Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Fuji, 2008

Alonso wins as Hamilton and Massa stumble

2008 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton has been accused of being too hot-headed and risking too much in championship-deciding situations. Felipe Massa has been criticised for making mistakes in wheel-to-wheel battles.

Watching the Japanese Grand Prix, it wasn’t difficult to understand why. As the two championship contenders provoked controversy in the opening laps, Fernando Alonso motored through to claim a second, richly deserved victory.

A chaotic start

Hamilton threw away his hard-earned pole position the instant the lights went out as Kimi Raikkonen zapped past him. Not for the first time, Hamilton seemed to lose sight of the fact that his championship rival was Massa, not Raikkonen, and risked everything in a do-or-die move to recapture the lead.

He dived for the inside, smoke pouring from locked wheels, and ran wide, forcing Raikkonen to take evasive action. Massa, who was also at the outside of turn one, was similarly delayed, and the mess allowed Robert Kubica and Alonso into the lead from sixth and fourth on the grid respectively.

Hamilton made a slow recovery and was passed by Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli and the Ferraris. But on the second lap he got a clear run up the inside of Massa at turn ten and was through. Massa tried to come back at him at the following left-hander, but with two wheels on the kerb and two wheels on the grass he tipped Hamilton into a spin and down to last

McLaren responded by pitting Hamilton straight away to discard his badly flat-spotted tyres and inspect the damage from the collision with Massa – which included the barge boards and part of the floor. When he returned to the track he was 52 seconds behind leader Kubica.

Hamilton was not the only driver in trouble on the opening lap. David Coulthard was swiped sideways into the barrier at the exit of turn one. Kazuki Nakajima lost his front wing and had to pit for a replacement – an ironic development for the Japanese driver at his home race, since he had eliminated Alonso during his home event at Valencia on the first lap.

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Penalties

Within a few laps Massa and Hamilton were hit with penalties: Hamilton for the turn one incident, Massa for hitting Hamilton.

That sent Massa plunging down the order from sixth to 14th and cost Hamilton even more time.

Alonso gets ahead

Meanwhile Raikkonen had passed Jarno Trulli for fourth on lap seven with a neat move at turn ten. That became third when Kovalainen came to a halt on lap 16 with what turned out to be engine failure.

Up front Kubica was leading Alonso but unable to pull away quickly despite having slightly less fuel. The BMW driver made his first pit stop on lap 15 and although the Renault only stayed out one lap longer, it was enough for Alonso to leapfrog ahead of Kubica. This pit stop switch-around decided the winner of the race.

Jarno Trulli took over the lead (Raikkonen having pitted), and Sebastien Bourdais and Nelson Piquet Jnr also took turns to head the field. But once the first round of pit stops was over, Alonso was firmly in control.

More trouble for Massa

Massa’s penalty and pit stop left him 13th with Hamilton just 10 seconds behind. After being briefly stuck behind Jenson Button he found a way through and Hamilton followed a few laps later.

Hamilton made his final pit stop on lap 41, leaving him with a 26-lap run to the flag. Massa, however, didn’t have to make his last stop until lap 52 and he was setting fastest laps in the run-up to it as the chance of a point or two beckoned.

But on lap 50 Sebastien Bourdais came out of the pits in front of him and the pair collided at the first corner, Massa spinning around. After the race the stewards added 25 seconds to Bourdais’ time.

Bourdais gets 25s penalty

Kubica holds off Raikkonen

Raikkonen emerged from his final pit stop directly behind Kubica in a battle for second place. The Ferrari was clearly quicker than the BMW, and the long, wide straights of Fuji gave him little chance to run an hide.

Still, Kubica gave a master class in defensive driving: he covered the inside of the hairpin when he had to, and took care to slow Raikkonen’s pace at the apex of the corner to deny him a run at the next bend.

After several laps of careful and utterly clean defending by Kubica, Raikkonen’s attacks began to fade and he settled back into the third place he would keep until the flag.

Further back Massa was finding his rivals’ defensive tactics either irrelevant or inadequate. He made light work of the other BMW of Nick Heidfeld, passing him on the main straight as if his Ferrari had an extra gear.

That brought Massa onto the tail of Mark Webber on lap 64. Webber covered the inside line on the right but Massa dived to Webber’s extreme right, over the pit lane exit, to get alongside the Red Bull.

Had Webber continued straight ahead Massa would have been obliged either to lift the throttle or run out of road. But Webber backed down, pulled left and gave Massa the space to take the position.

Alonso wins

Alonso took the chequered flag after 67 laps to score his second consecutive win of the season. At Singapore he rode his luck, but here he beat Kubica in a straight fight and capitalised magnificently on Ferrari and McLaren’s problems.

Kubica’s defence of second place was gritty stuff, and the eight points leaves him 12 behind Hamilton with two races to go. But for that penalty at Singapore, he would be an extremely convincing championship contender.

Raikkonen salvaged third for Ferrari and that, along with Massa’s seventh place (promoted from eighth after Bourdais’ penalty) put the Italian team back in the lead of the constructors’ championship. After Ferrari’s failure to score in Singapore, the same fate befell McLaren at Fuji.

Nelson Piquet Jnr took fourth on merit despite a hiccup on lap 62 when he spun at turn five, losing four seconds. He still kept Jarno Trulli behind which was a major blow for Toyota on home ground. With Timo Glock retiring early on, Toyota are now 16 points behind Renault in the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship.

Sebastian Vettel was promoted to sixth ahead of Massa and Webber. Heidfeld was tenth, Nico Rosberg 11th and Hamilton was the final runner on the lead lap – he un-lapped himself from Alonso on the final tour in the forlorn hope four or more driver might stop on the last circuit.

Both the Honda drivers oddly set their fastest laps of the race on the final lap, Rubens Barrichello 0.7s ahead of Jenson Button after a miserable home outing for the team. Nakajima limped in 15th and last in his first home race, though he at least fared better than the Force Indias, neither of which finished.

80 comments on “Alonso wins as Hamilton and Massa stumble”

  1. This season has seen the most idiotic driving by title contenders.. Canada (LH), Silverstone(FM), Monaco (KR)

    How could, I mean, HOW COULD all, I mean ALL 4 : Both Ferrari, Both Mclaren drivers think; that going over the outside of turn 1 would be good?

    Kubika, Alonso, Trulli must be baffled at such stupidity by the guys in front of them..

  2. Neither Hamilton nor Massa looked like champions today.

  3. Why Hamilton was penalized, Massa’s move on Hamilton reminded me of Michael Schumacher move on Jacques Villeneuve in 1997. I think Massa should be DSQ.

  4. Hamilton’s move endangered the whole field and such extreme foolhardiness had to be penalised…

    The “coming through regardless attitude” at a first corner without any thought as to the possible carnage has to be sat on very very hard by the stewards or it will become an increasingly dangerous situation…

  5. I will try encouragly not engage on a debate about penalties, cause there is a pair of posts to do it.

    But of course, I would like to say What the hell was Lewis thinking? Didn’t he knew he wasn’t racing Kimi? (Ron Dennis TM copyrighted words). That kind of damage limitation and the use of brain while racing is what rates a WDC, IMHO.

    On the other hand, Lewis has made everything he could to prove Kubica’s words right….. He made his talk on the track, really.

  6. my god this championship is getting more interesting. I hope massa and ham leave china GP with equal points..then it would be a real nail biter…

    i still havent seen the race i am waiting for rerun at 3pm…

  7. Really thrilling race. Agree with Keith, after a proper dry race in Fuji, that there’s not much more about it than the finish-start straight, what a terribly dull 3rd sector. Some unanswered questions for me:

    – How did Nelsinho climb to 4th?
    – Why did Lewis fight Alonso in last lap? I mean, it was looking like such obvious non-sense that I’m inclined to think there was some proper reason for it, or that Lewis thought so…
    – Is Webber’s behaviour while being passed by Massa at the straight punishable? Didn’t he get a little too Steve McQueenish before leaving room to Massa?

    Check the start videos carefully. I think Massa brakes late too and loses a golden chance to grab the inside line and so instead he gets blocked, ironically, by Kimi himself.

    And as I just read somewhere else…

    Alonso 2 – Montezemolo 0

  8. ‘Hamilton’s move endangered the whole field and such extreme foolhardiness had to be penalised…’

    Completely agree with you there Lady Snowcat, he nearly took out his own team mate FFS!!! His penalty was totally deserved as was Massa’s. Though I think Bourdais’ penalty was ludicrous!!

    As for the race, it was one of the better dry races we’ve seen in a while. Stirling drive by Alonso, a thoroughly deserving victory. Inspiring defensive driving by Kubica and thus reminded us all of what kind of future this man has.

    Even Piquet has to get a mention, though he made a bit of a slip up towards the end, he still did a good job for Renault and brought home some valuable points for the team. I’m really hoping Renault finish in 4th and they just might do it.

    Have to say that I can’t stand the track, very very boring. Can’t wait for the switch back to Suzuka in 2009!!!

  9. Great site, Keith: I’ve always enjoyed reading your articles but for the first time I felt I had to leave a comment with regards to the Hamilton penalty.

    I agree the stewards are very inconsistant but I think they got it right in this case. As you said:

    Not for the first time, Hamilton seemed to lose sight of the fact that his championship rival was Felipe Massa, not Raikkonen, and risked everything in a do-or-die move to recapture the lead.

    He dived for the inside, smoke pouring from locked wheels, and ran wide, forcing Raikkonen to take evasive action.

    Unlike at Monaco (where Kimi made an unintentional mistake and consequently involved Sutil in his own accident) in this instance this was a deliberate attempt to pass – and a bad one at that. Then, as you’ve said in your other article, there was no contact as there was between Massa and Hamilton but there WOULD have been unless Kimi had taken that fairly severe avoiding action and this ruined Kimi’s race.

    So I have to say I agree with all but the bewildering Massa/Bourdais penalty.

  10. Lewis was a shambles today, he again proved his achile’s heel is cracking under pressure in the final few rounds of the championship. He didn’t need to get involved in any of these incidents today and there are a few over the season that start to suggest that Lewis has a long way to go to prove the doubters wrong in this area. I believe his penalty at the start was deserved, you cannot have a wild attempts like that at turn 1 – That is what GP2 drivers do. Not impressed one bit and I am starting to think that the 2008 world champion is not really going to be a truly valued world champion, just the chump that made the least mistakes!

    Well Done Fernando a brilliant drive!

  11. Cameron aka. SkinBintin
    12th October 2008, 13:37

    I really don’t want to say it, but is this sport really corupt? Because to me, penalising Boudais is nothing but an excercise to gift Massa another point. This sport is a joke. I’m beginning to hate it.

    —-

    As I said during the live blog:

    Sometimes this sport is like watching a really bad movie. No matter how bad it gets, I still want to see what happens.

    —-

    So, despite my current distaste with Formula 1, I just can’t bring myself to stop watching it.

  12. Thanks for your comments guys, sorry to those of you who’ve seen a few disappear but one or two remarks made were potentially the type of thing the type of thing I could get in trouble for.

  13. How a championship contender can be THAT stupid?.

    Both, really, but most important, Lewis.

    He’s the favourite here, with 7 points lead and a pole position when the runner up started 5.

    So, what do you do?. You loose the lead when the lights go off and loose your mind 600 meters after.

    Then he said he’s agressive style is okey, because that’s how he is, that other drivers should keep opinions to themselves…

    If he had listened to Kubica he would have raced a good race, with no dramas, at a dull event.

    He’s fast, but he’s an *******…

  14. The start of the race reminded me, in everyway, of Brazil last year. All Hamilton had to do then, was stay behind Alonso in fourth place and he would have become champion. Instead, he risked everything by trying to overtake the Spaniard when it really wasn’t necessary!
    When Raikkonen beat Hamilton off the line at Fuji, it was obvious that he was going to back the pack up to aid Massa in fifth. We discussed this on this site two weeks ago on how the team mates of Hamilton and Massa could play a part in the championship.
    It would seem that Hamilton’s brain just cannot take being beaten in certain circumstances, cannot fathom that a race is longer than one corner, that a championship is not won by only looking at the small picture.
    His move on Massa was simulary predictable, as was the shunt that followed. Massa running abit wide through the chicane, Hamilton seeing the space, and going for it. The irony for me was, that Hamilton was already under investigation by the stewards for what happened at the start, and was always going to get a penalty. Massa was unaware of this however, and really shot himself in the foot by running into Hamilton.
    For McLaren, the race was a disaster, but could so easily have been a catastrophe had Massa not chosen to nudge Hamilton’s rear tyre going through the chicane.
    As for Alonso and Kubica, they really showed their pedigree. Alonso has now won as many grands prix this year as the defending champion, Kimi Raikkonen. The last time he won two back to back races was in 2006 in his championship winning year. All this, in a car that, two months ago, appeared to be completely inept.
    Kubica’s battle with Raikkonen, was pure class. Even Raikkonen had to admit afterwards, with a wry smile on his face, that there was nothing he could have done to pass the Polish driver. Robert, like at the poker table, seldom makes an mistake.
    The great thing about this race, for us fans atleast, is that we now have a possible three way shootout for the title. Both the top two, once again, proved that they can break under pressure. Bring on China, and lets see who can make amends.

  15. BTW, did anyone see the on-board views of the Mclaren; their extended pod wings / fins are moving around A LOT ! !

  16. Regarding penalties I would be interested to see if Keith can find an example of when a driver outbraked himself into a corner, goes off but hits no one, and is penalized. I have seen untold numbers of turn 1 pile ups in my 20 years watching this sport without a peep from any stewards.

    Its clear to me that the stewards needed to punish Massa for his Dale Earnhardt imitation, but wanted to balance matters. So they invented a penalty for self-out-braking. Of course Massa ruined the balance by running over Bourdais and they are forced to penalize the non-red car to keep the natural order intact.

    I can criticize Hamilton for his choice of braking point but not for the move. Attempting to with the WDC by not losing it means earning the latter. He is not 20 points ahead. If he had demurred to Kimi, Massa obviously would have swept around both into the lead… and cut the WDC lead to 3. And we would be now maligning Hamilton for his limp driving.

  17. Kevin Queally
    12th October 2008, 14:57

    I think the Bourdais penalty was disgracefull. There is absolutely no consistancy in stewarding in F1 whatsoever. Take the incident between Montoya and Schumacher in Imola 2004, and Schumacher v Frentzen 1998, no penalties, let the guys race, the FIA are completely discouraging overtaking by imposing rediculous penalties. These guys are racers, let them race.

  18. WOW, Bourdais got 25second penalty? Why did they not give him the drive through when they had more than 10 laps to go in the race?

    If they are making any decisions after the race, then such a decision should impact the following race, not the current one. They should have given a 5-place grid penalty for Bourdais. The stewards simply wanted ways to increase points for MAS and they just did it.

    And to top all of this, I visited formula1.com and there’s a nice video of Ferrari and shell. FIA is coming out of the closet with its relationship with Ferrari.

  19. You can thrash all you want here, but I would prefer to discuss something constructive about the race, winners and loosers. To talk about the penalties I think Keith made two post to get full of space.

    But this is Keith’s blog. Excuse me.

  20. 25 Seconds for Bourdais for racing his line and doing a fine job of it all race and Massa racing around like and idiot closes the door and runs into him and the GIVE BOURDAIS 25 SECONDS !!!
    Why doesn’t the FIA change their name to Ferrari and get it over and done with.
    They only gave Massa a drive thru for taking out the leader of the championship by putting for tyres of the track but a guy who’s keeping his line on the track 25.
    I’m almost quitting this great sport because it is so biased, there are rules for Ferrari and there are different rules for everybody else. I just hope Massa does what he does best “choke” in China and Lewis wins it and rubs it in the FIA’S FACE. He’s black, he’s young and he drives a silver car.

  21. Before the race I thought that maybe Kubica has said too much commenting to La Gazzetta couple of days ago that Hamilton shouldn’t drive so aggressively. I was proved wrong today by the Brit himself on the very first corner of the very first lap. What shocked me more even was when Hamilton tried to fight Alonso who kept his head cool and let him go through to avoid some freak-last-lap clash. Massa was lucky to get those two points instead of the one he earned himself as the penalty for Bourdais was just preposterous. I’m very glad to see Kubica still in championship contention and happy to have seen the second consecutive Alonso’s win.

  22. hey, that alonso guy isn’t a half bad driver is he?

  23. To be honest. I seriously hope Kubica wins this championship. Hamilton is too rash to deserve the crown. Massa is more deserving i think (purely based on his driving) but after constant intervention by the FIA, it wouldn’t really be right for him too. Also, if Kubica won, it would mean that everyone would stop whining.

  24. Not just Alonso; even Renault seemed very competitive on Sunday.

    They were clearly quicker than BMW; may be at par with Mclaren.. only slower than Ferrari

  25. I have been watching GP racing now for over thirty years and have never been so appalled with the way the authorities are (supposedly) managing our sport.
    I remember a day when drivers were allowed to race, when a fist corner incident was just a first corner incident and the stewards let the drivers get on with it.
    I keep hearing that the drivers are supposed to remain within the confines of the race track, but only penalise those who don’t drive red cars.
    The authorities do not realise how much damage they are doing to their credibility in ruling they way they do. Joe Public could do a lot better.
    I feel that the only way forward is to paint all the cars red which would, in my opinion, confuse the pants of those idiots who we call themselves stewards.
    And my last point is what an appalling commentator James Allen is.

  26. Have to agree with you Steve. Chatting about Brunle’s shirts-that’s what Allen’s good at.

  27. What a load of rubbish F1 is turning in to. I have watched F1 since 1983 and i have really enjoyed it apart from the last 2 years where the FIA have definately got it in for Lewis and McLaren I think for the future of the sport no matter what team you support that we should all boycott the sport until the FIA make it fair for every team and not be biased to Farrari.

  28. To those who are heaping praise on Kubica and Alonso and bashing Lewis, Kimi and Massa, I want to say: wait till those guys find themselves under intense pressure at the front of the grid and then we’ll see how calm and composed they are.

  29. I just think everyone here is a bit paranoid. When Hamilton was being 90’s Schumacher cover last year and playing dirty and the FIA was just banging Alonso’s head it was OK. I agree they have had this inclination to overlook Ferrari’s mistakes since Schumi got there but I think it’s not always like that anymore – sometimes it’s just “honest mistakes”.

    And I’m still rooting for Kubica – he’s the best driver though he doesn’t have the best car (After Alonso that is – that one is magic, he really brings 1 second to the team he’s in. POINT.)

  30. ‘wait till those guys find themselves under intense pressure at the front of the grid and then we’ll see how calm and composed they are.’

    Alonso is a double world champion and is rated by many as the best all round f1 driver currently in f1, so surely that is ‘front of the grid’ and we don’t have to ‘wait’, he’s already suffered the intense pressure

    Kubica is still in contention for the world championship, took a brilliant win earlier this year and has made the least mistakes this year and you can’t really say f1 racing isn’t a high pressure job so I really don’t think your point makes sense Shashi.

    The simple fact is Alonso and Kubica have made far less mistakes than the guys in front, and i firmly hope Kubica wins this year.

  31. Post 25 – Totally agree Steve. It seems these days they only have to sneeze..
    I really hope Kubica takes the WDC. Alonso’s drive today was amazing. If Renault had risen earlier in the championship this would have been way more interesting

  32. The FIA and steward incosistencies are really becoming intolerable. another incident missed is JPM-Vs-Schumi in incident in Sepang, Poor JPM got pushed off by Schumi dangerously, let Schumi through and after all that received Drivethrough, everyone was under impression that Schumi should have got the penalty.

    Sebastien Bourdais was innocent victim of the Penalty.

    On separate note – Massa and Lewis, have proved that they can’t handle pressure situation. I compare this with Alonso’s battle with JPM at Brazil’05, when JPM pressurized, Alonso didn’t press the matter, his focus was the championship win.

    Terrible race, only highlights were Alonso and Kubica and of course Live Blog experience :D

  33. Alonso demonstrated his championship qualities today: Fast, smart, avoiding contact, and opportunistic when it counted.

    With the continuing idiocy of Massa and Hambone maybe Kubica can steal the title ala Kimi last year? That would be tremendous for BMW and Robert!

    I can’t understand Massa’s attitude: Nothing is ever his fault, it’s always the other guy. At least Lewis will ‘fess up when he screws the pooch. Relative to his tagging of Lewis, he had no business attempting to come back up the inside at the chicane exit. He stated Lewis left the racing line, but all he did was hit the apex. Massa hit Hamilton. For that transgression he should have been black flagged. Ultimately it still gave Massa an advantage and damaged Hambone’s car.

    One question for all: How does Ron rein in Hamilton’s aggression and keep him from self destructing…yet again??

  34. Grande Alonso!
    I wish he could go to Ferrari next year.
    Bravo Alonso!

  35. Personally I’d rather Alonso stay at Renault and they both return to the force they were in 2005-2006 it would be so much better for the sport to have both Renault and BMW on the level of Ferrari and McLaren. And Toyota/Red Bull aren’t too far behind so hopefully they too can close the gap for next year.

  36. When Lewis Hamilton was penalised at Spa last month, I was one of the first to cry ‘foul’ along with everybody else. Not because I have any kind of affection for Hamilton, but because it destroyed the grands prix as a spectacle.
    I have also been one of those who have consistently accused the FIA of supporting Ferrari, despite Max Mosley’s denials, which has undermined the sports integrity and made it more look like wrestling than a motorsports series.
    However, arguing about it does not change the reality. From Hamilton’s and McLaren’s point of few, they will always have to play with the cards they have been dealt. Thus taking the kinds of risks demonstrated by Hamilton today will almost certainly play into the hands of his rivals, because, if he is ever to prevail, he must beat them at their own game.
    This is not the Formula One of the 1980s or 1990s, that aspect of the sport has long since been destroyed.
    It is no good complaining about the officials, or the rules, or how the cars are contructed and circuits designed, if the basic, fundamental aspect of the sport is banished. That is the art of overtaking.
    The most scary thing about Formula One’s current position is that alot of the teams cannot afford to keep spending as they are, cannot afford to compete. Bourdais’ penalty and that of Kubica and Rosberg at Singapore due to outdated, and inept rulings, has the potential to cost teams millions in revenue. Formula One will cease to exist, if the playing field is not level and policed in ‘everybodys’ interests.
    Engine freezes and slick tyres are all wonderfull ideas, but the average punter goes to watch to see twenty men ‘overtaking’ each other, not to see the stewards meeting afterwards.
    Bourdais committed the ‘same’ offence, as the man he collided with, yet recieved a far more costly punishment. It is simular to awarding a football player with a red card and a three match ban, and another player from the opposing team a yellow card for the same offence.
    This sport cannot survive unless ‘serious’ changes are made to the rules and that they are properly implemented by those concerned. I don’t give a rats backside about who wins the championship, as long as it is on the circuit, and not in a Parisian courtroom.

  37. Keith,

    can you explain to all how Lewis lost the lead shortly after the first turn at the start ? I saw the video and it really doesn’t show how he was overtaken by Kubica and Alonso. He was clearly ahead going into turn 2. What happened ? He was not under any pressure that I could see. The cameras did not show how he was overtaken by Kubica/Alonso, because they focused on RBR’s crash.

  38. F1Fan, it was pretty simple, while McLarens and Ferraris got themselves in that mess, both Kubica and Alonso come out clean from the other side of the track. Then Hamilton tried to overtake Alonso end went out of the track and lose a few more positions.

    Here’s a youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhbwX89kK28

    The second half has a helicopter shot from the whole start.

    The funny thing is Alonso didn’t start well and Massa had already overtake him, a better start and he would likely got himself in the confusion as well.

  39. Congratulations go out to Alonso and Kubica for a perfect race! Kimi showed a great battle for 2nd as well.

    As for Hamilton, I wish he had been punched out after the race by Alonso for attacking him at the last lap. What the hell is a lapped driver doing battling the race leader before the checkered flag!? As much as I would have liked to see Alosnso fight him off he did keep his cool and made his childish attempts perfectly clear by blatantly pulling aside.

    If I’m not mistaken, when someone unlapped himself vs Senna , Ayrton paid him a visit after the race and punched him in the face.

  40. Great race , honestly I really enjoyed it. Lots of negatives about Lewis and Massa , but you need to also see they are hot-headed racers . If Lewis had passed Kimi , won the race , everyone would have been singing his praises. Similarly with Massa , if he had not got the penalty , and got say 4th place , the talk would have been how his aggressive driving could end up winning him the championship. That’s the way they race , often it will work , but sometimes not. Massa’s move on Webber , although Webber did attempt to squeeze him , was even more risky , but it paid off. Kimi would not try a move like that it’s not his way. Alonso’s win was great , and further convinces me of what I’ve been saying before that he is best off staying with Renault.Wish I could advise Briatore to keep Piquet for next year too. He proved he can race in a decent car , and next year can only get better for him.

  41. Polak – are you serious? “Attacking him” “battling” “childish attempts”, what are you talking about? Alonso was driving conservatively as he had a lead and Hamilton was a bit quicker than him, so he unlapped himself. Even if he was doing it because he wanted to make a point, who cares? There was no dangerous move, just a straightforward pass. Hamilton put himself back on the lead lap which could have made a difference if a few cars fell off (highly unlikely) and Alonso would have been made totally aware of him closing in.

    The incident you’re talking about was in full racing conditions where Senna lapped Irvine, who then retook him. Completely different. But, hey, why let facts get in the way of a good Hamilton bashing?

    By the way, is Massa going to get the same backlash as Hamilton for arrogance? According to him he did absolutely no wrong in the race and everyone else deserved all the penalties they got.

  42. It was as if some one scripted the race! for our excitement! wow!
    loved it!
    woulda been great if Hamilton baring a grudge against Alonso, took him out! Ahhh!
    Kimi woula had a slim shot at the title again if all hell breakes loose in China and beyond!
    well we can only hope, yes little Alex?: “Try the Wine!!!”.

  43. At this rate both Massa and Hammy are going to find themselves out of contention and Kubica or even Kimi will be Champion – won’t that be a lesson to us all!

  44. Alonso had no reason to be mad at Hamilton given that he was doing the usual slow final lap. One might argue that was very unnecessary for Lewis to do an extra lap since there were no way 4 cars would have a problem on the last lap, but given that he is getting a new engine next race anyway there were no big problem in doing it.

  45. DG, as a brit I’ve been a McLaren fan for a while, and recently a Lewis fan. But I’m starting to want Kubica to win the title. Lewis has great talent but has made too many mistakes for a world champion and Massa has been no better. It’s been an exciting but poor quality season from the front runners and even worse from the stewards.

  46. What do people mean “Hamilton made too many mistakes”? Just because he outbraked himself trying to keep the lead? Or that the stewards all of a sudden changed the rules and gave him a penalty for it. (and not to all the other drivers who missed their brake point due to cold tires)

    Mind you last year at Spa, Alonso pulled the same stunt on Hamilton and did not get penalised for it. Alonso obviously did it on purpose.

  47. F1Fan – yep Filipe is right, it wasn’t seen on the TV, at least not in Britain. If you have a look at this picture you can see how badly Hamilton’s tyre was damaged.

  48. Patrick, what about turn 3 and Ham running wide losing 4 places? ‘Mature driving’ perhaps?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhbwX89kK28

  49. Another good win for Alonso, I think he is probably still the best all round driver in F1 at the moment.

    Given the grid order I think Massa and Ferrari would have been happy to go away from Japan scoring more points than Hamilton and McLaren.

    As for the incidents in the Grand Prix. I was surprised Hamilton was penalised as it was a first corner incident. I know it has been said by some that incidents in the first corner/lap tend to be ignored, because of the nature of the start of a race with everyone jostling for position etc, (most recently in the last GP at Singapore when someone posted a comment about Alonso missing a chicane and gaining some places). But I guess that idea isn’t official policy.

    As for Massa’s drive through penalty. After the Spa precedents of Kovalainen being penalised for having a collision when attempting an overtake, and then Hamilton being penalised for going of the track to avoid colliding with Raikkonen. I felt the stewards had no choice other than to penalise Massa for missing the chicane and hitting Hamilton, putting Hamilton to the back of the field.

    When it was announced that the incident involving Massa and Bourdais would be investigated after the race, I never even considered that they thought Bourdais had done anything wrong let alone that he would be penalised. I thought that if anyone was in the wrong it was Massa. However as it was only Massa who spun and lost time and that Bourdais did not seem to be adversely affected, I thought at the time it would be harsh to penalise Massa. But then when I looked on Teletext later for some of the post race comments I was amazed that they had given Bourdais a 25-second penalty, thus giving Massa another point. I guess the people who are saying that after Spa if Massa wins the championship it has to be by more than six points or he won’t be a worthy champion, will be changing to more than seven points.

    After Massa overtook Webber by going outside the white lines that define the circuit on the start/finish straight and onto the pitlane, James Allen said that the stewards might want to investigated that, although I think that would have been harsh to. To save me having to look up pictures of other circuits, could anyone tell me if any other circuits have a cars’ width of tarmac outside the white lines on the start/finish straight like that at Fuji. I think Monza has a wide straight but I can’t remember the location of the lines.

  50. Hi Keith.

    Alonso showed his class. That man has to be the finest F1 driver on the grid today, and seeing Renault’s resurgence, suddenly his claims of having brought 6/10th of a second to McLaren don’t seem far-fetched. And Shashi, if there’s one thing Alonso does well – on track – it’s handle pressure and keep his cool, so am not sure where you’re coming from with your statement.

    I have always felt that Hamilton is a great driver, but doesn’t have the attitude of a champion…he’s more like a spoilt and petulant child..the British press may not see the sheen coming off, but the last few races have see Lewis bare his ugly side, and it’s pretty ugly. He still might win the WDC, but both his and Massa’s would be undeserved wins. I hope Kubica pulls some rabbits out of his hat, and Hamilton’s his usual stupid self in the last two races. Massa anyway doesn’t have it in him.

    Cheers,

    Quirky Indian

  51. good on alonso backing massa just now on sky sports news.
    Hamiltons demina himself has made him unpopular with other drivers.
    Alonso was treated appalingly at mclaren time for revenge fernando.
    take him out-we dont need that sort of upstart winning the most presigous prize in motor sport.

  52. Sorry forgot- if hamilton wins world championship i will turn my back towards the tv.
    he has acted disgracefully in the last 2 races.

  53. Back to back Grand Prix winner Fernando Alonso has admitted he would assist the title challenge of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in the last two races of 2008.

    After his disastrous tenure at McLaren last year, the Spaniard makes clear he is not barracking for the British team’s Lewis Hamilton, who leads the points standings against Massa by five points.

    In the official post-race press conference at Fuji Speedway, Alonso admitted he agreed with the stewards’ decision to penalise Hamilton for his first corner incident.

    The 27-year-old later told Italy’s Sky: “I didn’t know why he (Hamilton) had been penalised. After last year, I want Ferrari to win. I will help Massa if I can.”

    Despite backing Massa over Hamilton, however, Alonso admits he has not been overly impressed with either driver’s championship campaign.

    “They have thrown away many points,” Spain’s Diario AS newspaper quotes him as saying.

    “After 16 races the leader has 84 points, but I had that many after nine races in 2006,” Alonso recalls.

  54. schumi the greatest
    13th October 2008, 14:24

    Sorry forgot- if hamilton wins world championship i will turn my back towards the tv.
    he has acted disgracefully in the last 2 races

    Andy, sorry but what did hamilton do that was so disgraceful in singapore?? or even italy???

    great win for alonso again showing his class and why hes regarded as the best.

    said my peice on hamilton in the thread about the penalty so i wont go into it here.

    massa?? very lucky, but i think if china is a dry race then you’d have to say hes the favourate shanghai (dry) and interlagos will suit the ferrari but i hope lewis can gain some composure and take the championship.

    Alonso must stay with renault now and lets hope he gets a championship contending car next year

  55. Andy : I think you’re being a bit harsh where Hamilton is concerned. I agree he’s a bit hotheaded but acting disgracefully?

    And please dont shoot me but why do some people think that Kubica will be a more worthy champion? He only seems to gain from the misfortunes/stupid actions of others like Lewis,Massa etc. Please, dont let our personal opinions about someone interfere with who is most deserving. To me that will be the person who tried the hardest. Here’s to hoping that Lewis will calm his nerves and take the WDC coz he wants it the most.BTW, shame on Alonso for making such a public statement if he did indeed say those things. He’s gone down a notch in my books.

  56. Hi jolene
    I think what hamilton done at singapore italy belgium and indeed japan (sorry not last 2 races last 4 races)

    has been innapropiate-i believe and i know many other fans feel he has brought this sport into disripute through his lack of respect for other drivers and driving dangerously NOT JUST IN RACES but pre qualifying.

    I have no disrepect against colour or creed but i firmly feel he tried this card at an appeal.

    Perhaps this is why its all backfired on him.
    Im as fanatical as anyone wanting a british world champ but this guy is off the rails.
    His mind is all over the place and his driving is erratic to say the least.
    I dont believe him or massa should win it as i feel kubica is beyond these two a very classy driver.
    I just dont want this guy winning as i feel it would send wrong message to younger drivers.

  57. @Andy

    What exactly did Hamilton do in Singapore? And what has he done that other drivers – Schumacher, Senna, Alonso etc. have not done in the past?

  58. erratic,dangerous driving,bad attitude-dont take my word for it common knowledge put forward by other drivers.

  59. @Andy
    I agree.

    Quirky Indian

  60. thus another thread turned into the by now patented Hambashing, how refreshing! Yes he drove like an idiot on Sunday and paid the price with no points. I for one reserve my judgment until after Shanghai and Interlagos. If he bins it again then some of the critique is highly valid. That is a big if. Right now some of the critics are just typical kneejerkers and others are plain pointless bashers.

    Ending on a high note, Alonso drove brilliantly and he is certainly more at ease in Renault than anywhere else. Kubicas piece of defensive driving against Kimi was the highlight of the race for me, what composure that was. Most of us enjoy our overtakings but that was something equally special.

  61. Cameron aka. SkinBintin
    13th October 2008, 19:40

    Someone metioned if Massa wins the Championship by less than seven points he won’t be the ‘real’ champion. I agree… Come on Massa, win by 7 or step asside and hand it to Robert!

  62. Yep kubica is the man of the moment-when you think about sauba and where they have come from.
    fantastic job-if kubica wins it would make f1 proud.

    proud that the big 2s monopoly had been broken-by a world class driver.

  63. I’m inclined not to focus on inconsistent rule enforcement (is this anything new?), but rather trying to fit the current crew of drivers into F1 history, as they are making it. I welcome knowledgeable disagreement, it’s how I learn :).

    Kimi – at this point, the previous Golden Boy will really have to show something next year, or will be seen as a short career-arc might-have-been – talent + deficits = 1 narrowly won championship and out(oh, and lots of fastest laps – ???)

    Massa – has matured a lot, BUT the inconsistency of early career (putting the car off) has been replaced by periodic bad judgement – in the end will probably be judged unfairly by history, but after all, without consistency…

    Hamilton – has shown the range of skills that only the greatest have – aggressiveness + incredible car-handling + driving in the wet – has also shown (this is almost two full seasons now) utter inability to control himself, and complete disinterest in LEARNING to control himself – in every other race (at at minimum) he demonstrates the clear connection between the the publicly expressed “attitudes” and the on-track problems – in the end, will probably be the greatest disappointment of all –

    Kubica – the true grand prix racer, attitude/style – in the right car his consistency will trump the “talent” of any other driver out there, except

    Alonso – mature, complete package, I could certainly go on, but is there any real dispute that he is the most complete and potentially the greatest driver of his generation? If he had still been in that McLaren this year, I suppose Most Likely: he and Hamilton crashing out a lot, but that aside, who among these others could stay with him, in a car that is performing at that level?

  64. Hi Andy, I can definitely see your point of view but dont really agree with it. You are describing Hamilton to be some maniac on the track and I just dont see it that way. I see a young driver deparately wanting to win the championship and giving it his all. So what if he never wins a WDC. I would rather watch someone with some spunk above a “nice guy” any day. I just feel that every time he does something stupid it is blown way out of proportion. Kimi lounged around F1 for years before winning the WDC and throws it away the next year! I dont see such harsh words towards him. Lewis still needs to learn a lot ( how to be diplomatic at times being one of them ) so let us all give him a break and give him time to mature. I love F1 but lately its becoming a pain as I’ve never, not even with Schumi, encountered such hatred/dislike of a driver.:)

  65. Andy

    Alonso treated appaling at McLaren? Complete opposite. Alonso was part of a section of the McLaren team pilfering Ferrari information, costing the non-dishonest part of the team a lot in terms of cash, reputation, the WCC and probably the WDC. Even worse was his blackmailing threat to expose malpratice that he himself was in on. Actually serious stuff which in many other professions would have led to civil or even criminal proceedings against him on a number of counts.

    I was actually warming to Alonso this year and think he’s a great driver. But the declaration that he’ll help Massa is both small-minded and anti-sporting. In fact, it should receive a reprimand from FIA but undoubtedly won’t.

    All of this stems back to Monaco 2007 and Hamilton rightly challenging McLaren over their order for him not to race Alonso. I think he believed that McLaren and Alonso had more or less a done-deal that Alonso would be de factor number 1, despite McLaren’s equal status policy. Hamilton called them on this. I think he was right – otherwise McLaren would have been guilty of deceit when contracting him. The fact Alonso couldn’t accept this was the exclusive problem of himself – and McLaren if had did indeed worked out a tacit deal. The rest was his problem in seeing a rookie drive better than him form more than half the year (compare and contrast with Piquet this year).

  66. Hey im no alonso fan here-but just try and out yourself in alonsos shoes here.
    He was recruited as a 2 times world champion.
    Hamilton when brought in (rightly or wrongly I BELIEVE button should have got the seat)should have been made to tow the line.
    He didnt-poor management thus we have the situation where hamilton thinks HE IS NOW f1.
    alonso should never have been put in that situation.
    unprecidented in f1 where you have a rooky thinking he and the team thinking he is no1!!!
    not on
    It will be a bad day for f1 if he wins the championship (exept for the politically correct)

  67. andy

    I’m not completely unsympathetic to Alonso’s plight last year, but that doesn’t mean I think he was right. Take a look at Renault at Fuji. In the final runs during Q2, there was a moment when Alonso was in provisional 10th place with one run to go. Piquet was on his run and looking like he was beating Alonso’s time – meaning Alonso would be dumped out of Q3. Strangely – and here I’m repeating what the Brazilian commentators were saying – Piquet’s last sector was down and he finished in 12th (or so, don’t recall). This was made irrelevant by Alonso improving (to 8th I think). What happenened? This was precisely where the ‘rumour’ emerged that Hamilton had blocked Piquet – which Hamilton found bizarre as nobody has passed him, he said. Renault subsequently said it’d just been a ‘problem’ with Piquet or his car.

    Work it out for yourself. Difference between Piquet and Hamilton. I know which Alonso clearly prefers.

  68. And note how Hamilton was used by Renault in this incident. And who was it who spread the rumour that Hamilton had badmouthed Dennis on the radio at Hungary 2207, a Renault engineer? (Where really it was Dennis – apparently – who said ‘that’s what ******* happens when you don’t do what you told’ in response to Hamilton’s simple and sardonic ‘thanks guys’ after Alonso’s cute little sit-in in the pits.) A probably false rumour which severely dented Hamilton’s public image, painting him as a ‘spoiled brat’ and which let loose a wave of persecution, including racist, which was subsequently latched onto by other drivers, teams and FIA.

    I really wouldn’t bring this all up again, but Alonso is apparently still feeling aggrieved (unjustifiably) and claims to be set to interfere ‘somehow’ in this year’s title decision in favour of Massa. My opinion of him reaches a new low.

  69. well, yes, these public comments (like Lewis’ thoroughly arrogant crap, Felipe’s always blaming someone else, Alonso’s “I’ll help Massa”) are really out of line, and Fernando did act like a baby last year, and Kimi is a huge disappointment this year which leads to a lot of tifosi wishing Fernando had taken the Red, but is the Spaniard truly not the best? Really?? (maybe I shouldn’t drink vino prior to comments)

  70. David – BR.

    Ofcourse Alonso does not want to see Lewis Hamilton succeed, and I seriously doubt he wants to see Felipe Massa win either. His comments are what they are, comments, words to get inside peoples heads.
    When the visor comes down and the lights go out, their are no friends on the race track, just rivals. Michael Schumacher was a genius for unnerving rivals with clever little comments made to the press, which often got the better of his rivals. Its the same in any, professional sport when there is alot at stake.
    I am not going to judge too harshly Alonso on his tactics concerning is profession. That is the way he is made, and why should he change? As Aryton Senna once said; “You cannot be a person who others want you to be, you gotta be yourself”.

  71. David-BR,

    Any thoughts on the much-talked about “McLaren Equality Policy” now; is there any dispute that Hamilton is their No 1 driver? And has also said as much in public. So let’s not just look at things from a British point of view, where Hamilton probably walks on water and also turns it into wine.

    And here’s another thought – Alonso saying what he did about helping Massa seems anti-sporting to you; how would you react to something similar said by Hamilton? In that case, I suppose, it would just be his ‘aggressiveness as a true-blue racing driver!”.

    Hamilton is a sublime driver, but with a huge attitude problem, and hopefully will not be able to hide behind Ron’s apron for ever.

    Cheers,

    Quirky Indian

  72. The last part of your comment quirky indian you are so right!!
    hamilton has been protected by ron for to long.
    previous comments about alonso are right as well.

    i JUST HOPE FOR F1s sake that the man who has gone about his buisness quietly kubica wins as he is a true role model for all drivers.

    Hamilton and alonso started all this bitching other drivers are involved now THIS is what i mean by bringing f1 into disripute.

  73. could you see fangio or schumaccer having DADDY say goodbye every race?

    what a horrible little upstart this guy is.
    overprotected by mr dennis-not responsable for his own actions.

    im ashamed to be called british if this twerp is representing us (oh i forgot he is swiss now).

    He has brought nothing but arguments and shame to f1 because of his attitude and the way he trys playing the race card I.e the appeal!!

    I look at f1 now with all this bitching and arguing and it reminds me of the prost senna era its gone back in time.

    mr ecclestone or mad max needs to lay the law down on all this to the teams.

  74. here here jason.
    trouble is which parlour would you find max to call the teams?lol

  75. The Quirky Indian

    No, no dispute. Kovaleinen had bad luck this year since the start and has been driving in mediocre fashion a lot of the time. With Ferrari stronger than McLaren he was always going to be out of contention earlier in the season. Hamilton’s wins and points have mostly been in rain where, basically, his skills are at their best. Not the result of McLaren providing him with more chances. He undoubtedly has more influence on the team, but I hugely doubt that he makes or could make the same demands posed by Alonso at Renault, say.

    Summing up the rest of the comments: Hamilton’s huge attitude problem, brings his dad, only popular with the politically correct. Hmm…

  76. well personally speaking I CANT WAIT for next season-back on the beeb no ad breaks,back to basics for the cars.jenson near front again mclaren-ferrari near back?
    we can only dream!!
    one to watch next year vettel great chap always smiling,great sport.

  77. Well hamin did say he was going to do his talking on the track and I think I got the message loud and clear he said; ‘I can’t take pressure, I can’t drive conservatively, I have not learned from last year and I am going to bollocks it up again, and I underestimated Massa’ . He is arrogant and cocky and for what? He has not proved himself as anything other than the most over rated driver in formula 1.

  78. well said amy-couldnt have put it better.
    I think he thought he was going to be the new tiger woods(incidently hes an arrogent ******* as well like 4 like)

  79. Hey i think you right about vettel, great driver in what was a minardi.
    It would be nice as andy has said to see ferrari and mclaren near the back,cant see it though.

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