Monthly Archives: October 2013

Track Preview: Indian Grand Prix, New Delhi

All Rights Reserved to www.fia.com

All Rights Reserved to http://www.fia.com

Sebastian Vettel wins in Japan, Mark Webber drives to second place and Romain Grosjean claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. McLaren yet again have made small improvements to their car in order to gain their way back to the front and gain some points. And Sauber also picked up some much needed points for their teams. And people are still wishing that the Mercedes or Vettel still do not have the pace in qualifying…

The Indian Grand Prix is one that the teams and the drivers seem to like, especially the Indian culture, people and cuisine. The circuit is average in terms of latitude and longitude. The circuit has an incredible flow especially from Turn 4 (which is wide-apex right hander) that is downhill. The track is a series of fast rolling curves which allow you to push the car to the absolute limit.

And here we go guys with sixteenth race of the Formula One season, the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi…

Facts and Figures

  • New Delhi has hosted the Grand Prix since 2011.
  • Sebastian Vettel is the most successful driver currently at the track with two wins.
  • Red Bull is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with two wins.
  • Race distance: 307.25km (190.92 miles)
  • Number of turns: 16
  • Top speed: 310kph
  • Lap record: Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull (2005)- 1.27.249
  • Winners from pole 2/2 (100%)
  • Winners from last 2 Indian Grand Prix: 2011-Sebastian Vettel, 2012-Sebastian Vettel

My top 2 Indian Grand Prix

Here are my top two Indian Grand Prix races (there is only been two!) and in no particular order:-

  1. 2011 Indian Grand Prix- Sebastian Vettel wins the race ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Vettel dominated the whole race to win the inaugural event. Button kept pushing Vettel but could not challenge Vettel, meanwhile Alonso held off Webber to secure the final place on the podium. 
  2. 2012 Indian Grand Prix- Sebastian Vettel wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Vettel took the Pole Position on Saturday and stormed to victory on Sunday, leading every single lap. Alonso couldn’t match Vettel’s car or pace, meanwhile Webber ran comfortably in second place until a problem with his KERS system left him vulnerable and it gave the place to Alonso. 

If the Indian Grand Prix from last year is anything to go by from last year, we look set to witness a great race next weekend. Will Fernando be able to challenge Red Bull and Lotus to win again and gain in the championship lead? Will Red Bull be able to achieve pole position and try to win the race? Will Rosberg, Raikkonen, Massa, Button, Perez, Hamilton or be able to challenge them?

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every practice session, the qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and the BBC are also showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 5.15am and 9.15am [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 6.15am and 8.30am [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 8.30am
  • BBC- Friday (Practice 1 and Practice 2 Live) 5.25am and 9.25am [Highlights on Friday morning on BBC2], Saturday- (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 6.25am and 8.30am [Highlights on Saturday morning on BBC2], Sunday (Race Live and Race Highlights) 8.30am and 2.30pm

My next blog post will be a full Race Report on the Indian Grand Prix by the end of next week. Loving the start of the weekend of Formula One, Hope you will be enjoying every single moment of the weekend as much as me!

Maria de Villota: An Inspiration

It was announced on 11th October 2013 that Maria De Villota had sadly passed away in her sleep after suffering a heart attack and a suspected brain haemorrhage that could be related to her accident from last year while testing for the Marussia team. Maria’s personal assistant discovered her body in a Spanish hotel room in Seville after going to wake her up at 7am.

This news shocked everyone in the paddock. Maria was a unique sports women who had achieved her dream of becoming a top class racer and was a reserve driver for the Marussia team. However, sadly last year during a test with the team she had crashed into a lorry and suffered life threatening injuries but pulled through after surgery.

Maria had lost an eye as a result of the accident which ended her sporting career as a driver but she continued to inspire the F1 paddock with her determination and her outlook on life despite everything she suffered. Maria was on 12th October expected to give a talk in Seville today ahead of her releasing her autobiography Life is a Gift.

The Formula One paddock and fans of the sport at the Japanese Grand Prix were all united in their grief at his tragic time. Jenson Button spoke very highly of Maria by saying,

‘This girl has been through so much, more than most people could go through in their lives. This is horrific news and a real shock for the paddock and the world of motorsport.’

Jenson’s boss Martin Whitmarsh for me sums up Maria as a person:-

‘She was an inspiration, not just to women in this sport but also to all those who suffered life-threatening injuries. Her story, her determination and subsequent inspiration flowed from F1 through sport as a whole.’

And Martin is right. As a women who has followed Formula One since the age of eight, I was extremely happy that women like Maria and also Susie Wolff (Susie is Williams development driver and the wife of Toto Wolff) have pushed for women who would like to achieve their dream of driving for the sport. And their dreams came true, which I am absolutely thrilled about.

Maria despite everything that she went through continued to support and dedicate her life to the sport that she dreamed about driving for, supported and finally loved so much. She will remembered by her legacy that she has left in the sport and also her autobiography that I am sure that everyone will take something away from. I personally will take away her hard work, grit and determination to actively make a difference to the sport that we all love so much and that she loved so much. And she should be remembered as a woman who strove and fought to achieve her dream to drive at the pinnacle of motorsport and always never gave up.

Our thoughts are with Maria’s family and friends at this sad time and I’m sure everyone would like to her family to know that everyone associated with motorsport and also within Formula One will honour her personality, her working ethic and her achievements within the field. And that we all so proud of everything that she had achieved in her life and will be greatly missed by all.

Rest in peace in Maria x

2013 Japanese Grand Prix Race Weekend Review

Sebastian Vettel wins in Korea, Kimi Raikkonen with a good drive to second place and Romain Grosjean claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. McLaren yet again have made small improvements to their car in order to gain their way back to the front and score some much needed points. And people are still wishing that Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes’ drivers still do not have the pace with their cars in qualifying…

Prior to the Grand Prix, the biggest talking point is the new rumours circulating in the paddock is who is going to take Kimi’s place in the Lotus team for next year. The two contenders gunning for this place is Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa. But if you believe the rumours Hulkenberg is linked very highly to Lotus. You cannot also discount Paul Di Resta for the drive either. But we shall see in the next few weeks who Lotus will choose for next year.

I should also mention that Sebastian Vettel could secure his fourth consecutive drivers title this weekend if Fernando Alonso scores 9th place or worse or the gap to Alonso is 99 points or else for the fight to continue to India.

The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the favourite destinations for the teams and the drivers and they love the circuit! The circuit is technically one of the best of the season. The circuit has a high percentage of medium and high speed corners. The track has very high tyre energy and has one of the highest tyre demands of the season. The track is also very easy on brakes. The drivers and teams need to get the set up perfect or the track will expose and highlight the weakness in the car.

This Grand Prix will be one full of questions of who again can go longer on their tyres, who can save the most tyres for the race on Sunday, which car has got their car set up the most competitive and race ready? Have McLaren and Williams made a significant step forward with their upgrades in their fight to get back to the front?

Alongside these questions, questions if Red Bull, Lotus or Mercedes will be able this weekend to help their own fight in the championships, can McLaren small improvements on their cars help them this weekend before Hungary where more upgrades are planned to take place on the car, who will be competitive from the off, who has the quickest car and who will win this race on Sunday?

The race weekend begins now….

Strap yourselves in. The new season begins now…

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is Red Bull look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Practice 1 saw Lewis Hamilton top the timesheet with a time of 1.34.157 followed closely by Rosberg with a gap of 0.330 seconds, Vettel in third with a gap of 0.611 seconds, Webber in fourth with a gap of 0.630 seconds and Massa in fifth with a gap of 0.585 seconds.

Within Practice 1, Bianchi spins his Marussia towards the end of the Degner corner. Felipe Massa experiences a fire on his Ferrari in the garage. Pastor Maldonado spins his Williams at Spoon corner and experiences a wheel nut failure which displaces the rear wheel. The team have to pay a hefty fine for this. Gideo Van Der Garde spins his Caterham at the Second Degner from touching the kerb and locking up. Max Chilton drifts and slides his Marussia.

Practice 2 saw Fernando Alonso topping the timesheets with a time of 1.33.852 followed by Webber with a gap of 0.168 seconds, Rosberg in third with a gap of 0.262 seconds, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.350 seconds behind and Grosjean in fifth with a gap of 0.559 seconds behind Vettel. Jenson Button managed to achieve a top 10 finishes with a 9th place. The early pace is showing that McLaren may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend. Alonso managed to get tenth place in the session.

Within Practice 2, Pastor Maldonado has another off at the Degner corner followed by his team mate Bottas at the Spoon chicane leaving the Williams team a busy job overnight. Sergio Perez experienced an off at the Spoon curve on entry and had a side on impact with the barriers. Luckily Sergio was okay and did not do any damage to himself.

Also Fernando Alonso and Paul Di Resta experienced spins in the session. Kimi Raikkonen also breeched his Lotus at Dunlop Curve from losing the rear.

Practice 3 saw Mark Webber tops the timesheet again with a time of 1.32.053 followed by Hamilton with a time of gap of 0.134 seconds behind, Rosberg in third with a gap of 0.302 seconds behind, Grosjean in fourth with a gap of 0.654 seconds behind and Alonso in a fifth with a gap of 0.747 seconds behind. The surprise of the session is Nico Hulkenberg managing to grab 10th place showing that Sauber may have good pace within their cars. Button looks to be having a good weekend so far with claiming 7th place which show that McLaren might be able to get into Q3 with a fight and to gain some championship points on Sunday.

Within Practice 3, Romain Grosjean went wide in his Lotus. Adrian Sutil in his Force India suffered front wing damage and suspension from losing the rear. It was announced that Maria De Villota had sadly passed away at a hotel room in Seville. This is a sad loss for the sport. Maria was well liked and respected in the paddock and even though she suffered diversity, she was a true inspiration to everyone around her. I will be writing a tribute to Maria in the week.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg and also Vettel to gain pole position again this weekend. As all three drivers seem to be excelling in qualifying at the moment and the momentum is with them from claiming Pole Positions in four rounds of the championship so far. Alonso, Massa, Webber and Raikkonen also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top five places at the moment.

Button and Perez even with their upgrades and making good and solid progress with points finishes in previous races, seem to have made an improvement.  It seems from looking at their performances that the pace is coming slowly and steadily and both drivers I will admit will struggle to even make Qualifying 2 or maybe even the points in the race and it will take a lot of skill and talent to do that in a car that is not capable, unless a bit of unexpected rain happens (which is very unlikely). However, I think that Toro Rosso, Force India or Sauber have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

Qualifying

It looks like Red Bull, Mercedes or even the Lotus’s are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session look set to challenge Ferrari, McLaren and the rest of the field for pole position today due to current form that they have shown. But Force India or Sauber may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions. And it is looking likely that it will be a challenge for the Williams drivers of Bottas and Maldonado to clear Q1 and also the McLaren drivers of Button and Perez to clear Q2 as both teams do not have the pace within their cars to challenge the top teams this weekend.

Prior to qualifying, Adrian Sutil has a five place grid penalty. This will only spur Adrian on to qualify the best he can for tomorrow.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Grosjean tops the timesheets with a time of 1.31.824, Massa was second with a gap of 0.170 seconds, Rosberg was third with a gap of 0.420 seconds, Webber was fourth with a gap of 0.447 seconds and Di Resta was fifth with a gap of 0.462 seconds. Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Vettel and Hulkenberg managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Sutil, Vergne, Chilton, Pic, Van Der Garde and Bianchi.

During Q1, Esteban Guiterrez had a fire in the Sauber garage but luckily the fire did not do any significant damage to his car. Jean-Eric Vergne experienced during the session his rear brakes on fire.

In Q2, Vettel tops the timesheets with a time of 1.31.290, Webber is second with a gap of 0.223 seconds behind, Grosjean is third with a gap of 0.275 seconds behind, Hamilton is fourth with a gap of 0.346 seconds behind and Raikkonen is fifth with a gap of 0.372 seconds behind. The big surprise of the session was Hulkenberg finished the session in 10th place. At the end of Q2, we lose Perez, Di Resta, Bottas, Guiterrez, Maldonado and Riccardo.

The battle for pole position is on…

In Q3, Webber tops the timesheet and gets pole with a amazingly fast lap time of 1.30.915 ,Vettel was second fastest with a gap of 0.174 seconds behind, Hamilton was third fastest with a gap of 0.338 seconds behind, Grosjean was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.450 seconds behind, Massa was fifth fastest with a gap of 0.463 seconds behind, Rosberg was sixth fastest with a gap of 0.482 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was a credible seventh fastest with a gap of 0.729 seconds behind,  Alonso was eighth fastest with a gap of 0.750 seconds behind, Raikkonen was ninth fastest and Button was tenth fastest.

It would seem that Red Bull genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend which I am absolutely not thrilled about. However, both sets of drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this. You cannot discount Hamilton, Webber or Rosberg to be challenging also for the race win in order to keep their seasons off to a flying start. Alonso or Raikkonen could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes and Red Bull and Ferrari and Lotus to gain some points on his rivals for the championship.

Button, Perez, Vergne, Hulkenberg and Riccardo could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for McLaren, Sauber and Toro Rosso before heading to the next race in Singapore. Will it rain tomorrow? Maybe. Who will win the Grand Prix tomorrow? I really don’t know (hoping for a Button win!). Who will lead the championship after this race? Will it be Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Alonso or Hamilton? I don’t know.  The Grand Prix has been set up nicely, just like the last race. Let’s see what happens…

Race

The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix will live up to expectations and who will be the winner? Here we go…

All 22 drivers are lined up on their grid positions, five red lights and its GO!!!!!!!!

Grosjean gets off the line quite well and leads Vettel into Turn 1. Hamilton is moving towards Vettel. There are three drivers going abreast into Turn 1. Van Der Garde and Bianchi have gone off at Turn 1. Vettel now finds himself in third place. Hamilton is now in trouble and he finds himself having a right rear puncture after having contact with Vettel.

Lap 2 and Grosjean leads Webber by 0.6 seconds. The next lap sees the stewards investigating the incident between Van Der Garde and Bianchi from the first lap at the first corner. Lap 5 sees Grosjean leading by 0.9 seconds. The battle for fourth place between Rosberg, Massa, Alonso, Hulkenberg and Perez. The next lap sees Button and Raikkonen battling for tenth. Raikkonen tries a move on Button but cannot pass him.

Lap 7 and the gap is still at 0.9 seconds. Raikkonen is then able to pass Button. Riccardo also passes Bottas on track. Massa and Alonso are battling each other for fifth place. The next lap sees Hamilton retire from the race. Button and Bottas pit at the end of the lap.

Grosjean leads the field on Lap 9 by 1.6 seconds. The battle for fourth place is still ongoing. At the end of the lap Guiterrez and Maldonado pit. At the end of Lap 10 Hulkenberg pits with a stop time of 3.2 seconds and rejoins the race in tenth place. Lap 11 and the gap to Vettel is 2.7 seconds. At the end of the lap, Webber, Raikkonen and Massa pit.

At the end of Lap 12 Grosjean makes his pitstop with a time of 2.6 seconds and rejoins the race in third place handing the lead to Vettel. Lap 13 sees Vettel leading Alonso. In the pit lane, there was an unsafe release from the Mercedes team while Perez was exiting the pit lane. At the end of the lap, Alonso makes his pit stop with a time of 2.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 8th place.

Lap 14 sees Vettel leading the race by 11.8 seconds to Alonso. Perez is able to pass his team mate Button for 11th place. At the end of the lap, Vettel makes his pit stop with a time of 2.5 seconds and rejoins the race in third place. Lap 15 sees Grosjean retake the lead of the race again. Rosberg also receives a drive through penalty for the unsafe release from his pit stop that very nearly saw him collide with Perez in the pit lane.

Lap 18 sees Grosjean leading by 1.7 seconds. Riccardo and Hulkenberg find themselves battling for fourth on track. The next lap sees Hulkenberg looking for a way past Riccardo and Alonso trying to get past Massa. By Lap 20, Alonso and Hulkenberg find their way past Massa and Riccardo.

Lap 21 sees Grosjean leading Vettel by 2.3 seconds. Alonso is able to pass Riccardo. Lap 22 sees Guiterrez making a move on Massa but Massa is able to hold on for now. Raikkonen is able to pass Guiterrez. Perez then tries to pass Guiterrez but cannot do so. At the end of the lap, Riccardo pits.

Lap 25 sees Grosjean leading the field by half a second. At the end of the lap, Webber pits with a stop time of 2.5 seconds and rejoins the race in 3rd place. The next lap sees Massa and Raikkonen battling on track for sixth place. By the end of Lap 29, Grosjean pits.

Lap 30 sees Vettel once again retaking the lead of the race. But at the end of the lap, he pits with a stop time of 2.9 seconds and rejoins the race in 3rd. Also Alonso and Hulkenberg make their pit stops and rejoin the race in 5th (Alonso) and 8th (Hulkenberg).

Lap 31 sees Vettel leading the field by 12.5 seconds. Riccardo receives a penalty for the incident with a Force India car. At the end of the lap, Raikkonen makes his pit stop with a time of 3.1 seconds and rejoins the race in seventh place. The next lap sees a battle for seventh between Riccardo and Rosberg and a battle for seventh between Raikkonen, Riccardo and Rosberg.

Lap 33 sees Vettel leading by 10.9 seconds. While in the pit lane, it is believed that Massa may have been speeding in the pit lane. The next lap this is confirmed and Massa receives a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. By the end of Lap 37, Vettel who is still leading the race pits with a time of 2.4 seconds and rejoins the race in third place.

On Lap 38, Webber is leading the race with a 13.5 second gap to Grosjean. A battle for second between Grosjean and Vettel. Also Guiterrez manages to pass Vergne for ninth place on track. The next lap sees Alonso and Raikkonen battling for 5th place. Lap 40 sees the battle between Vettel and Grosjean intensify and Vettel tries to make a move on Grosjean but cannot do so.

Lap 41 sees Webber leading by 15 seconds to Vettel who was able to pass Grosjean for second place in the race. At the end of the next lap, Webber pits for new tyres with a stop time of 2.7 seconds and rejoins the race in 3rd place.

Lap 43 sees Vettel retake the lead of the Grand Prix again and has a 3.1 gap lead to Grosjean. On track, Button passes Sutil for 13th place. The next lap sees Vettel, Grosjean and Webber battling for the lead of the race. By Lap 45, Webber is gaining quickly on Grosjean.

Lap 46 sees Vettel leading by 5.1 seconds. Grosjean and Webber are battling each other on track by second place of the race. Alonso is able to pass Hulkenberg for fourth place. The next lap sees Mark putting pressure on Romain and trying to get past him but cannot do so. By Lap 48, Webber is still not able to pass Grosjean.

Lap 49 and Vettel extends his lead to 6.6 seconds. Grosjean is defending with all his might to keep Webber behind him and is doing a solid job so far. By Lap 51, Webber is still unable to pass Grosjean and it looks like that time is running out for him. Raikkonen is able to pass Hulkenberg for fifth place.

Lap 52 and Vettel has a 9.2 second gap to Webber who has finally been able to pass Grosjean for second place. The battle for seventh place between Guiterrez and Rosberg is still ongoing. The final lap sees Vettel holding an 8.7 second gap to his team mate Webber. Sebastian Vettel completes the final lap and takes the win in Japan, Mark Webber takes second place 7.1 seconds behind Vettel, Romain Grosjean gets the final place on the podium 9.9 seconds behind Vettel, Alonso takes fourth place 45.6 seconds behind Vettel, Raikkonen takes fifth place 47.3 seconds behind Vettel, Hulkenberg takes a credible sixth place 51.6 seconds behind Vettel, Guiterrez takes a credible seventh place 1.11.6 seconds behind Vettel, Rosberg takes eighth place 1.12 seconds behind Vettel, Button takes ninth place 1.20.8 seconds behind Vettel and Massa takes the final point in tenth place 35.1 seconds behind Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel leads the Driver’s championship with 297 points, Alonso is second with 207 points, Raikkonen is third with 177 points, Hamilton is fourth with 161 points, Webber is fifth with 148 points, Rosberg is sixth with 126 points, Massa is seventh with 90 points, Grosjean is eighth with 87 points, Button is ninth with 60 points and Di Resta is tenth with 39 points.

Red Bull lead the Constructor’s championship with 445 points, Ferrari is second with 297 points, Mercedes is third with 287 points, Lotus is fourth with 264 points, McLaren is fifth with 83 points, Force India in sixth with 62 points, Sauber in seventh with 45 points, Toro Rosso are eighth with 31 points and Williams are ninth with 1 point.

Conclusion

The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation, just like the many races we have had this season. However, I am glad that the small changes that Pirelli made to the tyres have worked this weekend and they have not compromised safety or the racing.

I was happy that Jenson did have some pace to challenge today and did score some points for the team. Jenson had a battle to get some points for the team and I am sure the team are thankful for his efforts. This just shows how much they are making improvements at the moment. But it shows that McLaren are taking slow and steady progress to try and get to the front of the field once again. But I am happy that Jenson managed to do his best this weekend for the team and they were rewarded with some good points. But they need to try and make the car competitive and understand the issues surrounding their problems and learn the lessons from this year’s car and focus on 2014.

The team this weekend I believe have made small steps into looking at solutions to help and cure this problem before the championships, race wins, podiums and even point finishes are no longer within their reach. As I said last race, I know McLaren will bounce back to the performance they and their fans crave and when that happens, it will make it all the more special.

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some good points from Kimi and Romain this weekend that will help their fight in the Constructors Championship. I was impressed with Grosjean this weekend. Romain has been in top 10 form all weekend and thoroughly deserves his place on the podium. He has showed that he has the potential and the maturity to lead a race from the front and he handled the pressure very well indeed.

I was a bit surprised that Lotus was not able to challenge for the win this weekend, but consistency and points scoring keeps you in the hunt for the title, as Alonso proved last season. Despite the problems of this weekend, the Lotus team have managed to get again score some points, even though they are now fourth in the Constructor’s Championship.

The biggest surprises this weekend for me was the 6th and 7th places of Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Guiterrez. Firstly, Hulkenberg has had an impressive weekend but he has impressed me a lot this weekend yet again as in Singapore and Korea.

He drove a cracking race to bring home some much needed point for the team. I believe that Nico this year has learnt his lessons from his last and this season from the sport and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year and trying to get some much needed points for Sauber. I really believe that Nico when is good is a high quality driver that he is and I was happy to him get a point today after a great drive. But the question is, when will the top teams give this man a chance? Nico deserves in my view to be in a competitive car! Come on Lotus, give him a chance!

Also Guiterrez scored his first points in Formula One this weekend and he did it the hard way keeping drivers such as Rosberg behind him. I think that Guiterrez is finally able to place all the pieces together that are required to have a successful weekend. And I think that his performance will remind everyone of his ability and qualities that made Sauber sign him up for his year.

Alonso also drove solidly this weekend to claim fourth place. Even though he qualified in eighth place on Saturday, I believe that he did not the potential to challenge Vettel, Webber or both of the Mercedes drivers for the win even if he qualified further up the grid.  Alonso and Ferrari need to keep working on their qualifying pace as they have a really good car this year (especially in the race) and could challenge Vettel if this problem was rectified.

Rosberg and Massa do deserve a mention. Firstly, Mercedes seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year. They seem to be able to make sure that their qualifying performance is also consistent and reliable, while it seems they have improved their race pace today. And yet again Rosberg extends his and his team’s points into the championships today.

While both of the Mercedes driver undoubtedly have the car to challenge Red Bull at qualifying on Saturdays but still need to work on the pace on Sundays. But I believe that Mercedes seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year and will get there eventually.  And I think that Nico drove solidly despite battling what felt like every driver today and deserved to take some points for their efforts.

Massa drove a solid race this weekend. He has been on top 10 form all weekend and despite receiving a drive through penalty in the race managed to gain the final point of the race. Massa is now fighting to stay in the sport after Ferrari announcing that Raikkonen would be teaming up with Alonso for next season. Felipe I believe is now showing the passion he has always had in order to gain a seat for next year.

I would also like to say that Webber drove to my mind a really good race today and deserved to take some good points home today. Mark drove through the field with the grit and determination that all fans and the paddock admire, respect and love about him and his battle with Grosjean had us all hooked. I really will miss Mark next year and I really hope that he can win a race before the end of the season. As Mark deserves to leave the sport with a bang and I am sure the Red Bull team would like to reward him with a win.

All that is left to say about this race is that Vettel sadly deserved to win today. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. They seem to be able to make sure that their qualifying performance is also consistent and reliable, while it seems they have improved their race pace today. And yet again Vettel extends his and his team’s points into the championships today and people are now starting to believe that unless Vettel and Red Bull are challenged, the title is theirs for the taking.

Will Sebastian be able to win in India? Can Hamilton, Webber, Raikkonen, Grosjean or Alonso be able to challenge?  We shall see in a few weeks time!

My next post will be my tribute to Maria De Villota who sadly passed away on Friday morning.

Track Preview: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka

All Rights Reserved to www.fia.com

All Rights Reserved to http://www.fia.com

Sebastian Vettel wins in Korea, Kimi Raikkonen drives to second place and Romain Grosjean claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. McLaren yet again have made small improvements to their car in order to gain their way back to the front and gain some points. And Sauber also picked up some much needed points for their teams. And people are still wishing that the Mercedes or Vettel still do not have the pace in qualifying…

The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the favourite destinations for the teams and the drivers and they love the circuit! The circuit is technically one of the best of the season. The circuit has a high percentage of medium and high speed corners. The track has very high tyre energy and has one of the highest tyre demands of the season. The track is also very easy on brakes. The drivers and teams need to get the set up perfect or the track will expose and highlight the weakness in the car.

And here we go guys with fifteenth race of the Formula One season, the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka…

Facts and Figures

  • Suzuka has hosted the Grand Prix since 1987.
  • Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver at the track with six wins.
  • Sebastian Vettel is the most successful driver currently at the track with three wins.
  • McLaren is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with nine wins.
  • Race distance: 307.47km (191.05 miles)
  • Number of turns: 18
  • Top speed: 310kph
  • Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen- McLaren (2005)- 1.31.540
  • Winners from pole 12/24 (50%)
  • Winners from last 5 Japanese Grand Prix: 2008- Fernando Alonso, 2009- Sebastian Vettel, 2010-Sebastian Vettel, 2011-Jenson Button, 2012-Sebastian Vettel

My top 5 Japanese Grand Prix

Here are my top five Japanese Grand Prix races and in no particular order:-

  1. 1996 Japanese Grand Prix- Damon Hill wins the race ahead of Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. Hill took his eighth win of the season and won the championship finally! Just a great drive from Damon! 
  2. 2008 Japanese Grand Prix- Fernando Alonso wins the race ahead of Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton lead the championship into the race. He lead the race from pole but was penalised due to an incident with Raikkonen. Massa was also penalised for causing Hamilton to spin. Hamilton was at the back of the field and Massa collided with Bourdais leaving Fernando to victory. [No video was avaliable]
  3. 1998 Japanese Grand Prix- Mika Hakkinen wins the race ahead of Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard. Great drive from Mika to clinch his first title in the sport. [No video was avaliable]
  4. 2011 Japanese Grand Prix- Jenson Button wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Button at the start of the weekend announced a new deal with the McLaren team.  Also Vettel secured his second consecutive drivers title. A brilliant drive from Jenson. One of his best victories. [No video was avaliable]
  5. 1999 Japanese Grand Prix- Mika Hakkinen wins the race ahead of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. This race was also Damon Hill’s last race as a driver. Mika deserved to win the title this year after a hard battle with Irvine. I was so happy when Mika secured his second consecutive title. [No video was avaliable]

If the Japanese Grand Prix from last year is anything to go by from last year, we look set to witness a great race next weekend. Will Fernando be able to challenge Red Bull and Lotus to win again and gain in the championship lead? Will Red Bull be able to achieve pole position and try to win the race? Will Rosberg, Raikkonen, Massa, Button, Perez, Hamilton or be able to challenge them?

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every practice session, the qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and the BBC are also showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 1.45pm and 5.45pm [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 2.45am and 5.00am [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 5.00am
  • BBC- Friday (Practice 1 and Practice 2 Live) 1.50am and 5.55am [Highlights on Friday morning on BBC2], Saturday- (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 1.55am and 5.00am [Highlights on Saturday morning on BBC2], Sunday (Race Live and Race Highlights) 6.00am and 2.00pm

My next blog post will be a full Race Report on the Japanese Grand Prix by the end of next week. Loving the start of the weekend of Formula One, Hope you will be enjoying every single moment of the weekend as much as me!

2013 Korean Grand Prix Race Weekend Review

Sebastian Vettel wins in Singapore, Fernando Alonso with a good drive to second place and Kimi Raikkonen claims the final place on the podium after a good drive. McLaren yet again have made small improvements to their car in order to gain their way back to the front and score some much needed points. And people are still wishing that Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes’ drivers still do not have the pace with their cars in qualifying…

Prior to the Grand Prix, the biggest talking point is the new rumours circulating in the paddock is who is going to take Kimi’s place in the Lotus team for next year. The two contenders gunning for this place is Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa. You cannot also discount Paul Di Resta for the drive either. But we shall see in the next few weeks who Lotus will choose.

The Korean Grand Prix is not one of the favourite destinations for the teams and the drivers but they love the circuit. The circuit is quite demanding and does not have a flow like some of the previous new circuits introduced in the last few years. The circuit is not really used and is quite dusty and low on grip at the start of the weekend. The front right tyre gets a lot of pressure because of the loading of the circuit and it being anti-clockwise.

This Grand Prix will be one full of questions of who again can go longer on their tyres, who can save the most tyres for the race on Sunday, which car has got their car set up the most competitive and race ready? Have McLaren and Williams made a significant step forward with their upgrades in their fight to get back to the front?

Alongside these questions, questions if Red Bull, Lotus or Mercedes will be able this weekend to help their own fight in the championships, can McLaren small improvements on their cars help them this weekend before Hungary where more upgrades are planned to take place on the car, who will be competitive from the off, who has the quickest car and who will win this race on Sunday?

The race weekend begins now….

Strap yourselves in. The new season begins now…

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is Mercedes look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Practice 1 saw Lewis Hamilton top the timesheet with a time of 1.39.630 followed closely by Vettel with a gap of 0.037 seconds, Webber in third with a gap of 0.186 seconds, Rosberg in fourth with a gap of 0.487 seconds and Button in fifth with a gap of 0.585 seconds.

Within Practice 1, Gonzalez spins his Marussia towards the end of his lap after missing the apex and damages his front wing. Also, Kimi Raikkonen spins at the final corner and the whole left hand side of his Lotus is damaged leaving his team with a lot of work to do before the start of Practice 2.

Practice 2 saw Lewis Hamilton again topping the timesheets with a time of 1.38.673 followed by Vettel with a gap of 0.108 seconds, Rosberg in third with a gap of 0.124 seconds, Webber in fourth with a gap of 0.171 seconds behind and Massa in fifth with a gap of 0.441 seconds behind Hamilton. Jenson Button managed to achieve a top 10 finishes with an 9th place. And Sergio managed 12th place. The early pace is showing that McLaren may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend. Alonso managed to get seventh place in the session.

Practice 3 saw Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheet again with a time of 1.37.881 followed by Webber with a time of gap of 0.137 seconds behind, Rosberg in third with a gap of 0.437 seconds behind, Hamilton in fourth with a gap of 0.451 seconds behind and Alonso in a fifth with a gap of 0.605 seconds behind. The surprise of the session is Nico Hulkenberg managing to grab 9th place showing that Sauber may have good pace within their cars. Button looks to be having a good weekend so far with claiming 10th place which show that McLaren might be able to get into Q3 with a fight and to gain some championship points on Sunday.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg and also Vettel to gain pole position again this weekend. As all three drivers seem to be excelling in qualifying at the moment and the momentum is with them from claiming Pole Positions in four rounds of the championship so far. Alonso, Massa, Webber and Raikkonen also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top five places at the moment.

Button and Perez even with upgrade programme and making good and solid progress with points finishes in previous races, seem to have made an improvement.  It seems from looking at their performances that the pace is coming slowly and steadily and both drivers I will admit will struggle to even make Qualifying 2 or maybe even the points in the race and it will take a lot of skill and talent to do that in a car that is not capable, unless a bit of unexpected rain happens (which is very unlikely). However, I think that Toro Rosso, Force India or Sauber have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

Qualifying

It looks like Red Bull, Mercedes or even the Lotus’s are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session look set to challenge Ferrari, McLaren and the rest of the field for pole position today due to current form that they have shown. But Force India or Sauber may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions. And it is looking likely that it will be a challenge for the Williams drivers of Bottas and Maldonado to clear Q1 and also the McLaren drivers of Button and Perez to clear Q2 as both teams do not have the pace within their cars to challenge the top teams this weekend.

Prior to qualifying, Mark Webber has a ten place grid penalty after running across the track at Singapore to receive a lift off Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari to get back to the pits. This will only spur Mark on to qualify the best he can for tomorrow.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

In Q1, Raikkonen tops the timesheets with a time of 1.38.341, Rosberg was second with a gap of 0.077 seconds, Hulkenberg was third with a gap of 0.086 seconds, Alonso was fourth with a gap of 0.179 seconds and Riccardo was fifth with a gap of 0.184 seconds. Hamilton, Vettel, Guiterrez, Button and Massa managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Bottas, Maldonado, Pic, Van Der Garde, Bianchi, and Chilton.

During Q1, Jules Bianchi in his Marussia while on his own qualifying lap appears to have blocked the Force India of Paul Di Resta who was on a qualifying lap himself. The stewards are looking at this incident.

In Q2, Vettel tops the timesheets with a time of 1.37.569, Hamilton is second with a gap of 0.255 seconds behind, Webber is third with a gap of 0.271 seconds behind, Hulkenberg is a surprise fourth with a gap of 0.344 seconds behind and Alonso is a credible fifth with a gap of 0.409 seconds behind. The big surprise of the session was Guiterrez finished the session in 10th place. At the end of Q2, we lose Perez, Button, Riccardo, Sutil, Di Resta and Vergne.

The battle for pole position is on…

In Q3, Vettel tops the timesheet and gets pole with a amazingly fast lap time of 1.37.202 ,Hamilton was second fastest with a gap of 0.218 seconds behind, Webber was third fastest with a gap of 0.262 seconds behind, Grosjean was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.329 seconds behind, Rosberg was fifth fastest with a gap of 0.477 seconds behind, Alonso was sixth fastest with a gap of 0.836 seconds behind, Massa was seventh fastest with a gap of 1.021 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was a credible eighth fastest with a gap of 1.035 seconds behind, Guiterrez was ninth fastest and Raikkonen was tenth fastest.

I should point out again that Mark Webber has a ten place grid penalty and will start the race in 13th place leaving Grosjean third after the FIA have enforced the penalty after qualifying.

It would seem that Red Bull genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend which I am absolutely not thrilled about. However, both sets of drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this. You cannot discount Hamilton, Webber or Rosberg to be challenging also for the race win in order to keep their seasons off to a flying start. Alonso or Raikkonen could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes and Red Bull and Ferrari and Lotus to gain some points on his rivals for the championship.

Button, Perez, Vergne, Hulkenberg and Riccardo could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for McLaren, Sauber and Toro Rosso before heading to the next race in Singapore. Will it rain tomorrow? Maybe. Who will win the Grand Prix tomorrow? I really don’t know (hoping for a Button win!). Who will lead the championship after this race? Will it be Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Alonso or Hamilton? I don’t know.  The Grand Prix has been set up nicely, just like the last race. Let’s see what happens…

Race

The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2013 Korean Grand Prix will live up to expectations and who will be the winner? Here we go…

All 22 drivers are lined up on their grid positions, five red lights and its GO!!!!!!!!

Vettel gets off the line quite well. There is a battle between Rosberg and Alonso. Esteban Guiterrez has managed to make places from the start and is 6th ahead of Felipe Massa. At Turn 3, there are five cars abreast heading into the corner. Alonso is tagged by his team mate Massa but Massa ends up worse off. Romain Grosjean now finds himself in second place. Nico Hulkenberg is still in eighth. And Daniel Riccardo has had a blistering start and now finds himself in 7th place.

Lap 2 and Vettel leads Grosjean by 2 seconds. The battle for fourth place between Rosberg, Hulkenberg and Alonso is ongoing on track and also for seventh between Riccardo and Raikkonen.   The next lap sees Webber and Di Resta battling on track for 12th place. Hamilton is also gaining on Grosjean. Webber is now 11th after passing Perez. Jenson Button appears to have front wing damage after the incident at Turn 3 on the last lap.

Lap 4 sees Raikkonen passing Riccardo for 7th place and Massa passing Van Der Garde for 17th place. The next lap sees Button pit. By Lap 6, Vettel leads by 2.9 seconds. Maldonado and Webber are battling for 9th place and Webber is able to pass him a couple of corners later. Perez and Di Resta are battling for 11th place. At the end of the lap, Massa pits with a stop time with a time of 2.5 seconds and rejoins the race in 21st place.

Lap 7 sees Vettel extending his lead by 3.1 seconds. A battle for fifth place between Hulkenberg, Alonso and Raikkonen is ongoing. At the end of the lap, Maldonado, Di Resta and Guiterrez pit. The next lap sees Webber passing Riccardo for 8th place. The stewards are looking into an incident between Bianchi and Van Der Garde. The battle for fifth has now extended to include Webber.

Lap 9 and 3.5 seconds Vettel now leads Grosjean. Raikkonen passes Alonso for 6th place. Alonso tries to repass Kimi but cannot do so. Van Der Garde has received a penalty from the stewards. At the end of the lap, Hamilton and Alonso make their pitstops and rejoin the race in 9th and 11th places. At the end of the next lap, Grosjean, Rosberg and Hulkenberg pit.

Lap 11 and Vettel leads Raikkonen by 17.3 seconds. Grosjean and Hamilton are battling for 5th place. Hamilton is not able to pass him. At the end of the lap, Raikkonen and Vettel pit. On Lap 12 Webber leads the race ahead of Vettel. Grosjean passes Riccardo for 3rd place. Di Resta is now trying to pass Perez for 13th place. At the end of the lap, Webber and Vergne pit.

Lap 13 sees Vettel regain his lead ahead of Grosjean. Grosjean and Hamilton are battling for second place. The incident between Di Resta and Perez being investigated by the stewards. By Lap 15, Perez and Maldonado are battling for 11th place and Hulkenberg, Alonso, Raikkonen and Webber are battling for 6th place.

Lap 18 and Vettel leads Grosjean by 4 seconds. Riccardo and Rosberg are in a battle with each other for fourth in the race. And Rosberg a few corners later is able to pass Riccardo. At the end of the lap, Riccardo pits with a stop time of 3.7 seconds and rejoins the race in 12th place.

Lap 20 and Grosjean seems to be picking up the pace towards Vettel. On track, Alonso is trying to pass Hulkenberg but cannot do so. The next lap sees Hulkenberg on Team Radio stating that his tyres appear to be ‘going’ but it could be tyre graining? Lap 22 and Vettel extends his lead by 4.4 seconds. Riccardo passes Di Resta for 12th place. At the end of the lap, Button pits.

Lap 23 and on track Massa passes Guiterrez for 13th place. At the end of Lap 25 Raikkonen pits for new tyres with a stop time of 3.3 seconds and rejoins the race in 10th place. The next lap sees Hamilton saying to his team that he has no grip. Di Resta sadly has to retire his Force India. At the end of the lap, Hulkenberg pits with a stop time of 4 seconds and rejoins the race in 9th place.

By Lap 27 Vettel leads Grosjean by 5.8 seconds. Webber and Alonso are battling with each other for 6th place and is now able to pass Fernando at Turn 6. Hamilton and Rosberg are battling each other for 3rd place. The next lap sees Rosberg passing Hamilton. However, not long after passing his team mate, Rosberg’s front wing is damaged and is loose causing sparks. At the end of the lap, Alonso and Rosberg pit and rejoin the race in 8th and 12th places. At the end of Lap 29, Hamilton pits and rejoins the race in 6th place.

Lap 31 and Vettel leads by 5.3 seconds. Perez’s right front tyre delaminates on his McLaren and Mark Webber is very lucky to avoid being seriously hurt. The Safety Car is now deployed. Vettel, Grosjean, Webber and Perez all pit.

Lap 37 and we are back RACING!! Hulkenberg passes Hamilton for position. Sutil and Webber have a collusion on track causing Webber to retire after the Red Bull immediately catches fire. The next lap sees Raikkonen passing Grosjean on track and the Safety Car being deployed again due to an Jeep with a fire marshall having to come on track to deal with the fire going on in Webber’s Red Bull.

Lap 41 and we are RACING again. Perez passes Massa for 12th place. Alonso tries to pass Hamilton. Hamilton then passes Alonso. The battle for fifth between Hamilton, Alonso and Button is continuing. By Lap 42, Vettel leads the field by 1.4 seconds. Adrian Sutil has received a penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Hulkenberg and Hamilton are battling for fourth place.

Lap 45 and Vettel leads by 2.8 seconds. Hamilton tries Hulkenberg but cannot do so. Guiterrez loses 10th place to Maldonado. Maldonado, Guiterrez, Massa, Perez and Bottas are battling for 10th place. Guiterrez re passes Maldonado. Massa passes Maldonado and Bottas passes his team mate which indicates that Maldonado’s tyres are not in peak condition. The next lap sees Perez passes Guiterrez for 11th place.

Lap 47 sees Vettel leading by 3.3 seconds. Hamilton again tries to pass Hulkenberg and cannot do so. Hulkenberg is defending brilliantly at the moment. The next lap sees Hamilton passing Hulkenberg but Nico is able to repass Lewis quickly. Alonso is now gaining on Hamilton and tries to pass him but cannot do so.

Lap 52 sees Vettel leading by 4.5 seconds. Hamilton once again tries to pass Hulkenberg but Hulkenberg is once again defending brilliantly. Lap 53 sees Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Alonso still battling for fourth place in the race. Rosberg passes Button for eighth place. Jenson tries quickly to try and re pass but cannot do so.

Lap 54 sees Vettel leading Grosjean and the field by 5.8 seconds. Daniel Riccardo has to retire his Toro Rosso. The final lap sees Alonso trying with all his might to gain on Hamilton but cannot do so. Sebastian Vettel completes the final lap and takes the win in Korea, Kimi Raikkonen takes second place 4.2 seconds behind Vettel, Romain Grosjean gets the final place on the podium 4.9 seconds behind Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg after a superb drive takes fourth place 24.1 seconds behind Vettel, Hamilton takes fifth place 25.2 seconds behind Vettel, Alonso takes sixth place 26.1 seconds behind Vettel, Rosberg takes seventh place 26.6 seconds behind Vettel, Button takes eighth place 32.2 seconds behind Vettel, Massa takes ninth place 34.3 seconds behind Vettel and Perez takes the final point in tenth place 35.1 seconds behind Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel leads the Driver’s championship with 272 points, Alonso is second with 195 points, Raikkonen is third with 167 points, Hamilton is fourth with 161 points, Webber is fifth with 130 points, Rosberg is sixth with 122 points, Massa is seventh with 89 points, Grosjean is eighth with 72 points, Button is ninth with 58 points and Di Resta is tenth with 36 points.

Red Bull lead the Constructor’s championship with 402 points, Ferrari is second with 284 points, Mercedes is third with 283 points, Lotus is fourth with 239 points, McLaren is fifth with 81 points, Force India in sixth with 62 points, Toro Rosso in seventh with 31 points, Sauber are eighth with 31 points and Williams are ninth with 1 point.

Conclusion

The Grand Prix tested the drivers throughout the race with the high level of tyre degradation, just like the many races we have had this season. However, I am glad that the small changes that Pirelli made to the tyres have worked this weekend and they have not compromised safety or the racing.

I was happy that Jenson and Sergio did have some pace to challenge today and did score some points for the team. Jenson had a cracking battle all of the race and keeping drivers such as Hamilton and Massa at bay for a long period shows that he is a racer, no matter what is happening in the team at the moment.

This just shows how much they are making improvements at the moment. But it shows that McLaren are taking slow and steady progress to try and get to the front of the field once again. But I am happy that Jenson and Sergio managed to do his best this weekend for the team and they were rewarded with some good points. But they need to try and make the car competitive and understand the issues surrounding their problems and learn the lessons from this year’s car and focus on 2014.

The team this weekend I believe have made small steps into looking at solutions to help and cure this problem before the championships, race wins, podiums and even point finishes are no longer within their reach. As I said last race, I know McLaren will bounce back to the performance they and their fans crave and when that happens, it will make it all the more special.

Lotus this weekend may not have gained another victory this weekend but they have scored some good points from Kimi and Romain this weekend that will help their fight in the Constructors Championship. I was impressed with Raikkonen and Grosjean this weekend. Kimi  has not been on the pace all weekend and drove to my mind a good race despite problems with his back and also announcing that he is moving to Ferrari next year. However, Kimi now needs to build on this result and remain consistent for the rest of the season to get ready for 2014. While Romain has been in top 10 form all weekend and thoroughly deserves his place on the podium.

I was a bit surprised that Lotus was not able to challenge for the win this weekend, but consistency and points scoring keeps you in the hunt for the title, as Alonso proved last season. Despite the problems of this weekend, the Lotus team have managed to get again score some points, even though they are now fourth in the Constructor’s Championship.

The biggest surprises this weekend for me was the 4th place of Nico Hulkenberg. Firstly, Hulkenberg has had an impressive weekend but he has impressed me a lot this weekend yet again as in Singapore. He drove a cracking race to bring home some much needed point for the team. I believe that Nico this year has learnt his lessons from his last and this season from the sport and is working harder than ever to impress with his performances in the sport this year and trying to get some much needed points for Sauber. I really believe that Nico when is good is a high quality driver that he is and I was happy to him get a point today after a great drive. But the question is, when will the top teams give this man a chance? Nico deserves in my view to be in a competitive car! Come on Lotus, give him a chance!

Alonso also drove solidly this weekend to claim fourth place. Even though he qualified in sixth place on Saturday, I believe that he did not the potential to challenge Vettel, Webber or both of the Mercedes drivers for the win even if he qualified further up the grid.  Alonso and Ferrari need to keep working on their qualifying pace as they have a really good car this year (especially in the race) and could challenge Vettel if this problem was rectified.

Massa, Rosberg and Hamilton do deserve a mention. Firstly, Ferrari seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year. They seem to be able to make sure that their qualifying performance is also consistent and reliable, while it seems they have improved their race pace today. And yet again Massa extends his and his team’s points into the championships today. While both of the Mercedes driver undoubtedly have the car to challenge Red Bull at qualifying on Saturdays but still need to work on the pace on Sundays. But I believe that Mercedes seem to have a car that is undoubtedly better than their car last year and will get there eventually.  And I think that Lewis and Nico drove solidly despite battling what felt like every driver today and deserved to take some points for their efforts.

I would also like to say that Webber drove to my mind a really good race today and deserved to take some points home today. Mark drove through the field with the grit and determination that all fans and the paddock admire, respect and love about him until he had no choice but to retire his car after Sutil collided into him. I really will miss Mark next year and I really hope that we can win a race before the end of the season. As Mark deserves to leave the sport with a bang.

All that is left to say about this race is that Vettel sadly deserved to win today. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. They seem to be able to make sure that their qualifying performance is also consistent and reliable, while it seems they have improved their race pace today. And yet again Vettel extends his and his team’s points into the championships today and people are now starting to believe that unless Vettel and Red Bull are challenged, the title is theirs for the taking.

Will Sebastian be able to win in Japan? Can Hamilton, Webber, Raikkonen, Grosjean or Alonso be able to challenge?  We shall see in a week’s time!

My next post will be my Japanese Grand Prix Track Preview which will be uploaded to the blog by the start of the Grand Prix weekend!