Yamamoto’s blunders (HRT race review)

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Sakon Yamamoto’s second appearance for HRT – this time in place of Karun Chandhok – did not go very well.

Sakon Yamamoto Bruno Senna
Qualifying position 22 20
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’19.844 (+1.252) 1’18.592
Race position 19
Average race lap 1’26.680 (+2.7) 1’23.980
Laps 19/67 63/67
Pit stops 1 2

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Sakon Yamamoto

Blamed a gearshift problem for his lap which saw him qualify 1.2 seconds slower than his team mate.

According to Lucas di Grassi on Virgin’s Twitter account, Yamamoto’s slow start was because he had his pit lane speed limiter on. Di Grassi started behind the HRT and would have been able to see the flashing red light at the rear of his car.

Yamamoto lapped around half a second off Senna’s pace and mysteriously stopped on lap 19. Anthony Davidson later claimed on Twitter that Yamamoto had been trying to adjust his brake bias but accidentally pulled the fire switch instead, turning his engine off.

HRT have not responded to enquiries to verify either of these stories. Here’s what their press release said about Yamamoto’s race:

Sakon Yamamoto stopped in lap 19 on the straight after the car suddenly stopped. The reason for this we have to investigate in order to understand what exactly happened. I have to thank the team for their work the whole weekend and for their very good pit stops today.
Colin Kolles

Update: HRT have got in touch to say “Sakon had to stop the race because of an electrical fault.”

Compare Sakon Yamamoto’s form against his team mate in 2010

Bruno Senna

Was able to keep up with Timo Glock to begin with, though the Virgin driver was using the hard compound tyres.

But Senna picked up a slow puncture on lap 22 and fell out of touch with the other new teams’ drivers.

Compare Bruno Senna’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 German Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    41 comments on “Yamamoto’s blunders (HRT race review)”

    1. Moneybags’ average race lap was 2.7 seonds slower than Bruno Senna’s… it’s a disgrace. There is no other way of putting it.

      1. To be fair, the data is skewed by the fact that Yamamoto retired on lap 19 – still on a reasonably heavy fuel load – whereas Senna got to the finish, therefore getting quicker and quicker as the fuel burnt off and bringing up his average.

        1. To be fair, put the proper driver back in his car!

      2. Mr. Zing Zang
        28th July 2010, 5:36

        Yamamoto will catch up in time. He has the spirt of Sato in his veins. He wills soon unleash the dragon!

        1. Soon? Lets not forget he is a veteran compared to Bruno and Karun!

    2. And he’ll be racing at the Hungaroring !!!


    3. This is embarrassing. Not so much because Sakon’s weekend was disastrous, but because Hispania are insisting on running him again. Surely if Chandhok had to be substituted for financial reasons, it would have been better to put Klien in there? Nobody will want to substantially sponsor the team in 2011 on the basis of Sakon’s performances and substantial sponsors are what Hispania need right now.

      1. Chandhok has the charisma to sell the team as well if they would embrace him and let him do his job. I hope Chandhok get’s a drive with a team that has more integrity next year.

    4. Not much to write home for within the HRT team. I think the team gets more positive press from Karun actually being understanding about it and giving appearances on the BBC than from what went on in the cars on sunday.

      Sure let them investigate, weather it is nessicary to put a japanese character on the buttons (“do not push, only in case of FIRE”, “Pitlane only” etc.)

      1. But that’s only a positive for Karun, not the team. He’s certainly kept the high road through this, which is admirable.

      2. His English is just fine, from what I’ve heard. And he is not the first active driver allegedly to fat-fingered the buttons on his wheel at the wrong time, and one of those is a native speaker of the Queen’s English and a world champion.

    5. If HRT don’t deny these stories about Yamamto’s race I think we can assume that it will be as good as an admission.

      He must be bringing some serious money to the team to still have a seat for the next race.

    6. Charles Carroll
      27th July 2010, 18:02


      At HRT, you can not only be a nobody, but you can drive so slowly and poorly…even accidentally killing your own engine, and you’ll get to keep racing!

      This guy loves it!!!

    7. Why is Sakon Yamamoto so unpopular?? We can’t blame for taking the opportunity that he has been offered. It’s not his fault that he isn’t a good driver, or that he has more money to offer than Chandok.

      I think it all comes down to the fact that Chandok- who lest we forget is a fairly mediocre pay driver himself- is so popular, whereas Yamamoto is by far the most obscure, unheard of driver on the grid right now. For all we know he could be a very nice guy as well. Lay off him people

      1. Agreed, and at least he’s not dangerously bad – a little (or a lot) off the pace perhaps, but he seems a fairly sensible and mature guy.

        And hey, 10 years ago the drivers were using the pit limiters as a form of launch control before it was legalised, perhaps he’s on to something…

        1. Haha yeah, good point!

      2. To the best of my knowledge Chandhok has never taken a start with the pit lane rev limiter on, nor has he accidentally turned his engine off on lap 19 of a Grand Prix.

      3. Charles Carroll
        27th July 2010, 18:32

        That is fine. You and I are “probably” nice guys too.

        But we’re not F1 drivers killing our engines and racing so slowly we might as well be driving in the opposite direction.

        But okey-dokey, I’ll lay off the Yam.

      4. Magnificent Geoffrey
        28th July 2010, 1:54

        Bring back Alex Yoong, I say.

        1. What A Bunch of Ball Ox
          28th July 2010, 3:16

          A Previous Quote…..

          “It’s not his fault that he isn’t a good driver”

          Then please tell me…..Who’s fault is it and more importantly WHY HAVE A DRIVER WHO “isn’t good”?

          Disgraceful is hardly a strong enough comment. Geting 5 million now to screw over their chances of improving and getting more for next year…great business decision that. They must be incredibly skint.

          1. Well said WABOBO.

            Karun seems to be the best of the lot among the new teams. He deserved more credit for his performance. Its no mean feat that he has brought the car to the finish line much more consistently than the others.

            No offense to him personally, but Yam is a sham !!!

            1. I like Karun, he’s a good guy and hopefully a good racer, but it’s hardly the fault of the other guys in the new teams that they have had problems with hydraulics etc.

        2. agreed…Alex Yoong much better than Sakon Yamamoto. Just look at his performance at the end of 2002 season and at A1GP.

      5. wwwwwwoooooooowwwwww Flanders and Yamamoto sitting in a tree K I S S I N G.


    8. Had an email from HRT, updated the article above. Still trying to get an affirmation or denial of the fire switch story.

      1. I doubt they would confirm something like this, and neither will they deny it if it were true.

        An ‘electrical fault’ certaily desribes the result, but not the cause. lol

    9. This is one reason why the 107% rule might actually be quite good. The teams at the back of the grid are kind of forced to put reasonable drivers in their car(s).

      1. That’s a good point. They’d have to choose between running Chandhok, or not running the car at all.

    10. Yamamoto was about 10 seconds behind Senna before pitting. Senna pitted after Yamamoto had gone out, so the gap was 38 seconds at the time Sakon went out. However, Senna’s pitstop lap was six seconds faster than Yamamoto’s.

      1. Charles Carroll
        27th July 2010, 19:43

        Was Karun changing all four tires?

        1. He’s just that nice!

    11. who is the sponsor of Yamamoto and how much is he paying? how much is karun bringing in?

      1. I think Yamamoto’s personal sponosr is Sanho Human Service, who also sponosored Renault in 2008 when Yamamoto was a Renault test driver.

    12. Electrolite
      27th July 2010, 22:54

      He’s a joke. And by the looks of things potentially a danger to other drivers…

      1. Why is he a danger? I’ve never seen Yamamoto hit anyone on track. He may not be fast, but that doesn’t mean he is dangerous.

        1. Being unexpectedly slow can be just as dangerous, ask Mark Webber what happens when cars brake earlier than expected

        2. Jarred Walmsley
          28th July 2010, 10:34

          Not knowing what all the levers and buttons do is very dangerous and not being able to get off the line at full speed when by some miracle someone was slower than you in quali is fairly dangerous as well

    13. He’s no Yuji Ide…

    14. It looks like the HRT management is having to find a balance between Senna’s surname, Chandhok’s character, Yamamoto’s supposed war chest and Klien’s raw ability.

      Seeing has Klien is barely on the radar atm it seems they need the short term pay-driver cash boost over long term sponsor-finding performances. It must be a bad financial problem.

    15. very inconsistent lap times from Senna during the 1st half of the GP (when he wasn’t being lapped all the time)…

    16. David Smith
      28th July 2010, 19:19

      I must say I was getting quite a fan of karun Chandhok and HRT for trying their damn hardest. I was even going to buy the 1/43 model HRT car of his at £49.99 and was even going to see about getting a HRT fan club going but with all this nonsense going about I dont think i’ll bother!! HRT are doing themselves no favours and now Bernie is saying he doesnt think a couple of new comers will finish the season or be missed if they went the way of super aguri!

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