Sunday, 17 October 2010

A week is a long time in F1...

 Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates over the last week or so, been having some computer troubles which took quite a while to sort out. As there's been too much going on to go into in detail,  this post is basically to get back up to speed with everything. I'll post some more regular updates from tomorrow.

Basically, the biggest news is that Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix last Sunday, with team-mate Mark Webber second, Fernando Alonso third and the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton fourth and fifth. 
Webber keeps the lead of the championship with 220 points, Vettel and Alonso are joint second on 206, Hamilton on 192 and Button on 189.

Some personal points and observations from the race:

  • It was a pretty darn boring affair, and one which really wasn't worth getting up for (it started at 7am British time, which will be the same for the now confirmed Korean race next week). This pretty much suited the Red Bulls down to the ground, as it was clear Webber would not attack Vettel for fear of losing his championship lead. The Red Bulls were fastest all weekend, so it was clear when the delayed qualifying was on a completely dry track that they would dominate. As for both drivers, although Webber played it safe this time, he may well have to go for broke a lot more in the last few races- even if he were to finish second to Vettel in both Korea and Brazil, the pair would be on equal points heading into the last round, something Webber might not be able to handle.
  • Fernando Alonso is beginning to look like a good bet for the title, particularly as it seems his car is looking a lot better than the McLarens at the moment and can hold up well with the Red Bulls. Massa, on the other hand, despite apparently having full support from the team, will have to provide a much better service if Alonso is going to win the title- his first lap crash with Tonio Liuzzi's Force India shows how much he has gone off the boil since the German race.
  • Both McLarens are effectively out of the title hunt, as the remaining tracks suit Red Bull more, particularly in Brazil. It means Hamilton would have to hope for some reliability problems from Vettel and Webber to have a chance of the championship, something Button seems to be ruling himelf out of, and the team are not concerned about.
  • Robert Kubica's early retirement robbed us of a good race in Suzuka, as it seemed the Polish driver was the only one to come close to the two up front. It also throws into sharp relief the distance between Kubica and Vitaly Petrov, another driver whose early retirement, coupled with a grid penalty for the next race, would not have endeared him to his already impatient bosses. There is still a chance that somebody else will come into the team, but with the options already thin on the ground, it will be hard to see Renault getting rid of him.
  • There were two standout drives on Sunday, both from drivers with rather mixed seasons. Michael Schumacher in sixth drove probably his best race of the season, easily keeping in touch with team-mate Nico Rosberg and proving to be at least consistent, if not particularly fast towards the end of the year. Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber was the other one- whether it was being in front of a home crowd, or something the team put in his cereal, he was definitely the most entertaining driver of the race, with some fantastic overtaking manouevres making up for the timidness of the other drivers.
  • Finally, the battle of the last three teams seems to have ended in Lotus' favour after Kovalainen's 12th place, while Virgin finally moved ahead of Hispania after Glock finished 14th. As for Lucas Di Grassi, the less said about his weekend, the better...
 The rest of the news this week concerned the Korean GP, which will definitely go ahead next Sunday after the FIA approved the track for racing. As well as this a race has been announced for Russia in 2014, in the Winter Olympic city of Sochi, proving once and for all that Bernie Ecclestone doesn't read my posts, and that F1 testing will take place at Portimao in Portugal from next season, which sounds good.

Right, that's your lot. As mentioned above, normal service resumes tomorrow. Hopefully.