F1 Winter Break
Vettel on pole ahead of inaugural Indian Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Oct 2011   |  3:24 pm GMT  |  108 comments

Sebastian Vettel took his 28th career pole position today equalling the great Juan Manuel Fangio, as Red Bull Racing set a new record for poles in one season with 16. There are still two races to go.

Lewis Hamilton went into qualifying knowing that he would have to go three places back on the grid from where he qualified, following an incident in practice where he ignored waved yellow flags, as did Sergio Perez. Vitaly Petrov carried a five place penalty from the previous race.

The hard tyres are 2 seconds a lap slower than the softs here, so the game for the top five teams was to try to get through Q1 without having to use up a set of soft tyres.

Jenson Button was struggling for grip on the hard tyre and had to use up a set of softs to be sure, this had a knock on effect later in the session when he was limited to one run only. But he knew he was in trouble in Q1 when his fastest time on softs was slower than Vettel’s on the hard tyre.

Williams had looked in real trouble in practice, but Pastor Maldonado managed to get through Q1 a couple of hundredths of a second behind Michael Schumacher.

Kamui Kobayashi was the one to drop out in Q1, his Sauber team decided to only do four flying laps in Q1 and although Sergio Perez did a good lap, Kobayashi was 1.2 seconds slower.

Although he has qualified 17th three times this season, this was only the second time he’d dropped out in Q1.

In Q2 Vettel enjoyed an even better advantage over McLaren on the soft tyre.

Meanwhile Toro Rosso looked competitive, the updates on the blown floor and engine maps from Ferrari making a difference in challenging the Force India cars.

Eliminated in Q2 were Petrov, Schumacher, who has only made it into Q3 on seven occasions this year, Di Resta, Maldonado, Senna, Barrichello and Perez.

In Q3, Hamilton was very close after the first runs, but aborted his second run and ended up 3/10ths of a second behind Vettel, which he was quite pleased with, “To be able to split the Red Bulls on qualifying pace is something that everybody in the team should feel proud about. In fact, I’ve been really happy with my qualifying performance throughout the whole year – it’s been getting more and more consistent.” This is true, since Silverstone, he has no qualified lower than fourth and has been mostly second or third.

Alonso did well to get ahead of Button who was struggling for grip, while Adrian Sutil put a smile on Indian faces with 8th place in the Force India car. For the second race in a row Michael Schumacher suffered from a tyre vibration. Team boss Ross Brawn explained that the Mercedes tyre balancing unit didn’t make it through Indian customs.

Talk from the Red Bull team about possible team orders to ensure that Webber wins a race were brushed aside by the Australian, who does not want any presents,
‘There’s been a lot of talk from the team, but I don’t want any positions off Sebastian for the rest of the year,” he said.

INDIAN GRAND PRIX, Buddh International
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m24.178s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m24.474s + 0.296
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m24.508s + 0.330
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.519s + 0.341
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1m24.950s + 0.772
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.122s + 0.944
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.451s + 1.273
8. Adrian Sutil Force India
9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso

11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m26.319s + 1.662
12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.337s + 1.680
13. Paul di Resta Force India 1m26.503s + 1.846
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m26.537s + 1.880
15. Bruno Senna Renault 1m26.651s + 1.994
16. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m27.247s + 2.590
17. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m27.562s + 2.905

18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m27.876s + 1.687
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m28.565s + 2.376
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m28.752s + 2.563
21. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1m30.216s + 4.027
22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m30.238s + 4.049
23. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m30.866s + 4.677
24. Timo Glock Virgin 1m34.046s + 7.857

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interesting news about mercedes tyre balancing unit



Who was the moderator of the press conference today? Lewis commented on him smiling at Lewis' misfortune with the penalty. Was that you?


It was me doing the moderating.

I spoke with Lewis afterwards. It was a misunderstanding an no one should read anything into it either way


Was that you in the unilateral, James?


Yes it was James, thats why he slow on the reply.


James, this does seem to support a widely held view on here that you are not Lewis's biggest fan. He is going through tough times, surely he needs our support.


Wow. That is a baseless comment? Why on earth would James, if it even was him, need to favour or support a particular driver? I for one prefer that, as a journalist he seems impartial. Besides, journalistic support hasn't helped Englands' cause in football or any other sport... I think Lewis like everyone else should have to earn their plaudits on the track/field etc. These guys are highly, highly paid professionals doing what they love... If anyone needs to be coddled, they don't belong at the top of the sport.


"widely held view"... I think it's your idiosyncratic view actually.


Widely held view? Not with me it's not, Lewis has made numerous errors this season, if you can't accept the media reporting that don't read this site. The question he asked in the interview was fair, and in no way suggested he was happy to see Lewis fail to get pole.

JA asked: Lewis it was close after the 1st run in q3, then you aborted your final run, and of course you're moving 3 places back on the Grid as well. Your thoughts on qualifying today?

LH: It's interesting how you smile about.

Maybe he smiled at Lewis because he views Lewis as a friend, maybe, because he wanted to make him feel at ease? Or maybe, just maybe, Lewis' has a dreadful attitude still, which is backed up with his comments and lack of smile during the top3 photos... Again. If I or my staff behaved like that at work I think we'd be looking for a new employer.

Hamilton reminds me of modern footballers, surrounded by yes men, and they have a poor grasp of the real world, so when they experience something that's not so nice the toys come out.

My view is that Hamiltons attitude is what will hold him back from becoming a great of F1. He's got the pace, but he's not got the intelligence. I do also question what his management is doing, Hamilton interviews are car crash TV at present, and as an F1 fan treats not what I want to see.


As I said to Lewis afterwards, I am by nature a person who smiles rather than scowls. He knows me well enough to know that.

It's not a big deal, I've told him and the team my thoughts and it's a closed book


Wow,how the tide turns. Three years ago The Internet decided that James was Hamilton's biggest fanboy, now he is accused of leading the witch hunt?!

It was suggested on another forum, and I agree with this, that Hamilton was referring to the fact James smiled with the words 'yet another penalty' to which Hamilton was inferring meant James was smiling at th fact it always seemed to be him. It wasn't meant to be sinister.

It would not make sense for Hamilton to alienate James, because James is not one of the band of journalists who try to goad him into saying something when his defences are down nor spin what he says into something he didn't mean.

Having said that, I would be interested in hearing James' take on the comment, because Hamilton did obviously want it highlighted and was trying to imply something.


The irony of this is not lost on me either...


I just think that Lewis was trying to be funny in a situation where he shouldn't have been. I don't think there is anything going on apart from the obvious, Lewis is not going through a good time right now.


"The Mercedes tyre balancing unit didn’t make it through Indian customs"

Never heard that one, maybe one of the other teams will lend them one!

Can't believe Ferrari haven't noticed or changed Dan Wheldon's name being spelled without the "h" on Massa's helmet and probably Alonso's too.


Yeah, unbelievable that they got his name wrong. Do a 5-second internet search! I'd rather they did nothing than put 'Weldon' on their helmets.


Yes, the spelling error is on both helmets. If you could point it out to them it'd be greatly appreciated James, but it's probably too late for them to change it now.


sorry, but if they dont even know to spell his name correct then what is all this showboating all about? i find it a bit suspicious to see drivers change their helmets to drive with dead drivers and riders helmets... i find it a bit too much.

a simple arm band for mourning is sufficient. unless you personally know the guy..

it all seems a bit of expression of mourning because one has to.. not because one sincerely means to.


I think the motorsport family is fairly small, so most of them would have actually met Wheldon or Simoncelli during their travels.

I know Massa said he knew Wheldon quite well and also met Simoncelli once or twice.


Maybe something boring..but like it or not we have to admit how good, controlled and superior is the Vettel driving..Iam not his fans and never will..but passion will no make me blind..this guy has tied Ayrton and Prost figures in a season..13 poles..one short or tieying 14 poles all time record of Nigel in 1992..the year of another jewel monoplaza from the neurons, mind and hands of Mr. Newey..a perfect car need a close to perfect driver to operate in such a way as is doing the RBR7..It is hard to us purists swallow this Vettelnut..but my friends..it is real, in only his 4th complete F1 season, for me he is already at the door or across it..of great, great pantheon drivers in history..premature judgment..maybe, but reality despite painful is clear..For me is wiser, faster and more meritory than the 7 WDC boy..no intention to hurt any fan..it is my anlysis..I will follow in the next chapter of Vetteldomain. Thanks.


Uhh, It's basically all because of the car. He is on the level of Villenueve / Hill.


He's far better than Jacques and Damon, don't be silly.


Yes, we all have to admit that he's great. Sure to become a legend.

But we also have to remember that there are more races in a season now than what there was in earlier years. To fully understand his and RB's achievement one must look at percentages rather than just the number.

By the same account, a win is worth a lot more points now so it'll be easier in years to come to rake up points.



Finally someone has made this point re: number of races in a season now. I am very tired of listening to the Speed TV guys (I'm in the US) go on and on about it.


Also you have to take into account the bulletproof reliability these days. Back in the day you get teams much worse than HRT, Virgin in terms of pace scoring the odd 4th, 5th, 6th places!


Thank you. I thought I was the only one wishing some perspective was used rather than all the hype. More races makes more poles in a season more possible, especially with such a dominant car.

With the higher points for a win nowadays, less time is needed in a good car to rack them up. Vettel has about the same this season alone as Jackie Stewart had his entire career in Formula 1!

Statistics are too easily skewed. Vettel has had a fantastic season and is a deserved world champion, he doesn't need the distortion.


Yet another dusty anonymous circuit in the middle of nowhere. The last corner is so similar to China too - has Tilke run completely out of ideas?


I like it ... I'm glad the Tilke finally has discovered elevation changes. And the turns 5-7 stretch is great! A double-apex left-hander into a quick right turn.


Just looking at the circuit map, and in re:'s to LH's penalty, it was marshals at MP30 waving the double-yellow's ... what were the marshals at MP29 doing, and what did lights 18 and 19 show? MP29 would've been in the direct sight of drivers on the racing line.

I think the DRS zones should be renamed ... surely the one along the straight will be the first one the drivers encounter that can be activated, on lap 3.


Anonymous? 50 km away from the country's national capital hardly seems anonymous to me.


What? Run out of ideas? Imo this is one of the best circuits on the calendar and definitely the best Tilke circuit!


Douglas is right. At moments in certain TV shots I thought we were in Malaysia. Last corner is carbon copy from China. That long straight is Korea's heritage, although with some ups and downs. Mr. Tilke is running out of creativity not to mention lack of character in this venue. FOM should do us a favour choosing different track designers.

India, Bahrein, Korea, Dhabi? C'mon... boring, characterless and half-empty grandstands on some cases.


Ironically, the one track you didn't list (Turkey) is IMO, his most interesting one, yet the one that gets cut for lack of attendance.


Give it couple of years, let the Jaypee Green City and complete and it will be in the middle of somewhere( A mega-city bustling with 1 Million people and endless sporting activities due to the circuit, planned cricket stadium, ground hockey stadium and golf course)

Geographically although it is not at the middle of somewhere unlike Yeongam.


Is it me, or does Lewis still look decidedly glum?


I don't follow the gossip, but it was mentioned in the JW win a drive of a McLaren piece that Lewis had broken up with his girlfriend. These things rarely happen instantly and he is allowed to be unhappy about more than just the magnitude and location of the centre of pressure of his McLaren.

How this combines with his on-track performances during the year is open to analysis.




Just to clarify my previous comment: Unlike Alonso, Vettel, Schumacher, etc. Hamilton has never had to drive for a lower level team, he went straight to the top. The stress of not having the best equipment is showing an he is not capable of dealing with the pressure.


Yeah, like Schuey showed class at Jerez '97, or Adelaide '94?

Simple has it right ... LH has never had the far-and-away fastest car. There's always been another car quicker, as quick, or thereabouts.

I think if you asked Lewis, or any driver on the grid, they would take SV's race starts, in the cars he had, over the starts in cars that LH has had, in their respective F1 careers.


I don't agree, Hamilton hasn't had an untouchable car for an entire season in his F1 career. He's been battling very closely with res bull and ferrari for the last 3 seasons. And to use Schumacher as a comparison of class? Well that's just laughable. He has the most checkered and questionable record of any driver on the grid right now when it comes to race etiquette and honourable antics on track.


JF, obviously McLaren are a top team. One has to ask what was it about Hamilton that he got that shot? Maybe winning 15 out of 20 in F3 Euro, and then winning GP2 at his first try? Like it or not, he got the results in the feeder series, and so earned his shot that way.

As for cars, LH has only had a car that's been equal or better than others in 2007 and 2008, and in one of those years, he had a 2x DWC as a teammate! 2009 was an absolute tank until over halfway into the season, and then in 2010 and 2011 the McLaren has been a distinct second-best to the Red Bull. It was only thru misfortune and mechanical and driver failings with RBR last year that the championship was close at all. This year Vettel has overachieved what his normal expected performance would be (he's been nearly faultless), but even in a "normal" year Vettel would still be two race wins ahead of everyone else.

So while Lewis has always been in a top team, if another car is decidedly ahead of yours, what's it worth? In the words of Ricky Bobby, "if you ain't first, yer last!"


Has Hamilton ever driven for a lower level team? Schumacher never sulked.


Petulant children often look glum. He has had it too easy in his career so far. These are the years that will test him. So far he is not showing much class, no Shumacher to be sure.


I thought the same. But if it means that he drives as well as he did in Korea, maybe glum is a good thing!


Great circuit, it's just a shame the FIA still can't be consistent. No penalty for Button despite setting his fastest time of his weekend with a clear double yellow light showing, but one for Hamilton despite the FIA showing the wrong signals on the lights (and in a practice session). No penalty for Vettel for breaking the rules and cutting a corner off the track in Korea because "he didn't gain an advantage" (if he didn't perceive there to be an advantage then why did he do it?). Penalty for Petrov but none for Schumacher when he crashed into the back of someone in Singapore. Not even an investigation of Vettel's pole lap where his KERS reset after sector 1 giving him the full amount of KERS back, nor do they think that Ferrari's so obviously flexing wing is worthy of a strengthening of their test procedures.

My own opinion is that none of the drivers above should have received a penalty and that the flexing front wings should have been properly outlawed after last season, but I absolutely detest the way the FIA seemingly just flip a coin when deciding who should get punished and who gets let off.


Button came onto the scene as Massa was still in the process of crashing. Would be very harsh to penalize him for that.

As for Lewis' penalty, I think it was harsh. If it's true that he had a green light, or no light, in his cockpit, then that should've negated any penalty. The position of the marshals at that point is ridiculous ... it's on the right side of the track after a big right-hand turn ... one would think that would be highly dangerous for any marshal asked to venture out on track from that point, rather than having them on the left side of the track there (they would have a better view of any oncoming traffic than rushing out blind from the right side). Add to that that the marshal was basically waving the yellows over the top of the barrier there, instead of far out over it. It was as though he/she didn't want to be seen. Check the video.

Not that the penalty matters a whit for this year. But if this was a close championship year, I would say that penalty was quite harsh.


anybody else noticed that whenever herbert is the drivers rep hamilton gets a penalty


Firstly, there is no such thing as a "double yellow light". Secondly, the yellow light was beyond the evolving incident and should have been green. It would clearly have been an injustice to pebalise Button for not responding to incorrect lights. In any case, he was on Massa's tail and would have had a better view of that than any lights involved.


Very charitable of you Chris, believing it is just down to the toss of a coin.

All we want is consistency in the application of the rules, they currently seem to be applied to certain drivers.

The Ferrari wings are a joke, I really hope they fall off in the race, making the corruption of the FIA and Ferrari laughably bare.

The "test" has been shown to be the Maginot Line of rules.


A Front Wing falling off during the race? Let's just hope that the Ferrari's are not travelling at 300kph. Considering the events of the last few weeks in Motorsport, a comment such as this is beyond insensitive.


Lets not get carried away here Cliff. I wonder how many people died of malnutrition, preventable disease etc in those same few weeks?

Motorsport deaths are tragic but we should remember these are wealthy people who know the risks and accept them. Andy's post was hardly insensitive.


To be fair, they did ban Ferrari's wobbly wing after practice.


James, we must know, explain the smile when you questioned Lewis in the conference.


James, was that you in the drivers interview after the race who congratulated Seb on his 12th pole of the season?...


The look on Vettel's face was funny when James said 12th pole, but he refrained from correcting James by saying it was actually his 13th 😛


We've seen more eventful quals I think. As usual the stars are Vettel and Hamil. I feel Hamil will have one of his best races.

One memorable moment for me was Mr Parr of Williams saying that going for Raikkonen was a 'difficult decision'. Of course with KR on board, there are no absolute guarantees of success. But I fear that without him there is no avoiding oblivion within 2 years for this historical team. Anyone who thinks this is a difficult decision should not be in charge.

Could it be that now they have the cash from Qatar they've got the idea why not spend it on ourselves instead of the iceman? Anyone know what's going on?


Surprise, surprise...

I honestly can't wait for this season to be over.


Hear hear... Its tiring to watch Red Bull dominance with one dominant driver. It would be at least something if there were two teams in direct competition with level cars but that isn't the case... Red Bull, then Mclaren, then Ferrari, then Mercedes.. And so on, each team apparently just slower than the next. Hoping for some action. Would be nice to see the greatest German F1 driver ever on the podium, and I'm not talking about Seb the pretender.


Yes James, we're all curious... was that a dig from LH? I don't remember you being negative about him so I do wonder why?

Also, this glumness is coinciding with the break up with Nicole Whats-her-face. It's hardly professional is it? Just goes to show what a pampered journey his life has been...

Anthony from Adelaide

I sit just me or whenever I see Lewis' Bob Marley design helmet this week I hear his message "No Woman, No Cry"? 😉


LOL! that's a good one, but Lewis seems to be crying inside. She sure knows how to put the tears in the right place.

Well, Lewis has to cross this stage in his life as a young lad.


I've read a lot of similar comments on this forum.

I've known several colleagues who I happened to know at the time they were going through a personal break-up. They weren't the life and soul of the office at the time, but they put their heads down and got on with it, happy to be busy while they worked out their problems.

They did not have to do this in front of an audience of millions. They did not have to then put on beaming smiles and be ecstatically happy to a waiting crowd when they did something they were proud of at work.

If they did, I expect they'd come across similar to how Lewis is coming across today. These guys might seem super-human in terms of their driving ability, fitness and reactions, but they are still just human when it comes to everything else. He needs time, and I expect he can't wait until the end of the season to duck away from the publicity, engage in the car development for next year, and come out hungry next season.

I might be totally wrong - I just don't get this "he split up four weeks ago, why isn't he over it aready?" attitude.


Well done RBR, another front row lockout. Have to admit I was surprised JB didnt get penalised for the yellow flag incident in Q3.I wasn't surprised to hear him complain about lack of grip. When hasn't he complained about grip? It seems he can't handle anything that is less than 100% perfect.

Also not surprised to hear Webber will not entertain any favours on the track. The guy will win or not on his own merit. Very classy. RBR will have to switch them around through the pitstops if they want Mark to finish in front of Seb. I reckon he'd rather push Seb over the line than have him wave him through. Well done Lewis too. Great to see him take the fight up to RBR. Can't wait for tomorrow 🙂


Sebastion Vettel as good and precise as he is owes his pole positions to the greater extent to the technical expertise of Adrian Newey's design team. It really is no measure in particular of a drivers capability because the circumstances surrounding pole positions and race wins are so varied. It only goes to emphasize how much a team effort F1 really is.

That said the team have done it all so brilliantly. - but any number of top drivers could have had similar results with such a car and support.



Most on this website assume that Vettels wins are all car. Vettel is car+++. If Hamilton was winning, most on this site would praise him and not the car. There is serious bias here


Well, I think LH is regarded highly b/c he went up against Alonso as a rookie, and beat him on countback. Also in 2008, the Ferrari was the slightly faster car over the year, yet Hamilton was able to win the DWC, with his teammate down in 7th. Only Prost has won the DWC in the modern era of F1 with his teammate so far down the standings.

Vettel is, as he says himself, is getting the maximum out of the package he has available to him. I want to see how Vettel will drive when he doesn't have the out-and-out fastest car, when he doesn't regularly land on pole or even the front row (only 1 win from off the front row let's recall, and that from 3rd, where he drafted behind his slow-starting teammate and was ahead at the first corner).

I don't think Vettel is all car. If it was all car, then you'd expect Webber to snag some wins, but he hasn't. Even if RBR were favouring Vettel, you'd think MW could challenge for wins. The only GP I can remember him challenging for the win was in Germany, when Vettel wasn't a factor. He is a good driver, a quick driver. Best driver out there? Hmm, awaiting further information. I don't think he is, but in F1 there's no standardized test to conclude definitively on these things.


@KRB - There haven't been signs that LH has actually improved since his title year, while Vettel has improved since 2010. And when Vettel didn't have a particularly fast car in 2007 and 2008, his results were still outstanding. SV deserves to be regarded just as highly as LH.


Very well put, Richard, I totally agree!! If the car is ballanced and handleing well the driver's job is much easier and makes the driver look better than he is!! I wouldn't be surprised if any other driver on the grid, put into Wetel's car, would be up at the front too.



I agree to a certain extent.. People tend to remember the driver rather than the team. It has to be said that Senna and Mansell wouldn't have taken anywhere near as many wins\poles if they hadn't had such dominant cars at certain parts of their careers.

But then the car just sits in the garage without a driver and in F1 you have to do a perfect job to get those results, nailing all those quali laps and race wins, often under immense pressure.

The driver's performance shouldn't be devalued because the team behind him is doing such a good job - It should be respected in it's own right and appreciated as part of the whole team effort.

That's not to say you're devaluing Vettel's performance but a lot of people do.


Same goes for 99% of all poles, wins, titles.

Having the best tools is not cheating, it is the most important part of F1.

Same goes for Senna and Fangio, pretty much all their poles, wins, titles was thanks to having the best car. Vettel did get a few wins and poles while not having the best car, including this season.

So why only peple mention this 'advantage' with Vettel like he is the only one who had it while in fact, all of them had it. Yes, Hamilton and Alonso and Schumacher too.


Not exactly! There are dominant cars and there are simply competitive cars. I believe the Red Bull car is dominant and it is only conditions combined with changes of set up, tyre wear, etc., that have enabled the likes of McLaren to get a nose in front in certain races. Put simply I think the Red Bull car is the most agile car on the grid, when conditions and setup play to it, it is quite supreme. Personally I like the way Sebastion Vettel has matured; he is a very fast, level headed driver, and his confidence will now be now sky high! Put another way he is as good as the best and better than most, and he will be very hard to beat in 2012. The most likely guys to pull that off is Hamilton or Alonso. - All will depend on the relative competitiveness of the cars!


I think you've given away your lack of F1 knowledge when you say 99% of Senna's poles/wins were because he had the best car. Anyone with even a limited knowledge of F1 at the time knows that Senna very often put slower cars on pole, which is why his pole percentage record is simply amazing, a record that M Schumacher could not even come close to, and one that, if there is any justice in F1, Sebastian Vettel will never touch because he is simply not at the level of Senna for raw speed without the aid of the best car.


I think Senna was special in his era, but one cannot compare eras. Todays F1 is so aero dependant that even Senna would find it very difficult with a less than competitive car.


once again schumi outqualified by his teammate.i think he is struggling more on the newer circuits than the older ones. whats your thoughts james? does his inability to use the simulator has anything to do with it?


One point about tomorrows race that might be worth consideration is that the Red Bull car was switching the tyres on much faster than their competitors. That means that they are putting more heat into them which in turn means that they will also wear them out faster particularly with the prime(soft)tyre. That will mean they have to run a longer stint on the option tyre at the end of the race. Given the forgoing it may mean that they will be vunerable as their prime tyre loses performance towards the end of each stint, and through longer use use of the slower option tyre. Red Bull will obviously manage this situation very well, but I think this race is going to be a lot closer than many surmise.


Hi James, I'm from India and I am attending the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. I wanted to let you and other readers know about it but I was so busy the week before I couldn't post it in the comments. Anyway first of all it is a dream come true for me to visit a grand prix and experiencing it live has been truly phenomenal. I have taken lots of decent pictures as well from my Canon G11 camera.

I just want to share the whole experience and my feelings and therefore I intend to summarise the whole experience and the emotions leading to the grand prix weekend, and atmosphere and emotion of the whole weekend as well and forward it to you. My humble request to you is that if you could post it on your site the way you did after the British grand prix when you posted a very well written article from a lady fan who visited the race weekend for the first time.

This way lots of other fans who come to the site regularly from around the world will get up close and personal with what exactly an Indian F1 fan experienced before and during the grand prix weekend and what exactly F1 does each and every time it goes to a country be it first time or the sixtieth time and I'm sure it'll please everybody. Like I mentioned above I also have some interesting pictures, if you like I can send them as well.

If you do post my article for so many fans to read and understand my feelings and emotions I will be extremely pleased and humbled. F1 is my life and for the past 7 years since I have been following it, I have lived and I am living every millisecond of it.



Test....lately I cannot post here.


James, I was trying to report is several times. I have problems posting on this website. If I time my real email address with .com - it doesn't work. If I put .c - it works.

What is the problem?

In the past it was all OK


Same problem for me, but I'm using an alternative 'real' address instead.


Tech people are looking at it


Sounds like the "real" name and email combo is too long as defined at the back end(Database). May need to be increased.


James, is the driver allowed to cut corner on this particular corner? -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtXCAclc7zI at 1:11 showed that the full car is outside the white line.

And if anybody said that just use Vettel previous time (which would still put Vettel on pole.. i think).. well, he also put the whole car outside of the track



James please answer why you were smiling. We readers need that level of connection.

Don't close out out 🙁


How dare you smile whilst talking to Lewis Hamilton!

Further proof the whole world is against him.


A good comparison to see how dominant Vettel has been would be to look at the percentage of poles 'available' that he's managed to achieve. This lets us compare somewhat with other drivers in other eras - as today it's easier to get more poles in a season because of the greater number of races.



Do you hate Hamilton?

Simply wondering since your seemed to have been smiling at someone's misfortunes.

I've been reading EVERYTHING with JA on it all over the internet since the ITV days but I can tell that you have changed a lot in the past few months/years...



It's pretty dumb that Hamilton has gotten a penalty because the Marshall were waving their flags when they shouldn't have. Oh well, bad luck and McLaren go hand in hand this season.




Vettel better than Schumi - NO WAY!!!

Look, any driver can look good in a Newey car hell, even Damon Hill & Villeneuve looked the real deal when they had a Newey car.

The way I see is, Vettel is the equivalent of the planet Venus (i.e. rotates anticlockwise unlike the rest of the solarsystem)

You see, unlike other F1 greats, Vettel has got a dominant car so early in his career whereas the true greats have always got a dominant car at the twilight of their career AFTER THEY HAD PROVED THEMSELVES so the dominant car didn't make a difference in people's mind regarding their talent.

So in my view Vettel has nothing on Schumi for Schumi has won two WDCs in cars that wasn't even the fastest, while the likes of Villeneuve & Vettel have only won in dominant cars (which is very different from equally matched car).

So since Vettel has already had his two years of dominance, I conclude that the well has run dry & there will be no more titles for the lad and this is why,

Newey cars (when he's in the same team) have only dominated for two years at a time before they're beaten e.g 1992-1993 (Williams), 1996-1997 (Williams) and 1998-1999 (Mclaren)

Plus, no driver in a Newey car has won the WDC more than once so all in all, Vettel is slightly better than Villeneuve

Drivers that have had dominant cars & gone on to win lots of poles & wins in a single season (Villeneuve 1996, Mika in 1999, Schumi in 2004, Damon in 1996, Mansell in 1992, Prost in 1993, Senna in 1991) didn't win another title after that.

So don't be surprised to see Vettel leave Red Bull sooner rather than later


While it is too early to say that Vettel is up there with Schumacher, we can only judge a driver on what they are doing in what they've been given. Vettel is currently doing the best job in what he's been given. He also did an excellent job before getting a title challenging car (2007-2008).


This is like saying that since I've flipped a coin 5x and they've all been "tails", that the next just HAS TO BE "heads". While I agree with you that there are discernable patterns in F1 history, it doesn't mean that anything is set in stone.

Venus rotates clockwise; the rest rotate counter-clockwise (if viewing from on top of the Sun).

I agree with you that Vettel hopped into a Red Bull at the most opportune time, in a year of changing regulations and after Newey had bedded down in the organization. The stars aligned for him.

Obviously there were reasons why only Mika and Seb have repeated as WDC in a Newey car. In '93 Mansell didn't want to go up against Prost after their time together in '90. Likewise Prost didn't want to go up against Senna in '94 b/c of their past, although the Williams in '94 was not the same dominant machine.

I sure wouldn't bet against Vettel in the RB8 blitzing the field again. 2010 was the aberration ... if a Red Bull driver hadn't won that WDC, it would've been a massive choke. Even with their crashes and reliability problems that year, there was always the sense that when they got on a roll they would do serious points damage, which they did after Vettel's bad race in Spa that year. The Vettel/RBR combo still resides in a comfort zone. It will be up to other team/driver combo's to get him/them out of that zone next year.


I think there is more chance of being struck by lightning..


Red Bull angle at both ends of the top 10? RB, of course, but great job again by STR. I think that both Buemi and Alguesuari drivers have earned return engagements for next season. Any word on that, James?

I'll say Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, with the STR boys staying in the top 10 - I think they'll get there ahead of Sutil and Nico, especially if the MB tire balance problems crop up after a pit stop.


Why were Red Bull team members congratulating each other about 2 minutes before Q3 ends? Arrogance?

Stephen Pattenden

It was Torro Rosso congratulating themselves on having both cars in the top ten.


That was Webber and his crew. They celebrated when Alonso didn't post a faster time time than Web and with only But, who was struggling the whole weekend, and Massa out on track, he was pretty sure of at least 3rd (2nd once Hamilton penalty was applied).


Does Ferrari now get the wings of the Bulls? The Italians seem to possess the wings from Weber's crashed car in Monza.


Is that a true story? I heard Brundle talking about that, that the front wing from Webber's car in Monza never made it back to the RBR garage? If true, that has to be investigated further.

If Ferrari have that wing in their possession, then going off the Spygate precedent, they'll be looking at a rather hefty (ridiculously high, in face) fine.


I heard that too. It came from a senior person at RBR who said that they never got back a part of the wing that broke off in the Monza accident. But when I asked Horner about it this morning, he said that this was not true and that they got Webber's front wing back.


I was also intrigued by Hamilton's opening line in the qualifying press conference. The impression was that he felt you'd been particularly critical of him or even unfair towards him (though admittedly there is a risk of making a mountain out of a molehill regarding what he said).

Despite this risk I will say that personally (and this is not me being sycophantic) I don't think there's been anything unfair in what you've written. If anything there's very little difference in yours and his analysis of the season. I think the implication from your articles was that Lewis, while still focused, has not been as focused in 2011 as he was when he burst on the scene so brilliantly in 2007 and became world champion in 2008. This is something he too has been referring to in the past few days; talking about eliminating 'distractions' and suchlike.

In mitigation to Lewis, racing drivers as a rule don't take kindly to external criticism and while it's easy for us to criticise that characteristic, it is perhaps harder to understand that this is also part of a driver's motivational toolkit - to go out and prove people wrong.


Hi James,

I, like others who have posted were intrigued by LH's 'Did you spill my pint' barb in the quali top 3 interview.

Was he being overly sensitive or have you guys got a bit of history?

We know you only decide to reply to certain questions posted on here but there are a number of people who may use this to accuse you of bias.

This is your opportunity to explain the event.

Regards & Respect



See my comment to Mike Terry


Thanks for the reply & clearing up the situation.

Great work.

Kind Regards



James, spill your guts over the Lewis Hamilton qualifying press conference comment.



IMO Lewis' noticing that James smiled during that part of the question is a reflection of his state of mind that he is being persecuted in the media and also by the stewards.

His management has put him under the spotlight too much, his private life and his career. He is living on the hollywood celeb rollercoaster.

He should take back some of his privacy and allow his emotions to be private.


James has answered the Lewis press conference question early up in these comments.

Storm in a teacup.


Seriously, who really cares why JA was smiling. I do however think it's really interesting that LH is apparently feeling sooooo persecuted that he thought it imperative to ask the question !

One can assume that, when he gets pole in an upcoming race, he will be expecting all the media to be smiling at him and will be seeking detailed explanations if they are not ?

Seriously, he needs this season to end asap so he can go away and get his head in order.

PS. Congrats to SV, too good.


Dreckspatzen - dirt sparrows

As my kids said, some of the drivers behaved like these. But as we garden owners know: if birts powder their feather with dust/dirt,they will produce holes in the ground.

So there will be dirt on the track, possible nasty and dangerous holes at the surroundings,....

Massa and Hamilton were off track nearly every round in early qualifying. I don't think they did it wanting to slow down following drivers. But there is still the risc of danger.

So how many such rounds would marshalls allow befor radioing a warning to a driver. Are there rules? I think the general rule of dangerous driving could be applied?


it is clear to any unbiased observer that hamilton has been screwed by the stewards ...perhaps trying to make a name for themselves

but not this time ....yes , the lights in his car showed that the track was clear , but yellow flags were waved and , if I understand correctly , that is the determining factor

this time he was screwed by incompetence , no more than that

btw , the car in question was gone .....so why were there still marshalls beside the track , couldn't see that from the live TV pictures

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