Vettel’s Suzuka masterclass as Alonso hits trouble

2012 Japanese Grand Prix review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2012Sebastian Vettel claimed his third Japanese Grand Prix win in four years with a dominant performance at Suzuka.

He inflicted a major blow on Fernando Alonso’s championship hopes as the Ferrari driver was eliminated in a crash at the first corner.

While Vettel romped to victory Kamui Kobayashi brought cheer to the crowd by taking his first podium finish on home ground.

First-lap disaster for Alonso

Vettel got away cleanly at the start but chaos broke out behind him.

As they charged to the first corner Alonso had Raikkonen to his left and Button on his right. The Ferrari and Lotus pinched together and the consequences were disastrous for Alonso: he was pitched into a spin and came to a stop, his race over.

There was more drama at the next corner involving the other Lotus. Romain Grosjean failed to slow enough for turn two and rammed Mark Webber’s second-placed Red Bull. Both were able to continue.

The chaos didn’t end there – Nico Rosberg’s race also came to an end at the first corner after a tangle with Bruno Senna. Some 20 laps later Senna was handed a drive-through penalty.

The stewards were much quicker to pass judgement on Grosjean, whose previous indiscretions earned him a ban for the Italian Grand Prix. His latest blunder swiftly earned him a ten-second stop-go penalty.

Perez battles Hamilton

The safety car was only required for one lap before the race resumed again. Kobayashi had moved up to second and Vettel instantly pulled out a 1.3 second lead over the Sauber driver as the race restarted.

Button emerged from the first corner mess in third place followed by Felipe Massa. Raikkonen, fifth, had minor front wing damage, but easily resisted Sergio Perez’s attempt to take him around the outside of turn one.

The Sauber driver took to the run-off and returned to the track behind Lewis Hamilton – the very driver whose place he will take next year. Hamilton, struggling with his car as he had in qualifying, began to drop back and fell victim to an audacious lunge from Perez at the hairpin on lap five.

Timo Glock had been 11th when the safety car came in, but was easily passed by those behind him. Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham was first past, followed by Jean-Eric Vergne, Paul di Resta and Michael Schumacher – the latter having started from the back row.

Button loses ground at first stop

Vettel was in his element, rapidly pulling away from Kobayashi. The Sauber driver was hardly holding up Button, who had dropped two seconds behind. The other C31 also had good pace at this stage, Perez closing in on Raikkonen who was starting to struggle with his tyres.

Button, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg pitted together on lap 13. But the Lotus driver emerged behind Kovalainen and Vergne, and lost a lot of time picking his way past the Caterham and Toro Rosso.

Despite that when Perez pitted on lap 16 he was unable to get out in front of Raikkonen. And when Hamilton came in on the next lap the McLaren jumped back in front of the Sauber.

Perez set about trying to pass the McLaren again but this time it all went wrong. He lost control of his car at the hairpin, spun into the gravel and his race ended there.

Vettel untouchable

As well as lapping quicker than those behind him, Vettel was also looking after his tyres better. He didn’t make his first pit stop until 18, by which time all his major rivals had pitted, and he continued without losing the lead.

Button had a problematic first pit stop with an overheating right-rear wheel hub. Shortly afterwards he reported his gearbox had stopped shifting properly – an ominous warning given Hamilton’s retirement in Singapore and Button’s penalty for a pre-race gearbox change.

Meanwhile Massa jumped ahead of both Button and Kobayashi at the first round of pit stops, taking second place.

Towards the end of his second stint Raikkonen began to be caught by Hamilton. The Lotus made for the pits on lap 31 and Hamilton did the same on the next tour. McLaren produced a superbly quick stop and Hamilton returned to the track just as Raikkonen was approaching turn one.

The Lotus was ahead as they entered the corner side-by-side but the tenacious Hamilton clung to the inside and obliged Raikkonen to back down in turn two. That put him up to fifth.

Kobayashi keeps Button back for podium

The running order remained largely the same over the course of the final stint. Massa fell over 20 seconds behind Vettel, who indulged himself by unleashing the full potential of his car on the penultimate lap, setting the fastest tour of the race.

Second place for Massa ended his two-year podium drought and may strengthen his chances of retaining his Ferrari seat. Kobayashi slipped back from him in the final stages as Button closed on the Sauber, though the McLaren never got close enough to try a move.

Hamilton took fifth ahead of Raikkonen and Hulkenberg, the latter claiming a solid points finish from 15th on the grid. Pastor Maldonado took eight, scoring his first points since winning the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

An unhappy Webber made it to the end of the race with two pit stops having made the first immediately after his tangle with Grosjean. He salvaged two points for ninth place.

The final point went to Daniel Ricciardo, who defended carefully from Schumacher in the closing stages. The Mercedes driver just fell short of taking a point having started 23rd.

And on the weekend Schumacher announced his second retirement from Formula One, Vettel moved closer to becoming his successor as F1′s next three-times world champion.

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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102 comments on Vettel’s Suzuka masterclass as Alonso hits trouble

  1. tmekt (@tmekt) said on 7th October 2012, 10:30

    Stewards should investigate the Räikkönen-Alonso incident. Alonso didn’t seem to leave enough space even though Räikkönen was already partly beside him.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th October 2012, 10:40

      @tmekt The only victim was Alonso so there isn’t going to be any penalty for that.

      • HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 7th October 2012, 10:42

        @keithcollantine Räikkönen’s front wing was damaged in that incident and it certainly affected Kimi’s race pace today, so they should investigate it.

        If you ask me, I don’t think it’s worthy of penalty. Things like that just tend to happen at the race starts.

      • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 7th October 2012, 10:49

        Kimi’s front wing was a victim too. But I guess you’re right.

        Whiting is obviously an altruist.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 7th October 2012, 11:10

        Kimi should be penalized in line with other lap one collision penalties (Senna, Grosjean). He came in out of shape and ruined Alonso’s race.

        • HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 7th October 2012, 11:23

          Alonso ruined it all by himself by not leaving enough space.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 7th October 2012, 11:32

          @jcost
          Squeezing another driver into the grass going into a breaking zone, sort of invites trouble.
          I don’t think you can blame Kimi for it. He simply did his to keep his car under control. Alonso was the one who forced him into that situation, and it punched back.

        • vho (@) said on 8th October 2012, 15:49

          The punctured occurred when Kimi was getting back onto the track once Alonso had ran him off – it was a mere luck of the moment that the two touched. I believe Kimi was already on his brakes but had he’d braked any harder he would’ve locked his brakes and slammed into the back of Alonso. Alonso looked to be the most aggressive at the start and ultimately paid the penalty with his slight weaving.

      • maybet said on 7th October 2012, 11:45

        keith as usual~~ bias alonso fan!!

      • Sviatoslav Andrushko (@) said on 7th October 2012, 11:53

        to Keith: Obviously, you are wrong in this occasion.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th October 2012, 13:06

          @ibis Why? There hasn’t been a penalty.

          • Sviatoslav Andrushko (@) said on 7th October 2012, 16:02

            that is not a proof) stewards aren’t logical sometimes

            I re-read your comment. Obviously, I read it wrong, sorry for that.

            By the way, that was all Alonso’s mistake. If we watch replay from Massa’s camera we will see that Kimi did all he could to avoid the clash. Alonso made two moves to left ignoring that there was a Lotus car. But I believe it was difficult to realise it precisely from Nando’s car where is Kimi. If Alonso waited for a fraction of a second there wouldn’t be an accident. So…

    • Alonso was ahead of Raikkonen,and not “partly beside him”. Not every accident is someone’s fault. Lets just call this one a racing incident….

    • franco del as esta triste said on 7th October 2012, 12:17

      you must be not very fond of alonso. The guy just ruined his chances today, kimi finished in the points, but you still want fernando to get penalized. jajaja
      you sure are the most sadistic guy in your town.

      • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 7th October 2012, 15:42

        I don’t necessarily want him to be penalized I’d just like the incident to be investigated.

        I do admit that I’m not that fond of Alonso. I don’t have to be in order to suggest an incident to be gone through.

        • Kimi4WDC said on 8th October 2012, 2:29

          I think it’s the mood set by Ferrari. If it was Alonso who was pushed to the grass path Kimi hit, whole Ferrari crew and Alonso would have been crying out to stewards even before the puncture incident.

          When you behave like Ferrari/Alonso do, you can’t expect people wont poke at you for the same actions.

          • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 8th October 2012, 2:50

            This is ridiculous. There was no penalty because this incident does not even warrant one!!! It is a pure racing incident.

            Alonso did not need to leave Kimi any place because there wasnt a moment in the lead up to this fracas, where Kimi was ahead or alongside Alonso. Alonso was getting squeezed on the inside, so he moved out. There was no room for Kimi and he should have lifted a little to avoid contact. Simple as that.

            I dont think anyone should complain..this is racing! If you think Alonso deserves a penalty…well he got penalized in the worst possible way..parked it on the first corner..you cant ask for a worst penalty.

  2. Advantage Vettel, game on in the championship.

    • And despite having driven much worse than either of Alonso or Hamilton(and arguably,Raikkonen) this season,vettel is poised to take over the championship lead. If he is crowned champion this season,he will be placed alongside the likes of Stewart,Lauda,Senna,etc in terms of number of championships won,but he certainly wont have deserved it

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th October 2012, 19:06

        @chicanef1 – Vettel hasn’t driven “much worse” than his rivals. Ok, ALonso may have done even better, but Red Bull haven’t been dominant this season. Vettel has had his share of misfortune, yet besides the occasional mistake, he’s has maximized his car, shown great qualifying & race pace (including the grand slam today), and very good racecraft which is why is why he is just 4 points off the championship lead.

        Whoever finishes the Brazilian GP with the most points will have deserved the 2012 championship. Regardless of whether it is Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen or Hamilton.

      • crr917 (@crr917) said on 7th October 2012, 19:15

        YEah, of course Vettel drove so much worse than Alonso today.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 7th October 2012, 19:49

        @chicanef1 Absolute. Rubbish. You do not win championships by accident, races perhaps, championships no way.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 7th October 2012, 20:53

        This claim rude and is based on nothing. Can you at least provide some evidence of Vettel being a worse driver than Alonso and Hamilton?

      • rayan (@rayan) said on 8th October 2012, 2:27

        alonso won two titles in a car which was dominant as redbull now…so do you agree alonso is not a worthy champion

        • Sorry, WHAT? You must be watching F1 from 2007, because neither the R25 nor the R26 was the class of the field. Alonso won in 2005, because of superb consistency and failures of the clearly faster MP4-20. And in 2006, things were much closer b/w Renault and Ferrari, but in the first part of the season, Alonso showed Schumacher-esque consistency when his car was faster, getting 5 poles and 6 wins in the first nine races. And after FIA told Renault to do away with the mass damper system, the R26 was much slower than the 248F1 but Alonso did enough to win the championship comfortably.

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 7th October 2012, 20:30

      Actually, given the massive performance advantage the Red Bull had this weekend, last weekend, and probably next weekend given the new DDRs system, it’s probably Game Over in the championship.

      Ferrari haven’t had any pace since Germany and their wind tunnel is broken. McLaren have pace but their drivers are out of the hunt. Lotus have a reasonable car but would have to win all the races. They haven’t won one all year.

      So while it’s nice to see a tight championship at this point, it actually means that the season is probably over. Fernando needed that lead, and to score heavily today, in order to have a chance of hanging on. Instead, he’s lost all the advantage he built up, and he’s got little chance of getting it back. At the start of the year, form was unpredictable while teams worked out the tyres. Later in the season, there are fewer surprises, the racing is becoming more settled, and the top teams are comfortably ahead of the midfield again.

      To have a good championship, we need Red Bull to start making mistakes, or for their car to slow down. That hasn’t happened consistently since mid 2009. It’s sad, because I think that Fernando deserves the title more this year than any other driver on the grid.

      • @hairs – Vettel has certainly been one of the best three drivers this year, and is second in the championship as much because of his race craft as his RB8′s performance.
        Red Bull have hardly been consistently the fastest car up until now, and Vettel has used their recent performance spike to devastating effect. He is one of the best drivers in F1 history; you don’t win two world championships, score 34 poles, 24 wins and 2 Grand Chelems by the age of 25 by being a bad driver. Of course he’s deserved it.

        • Hairs (@hairs) said on 7th October 2012, 22:32

          I didn’t say Vettel doesn’t deserve it. But I think overall Fernando has done a better job with a worse car than anyone else. This weekend was probably his first mistake, and it cost him everything.

          The difference is, I think, that Fernando is completely at the mercy of his car now. He can overdrive the car and be mistake free for the rest of the year, but still never finish higher than 5th.

          If you like, McLaren and Red Bull have started way out in front, and lost ground to where their cars belong. Alonso has been the opposite, and that’s why I think he deserves to win the championship this year.

          • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 8th October 2012, 3:01

            As much as I would love for Alonso to win it….deserving to win is one thing…and winning itself is another thing. He who has the most points wins, simple as that.

            Alonso winning the championship this season from here will be something of a miracle. The Ferrari’s performance deficit to the Red Bulls seem to be growing with every passing weekend. All Alonso can hope for now is a non podium finish for Vettel, and a fortunate win somehow.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 8th October 2012, 11:02

          @vettel1

          Vettel was dominat in Valencia but it was not the case in GB or Monza, who knows they will struggle here and there?

  3. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 7th October 2012, 10:33

    Lotus should consider, if they really want to keep Crashjean for next year. Even though he has speed, he doesn’t collect points due to his racing approach. Montezemolo is probably right not hiring rookies.

  4. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@) said on 7th October 2012, 10:47

    If Grosjean makes another first lap crash he should be deprived of his F1-driver licence. He didn’t get his suspension for one race at all.
    WDC is over for me. Clearly, Ferrari has problems developping their car. Ok, Ferrari’s race pace is quite impressive. But horrible quali makes it much harder to challenge the win.

  5. Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th October 2012, 10:54

    I’m hoping Renault’s alternators will come to the rescue.

    • …and allow Vettel to win the championship by holding up in the remaining races

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 7th October 2012, 11:51

      It’s sad that that’s the way you want your favorite driver to win the championship.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th October 2012, 15:03

        Its sad that my favourite driver doesn’t stand a chance due to having a dog of a car. It’s also sad to see 2 of his biggest rivals in cars that are the class of the field.

        I think alternators just even out the field.

        • HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 7th October 2012, 15:47

          @todfod How exactly Ferrari has been dog of a car? Today Massa finished 2nd with that “dog of a car” and considering his form during the last few years he is one of the slowest drivers in F1.

          I suspect Ferrari was the fastest car today, or at least at the same level with Red Bull. Only that can explain Massa’s podium finish.

          Maybe Ferrari hasn’t been the fastest at every circuit, but they’ve been close to the top every weekend, except Australia. And when it’s wet Ferrari seems to be the fastest car actually. And they also have the most reliable car.

          So all in all Alonso has the machinery to win the title. If he doesn’t win the title this year he can’t blame the team or car.

          • Massa was actually quick this weekend, and he has definitely been better since midseason.

          • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 7th October 2012, 20:19

            Why do people use history & form to assume that Alonso would’ve out-paced Massa & as a possible subsequence, challenge Vettel for the race win? The point is that perhaps Felipe was genuinely quick this weekend (strategy & timing in qualifying is what mainly cost him a place in Q3) & that Fernando was out of the race on the first lap, so let’s be plausible & honest, we won’t get to find out how Fernando would’ve faired in the race.

            Can we move onto Korea please? (it’s just round the corner) I’m looking to see if Felipe’s podium could prove as a catalyst in reviving the ‘old’ as well as if McLaren can respond to the seeming beginning of Red Bull’s assault on both titles.

          • Kimi4WDC said on 8th October 2012, 2:33

            Massa messed up his fast laps, he is simply faster than Alonso on this track, tough to accept, I know.

    • zicasso (@zicasso) said on 7th October 2012, 13:00

      You clearly like the strategist who likes to win no matter how. I understand your comment but his tweet was a bit over the top, no? Something about winning from the sea or from the mountains… the accident must have caused something there.

    • vho (@) said on 7th October 2012, 17:57

      @todfod I was hoping for Lotus’ “device” to give them 0.5 sec per lap, but they didn’t even use it as there was no benefit. So which track(s) were they talking about where they’d get 0.5? Was it Mario Circuit 1 or Banshee Boardwalk? LoL

  6. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 7th October 2012, 10:55

    I think the stewards should have a good look at Grosjean, yes he got a penalty during the race but he deserves more. Once again he destroyed someone’s race at the first lap. He clearly hasn’t learnt from his mistakes and didn’t care he was banned for one race. If I was on the stewards panel I’d kick him out for the rest of the season.

  7. Anonymouse said on 7th October 2012, 11:02

    Vettel’s Suzuka masterclass as Alonso hits Kimi

  8. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 7th October 2012, 11:04

    This is getting really bad real fast for Fernando. Will it be 2010 all over again? I hope not, but then Ferrari no longer have a healthy lead to play with. A points finish even 2 places apart will remove the 4 point lead as well. That said, it really is shaping up to a last race finish for the title.

    • Broom (@brum55) said on 7th October 2012, 11:17

      Maybe if Alonso finished today on the podium but unless things change, the title will be wrapped much earlier than the last GP.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 7th October 2012, 11:41

      Interesting. One DNF can change everything and it can happen to Vettel as well. Hamilton was on the move to catch Alonso and a DNF at Singapore and an car at Suzuka changed the picutre (although is closer to leader Alonso).

      I’m not expecting Red Bull to carry such performance difference to both Ferrari and McLaren until São Paulo, as Vettel noted after the race, it’s an ups and downs season. Some circuits will suit better McLaren or Ferrari than Red Bull, so it’s all about consistency and staying away of DNF.

      • vho (@) said on 7th October 2012, 18:31

        @jcost Interesting comment, considering you bagged Button for his comment. Button commented “It just shows one bad race makes a massive difference,” and here we are now with you making similar judgement. But I guess if a driver that you hate makes a comment that’s logical, it makes justification for you to find faults and deduce conspiracies.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 8th October 2012, 11:11

          @vho How? Didn’t Button said it’s ALO vs VET? I don’t get your point.

          Some people are crowning Vettel WDC when he’s 4 points behind Alonso and 38 up Hamilton. As I said, a DNF can change everything but on particular Button comment, his main point was it’s “between Alonso and Vettel”

          • vho (@) said on 8th October 2012, 15:41

            @jcost It wasn’t his only main point – His exact words were:

            “It’s hard for anyone [to catch Alonso] except Seb at the moment,” Button said.

            “It’s between those two but there’s still a lot of people with a long shot. That’s what we’re all going to go for.”

            .

            And

            “It just shows one bad race makes a massive difference,” Button said.

            “Fernando had his in Spa, Lewis had his in Spa and here, Seb had his at the last race.

            “I had mine in the last race. When no-one has the consistency you can’t close a big gap on someone. Seb is only 29 points behind, that’s a gap that’s shrinking.”

            But yet you focused on four words in his entire quote and not his main point about this season of inconsistent scoring (in the way of DNFs) that is going to make things difficult for anyone else further away from Alonso. Yet you’re now saying that it’s down to consistency – which is what Jenson was identifying in the first place.

            I’m no Button lover, but it seems there are a lot of comments that deduce his 2009 WDC as pure luck and of a far superior car – so tell me which WDC hasn’t relied on both luck and a quick car to win?

    • Kimi4WDC said on 8th October 2012, 2:35

      It’s going to be worse, cause unlike in 2010. He accumulated his points due to racing….on the other hand, Korea 2010 comes in mind and then how 2007 was gifted :)

  9. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 7th October 2012, 11:09

    People are only making a big deal of the contact Between Alonso and Kimi because they’re WDC contenders. If it was Massa instead of Alonso, I don’t think anyone would give a flying fig. It was just a typical first corner racing incident.

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 7th October 2012, 11:24

      No it’s because “all da time you have to leave a space”

      • Sviatoslav Andrushko (@) said on 7th October 2012, 11:48

        And this time Alonso should have leave the space.

      • F1fanNL (@) said on 7th October 2012, 11:49

        +1.

      • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 7th October 2012, 11:59

        @tmekt
        It has already been established that the “always leave space” rule doesn’t apply to the first lap (especially the chaotic first corner).

        • F1fanNL (@) said on 7th October 2012, 15:14

          Where has that been established?

          It doesn’t matter at what time or at what part it happens, you cannot force another driver off the track. The only thing that wasn’t clear is when a driver is considered to be well enough alongside the other. That has been clarified.

          You’re probably thinking about drivers going off and back on the racing line or moving in the braking zone. That’s allowed at the start.

  10. JCost (@jcost) said on 7th October 2012, 11:35

    At least Kamui saved us from seeing once again Jenson Button pretending is the best representation of Japan in Formula 1…

  11. Tom L. (@tom-l) said on 7th October 2012, 13:13

    As far as I’m concerned this would be the perfect time for Ferrari to confirm their 2013 line-up with maximum credibility.
    Should they keep Massa, it would come across as justified after his strongest race in at least a couple of years, and after the man many people wanted/expected to replace him – Sergio Perez – made a mistake that gives some weight to Ferrari’s previous comments on his inexperience.
    Should they sign Hulkenberg, it would come after a weekend when he has outpaced Di Resta when it mattered and made him look rather anonymous.

    (This is obviously assuming that Di Resta isn’t the one they’re going to choose!)

    • David BR2 said on 7th October 2012, 15:47

      I thought Perez was trying too hard to compete with an underperforming Hamilton, wanting to prove something to McLaren and who he’s replacing, who knows, certainly came off badly though. Seemed to prove the opposite, though fast, he hasn’t much skill in overtaking.

      • He passed Ham before pitting earlier, in one of the few entertaining bits of the race.

      • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 7th October 2012, 20:27

        May I correct you on something please?

        I thought Perez was trying too hard to compete with an underperforming Hamilton

        Hamilton wasn’t ‘underperforming’, he went down a wrong direction in set-up from FP3 onwards & that caused balance issues for him throughout qualifying & the race, particularly with massive understeer, that strangely ‘cured itself’ during the race & most notably, at the end of his first two stints when he caught Perez & Kimi respectively by considerable amounts per lap, before struggling again at the beginning of those two stints.

        Although if, like Lewis said that it was recitified ‘during the race’ then his dismissal pace when behind Button in the last stint is a reasonable question mark.

        • David BR2 said on 7th October 2012, 20:48

          Whatever the reasons, he needed to finish second today.
          Maybe as you suggest there’s more than poor communication going on inside McLaren, but to be honest Hamilton is almost always a bit disappointing at Suzuka and Interlagos. I’m guessing it’s to do with the type of circuit, but still seems strange.

  12. hamster said on 7th October 2012, 13:52

    Overall I found it a bit of a snooze-fest. It was exciting for Kamui at the end of the race, great result for him.

    Must be the weekend for close finishes, did anyone catch the end of the Bathurst today? As edge of your seat as Kamui locking up on the last lap with Button in pursuit.

    Vettel delivered a good race and Massa maybe starting to feel a bit more secure now. Hamilton seemed to get the best result he could given how he’d set the car up and solid come back by Webber, shame he lost out at the start.

    Roll-on Korea and only a week to wait!

  13. leotef (@leotef) said on 7th October 2012, 14:33

    LH made an interesting comments after the race, saying he ‘felt a thud on the rear at around lap 20 and all of sudden he got able to turn the car’. This is one weird piece of saying particularly under current environment surrounding McLaren.

    • vho (@) said on 7th October 2012, 19:03

      @leotef I suppose if one was to feel a ‘thud’ on the rear (read as a kick up the butt) one would get on with their performance. LoL. But all jokes aside, it seems to be a mysterious issue – and if McLaren keeps producing cars like that they’d might as well kiss Lewis’ WDC chances good bye. Jenson also identified an issue with his gearbox dropping our of gear occasionally. Reliability seems to be McLaren’s undoing towards the 2nd half of the season; they had a pretty fast car coming out of the mid season break, just seems to be unreliable.

  14. First stint was fun, except for the Gro effect which possibly has handed Vettel best outcome possible, and to all of us a fantastic ’12! Great to see Kamui on Podium making good on the C31.

    Checo can do so much if he learns to avoid compounding mistakes; his brilliant pass on Ham negated by poor first pit stop, unclear where the issue was… then over eager/naive attempt again on Ham at the same spot… He tried too hard. He can not forget that to win you must first finish!

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