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

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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.

GridQualifyingNameWeightFuel (kg)First stint (laps)
11Sebastian Vettel658.553.518
22Jarno Trulli655.550.517
33Lewis Hamilton6565117
46Nick Heidfeld6605518
58Kimi Raikkonen6615619
65Rubens Barrichelllo660.555.519
711Nico Rosberg684.579.527
84Adrian Sutil6504515
913Robert Kubica6868128
107Jenson Button658.553.518
119Heikki Kovalainen6757024
1215Jaime Alguersuari682.577.527
1310Sebastien Buemi665.460.420
1416Giancarlo Fisichella661.556.519
1517Kazuki Nakajima695.790.731
1618Romain Grosjean691.886.830
1712Fernando Alonso689.584.529
1819Vitantonio Liuzzi682.577.527
1919Mark 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

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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

  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…

  21. 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.

  22. 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…

  23. 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!

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

  25. 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.

  26. Barrichello will start 6th and Button 9th

    1. Ali,

      Opinion or confirmed?

      cheers mate

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

  28. Go Nico!!!

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

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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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