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. StrFerrari4Ever
    3rd October 2009, 14:56

    Mmm good for Vettel and Red Bull they’ve been handed a win on the plate Vettel just needs to take it!

    Hamilton I feel once the race is going wont be able to live with the RB5’s race pace as they look very strong , Trulli if he doesn’t get passed on the first lap by Hamilton could pull of a mesmerising performance in front of the Toyota homecrowd and make Toyota think twice about dropping him in 2010.

    Brawns race will be a battle and if they fail to score and Vettel gets 10 points then the title race will still be on.

    Toro Rosso my beloved Toro Rosso I’m still faithful that they will produce the goods tommorow as Buemi & Alguersuari will want to make ammends for the error’s in qualifying and payback the engineers for all the hard work they’ve put in by setting the cars up and ultimately fixing them.

    If Alguersuari , Kubica & Rosberg can do reasonable lap times then they could just benefit when the first round of pitstops are finished. Webber well has to do a Kimi 05′ race which I feel is highly unlikely…

    1. StrFerrari4Eva I hope Torro Rosso gives a good race, they deserve it they are a good team

    2. @ StrFerrari4Ever

      “Mmm good for Vettel and Red Bull they’ve been handed a win on the plate Vettel just needs to take it! ”

      I wouldn’t go as far as saying a win handed on a plate.He has Hamilton in a kers powered car breathing down his neck.Vettel will have to work VERY hard for this win.

  2. My first thought on Buemi’s yellow flag was that he did a “piquet” in order to keep the brawn´s far away from Vettel, a bit far fetched I know….

    Anyway, given the redflags in todays qualifying, a safety car can really shake things up and could play out well for Rosberg and Kubica. I think we can look forward to a very open race tomorrow. Kimi is starting 5 (It´s one place better than he needs), Both BMW´s looks to be in a good shape and of course the three up front as well…

  3. Barrichello will start 6th and Button 9th

    The FINAL GRID to be published on Sunday

    Provesional revised Grid in order of time offences happned:

    1 Vettel
    2 Trulli
    3 Hamilton
    4 Heidfeld
    5 Raikkonen
    6 Barrichello
    7 Sutil
    8 Rosberg
    9 Button
    10 Kubica
    11 Kovalainen
    12 Buemi
    13 Alguersuari
    14 Fisichella
    15 Nakajima
    16 Alonso
    17 Grosjean
    18 Liuzzi
    19. Webber
    ==. Glock


    1. It’s that confusing! Even they need the extra day to work it out!

  4. webber should slot in a new engine while he is starting last anyways.

  5. Any news regarding the weather forecast for tomorrow ?

    Given the number of crashes so far – a good downpour could thin out the field quite spectacularly.

  6. Barrichello will start 6th and Button 9th

    1. Ali,

      Opinion or confirmed?

      cheers mate

  7. Hamilton will be first at the first corner.
    Hope Vettel wins for the sake of the championship!

  8. Go Nico!!!

  9. the Sri lankan
    4th October 2009, 0:05

    Imagine Toyota’s First win in Japan….Now that would be a dream

  10. Vettel is going to walk this race, whether there is a safety car or not. And I think Nico gets on the podium here, maybe even 2nd. He’s got lots of fuel and has been very quick lately.

  11. Sutil lightest. Should be able to gain places by starting with soft compound tyres.
    He would be pitting in earlier than the rest & after the 1st pit stop, be having harder compound tyres.

    Should be another good result for him. may be a podium finish.

  12. Just saw the grid Button will be starting 10th not 9th while Barrichello starts from 6th.

    Hamilton is on a heavier fuel load than I thought. Hamilton may actually be able to win this race today if he gets the lead with KERs and pulls away from Vettel a bit. That’s good news for Button (Sorta)

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