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Japanese Grand Prix - Race 
14th-Oct-2008 03:07 pm
I was away over the weekend, plus the time difference meant that practic, qualifying and the race were in the middle of the night, but I did write some notes when we watched the race on Sunday morning.

Before we get to the race though, here are a few F1-related new snippets:
  • Ferrari revert to old pit system [BBC]
    About time too! They've released Massa almost into Sutil twice, so I'm sure Force India are pleased that Ferrari are changing back to the "lollipop".

  • Canada dropped from F1 calendar [BBC]
    Abu Dhabi was already on the provisional calendar, making 19 races for the 2009 season, so it was likely that someone was going to be dropped, but Canada is a popular circuit with the teams and drivers, so I was surprised. However, if you ask "why Canada?" then the answer shouldn't be a surprise - it's about money. The organisers (who apparently had no warning and heard they'd been dropped via the news!) were in contract discussions; read more at UpdateF1 or GrandPrix.com

  • Formula One cars will have the grooves in their tyres painted green in this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix to promote an environmental campaign. [BBC]
    Green stripes - wow, how environmentally conscious of them! Face it, motor racing will never be "green" - get over it and get back to racing!
OK, my notes from the race are behind this cut:

Provisional grid: LH, KR, HK, FA, FM, RK, JT, TG, SV, SB, DC, NP, MW, KN, NR, NH, RB, JB, AS, GF.
Air 16C, track 18C, no rain forecast for race

Formation lap: LH leads away; KR slow but gets away OK
FM starting on the soft (option) tyre, getting them out of the way early

01: HK takes the lead straight of the grid
LH fights back - takes P1 but is passed by RK & FA
Big off for DC - contact w KN?

02: RK, FA, HK, JT, FM, LH, KR, NP
LH passes FM but FM drives into the side of LH, spinning the McLaren

03: LH pits - suspension problem? Slow out of the box

04: RK, FA, HK, JT, KR, SB, FM, TG
Replay clearly shows FM behind LH when he drives into the side of him
Will the stewards investigate? Don't hold your breath :(

05: Replay shows DC's suspension before his off

07: TG pits - Toyota mechanics not ready

09: AS pulls off, clear of the pit exit - rear right puncture

11: Debris on the main straight

12: "Incidents involving cars 1, 2 and 22 under investigation" - that'll be the first corner (on lap 1) and FM hitting LH

14: RK, FA, HK, KR, JT, SB, FM, NP; retirements: AS, TG, DC
GF holding off NR for P13

15: NR takes P13
LH closing on JB for P15

18: RK & KR pit
HK's engine gives up
FM & LH both given a drive-through penalties - huh?
LH serves his penalty

19: FA pits
FM pits - are you allowed to chose to pit before serving your drive-through penalty?

20: FM serves his penalty

21: LH lapped by JT :(

23: GF retires and is pushed into the Force India garage

25: SB, NP, FA, RK, KR, MW, JT, SV

26: LH is closing on FM

30: FM passes JB for P12

33: LH takes P13 from JB

37: FA, RK, KR

40: FA, RK, KR, JT, NP; Retirements: GF, HK, AS, TG, DC

41: NH pits from P8
FM takes P10 from MW
LH pits

43: LH passes RB

44: FA pits from P1 - RK expected to have 5 more laps before his stop

48: RK pits; rejoins well behind FA
KR yet to stop; inherits P1

50: KR pits; rejoins just behind RK
FM (P8) has to pit again surely?

52: SB exits the pits - collides with FM - FM spins but recovers - should be another penalty for FM based on the stewards' decisions

53: KR all over RK's tail

54: RK holds of KR into Turn 1, but can he hold off the Ferrari for 15 more laps

55: FM pits from P8
RK holds KR off again; KR tries to fight back; RK holds his line and KR runs off track

56: "Incident involving cars 2 and 14 (FM, SB) to be investigated after the race" - why after?? :(

59: Pit-car for NP tells him he's 1sec quicker than KR

60: FA, RK, KR, NP, JT, SB, SV, MW; Retirements: GF, HK, AS, TG, DC

61: FM catches NH on the straight and draughts past him for P9

62: NP runs wide and falls away from KR

64: FM closing on MW - MW has no grip and can't put up much of a fight

65: FM takes P8 with another dangerous move

Final lap: FA has LH behind him but a lap down

FA takes the chequered flag
RK over the line for P2
P3=KR, 4=NP, 5=JT, 6=SB*, 7=SV, 8=FM* (*SB/FM under investigation)
P9=MW, 10=NH, 11=NR, 12=LH, 13=RB, 14=JB, 15=KN

Another eventful race, but (yet again) for the wrong reasons.

Wait for it though - there's some post-race news behind this cut:
Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais has had 25 seconds added to his Japanese Grand Prix race time as penalty for making contact with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. The stewards’ decision drops Bourdais from sixth to 10th in the results and elevates Massa to seventh.

Bourdais was rejoining the race after his second pit stop on lap 50 when Massa attempted to pass around the outside at Turn One. The pair made contact, tipping the Brazilian into a spin. Massa subsequently continued, finishing in eighth place.

The penalty means Bourdais’ team mate Sebastian Vettel moves up to sixth place ahead of Massa, while Red Bull’s Mark Webber picks up a point for eighth. It also means Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead over Massa is cut to just five points.
[source: BBC]

I jokingly said they'd penalise SB not FM - I really didn't think the FIA are that stupid/corrupt. Wow.

Lewis Hamilton has accused title rival Felipe Massa of deliberately running into him in the Japanese Grand Prix. [BBC]

Well, the FIA (aka Ferrari International Assistance) have changed the results again. :( They've arranged for Hamilton's lead to be just 5 points (should have been 6 or even 7 points after this race) with Kubica 7 points behind Massa. As for the constructors' championship, McLaren were leading by 1 point before this race but now they're 7 points behind Ferrari. [Offiicial tables for the drivers' and constructors' championships]
14th-Oct-2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
It's nice of the FIA to post some footage of Sunday's race:
  1. firstly, you can see Hamilton barely edges the Ferrari over the line; if anyone "pushed" them off track, it was Kovalainen, but you can see some of the front runners out-braked themselves into Turn 1 ... as often happens! And what about similar (or "worse") incidents further down the field?

  2. second incident, you can see Massa lock up into the corner, run off the circuit (all four wheels were over the line that defines the circuit) then rejoin and drive into the side of Hamilton. You could (should!) call the first one a racing incident, but this was deliberate - from Massa's on-board footage, there's no way he couldn't see the McLaren in front of him. Plus the impact to Massa in Turn 1 was a few places (3?) lost, whereas in this one Hamilton drops to the very back of the field (~15 places lost).

  3. when Bourdais exited the pits, he stayed well within the prescribed line, which forced him to take the inside at Turn 1; Massa was on the main straight and could see Bourdais coming out of the pits; they were fighting for position, so no-one had to yield. I don't see how that was anyone other than Massa's fault. The stewards could have called it a racing incident and that would just about have been defensible, but to penalise Bourdais is ridiculous.
Yet again the FIA arrange things in Ferrari's favour - maybe it's just to "keep it interesting" (i.e. ensure ticket sales) through to the last race, but for whatever reason, the FIA have turned F1 into a fiasco.
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