Vettel has slight strategy advantage (Japanese Grand Prix fuel weights)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Vettel's strategy gives him a good chance of winning tomorrow's race
Vettel's strategy gives him a good chance of winning tomorrow's race

Sebastian Vettel should be able to pit one lap later than Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.

But will he be able to keep Hamilton behind at the start of the race? Here are the fuel weights in full.

Grid Qualifying Name Weight Fuel (kg) First stint (laps)
1 1 Sebastian Vettel 658.5 53.5 18
2 2 Jarno Trulli 655.5 50.5 17
3 3 Lewis Hamilton 656 51 17
4 6 Nick Heidfeld 660 55 18
5 8 Kimi Raikkonen 661 56 19
6 5 Rubens Barrichelllo 660.5 55.5 19
7 11 Nico Rosberg 684.5 79.5 27
8 4 Adrian Sutil 650 45 15
9 13 Robert Kubica 686 81 28
10 7 Jenson Button 658.5 53.5 18
11 9 Heikki Kovalainen 675 70 24
12 15 Jaime Alguersuari 682.5 77.5 27
13 10 Sebastien Buemi 665.4 60.4 20
14 16 Giancarlo Fisichella 661.5 56.5 19
15 17 Kazuki Nakajima 695.7 90.7 31
16 18 Romain Grosjean 691.8 86.8 30
17 12 Fernando Alonso 689.5 84.5 29
18 19 Vitantonio Liuzzi 682.5 77.5 27
19 19 Mark Webber

This grid is provisional. For more information on the starting order see here: Japanese Grand Prix grid (updated)

The start

Vettel vs Hamilton

Who prevails between Vettel and Hamilton on the run towards the first corner will be crucial to the outcome of the race.

From third on the grid, Hamilton’s KERS boost should allow him to make short work of Trulli’s Toyota. But will he be able to get past Vettel as well?

The run to the first corner at Suzuka is not one of the longest. And the double right-hand first corner has a short braking zone, making it harder for Hamilton to steal an advantage.

If Hamilton can’t pass Vettel there, he will most likely have to follow the Red Bull until they exit the hairpin. That could give him the chance to use KERS to pass at Spoon, or on the exit from Spoon down towards 130R, or at the start of the following lap.

Keep an eye on both drivers when the tyres warmers come off at the start to see whether either of them has gambled on starting the race on soft tyres for a crucial extra burst of first-lap pace. However the soft tyres could be more prone to graining early in the race before the track has rubbered in – a particular problem for Red Bull this year.

But for Vettel this is everything he could have dreamed of: he’s starting from pole position with the Brawns tenth or worse, and more fuel on board than those closest to him. This gives him a precious opportunity to keep him championship hopes alive.

Japanese Grand Prix

59 comments on “Vettel has slight strategy advantage (Japanese Grand Prix fuel weights)”

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  1. nakajima on one stop?
    sutil is the lightest.
    KERS powered ferrari and mclaren for the boost on position on lap 1.
    5 place penalty is good for safety reason

  2. I think Kovalainen was planning to have around 20 laps of fuel going into the race, but crashed and gained some fuel with that. He’s gonna have a one-stopper I belive, which makes him the first of one-stoppers on the grid. He might be dangerous for podium tomorrow.

    1. He might be dangerous for podium tomorrow

      Hope you are not joking! Kovi for a podium? Nah! He’ll just fade away as usual. His race pace has always been abysmal.

      1. Its kind of sad cuz he seems to be a nice guy, but nice guys dont finish first.. oh well I’m sure if hamilton has his say Kovi will still be around next year… but definately hoping for Kimi to return so the other guy can stfu

        1. I definitely don’t think Kovalainen is as bad as he’s being made to look this year. I just think his confidence has been destroyed. I don’t think he’ll ever be championship winning good, but he certainly deserves his place in F1.

          1. Plus, Kovi is always on the back-up strategy. Kovi’s only chance of a win is when something odd happens (rain; SC, etc.).

  3. We should expect some more crashes, retirements, and yellow/safety-car periods tomorrow.

    All this was in the dry! Imagine if it is a wet race …

    1. Yes, the NASCAR race tomorrow will be fabulous. But you do know those guys are made of sugar and can’t race in the wet. Go, JPM!

  4. Wonder if Glock will be able to race tomorrow. Given his conplaints of back pain, the gash on the back of his leg and a dose of man-flu, might be better if he doesn’t.

    Toyota boss John Howlett said he would try and get Kamui Kobayashi back in the car if Timo is not fit, but under current rules this is not possible as he did not take part in one of today’s sessions.

    Does remove the car from between Button and Barrichello, although I believe the 11th place grid slot would remain empty.

    1. It is possible with permission… just not automatically allowed.

  5. Looking at the car weights, Rosberg/Kubica should be in with a good chance since their revised grid positions have pushed them up into contention.

  6. Rosberg and Kubica to podium?

    1. Rosberg has a good chance of a podium for sure, he was fast all weekend, all the red flags really put him in 11th.. and that looks to have given him an advantage since he was able to fuel heavy. Just depends on how good the start is for him, but 8+ laps of clean air could give him a good shot.

  7. Why is Heikki 13th?

    1. Doesn’t matter where he is. He’s gonna end up 13th. Unlucky fella.

  8. Podium: Vettel, Raikkonen & Hamilton of course. Not sure on the order though but my money’s on Hamilton, he’s just going to faster and faster during the race. Always a chance Vettel will find a way to toast his motor though, assuming they don’t take each other out at the 1st turn.

    Bit of farse the whole session really. What’s up with the drivers here? So many errors, some potentially catastrophic. Commentary complaining about some of the run off areas still being gravel, and I get their point. But the fact that no-one was hurt is surely vindication that Suzuka has got the right balance?

  9. Why exactly is Kova in 13th when he qualied into quali 3 even if he didn’t set a time
    he wasn’t on the list of penalised drivers

    1. changed his gear box

    2. He had to change a gearbox due to his crash

  10. Kovi is 13 due to gearbox change (5 grid place penalty)

    1. But he didn’t crash that heavily, did he? strange. But I would really want him to charge from down there, pull of some breathtaking overtaking maneuvers, set the fastest lap time, overtake hamilton on the last lap & win the race in style!! Am I expecting too much? He’s racing for pride. GO KOVI! GO OUT IN STYLE!!

      1. McLaren to make sure he is slowed down sufficiently so as not to complain when kicked out for Kimi’s sake :)

      2. That would be amazing!!!!!… really feeling sorry for Heikki at the moment, you can clearly see the pressure is getting to him.

  11. worked out fantastic for alguersuari. I’m very pleased for him.

    1. how did Alguersuari end up in 11th when I see other times listing Clock between 10-Barrichello and 12-Button?

      And is he Arab? as his surname starts with Al-Guersuari :)

  12. 19 14 Timo Glock -605 -221
    20 20 Mark Webber -605 -221
    Whats with that?

    1. Proof of computers can only compute and only human/animal do understand :)

    2. Sorry, left over from working out fuel stuff, should’ve been deleted.

  13. Robert Silvestre
    3rd October 2009, 14:00

    Good job by Rubens, outqualified Jenson with more fuel on board… 1st time this year?

    1. last GP he did the same so not the first time I believe but don’t quote me on that as I have a 10s memory span only :)

      1. He also did the same thing in Italy.

        Ruben’s is also starting on softs, I believe? Is this the smart thing Suzuka? I don’t know…

      2. Second time in a row, and, as long as I remember, at least the third time in the year that he outqualifies button, despite being heavier…

  14. I don’t Toyota can,it will be Vettel vs Lewis vs Kimi on the 1st corner & hopefully for the race.If Nico come out of the 1st corner good then he may end up at the podium.

    One thing for sure we will have lots of overtaking tomorrow from 6th to 12th there is a mix if 1 stopper & two stopper.

    Whatever happens we will have an exciting race for sure.

  15. Go Kimi Raikkonen…..Go Vettel

    1. I’ll second that!

  16. Very, very happy for Jaime. I hope he doesn’t feel too bad about the crash because he done well before that. Rosberg looks like he is going to have a solid race too, maybe a podium. Hope Vettel gets the win though, even if his championship hopes are slim.

    1. if he doesn’t cross the white line again :)

  17. Go Rubenio get 5 more points than Butty

  18. I don’t think the run to the first corner will decide anything unless someone goes off. Vettel has Trulli as a buffer and a lap more fuel than Lewis even if he’s been passed. What will decide it will be the restarts after the safety cars, that’s the biggest danger to Vettel, as even if he’s retained his lead he’s likely to have Lewis right behind him on the same or more fuel.

  19. Vettel’s pole is suprising since it’s his first time out in Suzuka with an F1 car, and he had no time on Friday to practice…

  20. I thought Trulli might be lighter than that. Rosberg has a good shot at a podium, I really hope he gets it and makes amends for the white line indiscretion of Singapore.

    1. I thought Trulli might be lighter than that.

      Me too – if Vettel and Hamilton tangle (not unlikely) he could be looking good…

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