel to wheel they penalise them! wtf!??? seriously?


Two races down it already seems like one of those Schumacher years when the likes of Montoya Kimi and co were fighting for the second best place.

I hope I am proved wrong though!


You are right, it does look like one of those Schumy years, but I want to see how Vettel will do in a race where he doesn’t start from pole..or just a race where he has to overtake couple of front runners. At the moment, all he is doing is run in clean air.

He overtook only JB in Australia, and that was with fresh tyres and arguably on the outside of the track. In Malayasia he only overtook Massa, again on fresh tyres with Massa on very used tyres (I think it was just before Massa had to go get a fresh set).

I am rly looking forward to a race where leaders will at least 4-5 times.


1. I hate to say this but it looks like Brawn GP is a one trick pony 🙁

2. Also, I am mystified by Webber’s misfortunes. His car truly is letting him down.

Tom from Adelaide

Just want to add my name to the list of people left disappointed by the poor stewardship.

That the most entertaining battle of the event can be ruined by post race decisions is very sad. Last time I checked, this was supposed to be a race. Let them race!

Probably more disappointing though is the precedent it sets for the rest of the season. Will every car making contact with another be given a 20 second penalty? What was so bad about Alonso’s move?

And to suggest that you can only change line once on an enormously long straight when the guy behind has DRS? Stupid. This needs to be addressed, otherwise we will quickly become fans of a very boring sport. We want to see Alonso battle his way past Hamilton, not press a few buttons and cruise past whilst Hamilton is stuck in the bus lane. Sure the DRS is good in that it improves overtaking opportunities, but to leave the guy in front (who by rights is in front for a very good reason) as completely defenseless is mind bogglingly stupid.

James, do you have any channels to voice just how annoyed a lot of fans are by this lame-duck decision?


I think the Hamilton / Alonso penalty was ridiculous, and I think most of the fans on here agree (regardless of their loyalties).

If the FIA are working so hard to promote better racing then it is absolutely mad that they penalise for the slightest indescrepancy.

There have been far worse cases of weaving in the past that have gone uninvestigated let alone punished. Correct me if im wrong, is the one move rule not an unofficial one between the drivers anyway? On a straight as long as the one at Malaysia you should be allowed to try and break the tow. My only rule would be to penalise reckless driving (like Scumi on Barrichello at Hungary).

Same goes for Alonso, he made a mistake. That mistake was due to the understeer he was experiencing.

In terms of collisions, penalties should be issued for dangerous or malicious acts on the track and nothing else. If we continue like this the drivers will be afraid to make moves incase, god forbid, they bang wheels and get a penalty.

Since they introduced the former driver on the panel I think the stewards decisions have generally been better, but they are still very inconsistant from race to race. They should have the same panel for every race, at least if the decisions are mad they should be consistently mad.


Yes. It’s noted



Please note that I think that, all things considered, DRS is a good thing for F1 racing at this moment, mainly for compensating for the same-level-of-artificiality slipstreaming inefficiency.

The bloody cars have become (too much like) inverted airplanes. That being the result of a generally accepted technical evolution, it doesn’t make the aerodynamically-determined lack of overtaking less artificial.

Also, stewarding will always create controversy mainly because of the identity of the drivers affected, not necessarily the decisions.

Subjectivity affects the judgment of both the giving and the receiving ends 🙂

Waiting for your (balanced as usual) strategy analysis.



Could you maybe also clarify something for a lot of fans here.

What is the difference between the moves Hamilton did and got penalised and the moves Vettel did at the start and for which he did not get penalised.

Is there a difference or was something the stewards missed?

A lot of people here asked about this, and would be great if someone like you with lots of experience and better understanding of the rules then us could explain.

Thank you!


It’s always been a tricky one, differentiating a block at the start from one during the race. This is something Schumacher used to exploit and it was looked at in his Ferrari years. They clarified what had always been a gentleman’s agreement into FIA regulation this season regarding blocking. I think it’s hard to enforce at the start because there is so much movement throughout the field on the run to Turn 1. Where do you start/stop in picking out who to penalise? It’s one for the drivers’ briefing in Shanghai


Sorry, but I certainly don’t think the red cars were as fast or even close to McLaren during the race. Race-pace wise they are closer than in qualifying, but if it wasn’t for McLarens (i.e. Lewis’) problems on the tyres, they would still had comfortably finished in front of them, Alonso or not. The reds at present, are fighting for 5and 6th places with the Renaults


I have been wondering if the Ferrari race pace is a temperature issue. In free practice and qualifying track temp was nearly 50, whilst in the race it was around 30


Great comments and discussion all. As a Webber fan, shame the kers failure prevented him from fighting with the lead group. Otherwise it seemed he was going to be in the mix this race.

Were there drs problems late in the race? seemed not to be used/working when gaps <1 sec ?

I was puzzled about Lewis pitting with 3 laps to go, surely he would have been better off limping home from there?

Great to see Nick up the front too.


Why did Hamilton struggle so much with tyres? Too hard on them? If so, I think that’s a sad day for F1 when we are forced to accept that the tortoise has superceded the hare as the racing maxim.


Hi James,

I’m a bit puzzled by the Hamilton penalty. How would you explain the difference between his ‘making more than one change of direction’ while defending against Alonso, and Vettel’s defense of his position going into the first corner of the race ?

I think I understand the rule, and having viewed the BBC highlights a few times, the latter example looks rather more blatant to me than the former (on my reckoning, three changes of direction to block Hamilton).

What do you think ?


Yeah, got distracted (sorry about that – I know moderation time is precious) and forgot to mention Williams’ weekendus horribilis and Cosworth’s lack of points so far this season. After LRGP, Williams is an F1 team I like the most (probably because I started following F1 in the 1990s as a kiddo).

A real shame, they worked so hard with the revolutionary gearbox and the whole rear-end package. Even Rubens with his massive experience can’t make it happen, maybe keeping Hulk would’ve been a better option because young and hungry for success guys can often do more good than a veteran driver who seems to be a safe bet at first glance but who’s a little bit stuck trying to figure out what to do next with his life after F1 life. We want points for Williams, we want podiums for Williams.


2011 is a year for DRS – wonder if Bernie owns the trademark yet!

in cricket is Decision Review System, DRS

F1 has the rear wing, DRS,

soon football players will be calling DRS to the TV ref.


Very disappointed in the stewards today. There was absolutely no need to give Alonso a penalty – he damaged his car which should have been punishment enough. I hope this is not the start of a return to the ridiculous stewards decisions we were getting back in 2008.


F1 is ultra boring now… DRS has killed it completely for me.

If only we could get Nascar or Indy cars to go circuit only (NO OVALS!), then we might see a race worth watching one day.

A complete borefest that put me into coma.


DRS is good. It help car that have closing pace can overtake each other. In the past two closing pace cars can not overtake due to the second car have bad air flow, this lead to a lot fast cars stuck behind slow car and make F1 boring.


I don’t think there should be any penalty for causing a collision unless it was deliberate. If it looks deliberate, like a Senna or Schumacher or Piquet incident, then now they can look at the telemetry and work out if someone should be punished. But for all other accidents they’re not deliberate, they’re a result of racing. There’s as much chance of the overtaking driver being damaged as the person they’re passing (like Alonso today). That’s racing, it’s what they’re supposed to do. I just don’t understand the rule.

I also think they should be allowed two moves in defence, because that’s as fun to watch as someone overtaking. I think they’ve got it wrong about overtaking. DRS is rubbish. There’s nothing good about overtaking in itself, what’s fun is watching someone trying to overtake and someone else defending – it’s the battle. What was frustrating before wasn’t really the lack of changes of position, is was the lack of attempts at overtaking. The problem was that a driver would just sit behind another for a whole race. I know DRS is intended to fix that, but there are better solutions that preserve the battle, including one they’ve actually done (making the tyres more variable). Personally, I think they should resurface all tracks with less grippy tarmac, like Melbourne’s. But with DRS all overtaking is devalued. Alonso and Hamilton’s was the best bit of the grand prix today, because it was a proper battle with Alonso’s wing not working. Then they go and penalise them for it.


For those asking about Lewis doing two stints on hard/prime tyres, Martin Whitmarsh claims (and I am quoting from that “We weren’t able to give him a second stint on option tyres today because they’d been damaged in qualifying yesterday”.

I am perplexed because Jenson & Lewis did the same amount of runs on identical tyres during qualifying.


This is not true as Lewis did 2 runs (Prime & Option) during Q2, whilst Button only did one run (Option).


He flat spotted a set



Can you mix a set of tyres? By that I mean if you say flat spot the right front on a set of options can you take a good right front from another set to replace it?

I realise this probably wouldnt be a good idea even if you could do it (uneven wear, balance etc) but im interested to know.




at turn 9 during q2 right?


Yep, a pretty entertaining result from the mix of Pirellis with CURSE and DR. S… whatever his name was. Seriously, ’twas the best race at Sepang, best ever! Maybe it was slightly artificial but it resembled DTM at a place like Norisring with lots of spectacular moves.

Team quotes were quite entertaining today: virtually everyone claims the race could’ve been better, most drivers from P4 onwards used the word “podium” – the usual story of “only if…”. But even Button admitted it would’ve been very hard to catch Seb. What can happen now is a silly mistake from either RBR or VET, like the one Mika had at Monza back in 1999. Or maybe we’ll have a nice battle for the win next time in made in China.


Great race! However, F1 is going the wrong direction on ONLY 1 ACCOUNT!! STEWARDING….20secs penalties for Alonso and Lewis??? What are they thinking?? They are ridiculous. really. The are making F1 a completely sterilised and ULTRA-SUPER-STUPID sport. “Dangerous” driving for Lewis?? and then another 20s for Alonso for a PURE RACING INCIDENT??? and the biggest success of the stewards through the past few years is that they have managed to create a whole generation of people who will start to play smart by looking closely at the replays trying to find something to excuse the stewards for their decisions….what a shame…


In the last half an hour I have learned that the penalty to Hamilton was for illegally and repeatedly changing direction in a straight in order to avoid Alonso’s overtaking him. That offence was made a lap before Alonso clashed with Hamilton in the curbs. It seems to me that the stewards have then made a foolish justice. May be the stewards were compelled to punish Hamilton due to the fact that the rule under which Hamilton was punished had been strengthened for this season because of Hamilton’s tendency to act that way in the past. After punishing Hamilton, may be the stewards had to compensate punishing Alonso as well. Given the eventual result of both manoeuvres, the punishments were inutile but for Hamilton. That said, I have to say also that I admire both drivers.


What a great race! I just wish that some of the battling is for the lead of the race rather than way down the field. Out of interest can anyone remember last time there was an overtake for the lead of a race, by that I mean the guy in second overtaking the guy in first, not during pitstops when they are out of position or off the start. Off the top of my head I can only think of Vettels Ill fated attempt on Webber at Turkey last year.

DRS was something I was in two minds about at thte start of the season. I think I like it now. My fear was that overtaking would be too easy. This is not the case as the drivers still had to work in turn 1 to make it stick. My gripe is the systems unreliability, several drivers couldnt get theirs to work. I suppose this is the teams fault but I feel that for a “contrived” system thats only operable under such specific conditions that it is very bad if a driver cant use it.

On that subject I dont think it is contrived, yes I suppose it is a little artificial but as one of the commentators pointed out at Australia the fact that the cars are designed in such a way to discard hot turbulent air so that a following car is disadvantaged is artificial. Whats wrong with having somethign artificial to counteract something thats artificial? Two negatives make a positive last time I checked 😉

I would like to see the rule makers experiment with it. How about giving each driver a limit of uses per race say 10 or 20 uses but at any point? Just an idea but I was thinking of what Coulthard was saying on the turbo eras boost button. Yes you could hit the button and breeze past but you couldnt do it very often or you would run out of fuel (or blow the engine) and the other guy could retaliate if he wanted to. The risk is you may end up that two drivers use theirs at the same time for all their allocation (much like they seem to be doing with KERS) but on the other hand they may not.

Anyone got an idea on why the Renaults are so fast off the line and out of the corners? I remember back in their heyday with Alonso they were like than but was that not down to their mass dampers which I believe were banned?


The Renault engine is superior to the others in low-end torque (but suffers in high-end power). They’ve always been faster out of the corners for this reason and, provided they don’t have wheelspin or bog the engine, this will translate to being quick off the line. If Red Bull get their KERS sorted out they will walk away with this season, imo.


Yes but it just seems to be the Renault car not the Red Bull that starts like a rocket ship.


Good idea the limited number of DRS use. But it has to be limited to around 5 times. It will make it tasty. Should I use it now or should I wait to have a better exit from the hairpin.


Great race. Really exciting. However, I do hope it’s over (at least for some time) of Vettel’s wins. It’s already getting boring! 😉

Such a shame about Ferrari – they had a bad qualifying session, but they seemed much better with their race pace and both drivers had good races (though Alonso should really think about his starts. How come he’s always the one who gets blocked by somebody on the start?! You probably all know by now he’s my favourite driver, but I’m always nervous at the start because there’s always something wrong with him lately…).

Anyway, one thing came to my mind concerning Alonso’s and Hamilton’s penalties:

They bring all those DRS and KERS systems to make the races more exciting and to fascilitate overtaking. But this is still a bit artificial (though it works apparently)… and then there are two drivers who want to (or have to;-) )fight it out without these systems and they are being penalised for it. I know that Hamilton changed his direction a few times (so don’t attack me for that), but I didn’t (and I’m an Alonso fan!) think it was that bad. And yes – Alonso did cause the collision, but he was in fact practically penalised for it when he demaged his front wing and had to pit again which ruined his podium chances. What I saw were two great drivers having a fierce and exciting battle. And its ending was a simple race incident IMHO. And I want to see battles like that more often, not just pressing a button on the straight and closing the gap to be able to overtake. This is my totally biased and personal opinion of course, but I’m disappointed that they were both penalised for doing something they should be doing and for something we all want to see :).


Spot on!

Let racing drivers do what they are supposed to do – use ‘their’ skill to race each other!


I agree with you on almost everything. I think that Hamilton deserved his penalty because he has done to Petrov last year on the same circuit and the clarification came as a consequence. DON’T WAVE, MOVE ONLY ONCE. But he couldn’t afford to let Alonso pass easily and weaved, so he had to pay.

As for Alonso, the pain was inflicted to him. It’s as if you sentence someone to death because he tried to commit suicide.

One point you made and which is extremely relevant is the poor starts of Alonso. It’s a habit with him and that can’t be down to luck. He has a poor start strategy and needs to work on it.


I see one more problem with that: compliance with the rules and handing penalties should be consistent throughout the whole season. So from now on the stewards should be looking carefully at every single incident. We all know that isn’t going to happen and it can cause lots of discontent from various teams and drivers when they feel that somebody should get a penalty, but he didn’t. I can almost already see people using this exemple when questioning decisions not to punish someone in the future ;-).

Re starts: from China on I’m not watching first minute of the race – I just can’t watch Alonso messing it up again. And maybe I’ll get surprised one day and see him higher than he started once I open my eyes? 😉


By the way, we need to watch a race together:-)


Could be done one day ;-).


Still don’t like DRS. US viewers heard Hobbsie say ‘DRS and Tilke tracks are made for each other’. What did he mean – you can’t pass on a Tilke track without a JATO assist? Or both are loads o merde?

I vote the latter.


I think Petrov had JATO pack strapped on 😉


Me too!

Tyres with (reasonably) high degradation OK, even KERS I can put up with as at least it is a level playing field,

but DRS is just too gimmicky and makes the racing too artificial.

The only time a driver can demonstrate any level of skill with DRS is in qualifying when they can use it whenever possible – i.e. the better drivers will have the ability to use it more/earlier at the same time as keeping the car under control!


I don’t believe for one minute Red Bull’s KERS failed to work with Seb.

Absolute rubbish, but brilliant mind games by Red Bull – a job well done.

Just as I don’t believe Mark is going to be given a fair crack at this championship.

Totally unnecessary penalties by the stewards. If you are going to be harsh about weaving/blocking, then they should have punished Vettel for his weaving at the start and Hamilton. Inconsistent decision making by the stewards, nothing new I guess.

I’m surprise more wasn’t made at the DREADFUL decision making by McLaren for Lewis’s stops. I have no idea why the chose the strategy they did for him. Lewis needs to learn to say no. Pretty average 2nd place for Button, as ever the useful points back up plan for McLaren. The perfect no.2


Button was pitting one lap after Hamilton. He didn’t need 4 stops did he?


Finally, just to add, that accident by Petrov was horrible. Reminds me in some ways of Senna’s accident, Petrov was lucky there was pretty of run off area.


Why give Fernando and Lewis a penalty? Why? We want racing! That’s the point!


Schumacher was comfortably better than Rosberg. Just a shame that Mercedes is so poor he could only finish 9th.

I fear it’s becoming clear than 2009 was very much an anomaly for that team (thanks to the double diffuser) and they’ve reverted back to their BAR/Honda performances.


Hi James,

Great to see Ferrari take a step forward in this race as they kept to their word of using superior strategy to pressure the leaders. The two key strategic plays they made included a surprise DRS system which stuns both driver and opponents by suddenly not working, and new and improved luxury pit stop timing, offering the Ferrari drivers longer time stationary in the pits so they may ponder the meaning of life.

Di Montezemolo and Domenicali were certainly on point at the start of the season when they said Ferrari’s only goal is winning the World Championship, and from this performance I hope Red Bull and Mclaren stay on their toes or risk losing everything to the Prancing Horse. James, do you happen to know the stationary times in the pits for each team? I felt like some teams were doing a significantly faster job changing tires than others.


For those watching BBC coverage you will have noticed Martin Brundle manually lifting the flap in the garage on Fernandos car (whether the footage was pre race day I dont know), but he mentioned it on his commentary.

I did wonder whether that affected it.


That’ll be Brundle up before the Stewards,then.

Not for the first time!

Now all the fanboys will want him to fiddle with the McL in China, to even things up.


Haha your first paragraph is so true.

Would also be interested to see the pit stop times for various teams, perhaps in some technical feature.

No doubt the teams collate that information themselves for their own internal use. The pit stop crews must be quite competitive.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Which ex-driver twit was the steward this week? The Hamilton Alonso incident was a racing incident.

If anyone should be penalised, it should have been Alonso….and he was because he los t his own front wing.

This decision is ridiculous considering that no action was taken against crashboy Webber in Australia last year.

Take this buffoon off the stewards panel.


Hamilton’s penalty was awarded for weaving the lap before the collision, on the back straight (before the last hairpin).

The fact that a previous similar mistake wasn’t punished does not make a valid argument for not punishing mistakes.

In general, if only the outcome on an incident would be considered when judgment is made, that would be no justice. You also have to consider the intent. Or the lack of consideration for consequences. That’s why I consider Alonso’s penalty justifiable.


Sure, but Mike’s talking specifically about Alonso hitting the back of Hamilton… I thought Hamilton’s penalty was fair (he changed lines many times on the lap prior to Alonso’s miscalculation); I thought the penalty for Alonso was very harsh.


From FIA official website:

‘McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso have had 20 seconds added to their race times by the Malaysian stewards following their clash during the Sepang event.

Hamilton was penalised for making more than one change of direction as he tried to defend his position from Alonso. The Spaniard, meanwhile, received the same penalty for causing a collision with the British driver during the fight.’

Nice fight, anyway.


from the start it was an anti-climatic race. the moment the renault got in between LH and SV… all the build up to the race after qualifying was lost.

sebastian was leading by 8 seconds already after 5 or so laps. i seriously considered switching off my tv a few laps before the end.

seb maybe brilliant but another era like schumacher-type domination will really turn me off this time from watching F1.

he maybe winningly brilliant but it is not done by wheel to wheel dicing with other competitors.

my only hope for the season is that mclaren and ferrari get their act together


Well, I guess that depends upon who you’re supporting \ following… I don’t have a team or a driver, I want the Brits to do well (obviously, being a Brit myself), but above all else I wish to see an enthralling race… and on Sunday, that’s what I feel we got 🙂


James could you post how much long were the frontrunners pitstops in total time ? I have a feeling that both in Melbourne and in Sepang the Ferrari guys were the slowest ( except Massa’s pitstop with problem ) . So i’m interested comparing the time difference between sucsessfull pitstops , again i think every time Ferrari was 1-2 seconds slower . That’s a lot in 3 stops to one driver , 6 seconds deficit .


Reading the comments here I think the DRS system is being overplayed. I accept it helps but the main factor in the amount of overtaking is the Tyres. Remember the 3 a breast move of Ham Sch and I think Buemi was into the last corner and no DRS at all. It was because Sch was pitting, Ham on fresh rubber and Buemi somewhere in the middle.

James – could you tell me if the hard tyres last longer than the soft tyres? The old Bridgestones did by a long way but it seem the durability between hard and soft is similar and it’s just the soft is a second a lap quicker? My thinking is that the leaders did 13/15 laps on full fuel but at the end on less fuel Button only could do 19 laps on the hards and this is because of less fuel?


I concur sir. DRS and KERS help the situation, but it’s the respective tyre wear that’s causing most overtakes. Grip in the corners (or lack of) and traction out of them (or not, as the case may be).

I can’t recall the last time I saw so many cars going into and around corners side-by-side or one going deep and the other under-cutting. In previous recent seasons we may have seen this on lap one or two but after that the field spread caused processions (especially at Malaysia). Now we have drivers moving forward and backwards as their tyre life ebbs n flows. However, Malaysia’s wide track helped in this matter by allowing slightly different lines to be taken.


I really enjoyed the race, but felt Alonso’s penalty was harsh considering no damage was done.


Ferrari should give Massa’s seat to Kobayashi or Red Bull should replace Webber with Kobayashi, that boy is a racer.

There was too much action in this race that I do not remember seeing some drivers.

Yes, Malaysia & France are one of Hammy’s Bogey tracks but it’s so obvious Vettel has this season sewn up & in the bag. All he has to do is pole it & it’s game over.

Schumacher & Rubens should do the right thing by calling it a day & hand over their seats to younger drivers.

Alonso must have Hammy nightmares every night for Jeez what was that all about, am glad though that he didn’t get bragging rights by making the move stick.

Hammy has passed Alonso & Vettel on track but those two have never repaired the favour

All in all, this is what racing should be about, F1 purists are a boring, old batch. They should stop living in the 1950s & brace the 21 century.


Im a Webber fan, and I’d like to see Ricciardo in that seat one day, but I agree that Kobayashi would be excellent to watch in a Red Bull. He’s a perfect match for their brand!


if you want to many pit stop, go to the old system with Fuel Pit stop with the good tyre, the weight of fuel vary with the speed, so the team can choose what speed they want, and the driver can run at their full performance.

I personally don’t like the high wear rate of tyre which make some driver look very stupid and many viewer who don’t understand much about F1 will look at the driver who have bad tyre as stupid driver.

Race car should be all about the performance of driver and the car, not the game of preserve the tyre and bet on it.

Fuel Level is suited to call strategic, tyre wear is not a strategic race and the driver can’t drive at their true performance.

with DRS, it make the race to have more spectacular with more overtaking, but the pass show anything about the performance of driver, sometime it was not fair for the driver, such as Mark make a good attack to Kobayashi and pass him on back straight but was overtaking back easily at the pit straight, mean Mark do the good work for nothing.

there is pro and con for DRS, it good for organizer but sometime not fair for good driver. one can use it and another one can’t. one lose position because the other have special tool to pass him, is it fair?

KERS is ok, everyone have it, and can choose wherever when to use it.


Dear FIA

You can’t win. No overtaking, everyone complains. A fair bit of overtaking, using an energy boost system akin to the turbo’s in the 80’s, everyone complains.

Lets just put repeats of old races instead, and then we’ll never enjoy such a great race of Malaysia ’11 again. Good thing too, what with all that over-taking malarkey


And let’s not forget scrapping the circuits in “far-flung” places that nobody (apparently) attends!


I asked a few what are rhe most boring races and all the replies were for Euro tracks!! So perhaps were wrong. What if all those Tilke tracks become best ever now that DRS is here?!


I should add that these circuits are boring. 😉


Absolutely agree !

I’m not a new fan but I definitely enjoyed this race.

I like the tyre wear and don’t care for KERS or DRS. But it’s part of the game.
Dramatic moments when you realize Alonso has lost his DRS at the most critical moment.


Precisely my thoughts on the matter.

Been a fan from the late seventies,and today’s race felt just like those days.

The thing with DRS is it allows faster cars who have to come through the field after a stop to get on with their race and not get stuck behind for lap after lap.

Also if 2 cars are racing together who are fundamentally very similar on pace to race wheel to wheel as demonstrated by Koba and Schy.

They had a good clean battle all race,and very entertaining it was.

I’ll take this style of racing anyday,over the start/stop sprint then coast to the line after the last pitstop that got very perdictable.

As with most things in F1, it’s new and the team strategies will start to settle down after a while.




I agree. But don’t forget to edit out the pitstops too as they’re too confusing.


Really enjoyed todays race, it was difficult to make any kind of informed judgement on the relative race pace of most of the top 10 as it seemed to vary significantly depending on which stint each driver was on but this only added to the excitement and spectacle in my opinion.


From my perspective as a Button fan, the situation seemed quite tentative once things settled down during his first stint of the race having just lost a position to Alonso and I was concerned that Hamilton would just blitz him to be honest.

My concern was further compounded during the second stint for both drivers upon realizing that Hamilton was actually on the hard tyre whilst Button was on the soft, despite Button having the measure of Hamilton at this stage in the race. At this point in the race I was convinced that Hamilton would dissapear ahead and out of sight on the theoretically faster soft tyre once they came in for a third and final stop.

It was a real surprise to see Hamilton pit so early after running the hard compound in his second stint and even more of a suprise to see Jenson’s incredibly competitive pace on the hard compound having pitted shortly after. I was absolutely baffled when Hamilton then needed to pit for a fourth time a few laps from the end of the race – as I understand it he was running primes again – and I really felt for him.

Understandably he seemed devastated and utterly disgruntled in his post race interview and this poor result for him must set the alarm bells ringing in his head in terms of how he can better conserve tyres in future races, especially considering that his teammate is notorious for being softer than his rivals on his tyres and seems to be more bullish this season.

Another factor to consider is that qualifying will be less significant this season at many of the races so surely Lewis HAS to get on top of tyre degradation and consistent race pace if he wants to beat Jenson again this season.

A couple of positions difference in qualifying – assuming the 2-3 tenths gap between Lewis and Jenson in qualy continues as a trend – won’t cement a strong race result this season as there are so many other factors to manage.

At the very least, judging from these early indications it looks like the battle between Lewis and Jenson at Mclaren will be an enthralling one as the season progresses and Jenson may yet cement a place amongst the top tier of drivers currently in F1.


Massa’s first pitstop ruined his race and initially I thought it may even have been intentional in order to let Alonso regain track position following Massa’s earlier pass on his teammate. Yay for conspiracy theories. Regardless, it was nice to see Massa looking strong in race trim until that point in the race and I hope as a Mclaren fan that he can mix it up and take some points away from a few key rivals during the season in much the same way that he cost Button a strong result in Melbourne.

Alonso with another points scathing driver error early in the season with his attempted pass on Hamilton but besides that drove a solid race as should be expected of a driver of his calibre. Could have probably finished on the podium behind Jenson had he not had that contact. He really does need to stop making frequent mistakes though if he is to maintain his status as the “most complete” driver on the F1 grid so it will be interesting to see how he performs in the next few races.

///Red Bull///

Dominating pole to flag victory for Vettel which seems to be his forte now, but the Mclaren’s have definately closed the gap. I would even go as far as to say that they were practically equal on pace this weekend so hopefully we’ll get to see Vettel in the mix with other cars in future races instead of ahead on his own. As usual he was a total beast in qualifying, setting the pole time on his last flyer when it really counted.

Horrible bogged-down start for Webber which didn’t seem to be entirely his fault judging by the onboard and more reliability woes during the race with KERS and DRS. A gritty drive to bring it back to take fourth place given the circumstances. Really happy to see him more or less back on the pace after a worrying Melbourne weekend.

///Williams and Mercedes///

Yet another abysmal result for Williams and I fear for their future more than ever. Their pace seems utterly sporadic and random at this stage in the season which for me calls into question the drivers themselves.

Occasionally we see Barrichello or Maldonado setting a blisteringly fast lap time for a single lap then completely drop off the pace by several seconds thereafter which is very confusing. Is their car fundamentally slow or are the drivers underperforming? Or worse, both?

Schumacher seems to be constantly in the wars ever since his comeback started, fighting with lower mid-field teams like Torro Rosso, Sauber and Force India in every race. Good to see him at least taking the fight to them though and not just crashing into other cars like he did last season. On the contrary, Rosberg was totally out of the picture this race and didn’t seem to do anything much besides get passed by Di Resta on several occasions.

Mercedes seem to be in a similar conundrum to Williams – occasionally right on the pace for a lap or two then a country mile off the rest of the time.

///Renault and Force India///

Incredible starts by the Renault drivers but I also feel they were aided greatly by Vettel’s very cautious and early braking into turn one which bunched up the Mclaren’s and Ferrari’s directly behind him.

Solid result for Heidfeld and this may well be the season where he deservedly earns his first win in F1. I seriously doubt that they can mount a driver’s title challenge this season despite an aggressive upgrade schedule and competitive pace in the car itself but it will be interesting to see how they develop going into the mid-season, particularly in terms of how their pace will impact on the other teams and driver’s battles for the title. It’s obvious from the first two races that Renault are capable of thwarting other teams/drivers races by getting in front and staying there in similar fashion to Kubica at several races last season.

Petrov’s off track rally jump was the single most entertaining moment of the race for me, but immediately afterwards I worried that he might have trashed his back during the incident. No idea to be honest how he fell back down the order the way he did before that incident, but it seems like another quite scrappy race for the Russian.


Impeccable second race weekend for Di Resta – building from a disadvantaged situation in free practice to gradually improve the pace of the car after Hulkenberg’s Friday outing cost him time, outqualified his teammate again and finished ahead in the race after some good battles with other cars.

The guy looks like the real deal and I eagerly await to see his progress throughout this season and hopefully if all goes well, in a more competitive car in the near future.


Certainly plenty of surprising events during this race and I thoroughly enjoyed surfing the peaks and troughs of emotion as I followed the coverage today.

Looking forward to the Chinese GP coverage starting in 5 days time. Post your opinions:)


Don’t agree with your Hamilton analysis. I think Mclaren called him in too early for all 3 of his stops. He only struggled with his 2nd set of hard tyres not his first which suggests to me a problem with this set. I do accept this could have been self induced if he had runined them in practice/quali. I’m interested to see the post race analysis and think this season will show up many examples like this.


Hamilton actually ended up pitting 4 times in the end. His final pitstop was his own call according to Martin Whitmarsh – the team felt that he would be able to continue without stopping again but he chose to pit which is quite strange in itself.

The only legitimate reason I can think of for doing so is that his 4th set of tyres (after his third stop) had “fallen off the cliff” as they put it, suggesting extreme tyre wear on that particular set. Basically, Hamilton was getting about 12 laps maximum out of both tyre compounds before pitting.

Forgive me but I’m struggling to find where you are actually disagreeing with my assessment as I also stated that I was surprised to see Hamilton pit so early after his first set of primes.

What I meant to imply was that perhaps the team had brought him in too early as it was obvious that his tyres had not dropped off significantly pace wise yet. IIRC Brundle also commented on this. Button was behind and going faster but only by 1-2 tenths per lap at that time.


Don’t agree with this being an accurate reflection of how the rest of the season will pan out between Ham/But.

I think in this race there are a lot of things that Hamilton will learn from. Also, his pace was only poor on his last set of Option tyres and this was then further compromised by the damage to his car. This is why he had to make his 4th stop.

What I am fascinated by still is why Mclaren pitted him for his 3rd stop so early. This to me was a strategical error (as you point out). However, I wonder if they thought that it wasn’t a problem for Ham to do that last stint bearing in mind the fuel load was less. It was only then on these tyres that his race fell apart.

In summary there to me is still no real feeling that Button will as a lot of people think challenge Hamilton. For me no matter what era the faster driver is able to adapt and always comes out on top. It’s not that I don’t rate Button it’s just he is just missing that little bit more compared to Ham Alo Vet who are the 3 main drivers.


Mercedes look in realy bad shape, especially for a team that spent so ong preparing for this season. The car does not have the raw pace and also appreas to eat up its tyres – a woeful combination. The team are simply not giving the drivers decent raw materials.

Michael clearly still struggles to get the best out of the car over one lap – Nico is better that him in this area. My view is that Michael is still better in terms of racecraft than Nico.

I am not sure how they mover forwards. The team needs to take a long hard look at itself and do something different. They have a lot of time to find!!


I’m definitely not the target consumer group for such a racing. Too many meaningless overtaking kills the show and you start to think the race was lengthy.

Still, better this than what was last year’s Barcelona or Abu Dhabi.


Webber around the outside of Massa !!!

I loved the in-car footage, you could hear him on and off the throttle and thread the needle into the left hander!!

Another bad start for him, I wonder if it was all KERS or perhaps a bit of the ol’ nerves creeping in


Excellent point. It looked impressive and sounded impressive. That and the Alonso-Hamilton battle were the highlights of the race.


I’m sorry but I think the DRS is great. One driver gets passed using the DRS, the other still remains close because (most of the time) it doesn’t give too much of an advantage, and then is likely to attack again coming back round to the DRS zone.

There were some epic battles today (MSC-KOB), some amazing driving (HEI), and a highly amusing incident courtesy of Petrov.

Great race. Seriosuly, I hope this continues on to China next week.


Thoughts/questions from this race:

The Ferrari looked to be almost on a par with McLaren on race pace, lets hope they are close since it will be entertaining to have 3 teams fighting it out.

At the end of the race Alonso was catching Massa at 1sec a lap and finished just under 0.3 behind him, if Felipe had conserved fuel for the slowdown lap or Fernando had like him used more fuel, might the result between them have been differant?

Excellent race from Webber coming back from 10th.

Did Mclaren have to pit Hamilton so early because of the dreaded tire wear rate people have speculated he may suffer frim this year?

The penalty given to Alonso was very harsh, we wont see any close racing if they start handing them out for such minor incedents.

In context of the “breaking the tow” thing with Petrov last year, I’m glad to see Hamilton get a penalty for weaving. Drivers can’t be allowed to keep exercising cheeky and unsporting behaviour to gain an edge on competitors.


The penalty given to Alonso was very harsh, we wont see any close racing if they start handing them out for such minor incedents.

how was the penalty harsh when it made no difference to the outcome of the race?

Maybe not harsh enough!


As many people pointed out when Hamilton was penalised at Valencia last year, Alonso was handed the appropriate penalty for the incident.


A great race, it was amazing, despite the fact that pit stops confused me big time. Schumacher
finished well ahead of nico and faster than him most weekend except when he had drs problem. It’s ashame that not many people noticed it.
What a sensational result from him and Mercedes, Red Bull should keep an eye on them. *roll eyes*


Great race. Shame the Alonso/Lewis battle ended in an impact as it very entertaining and it was a great drive from Alonso.

Paul di Resta impressed – some nice wheel to wheel with Rosberg. And good to see Heidfeld doing well for Renault.

Be interesting to see if Mclaren can continue to reduce the RedBull margin over the coming races and whether the Pirellis suit Button more than Lewis.


Two races down and we allready have a clear picture of the 2011 season:

1. Red Bull

2. McLaren

3. Renault

4. Ferrari


6 Mercedes GP + rest

This looks like another wasted year for Schumacher.


I think you mean:

1. Red Bull car No1

2. McLaren

3. Renault

4. Ferrari

5. Red Bull car No2

6. Sauber

7. Mercedes GP + rest


One mistake. Ferrari ahead of Renault in pure pace. Alonso was ahead and quicker then Renault today even though he was way behind Heidfeld after lap 1.


For the first time in a long time F1 gave me a headache. I’ll give China a miss I think. Entertaining yes, chaotic yes, but it was a bit joyless. A bit ‘so what?’. It didn’t feel like a race, it felt like a show.

A guess that’s a consequence of being a purist an no doubt opinion will be divided.


I think your point about today being a show rather than a race is spot on!

Clearly, on this forum opinions are split on the merits of some of the new regs, and even if we were all unanimous in our opposition, unfortunately, the powers that be, are not particularly concerned with what purists/F1 anoraks/hardcore fans (delete as applicable) such as ourselves think, they are merely chasing bigger mainstream audiences.


Which you really can’t blame them for. I have other motorsport interests, so losing F1 to the land of chasing the mainstream isn’t so bad.

But it is a shame that F1 is becoming a game of gimmick implementation rather than the pursuit of true innovation.

No doubt in 5 years time it’s go full circle and they’ll try to introduce rules to simplify everything.


Couple of points that I noticed:

1) Heidfeld’s use of KERS seemed more intelligent than Hamilton’s. Nick saved most of his KERS for the start/finish straight, and late apexed the bend before, making him very quick down the straight. Lewis seemed to have used most of his KERS before the straight so, even with DRS, he was unable to pass. Webber (without KERS) was never going to pass Nick on that section either.

2) The Renault KERS seems to give the most boost, both at the start and in the race.

3) Alonso’s clash with Lewis showed why DRS is a good idea. Had his DRS been working he would have been clean past Lewis. Instead he had to try a risky move. Those who like accidents will clearly not like DRS, of course.


I agree with the first point, Heidfeld is a smart guy, he knew the McLaren with the DRS would pass him if he used up all his KERS earlier in the lap.


agree completely with point 1. Hamilton was using the stored energy in parts of the track where overtaking were unlikely, although Webber showed that it could be done.


Your third point is odd. That had nothing to do with DRS. And let’s not forget Sutil nearly had a gigantic accident in Australia ‘because of’ DRS.


Had Alonso had his DRS working he would have been clean past Lewis on the straight. Instead it was like the ‘bad old days’ before DRS with drivers getting frustrated and then pushing too hard, resulting in accidents.




It is too easy with DRS on this circuit with this straight. it was as if the rule was, if one car is 1s behind you, you have to let it through.

When Alonso had the DRS not working, we saw a nice battle with Hamilton and he would’ve overtaken him without that Bang. When Heidfeld came behind Hamilton, he overtook him very easily down the main straight. We even saw some moves completed before entering the breaking zone. That’s too easy (for this circuit I mean ), it reminds me of some overtakes during the Turbo era where cars swallowed one another.


And without these “gadgets” we’d have had a boring procession with perhaps one or two overtakes made at the start of the race (lap one, turn one) and nowhere else!

Many’s the time when I’ve asked friends (in the past) if they enjoyed the race – their stock answer would be, “I watched the start and lap one, then went off and did something else”. Now they are simply saying “Wow!”.

I love the fact the tyres fall apart quickly; I love that the tech is not 100% reliable; I love that teams are trying different strategies; I love that certain drivers are being thrown out of their comfort zones; I loved the madness and mayhem of that race in Malaysia.

It won’t last though. The teams will get more of a handle on the tyres – knowing when a driver can push etc; they’ll understand DRS better and make KERS more efficient and we’ll end up with processional races once again… so, the FIA will change the regs again and we’ll get the old “oooh it was better in the old days” line.

I was unsure about DRS… now… I kinda like it. I feel Malaysia will be the most DRS-friendly track, along with China and Monza.

What also helps in Malaysia is the width of the track, there are multiple lines into some of the corners, which at other tracks we simply don’t see.


Great race!

All I want to say and get your opinion on this, is that when Alonso broke his front wing in Hamilton’s rear wheel, from the engine sound you can hear that the revs are going down. Hamilton for some reason was not full throtle and I think that got Alonso by surprise and had no time to get out in time. Did anyone else noticed that? Having said that, Alonso’s fault all the way. Feel sorry for Hamilton because he was doing so good. Nice drive for both Renault cars and I am very impressed by Paul Di Resta.



It was maybe because of the contact between Alonso’s wing and Hamilton’s rear tyre. The contact braked the tyre which braked the engine.


I wish you would first watch the video and then post here. Have a look and you will see (and hear) that the engine revs are dropping dramatically just before the contact.

My guess is that Lewis had a bad exit from that turn and Alonso did not expected that.

Also, if you look at the video, you will also see how fast Alonso is right behind Lewis in and after that turn.

Usually the driver in front goes on the gas first and puts some distance between him and whoever is behind. This was the other way around.


Hamilton didn’t brake test Alonso. Alonso simply misjudged the move by the smallest margin.

I was totally surprised to hear that Fernando had been penalised by 20 secs for it though.

I can understand Hamilton getting 20 secs though, he was moving about, changing lines on the start\finish straight on the lap prior to their collision. Not by much, but there were 4 or 5 different moves \ line changes. The drivers all agreed that this was wrong, you choose a line and stick to it.


I did notice that as well. His revs went down all of a sudden indicating he lifted off the gas


I only saw parts of the race due to watching online on a laptop. Seemed a good race – shame the rain didn’t come!

I quite like KERS – I think F1 is a good platform to develop this kind of technology.

I’m not sure about DRS yet – it just seems unfair, although of course it’s also unfair that being close to the guy in front ruins your downforce and cooks your engine.

What are other people thinking on this?


I didn’t miss the rain honestly


I was watching with 6 mates, of whom 4 pretty new to it (just 6-7 races now). Everyone thought the pit stops made it confusing to follow for yourself so relied much more on the commentators who also got it wrong.

The overtaking was found gimmicky and therefore none impressed (except 1 by Kobayashi) because it looked like it was thanks to the driver in the back having a mechanical advantage with the DRS the one in front doesn’t have.

What we have seen so far is definitely much less exciting and interesting than the 2010 season, especially concerning real racing. I didn’t see any real racing today, but an entertainment event in which the regulators wanted to fix fake overtaking because that is what the lowest common denominator wants.

I am not even a purist.

Sure, I will still keep watching, but never will I take any overtaking serious or be excited by it, the way it is now.


I absolutely disagree. I’ve been watching \ following this sport for over 35 years now. Sunday’s race was one of the most fascinating I have seen in a long time.

And I wasn’t in the slightest bit confused… I was just soaking up the madness and mayhem of the event.

There were a few “fly-by” (easy) DRS passes, with no contest (Petrov utterly flew by someone on the start\finish straight), but these were where one driver had worn tyres and the other didn’t. Webber came thundering through the field at the end of the race, due to his fresher tyres (4 stop strategy).

There were plenty of “almost” DRS overtakes, in other words a driver behind got close (with DRS helping to negate the turbulent air-flow from the car in front) but not enough to make an overtake stick.

Then there were others that did make it stick, yet it still wasn’t easy to pass.

But hey, if you like processions…


Agree, the only exciting duel I can think of was between Alonso and Hamilton, because we knew that Alonso’s DRS didn’t work. The rest was a joke.


100% with you, on this circuit and this straight the DRS is to much. It makes it so easy to overtake. The faulty DRS made Alonso attacks onf Hamilton much more entertaining


After the penalty Alonso was given today, I suspect the drivers will be too scared to attempt an overtake and DRS passes will be the only ones we see!


This penalty is a joke. Formula 1 becomes Formula Farce.


Sadly I’m feeling the same – a bit too gimmicky!


Webber showed that overtaking was possible without DRS, and he wasn’t the only one.


There´s a lot aways of looking into the this race, there´s many good aspects with the tyres degradating, DRS and Kers.

The race was very good like James said many pit-stops, overtaking and some candidats to end up in the podium.

The bad thing for me is that it becamed more slow with the no refuelling and now became even more slower with the tyre management that drivers have to do, but i have to say it´s at least more fun this away.

Vettel is the world champion and he is driving like one, he has been spot on at every moment so far, pushing when he as to and controlling when he doesn´t need to push. He totally deserved the win.He might find himself before europe with a gap that he only needs to control for the championship.

The chasers need to cooldown and start colecting some serious points or they´ll end up to far behind before europe.

The Renaults starts are looking like rockets, on Australia and Malasia they were absolutely fast at the start , i wonder if their kers as something “different”.

Mercedes are really making a fool of them selfs, so far of the pace in quali and in the race that they look like honda but with a different engine.


On tires


Today, it looked as if Alonso was the one taking best car of his tyres with Vettel while in Australia the McLarens were the best. Today, they struggled mainly Hamilton.

Normally, the cars are fundamentally keen or harsh on their tires, but so far with 2 races gone it looks as if the situation changed from one race to the other. Are the tires too sensitive to the setup ? Is it temperature related ? Is it circuit related ? Is it a mix of all those above ?

I am sure of one thing, nobody neither us nor the journalists nor team engineers and not even Pirelli know exactly what’s going on.

This year, everybody is blind or with a very narrow vision field. Pre-season predictions were way off the mark. Horner in an interview told a journalist something like : we don’t know how fast are the others, how can you know ?

It’s the same with everything else. The only certainty is that RedBull are the fastest, McLaren the 2nd and Ferrari the 3rd.


“it looked as if Alonso was the one taking best car of his tyres”

Oh dear – you are going to upset a lot of people with that comment!


you need to join us on twitter Galapago555 Andy X & Lila. I like your input.


Worried you’re being outnumbered by those with logic Jo 😉 LOL

Thoroughly funny twitter exchanges with you guys yesterday.

I hope there isnt someone out there called Andy X, as he’ll be getting most of the hassle you usually give to me 🙂


One could in fact argue the Renault is 3rd fastest, ahead of Ferrari. No disrespect to Heidfeld and Petrov but if Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel, etc were in that Renault, I’m sure it would be even more impressive.


One would have to say that on the face of it Renault are 3rd fastest….


no I still think Ferrari is faster. Alonso would’ve finished 3rd fair and square and I am not defending Ferrari. I’m rather blaming them.

If you consider into the equation Alonso skills then maybe Renault is faster and still it’s not sure.


Sorry, but Ferrari are clearly 3rd fastest and not only with Alonso but also with Massa. It will take sometime to establish that since the results aren’t telling us the exact story.

If only Ferrari could release the cars earlier in pitstop, it would make a world of difference.

I am very happy with the race pace of Ferrari. Now concentrate on getting more out of the car!


Just imagine if it was Kubica in that car over the past two races….a season of what could have been for sure.

Massa did look competitive until his bungled pitstop one must say, hopefully signs of a turn around in his form.


Ross Brawn is my hero. Buys a team for nothing, wins due to one clever idea. Then calls up Schumi, probably gives him a piece behind the scenes to put a cherry on the deal to the German buyers, pitches it, sells it for huge profit and now kicks back – while the team “ships it in” for 3 seasons with Ross kicking back in anticipation of a comfy retiremet. Well done!

Sorry Mercedes – I know you don’t want to hear it, but you’ve been had!


Vebbull’s,sorry ’bout that.


Lol. Would be interesting to see the budget, I heard last year it was significantly less than the big three.


Whatever the budget, the results are pathetic. Let’s say Schumi is past it – which I don’t think he is. Rosberg should be so hungry that we should see results. Instead, whatever they developed isn’t suiting any of their drivers for at least a repeat of 2010 – which looks like it was a much better season that 2011 will be for them. I can’t believe that with the resources and F1 brain power they can’t produce something respectable. As I said – pathetic. Still doesn’t change my mind about Ross being my hero. F1 and business IQ like few others.


In general a car company demands results by the third year.They have some time still.The team is being prepared for Vettle’s arrival at the departure of Schumacher.It’s a national pride reassertion thing going on,not just a manufacturing advertisement.Nico has to prove worthy or another driver will partner die wunderkinder.


Brilliant post sebee. Made me chuckle.

The emperors new clothes 😉




Merc do seem to have lost the plot over the last couple of seasons. Even Force India had their measure today. Adrian must be getting nervous with Paul putting his first points on the board


Not hard to see that no one on this team is hungry. Maybe Nico, but he’s a small fry in this equation.


On Humbled Hummy


It is the story of a driver who thought that he was the fastest, the brightest and that he was beaten only by drivers with better cars. The team brought next to him a cool driver always smiling who looks after his tires and who always complains of low grip.

The cool driver wasn’t supposed to beat our mighty champion unless changeable conditions were on schedule. Yet, today the cool guy looked after his tires and beat the mighty champion fair and square. Unhappy, the mighty champion destroyed his tyres while pushing and ended being overtaken by every car near him even a steward truck some say.

Our champion was very angry because for the 1st time, he can’t say they were faster than us (which means that their car is faster than ours and even-though I compensate, I can’t make up the whole gap).

Today, he was beaten fair and square by a driver using the same car, the same tires, the same everything but who simply drove better being quick, consistent and yet looking after his tires.


The funny thing is, he always shows himself up in ironic ways after shooting his mouth off.

Last year he made some comments about Alonso seeming to still carry psychological baggage where he is concerned, in the two races that followed he bottled it and ran off track when Alonso came up behind him.

This week he made some comments about “some people being better losers than others” and having been beaten by his team mate had a face like a slapped bottom.

He needs to stop making these comments, karma seems to be listening…


He certainly needs to stop making these comments, it just makes him look a very bad sport.

But apparently you win prizes by making these comments. Got the book yet, Jo?

Moderation sure doesn’t do it!


Can you join twitter during races & after with Galapago Andy C & Lila. We need a moderator


Remember his “there is no way that he (Massa) would have overtaken me if the situation had been reversed” comment at Hockenheim in 2008?At the first corner of the very next race, Massa sailed by him (apparently much to the chagrin of someone who was commentating that race :)).

Then there was his totally inappropriate references to drivers at the back end of the grid at Monaco in 2007.


I’d imagine his reaction had little to do with his reaction it was more to do with regret due to a poor result.

He took the penalty graciously, I’d of been disappointed if he came out out smiling.


Not a Lewis fan I take it?! You could write the same post though replacing Hamilton with Alonso and Button with Massa. You sound very bitter!


You have to remember, Joe told us that it was all PR when Mclaren claimed that they had found `1 second per lap’ prior to Australia. Joe’s not bitter, he just takes every opportunity to have a dig at Mclaren. Some of his general comments comments are objective, but when it comes to Mclaren, objectivity goes out the window it!


“The same can be said about many of the pro-McLaren voices on this site.”

And Ferrari also!


“but when it comes to Mclaren, objectivity goes out the window it!”

The same can be said about many of the pro-McLaren voices on this site.


I don’t like Alonso that much too but there’s a big difference between him and Hammy, it’s called humility.


I nearly spat my cornflakes out then!!! Alonso humble????? You’re joking right?


The big difference is Hamilton drives for Mclaren.


Jo, Alonso is definitively not humble guy – and I’m a massive fan of his, as you know. He is talented, fast, ruthless, cold blooded, aggressive, funny; but he is not humble.


I’m sorry, but did you utter the word “humility” in the same sentence as “Alonso”? I can’t think of anyone more arrogant in the current driver lineup, and that includes Schumacher.


Alonso is humble? No such word in his vocabulary…


You always entertain me Jo, not least when you mentioned michaels humility 😉

He only got that when he came back to f1 and hasn’t done so well.


Jo, you are clearly a big Hamilton fan, no?

A very good performance from Button overall today, no doubt.

That said, I feel there is a lot more to come out of Hamilton’s performance today, particularly some of McLaren’s strategy calls.

Why use one less set of options compared to all of his nearest rivals? Did he wreck an extra set in qualifying?

Why pit early each time compared to his nearest competitors when his lap times were decent? (e.g. Button on the quicker options hadn’t taken that much time out of Hamilton considering he was on the primes.)

Why are McLaren’s pit stops generally slow – particularly compared to the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull (Vettel’s anyway) – and why are Hamilton’s often slower than Button’s? This was particularly costly today where he appeared to lose at least 3 seconds and clearly proved to be highly advantageous for Button, who otherwise would have fed in behind Hamilton.

Why were the second set of primes Hamilton used so much slower almost immediately – relatively taking into account fuel weights etc. – compared to his first and third set?

I wonder whether it was:

Just one of those days for Hamilton when things didn’t fall into place?, or,

Has Hamilton’s posturing about possibly moving in the future compromised his position within the team?

Also, is his current race engineer up to it or should Phil Prew revert back to his old role?

James, as you’ve already mentioned, I’m sure an article on this would/will prove fascinating.

Just heard Hamilton and Alonso both got 20 second penalties, here we go again!!!


Hamilton wrecked a set of soft tyres during qualifying. That may explain part of the poor strategy.


Im pretty sure Hamilton flatspotted a set of softs in quali 2 and maybe that will explain why he had to run an extra set of primes compared to button.


As I remember Hamilton ran one set of primes and a set of options in Q2, whilst Button just ran one set of options. There was no need for a 2nd run because of his quick first run(35.5)


“It was as terrible race,I started second and I came eighth.I tried my best.I had four pit-stops and the tyres didn’t last.I stopped before everyone else when I could have stayed out for a couple of laps more.Then the wrong tyres were put on.I had the Option instead of the Prime.For the last stint I had an old Prime,which didn’t last,and I had to pit-it was very poor strategy but there’s nothing I can do.”-Hamilton


yes, he did.


We’re lucky Alonso isn’t the team mate of Hamilton. Otherwise, we would have had conspiracy theorists among us.

He was called in too soon, he had poor pit stops, etc… Button pitted only one lap later than him, it doesn’t make a huge difference. The real difference is the pace. Button was quicker today, end of story.

As for the bad tyre set, maybe that Hamilton punished his tyres so much during FP and Qualies that he got what he got.

It’s strange nobody makes those remarks for Button. Today Alonso had a bad pitstop, a faulty DRS, is Ferrari conspiring against him.

Last year, Vettel had much more reliability issues than Webber. Everybody sees him as the beloved son.


In reference to the article you mentioned. Were exactly does Hamilton say “I blame McLaren for this bad race.” And what exactly does he accuse them of? To make use of your own words. Or is it all subject to interpretation? He said that the strategy was bad. Does that immediately make him ungrateful for “everything the team did for him since his youth”? He gave them a World Championship in his 2nd year of driving F1. Since then McLaren failed to provide him with a car so he could repeat that. I do think that Lewis paid his dues in that respect. He has on more than one occasion made his commitment to McLaren clear.

So now when things don’t go his way and he voices his dissatisfaction over it he gets deemed an ungrateful spoilt brat that deserves to get burned at the stake… I don’t get it.

Haters gonna hate…


Of course Hamilton wasn’t the only one to have things go against him today, that’s racing.

However, without wishing to sound like a huge conspiracy theorist, with regard to his 3rd pit stop, with McLaren knowing Hamilton was going onto a set of ‘used’ primes and Button only a net 2 seconds behind him, it is possible that McLaren took the pragmatic view that because following each of their respective stops Button was likely to be quicker, delaying Hamilton’s stop by a few seconds would get Button out in front, thus reducing the prospect of them clashing on track (ala Turkey 2010 which could easily have ended up in disaster) and the team potentially dropping 25-30 points.

What makes less sense, is why for Hamilton’s second stop, they brought him in before Vettel, when his option tyres had not particularly dropped off and he had taken over 3 seconds off Vettel in the previous six laps? It makes even less sense when you then find out he only had one set of fresh prime tyres left, which were never going to last 30 odd laps. Maybe McLaren were still anticipating rain?

I’m sure it was mentioned over the weekend that McLaren – and Hamilton in particular – in spite of their superior Mercedes engine were not topping the speed traps because they had thrown extra downforce on the car in anticipation of a wet race and to help with sector 2. Maybe that was the root of the strange strategy calls for Hamilton?

Can you clarify James?


I presume that the article refers to the same Lewis Hamilton who told us all that he is a team player at the same circuit in 2009 🙂


look at what he accused his team of after all what they did for him since his youth


On Ferrari


I really hope that McLaren can pick up the pace or Ferrari because the last thing I wanna see is Vettel doing a Schumacher. The next to last thing is McLaren winning any of the titles of course.

What a miserable team the Ferrari was. Not only they lack speed but they don’t know why the lack speed. To add insult to injury, after burning half the amazone worth of CO2 during winter testing without glitch, they lost their DRS on their only competitive car when Alonso needed to overtake Hamilton.

The Brit was struggling and Alonso would’ve overtaken anyway but he didn’t know at the time and he was keen to seize the slightest occasion at the time. All he achieved was to loose his moustache and a podium.

As for poor Felipe Massa, the only thing he can achieve regularly is to overtake Alonso at the start to make his life harder and to get the message “Can you confirm….”. Today he didn’t get the message but Alonso was much much much faster then him. A bad start, a wrecked front wing, an extra pit-stop, a faulty DRS and still Alonso was at his tail.

Next time, the message will be “Alonso is destroying you. Can you confirm you ….”

Are the bookies betting on when Dominicali will get sacked ! He should relieve himself and Ferrari.


They don’t lack speed overall: You can’t say that a car that would get a podium finish without an accident is much of a dog.

The issue is qualifying. An entire second slower than their top competitors is quite a disadvantage. There has to be something special that the Bulls and Macca can do for qualy that Ferrari doesn’t, because when it comes to the race, the differences are nowhere near as dramatic.

I wonder if James has inquired about fuel overburning in the top teams: Overburning for qualy is something that can provide huge advantages to those cars set up to do it by increasing downforce to levels that fuel consumption make impossible during the race. If Ferrari gets the same downforce levels in qualy and in the race, while their competitors gain downforce for qualy, it’d explain their failure.


Odd isn’t it, especially since Ferrari hired those strategic gurus over the winter. I wondered why they kept Alonso out for a couple of laps after the McLarens/Vettel pitted as he was losing a second a lap on the older tyres.

Massa is starting to remind me of Trulli in 2005 when Toyota somehow produced a reasonably quick car. The front teams planned their fuel strategy around qualifying in front of him since if you started behind him your race was ruined (the Jarno train).


Clearly, the aura of Ferrari is fading since someone disbanded or at least didnt try to keep, the dream team. And I am not surprised with the results.


Ferrari stayed a 21 year stint without a driver title and its aura hasn’t faded. How can you suggest that its aura is fading. Ferrari is the sun shading the stars brightness. Few clouds can diffuse the sun light but can’t make it disappear.


Its aura did fade then Schumacher brought it back, big difference between fading and going away.

Very difficult to see it ever happening but I’m sure the same was said about Alfa Romeo.


Ferrari won the WDC in 2007. And they were in a position to win it again in 2008 and 2010.

Can’t see la Scuderia’s aura fading. Not yet.


well montozemolo kicked schuey out so he could get fresh talent in, thats how he payed schuey back for all those years! I was a ferrari suporter but after 2006 iv’e always wanted them to lose. montozemolo wrecked it all – he deserves it


To be fair to Ferrari, their race pace (at least in Fernando’s hands) was competitive with the Renaults and almost with the McLarens. Their one-lap pace needed to improve.

The battle between Lewis and Jenson is getting interesting. Lewis’ tyres went off quicker than Jenson’s this week. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes a trend, or whether he just got unlucky with the tyres he got from the pool.

Being British, I’m a fan of all the Brit drivers. but I thought Lewis’ jink right out of the exit of the corner which caused the crash with Fernando was, while within the letter of the rules, a bit unsportsmanlike. The penalty for the earlier block was karma. Fernando’s 20 second penalty was a bit harsh, but it didn’t affect the results, so what the heck.

Having said that, I hope Ferrari finish 4th in the constructor’s championship this year, and I hope McLaren finish one-two in the driver’s championship. Either driver on top is OK with me 🙂

Great run from Quick Nick. Hoping for more from Vitaly as the season progresses. Also great drive from Paul to get the Force India into the points. Mercedes were very disappointing.


Agreed on Ferrari with the exception of Massa’s performance this race. I don’t think it’s fair to judge the pace difference between the two drivers during this particular race given the circumstances for Massa following his first stop for tyres.

Until that point he was firmly holding his position and keeping up with the car in front and not holding up the car behind and was ahead of his teammate. His pitstop was a complete disaster (I’ve commented on it a bit in my long post below also) and ultimately meant he lost several seconds and came out into heavy traffic which he had to fight through for much of the middle phase of the race.


Also, is Webber not given the magic Reb Bull hardware to put him in a supprtive role early?
He’s likely leaving end of this year anyway, they wouldn’t possibly want to send him off with a bag of secrets and the #1.


What do you think of DRS now?!


I will admit that I’m pleasantly surprised by DRS so far. It certainly added spice to today’s race. I still believe the drivers should be able to use it at will – I have no problem with the potential for multiple slipstreaming passes each lap that many fans scorn, so I would say that – but so far, so good.


DRS as an overtaking tool would not work if they were able to use it at will. Because cars racing together would use it at the same time.


The article almost invites to discuss certain things and to start the debate but I will comment on the race a bit differently.

In the end the result is similar to Australia – I mean, the standings. Vettel is still the winner. This was supposed to be a track where Mclaren is good and it was visible that they hoped for more than they got in the end. If they can’t fight Red Bull here, what will happen on other tracks?

Also Red Bull seemed to be better on tyres in the second half of the race. It has been like that before.

Webber was very dissappointed after the race, Hamilton even more. Alonso was pretty calm, considering the situation.

All in all the race was interesting but no to the extent that you would like to rewatch it. It was good, but not a thriller. There was no real fight for the first spot.

As for DRS – I do not care much for it, because those who say, that tyres contribute more to current state of affairs, may be right.

One more thing – the biggest problem in F1 is the big gaps between the teams. That does not allow for a much better racing.


“This was supposed to be a track where Mclaren is good” – how do you work that out? The sweeping curves (reliant on downforce) are more in tune with a Red Bull car, surely? There was some footage that compared the McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull thru turns 5 and 6 – Alonso was lifting, McLaren “feathering”, but Red Bull flat out – amazing stuff!!! But, granted, the 2 straights might favour other teams more so than RBR.

McLaren’s car is only 3 weeks old, with no pre-season testing. I feel their performance considering this is simply stunning.

The Red Bull is an evolution of the ’09 and ’10 cars and thus should be fast, their problem will be KERS as Newey doesn’t like it.

For me, that was a sensational race… action all over the track, for almost every position; some cars on newer tyres, some on older at different stages; some cars with fully working “tech”, some without, some somewhere in-between (it’s on, it’s not on, turn it on, don’t use it, etc, etc). Drivers dropping down the pack, then moving back through again, wheel to wheel battles… we even had someone trying to make it into orbit 😉

Those open spaces of the wide, wide, wide track at Malaysia, gives a multitude of lines to take, into different corners… KERS, DRS etc, etc all simply added to the mix.

Stunning stuff!!


The new rules are a welcome change to Formula One. I like the new racing tools and they add a great new dimension to the racing. They all have the same rule book and as Murray Walker used to say ‘the cream always rises to the top’.


It sure was an action packed race. There was doubt about how far Red Bull were ahead in terms of race pace but in my opinion, they have now established themselves as the team to beat. They have shown that their car works well in cold and hot climates and even with no KERS, Vettel was able to open the gap with ease. It seems as though he was biding his time, looking after his tyres and waiting towards the end of a stint to push. Very wise.

Interesting to see the Ferraris being able to race the Mclarens considering how far off the pace they were in qualifying. The strategists really need to up the game though. I think it was the 1st or 2nd set of stops where Alonso lost out big time to the Mclarens and Webber. The latter three had all pitted, pumping in the quick times on new rubber but they opted to keep him out and Button retook the position he lost at turn 1.

Oh and the Renaults. They showed good pace but what stood out for me most was the way they got off the line! They’re surely doing something right there. Reminds me of the Renaults in 05 and 06, which were also very quick off the mark.

As for the DRS. Yes, it helps with overtaking but its so artificial. Niki Lauda said something along the lines of (‘Red button’ after Oz GP)… how can the FIA decide who can pass. He has a point. It doesn’t guarantee a pass but it assists the driver in pursuit.

Just one more thing that I noticed – those drivers who pitted later may have lost out to those who pitted earlier and onto fresh rubber but towards the end of the of the stint that followed, they were faster and gained position/s in some cases. So, I wonder if any of the teams will follow that trend in races to come.

Sorry, went on a bit there 🙂


you mean when Renault and Schumi were using the illegal launch control 😉


I thought that Vitaly was the only one using launch control 😉


I thought that Schumi was using Ford-Cosworth engines when the allegations about illegal lauch control were being made.


A great run from the Lotus Renaults (or was that Renault Lotus?), though Vitaly made a couple of mistakes which ruined an otherwise good day. Evidently, he’s still got to improve his consistency. I’d be interested to know whether Vitaly’s initial off was caused by the steering column failure, or whether it was driver error followed by the impact of the berm that he launched over.

As a sidebar, what idiot decided that it was OK to have a perfect launch ramp on the outside of a fast corner? You’d think that somebody would have smoothed that out during the initial track safety review.


I read that Eric Boullier was quoted as saying that the steering wheel mount came off as a result of Petrov bouncing back onto the track. I don’t know if this has been confirmed.


Petrov lost concentration and drifted wide through that turn, putting him in the marbles which put him even wider – right off the track. He kept his foot down the entire time, thinking he could rejoin without losing too much time, but unfortunately there was that hump in the grass, which was impossible to see from the in-car camera, and he took a short flying lesson. The steering wheel column broke on his landing impact. (My flying instructor used to say “a good landing is one you can walk away from – a great landing is one you can use the plane again after. I guess Petrov had a good landing.)


Yeah good point. A great race, lots of overtaking, in the end somewhat difficult to keep up.

I want to address all of those who are against DRS. Guys, the points you make are absolutely valid however i want to state that the downforce lost as a result of aerodynamics is to some extent compensated with DRS. At least we have a scenario where the faster car can overtake and not get bogged down due to they aero effect(s). It makes F1 as a whole more appealing and it’s really not artificial. People can make a point that F1 was artificial in the past 5 years since aerodynamics took away racing artificially.

So well now we can say DRS is our answer to the critics. now cars can follow each other closely and also overtake and 2011 Malaysian GP is a clear evidence.

@sufyaan : You say DRS assists driver in pursuit, but don’t you think the aeros on modern F1 cars do the opposite in fast corners. They disadvantage the following car so DRS is a kind of a leveler or equaliser.

it’s just so good. for eg if i support an Alonso or hamilton and for some reason they end up behind a slower driver at a twisty track, mostly we all pray for our driver to pass but he doesnt and we lose interest and end up switching off the tv. now we won’t hv to. we know that our driver will be able to pass no matter how twisty the track is thanks to DRS. ..


The DRS is artificially controlled from outside the car by the FIA, THAT’S what is artificial about it. If they really want to address the issue of turbulence and aero affecting the ability to overtake they should just chop off all the wings.


Can’t agree with the theory of DRS ‘levelling the playing field’. If a driver has an advantage from being ahead he is entitled to it – he is ahead! The whole point is to be infront of the other cars, isn’t it? I do agree overtaking needs to be made more likely, but this should be done by changing the circuits and the cars over-dependence on aerodynamics, not by a quick-fix gimmick that is painfully artificial. DRS is a very lazy answer to the problem and we will potentially end up with no real overtaking because it will make sense to just wait for the DRS zone.


@Syed It’s absurd to suggest that I think the race should end on saturday. You are obviously right that the cars and circuits cannot be changed overnight, but the OWG (overtaking working group) brought in their first changes 3 seasons ago and if they had tackled the issue properly it could have been all sorted by now (the adjustable front wing was an even worse idea than the adjustable rear wing). The DRS is simply a terrible idea and may even be damaging to the sport. As an alternative, a car that is within overtaking range could be allowed an increased allowance of KERS for the following lap. I think that is better than the ‘DRS Zone’ concept. It is still too artificial for my liking but would be a decent solution until changes to the cars could be introduced. Once the cars have less downforce, the circuits can be modified in a few places to make them flow better. Overtaking and, just as importantly, defending a position would be back in F1.


@Don M Although I agree with the point you make, I still stand by DRS because you just can’t be ahead and that’s it. If that were the case, then the weekend should end on saturday. The whole point of a ‘race’ is to see who can get ahead of others over a race distance.

And you can’t change the circuits just like that. It will involve millions of dollars and it’s simply not feasible in short time. You can build good circuits in future but what about the historic ones say Catalunya. It’s a great aero circuit but doesn’t promote overtaking. But the fact is we need some kind of resolution for that. You just can’t dump them in hell. What about the funds put in to develop them.

And lets agree that aeros have their place in modern F1. the pursuing car is at a huge disadvantage, remember Alonso’s F10’s rear sliding while following Button at Monza round the parabolica. I think DRS just equalises that. It is levelling brilliantly.

And let me make a point that you don’t see brilliant cars or brilliant drivers flying past when using DRS. One good thing unexpectedly i think is that the following car gets closer after the straight and is able to attempt a pass after a few corners. Remember Vettel on Button and Alonso on Kobayashi, both moves in Melbourne a couple weeks ago. The cars came closer with DRS and could pass in the following corners. And let’s not forget he tires, they are also playing their part. Thumbs up to 2011 rules. And expect an equally exciting Chinese GP with longest straight on F1 calender.


with DRS, it make the race to have more spectacular with more overtaking, but the pass show anything about the performance of driver, sometime it was not fair for the driver, such as Mark make a good attack to Kobayashi and pass him on back straight but was overtaking back easily at the pit straight, mean Mark do the good work for nothing.


a number of overtaking manoeuvres were made off the straights. webber in particular had to resort to passing off the straights.


Absolutely agree with this take on DRS’s place on in F1. The car in front doesn’t have the disadvantage of dirty air that the pursuer does, so not giving the leader the advantage of DRS which the pursuer gets is levelling the playing field in many ways and making sure the faster driver in pursuit will get a fair shot at it.

The way that DRS zones are selected and managed in the future should aim to keep its effect as close to an equaliser as possible, no more and hopefully no less (though at Monaco it’s hard to see DRS coming anywhere near to being an equaliser, due to the length of the straights!)


Anyone able to explain to me why they brought Hamilton in when he was on the hard tyres and Vetell was on the soft? Surely they needed to leave him out, giving him the advantage of changing onto soft while Vetell had to change to hard? Yes Vetell was pulling away but he was on the better tyre – a situation that was about to flip…….

It just seems to me that Hamilton is the victim of McLaren strategy a little too often over the past few years…….


Hamilton flat-spotted a set of soft cars during qualifying, meaning that he had one less set of soft tyres for the race. He actually managed to flat spot both the left and right tyres at different stages on the same lap.

It would not be unreasonable to conclude that this action cost hamilton 2nd place today.


A good point, but I’ll dispute it anyway :-). Presumably Hamilton would still have been slow in the last stint on hards. Button would have been pushed on by Alonso, who wouldn’t have been held up by Hamilton, unless Lewis’ slow stop was so bad that Jenson would have got him anyway. Alonso would have had to have passed Button twice, but with DRS working, I think on today’s form Alonso would have had second. By stopping later he would have had a performance edge at the end. At the rate that Lewis was falling back before Alonso hit him, I think Button would have had Hamilton anyway.


Thanks for your comments, and looking at it all in detail I think that you are correct.

At end of the first stint (Lap 12), Hamilton was 2.1 secs ahead of Button.

At end of the second stint (Lap 24), Hamilton extended the gap to Button from 2.1 secs to 9 secs.

At end of the third stint (Lap 37), Hamilton was 1.6 secs ahead of Button despite being on harder tyres. Before the race, some people were claiming that the hard tyres were 1 sec slower, but I am not sure this is the case. Presumably if Hamilton had been on soft tyres for third stint, he could have extended the gap over Button by at least 3-4 secs. So let’s assume 13 secs.

At the end of lap 45, Hamilton (when Alonso caught Hamilton) was 7.3 secs behind Button. So this would probably equate to a 6 sec lead if Hamilton had ran soft tyres in the third stint.

At the time that Hamilton made is stop on lap 52, he was 27 secs behind Button. So assume this would have been a 14 sec deficit if Hamilton had ran his third stint on soft tyres.

Whether or not Alonso would have had the speed to catch Button is interesting to ponder. He was 7.7 secs behind at the end of lap 43, and was around 0.5 secs quicker on his first ‘clean’ lap. What could have happened is interesting.

All this points to how woeful Hamilton performed in the last stint. Martin Whitmarsh seemed to be perplexed by Hamilton’s decision to change tyres as well.


Im not 100 percent sure but i think Hamilton cost himself a set of Softs in the race by flatspotting them in quali.

I dont think Mclaren are the hottest on strategy but i definitely dont think they contrived to get JB ahead. He had an extra set of softs and used them to his advantage.


yes, he damaged a set of softs during qualifying.

You are right about JB. all the talk here about him thinking the situation through and developing a superior strategy is twaddle.


I guess that is more of an indication of how bad his team-mate is at preserving tyres – and Hammy is now in his fifth season! The first SEVEN finishers were able to preserve their tyres without any difficulties. Once again Button is being flattered by Hammy’s deficiencies.

A genuine front-line driver such as Prost would have put Vettel under pressure upon learning that he was experiencing technical difficulties. It is clear again that Button is a lower-mezzanine driver – solid, but he won’t win unless he is the beneficiary of a sizeable performance advantage.

Interestingly, the arm chair Hamilton supporters are not saying a word 🙂


Well he finished second so he must know a thing or two about preserving tyres.

One would hope that would keep his arm chair critics quiet for a while….they are certainly more sheepish after the race now that he has removed their ammunition!


De la Rosa said that it was because in qualyfing Hamilton did a hard brake (he deformed the wheel)and they haven’t more new option tyres


I remember at turn 9 he lock the brakes quite heavily, which I think really did something to his tyres. I was at the track side just in front of that corner.


yes, it was apparent during qualifying and DC pointed this out during the race as well.

yours truly highlighted the fact in the comment section of James’s qualifying report, and (rather predictably) received a snide response.


Are you twitting as charlie whiting


I’m sure that this was the original plan, but for whatever reason Hamilton was not as fast as expected on the prime, and to compound this problem, he was seemingly unable to make the hard tyres hold up for more than 13-14 laps – it was certainly the case with the second set of primes and, given that the only reason to pit when he did was degredation (to choose to box at that moment was strategically disadvantageous, so it can only have been forced), presumably it was also the case with the first.


I think Ham pitted first to jump Heidfeld. However what I think Heidfeld did well was stay out. It payed off in the end because he wasn’t in danger of needing a 4th stop.

I agree then it didn’t make sense for Ham to come in so early for his 2nd and 3rd stops? Unless of course they didn’t anticipate him having problems when he moved to the hard’s?


If McLaren was looking to win, it had to do something to affect Red Bull. Stopping first can give you a couple of seconds at the expense of losing them later in the race. If Vettel had overreacted to a halved gap he might have pushed is tyres over the edge with a string of fastest laps. As Red Bull had had KERS problems with Webber and from lap 29 this was also known with Vettel, if a McLaren could have gotten within one second, the combined effect of DRS and KERS should have allowed a pass.

McLaren’s possible belief that it is easier on its tyres might have further influenced this call. Relative to Melbourne, McLaren, particularly Hamilton, was running greater wing levels compared to Red Bull. This would have aided qualifying pace at the expense of tyre wear and race pace.


Driving difference between Hamilton and Button, then, is interesting since Button went much longer on those primes. I think it’s pretty lame that Lewis got dinged with penalty seconds at the end…he got hit from behind and it didn’t look like he was weaving.


Lewis’ penalty was for weaving on the straight the lap before. The contact was 100% Alonso’s own fault.


I think F1 managers kill the sport by artificial inventions like DRS, and constant rule changes. We do not have races now we have pit-stops and idiotic absolutely not thrilling and silly overtaking enabled by DRS.


TOTALLY agree.


Let me count you guys… one, two… errr…two!

Socratis Socratous

A really entertaining race. Its been a long time since we have seen a race like this. The Pirelli tires are the only new addition to racing that should stay in my opinion.

James, as the race progressed you could see a blanket of black “marbles” on the circuit. Is the degradation of the new tires really that great? Are there chunks falling of them? Does it look worse on TV or up close?


Mega race!


Think newcomers would just be extremely confused by todays race. Racing seemed contrived, I want a Grand Prix to be a flat out sprint to the finish, not a race of drivers conserving their tyres to their 3rd or 4th pitstop.

Maybe its just me but I didnt think todays race was a good spectacle for F1


“I want a Grand Prix to be a flat out sprint to the finish, not a race of drivers conserving their tyres to their 3rd or 4th pitstop.”

F1 isn’t the sport for you then. F1 has a long history of fuel and tyre management built into it. It’s not a time trial with brand new tyres and unlimited fuel.

A great WDC should be able to drive quickly and manage his tyres and fuel. That’s what made some of the mid 80’s racing so great. Senna was a master at driving on old rubber, and Mansell win at Silverstone in an epic batle with Piquet was all about tyre management. High degridation tyres is great for F1.


F1 also has a history of the best drivers pushing to the very limits of their cars, you only had to look on the red button last week at those 2 great races from 2000 with Hakkinen and Schumy going toe to toe, that was F1 at its best an most purist whereas yesterday felt somewhat contrived in comparison.

Its all good and well having tyre management in F1, Im for that but when the tyres purposely have little performance from the start it devalues the racing


I always thought of myself I belonged to the purists, and yet this new stuff we have got this year makes me squeak with excitement.

I loved every second of the race. So much action is what I wanted and I am so happy I got it.

There was so much going on there was almost no time to analyse things, but nowhere near too much to cope with. It was like a good action thriller and I loved it, definitely prefer this to the Bridgestone era of slow paced crime investigation kind of thing.

The tyres on my car are due to be renewed. No points for guessing what I’ll go for.


I have to say that I really enjoyed this race, probably because I didn’t quite know what was going to happen next. This wasn’t because of random incidents or rain coming into play, but because there appeared to be different strategies, with different drivers seemingly being faster at different stages of the race.

Last year we had much more of the concept of drivers just undertaking a race long sprint, although this was far from the case. After all the mandatory pitstops had taken place fuel saving modes were set in place rather ruining the “sprint”. As Kyle mentioned above the only thing that could spice up play or make the drivers work harder was if rain came along or mechanical failure happened. Today, feeling that almost anything could happen, it never crossed my mind once that I want it to rain or cars to pick up a gremlin! In fact I was quite hoping for it to stay dry.

I also think that the DRS worked to a level it was meant to. We all know that aerodynamics, or more specifically, the wake left by the car in front makes it almost impossible for the car behind to remain close through high speed corners, which makes overtaking quite hard. It was often stated last year that being within 1.5s of the car in front had a detrimental effect on your performance. So if you have somehow managed to hold on to the car in front through the high speed corners a small reward of the DRS allows for you to get that tiny bit more help to get level with the person you trying to get passed. To me it looked like DRS gave the help to get in a position to pass, not a free pass. So if you are in a fundamentally faster it looks like you can in front, but not easily.

My only one concern was with certain driver’s DRS not working. I assume (and hope) that these were mechanical problems and not ones to do with activation from Race Control.


So, you’d prefer your races to be a procession – jut like the one leading to the Royal Wedding?


I never said I had a problem with DRS!

I merely think that 3-4 pitstops is just too many for a grand prix, the tyres should allow a driver to race hard and I dont think these Pirelli’s do.

If they did then perhaps Jenson would have felt inclined to have attacked Vettel towards the end of the race, as it was though he couldnt.


The DRS is artificial. Why not have a radio controlled solenoid which slows down the engine of the car in the lead? It’s basically the same thing. The lead driver is a sitting duck. He can’t move to defend (ask Hamilton on that one). You want overtaking, watch NASCAR. As for “too many pit stops”, what’s the best number? Anything you choose would be just an arbitrary number. It was what it was. Next week there will probably be fewer stops.


Sorry – I wasn’t clear. I thought you were asking for an old-style race, with no pitstops and no refuelling. And that used to work in the days when F1 teams were not all-knowing.

My problem with that is that in modern F1, with all the computers and simulations, there are no surprises. Thus races would pretty much take the form of the cars having a preprogrammed race plan, with the fast cars stretching away at a regular rate from the slower ones, and given that the fast cars would almost always qualify in front this would usually lead to a procession.

I used to wander away from modern GPs after watching the first 1/3 of the race, because the finishing order would be pretty much defined.

That was far from true today. We got the race that I had hoped for, with some drivers being quick at the start, others quick in the middle, etc.

You couldn’t guess the result (part from Vettel) after 1/3 distance. And the fact that almost all the teams went away saying that they’d have to look at the data suggests that, for now at least, the computers don’t have the ascendency.

Having watched F1 for some 30 years, I strongly feel that this year’s changes (both tyres and DRS) have brought back some of the sort of racing that initially attracted me to the sport.


The last thing I want is for Grands Prix to be flat out sprints to the finish – that was exactly what was wrong with the sport in the refuelling era. To see drivers coping with a car that handles differently as the race unfolds makes every lap worth watching as fortunes ebb and flow, and today was a classic example of that – GP racing as I knew it growing up in the 70s and early 80s. Loving it, so far.


Couldn’t have put it better myself. The great thing about this style of racing is that it keeps us all guessing throughout the race. In the refuelling era dry races were far too predictable, the quickest sprinter would win every time unless they hit a particularly bad set of tyres or mechanical failure.

I think the current mix is near perfect. The level of degradation on the tyres is about right to allow for a range of strategic options. This mixture means that, even when there’s a runaway leader like Vettel has been in the last two races, at some point he’s likely to have to battle someone (e.g. vs Jenson at Melbourne) and whenever two cars get into close proximity, we all know that anything can happen. KERS and DRS are working well and allowing this to happen more often.

DRS needs to be monitored, because we did see a couple of passes today when people just used it to sail past on a straight and have car lengths advantage before the corner – this is boring overtaking and needs to be avoided. However, the vast majority of the time DRS allowed a car to get closer or alongside going into turn 1, still allowing for a proper battle through these corners. This is what we want to maintain going forward.


Those easy passes with the DRS would have been brought about by the tyre condition of the two cars. Without the DRS on straights as long as Malaysia’s the tyre difference is likely to make the braking duel pretty clear cut, so the skill factor would be minimal.

Rubinho's Keyfob


However, the vast majority of the time DRS allowed a car to get closer or alongside going into turn 1, still allowing for a proper battle through these corners.


I’ve been wondering if the DRS rules are actually the wrong way around – what if you get to use your DRS only if you’re *not* within 1s of the car ahead?

This would allow the slower cars to catch up those in front, but would then require real driver skill (and slipstream, “the pressure factor” etc) to eventually make a pass …

Bunch them up, make the whole race more like it is on the first couple of laps …


Totally agree.

Am I you? Are you me?

Hope I haven’t had some kind of time lapse and posted this response but can’t remember.

Looks like something I would write. Cheers, “other” Kyle.


100% agree with the above comment. DRS needs monitoring but so far I think it’s been almost spot on. If every car sped past in the DRS zone every time with 100% success rate it would be wrong and too artificial. But this hasnt been the case and has bern a good aid in my opinion.


No offence! but just what is needed for a race to be fun? Why look at the artificial components when it adds to the excitement. If DRS and KERS work well and aid overtaking we should be happy that they are doing the job.

If we want a pure race to see who is the better driver, we probably need to replace engines and tires and leave the drivers fight it out Flintstones style. Webber will have a good chance at the WDC followed by Button:-)


A very good race. I must say, I’ve been very impressed with Button so far this year – he seems a bit more punchy and quicker in the race than he did last year. Bad day for Lewis, does anyone know why he was so slow on the hard tyres? Alonso was good apart from his incident with Lewis. Vetel just looks peerless at the moment and could win the first 5 or 6 races at this rate, similar to Button in ’09. Overall, a good exciting weekend of F1.


A great race, I felt. Lots of passing all the way through the field and some great performances. Kobayashi was fantastic again.

It would have been nice to see a fight for the lead but Vettel was immense. Something will have to happen to loosen his dominance.


One doesn’t know the race pace with these chaotic rules. Those chasing Vettel had no chance as you have to use your tyres to be aggressive. The fools have made the tyres so you cant be agressive. I imagine Vettels had plenty to spare because he was not pressured or needing to use KERS. His tyres would have been pristine.


If Red Bull can still win at these races where KERS is a big factor, then the rest of the teams have a problem.


Will everyone give it a rest about Vettle being sooo good. Its the 2nd race of the season and he has had 2 poles and 2 wins, the only car I can remember him overtaking without the aid of a blue flag was Button in Australia, which one can argue was sailing close to the wind in legality terms AND he clearly has the fastest car by a margin yet again. If you are in F1 and you are given the fastest car then there should be no excuses baring mechanical for not winning every race.

Anyway, the main reason for my post is that its interesting to say the least that Hamilton was punished for moving twice in the braking zone whilst Vettel was not. From the start down to turn 1 Vettle was under pressure from Hamilton, and moved aggressively right which Hamilton saw and began to pass/catch up on Vettle’s left, until Vettle started to push Hamilton wide to the left which enabled Heidfield to pass Hamilton.

Why did the stewards miss this?


I think you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder. I never said Vettel was soooo good. RB have the top package but KERS was the big weak point. Their competitors need to make the most of this at certain races.

Vettel weaved at the start, but I’ve never seen this punished ever. I always presumed the start was governed by this rule unless you are driving VERY dangerously.


extra-ballast for Vettel if he keeps this form. I don’t see any other solution.


The bad news is I think he already had that in the form of a non-functionung KERS…


well he had his non-working KERS. does that count as extra ballast? 🙂


Extra ballast…? Please say you are joking – he was only 3.5secs ahead of Button at the end – not exactly ballast inducing… 😉


but he’s been cruising the whole weekend – or at least he seemed to.


A 20 sec penalty BEFORE the race, so he has to start from the back of the grid?


Agree, I thought it was fantastic, and I was at the edge of my seat a few time!


Except now the stewards have intervened a hit Hamitlon and Alonso with 20 second penalties each; Alonso for hitting Hamilton and Hamilton for ‘aggressive’ driving. Niether of them deserved any such thing. What a shame that Stewards wanting to make a name for themselves feel the need to make such blatently ridiculous decisions. We have an exciting race and Alosno and Hamilton are penalised for being too exciting. I’m so weary of Stewarding decisions and the makred inconsistency that I can’t even summon the energy to fully rant.


Agree stewards just spoil it all !!


“What a shame that Stewards wanting to make a name for themselves feel the need to make such blatently ridiculous decisions.”

How many of the stewards at today’s race meeting can you name?



So what happens if an incident takes place on the final lap which can not be resolved by the stewards before the drivers involved cross the finish line?


Sorry, of course I meant to say Hamilton.


To my knowledge, the penalty to Hamiltos has been for illegally changing the trajectory of his car while being overtaken. Fair or not, I cannot say.


Hamilton lost 20 seconds for the lap before when he moved more than once to defend down a staight. Alonso lost it for hitting Hamilton.

Hamilton can’t really talk after Valencia last year where his ‘penalty’ for passing the Saftey Car still left him 5 or 6 positions ahead of where he should have been if he hadn’t have passed.


Another ridiculous decision. Both indiscretions were minor, and cancelled each other out in the long run (Alonso finished ahead of Lewis), so why the need for the penalties? Kobayashi never came near Lewis during the race, and yet he finished ahead?

Has left a very sour taste after a great race.


Interestingly, Alonso actually hit Hamilton but only Hamilton has lost a placed due to these penalties. These guys were racing for goodness sake! Come on F1, you always seem to find a way to shoot yourself in the foot. THERE SHOULD BE NO DISCIPLINARY DECISIONS AFTER THE RACE!


I should point out in the interests of fairness that, despite not penalising Vetell for overtaking off the track in the last race, the stewards decisions have been generally better over the last year.

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