Vettel wins in Singapore as Hamilton drops out

2012 Singapore Grand Prix review

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Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix for a second year running after a gruelling race which ran to the two-hour time limit.

The race fell into Vettel’s hands after Lewis Hamilton retired from the lead before half-distance with a gearbox problem.

Jenson Button salvaged second place for McLaren while Fernando Alonso achieved his pre-race target of finishing on the podium to limit the damage done to his championship lead.

Maldonado loses ground at start

Hamilton held onto his lead at the start but Pastor Maldonado lost his grip on second place. He went slightly too deep at turn one and Vettel pounced, claiming the place from him. Button followed him past.

Pole-winner Hamilton led the field away
Alonso made an unusually poor getaway and was beaten off the line by Paul di Resta. But the Ferrari driver got back down the inside at turn five to take fifth place back.

Behind them several drivers went across the run-off at turn one, but the stewards decided all had returned to the track without gaining an unfair advantage.

The opening laps were a cagey affair, the front-runners not wanting to take too much life out of the super-soft tyres which they had already qualified on.

Webber was the first to pit on lap nine. The next time around Vettel lost half a second in the middle sector and he also dived into the pits.

Alonso came in next and two laps after that Hamilton pitted from the lead. He emerged ahead of Raikkonen, who was yet to stop, and who was easily passed by Vettel in the DRS zone.

Button eked his tyres out a little longer, pitting on lap 15, and returned to the track behind Vettel.

Some of the early stoppers found themselves having to pick their way past those who were yet to come in. Maldonado had a dramatic moment, catching a slide as he went past Hulkenberg with his DRS open. Alonso also took the Force India.

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Hamilton loses the race

Moments later Maldonado and Alonso gained another place without having to do any overtaking. Hamilton had been on the radio to complain about problems with the upshift on his McLaren and on lap 23 it stopped changing gears entirely.

He repeatedly pulled on his right-hand gear lever then thumped the steering wheel in frustration as he coasted to a stop in the turn five run-off. In five races he’s had two wins and three no-scores, the latter down to a puncture, a first-lap collision, and now a gearbox problem.

“He was looking after things and keeping it in control,” said a disappointed Martin Whitmarsh afterwards, who added that the problem had only become apparent during the race.

He discounted the possibility of the problem having been caused by Hamilton’s contact with the wall during qualifying: “Lewis brushed the wall but it was very light. So I don’t think it’s something that came from that.”

Alonso attacks Maldonado

Alonso worked his way up to third place
Vettel now took up the lead with Button close behind and Maldonado eyeing a shot at a podium finish. But the Williams driver had to withstand some serious pressure from Alonso.

They made their second pit stops together and returned to the track in the same order. Once more the pair found themselves in traffic, forming a queue headed by Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean.

As Maldonado explored the rear of Grosjean’s Lotus, Alonso resisted the temptation to unload his KERS in the DRS zone. He emptied it as they came out of turn 13 instead and got alongside the Williams on the outside of the following corner.

Maldonado defended his position firmly and Alonso, reluctant to risk too much with a championship at stake, wisely gave best to the Williams.

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Safety car changes the race

In a near-repeat of last year’s Grand Prix, a safety car intervention at around half-distance changed the complexion of the race. Narain Karthikeyan, struggling with his HRT’s brakes, hit the wall at turn 18.

Vettel and Button were into the pits immediately to make their second and final pit stops. A string of other cars took the opportunity to pit including Raikkonen, Di Resta, Rosberg, Grosjean and Maldonado.

The latter sacrificed his third place to switch to soft tyres to ensure he reached the end of the race without a further stop. But it all became academic moments later as the team told him his hydraulics had failed and he had to retire.

The first safety car period dragged on as three cars were sent around to unlap themselves. And the restart didn’t last very long – Michael Schumacher ploughed into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne at turn 14, putting both out.

Button had a near-miss at the end of the first safety car period as he nearly ran into the back of Vettel. He was quickly on the radio to complain about Vettel’s driving and the stewards will investigate the incident after the race.

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Midfield mayhem after restarts

The second restart went smoothly – Vettel pulled clear of Button and Alonso, the Ferrari driver now up to third. Di Resta appeared behind him in fourth and was briefly able to use DRS to attack the Ferrari, only to drop back.

Grosjean was running in sixth in front of Raikkonen, but was instructed by his team to let his team mate by and duly surrendered the position. Raikkonen was unable to do anything about Rosberg ahead and complained afterwards that the race had been “boring”, adding: “you cannot overtake”.

Hulkenberg had to pit with a puncture
Neither of those was true about the action behind him, as the drivers who had pitted under the safety car used their fresher tyres to attack.

Felipe Massa, who dropped back early on with a puncture, had a dramatic moment as he tried to squeeze past Bruno Senna on the approach to turn 13. The pair made contact and massa’s car briefly got away from him, but he gathered it up and made it into the corner, claiming the place.

Also in the wars was Nico Hulkenberg, who managed to make contact with both Sauber drivers, starting with Sergio Perez. Then, as Mark Webber passed Kamui Kobayashi, Hulkenberg clipped the other Sauber, breaking Kobayashi’s front wing and picking up a puncture himself.

Webber went on to pass Senna and spent the final laps trying to find a way past fellow Australia and Red Bull employee Daniel Ricciardo – the Toro Rosso driver holding him off until the flag.

The spate of midfield collisions played into the hands of Marussia’s Timo Glock, elevating him to 13th place. That became 12th when Senna retired in the dying moments of the race, and the crucial extra position moves Marussia back into tenth in the constructors’ championship, ahead of Caterham.

Senna’s engineer was quick to warn him of the potential danger from his car: “Jump out of the car,” he said. “It could be a KERS problem. Do not touch the ground at the same time. The car is unsafe.”

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Vettel dedicates win to Watkins

The lengthy safety car interruptions meant there was only time for 59 of the scheduled 61 laps before the two-hour time limit expired. Vettel was never seriously threatened by Button in the closing stages and his car didn’t let him down as he finally clinched his second win of the year.

On his slowing-down lap he dedicated the win to Professor Sid Watkins, who died last week and in whose honour a minute of silence was observed before the race started.

Button claimed second ahead of Alonso, who made good on his pre-race aims of finishing on the podium and taking points off the driver who had been closest to him in the championship: Hamilton. But Vettel has cut his points lead to 29 points with six races remaining.

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

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Author information

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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100 comments on “Vettel wins in Singapore as Hamilton drops out”

  1. I still can’t get out of my head Massa’s overtake on Senna…
    Also, does anybody know how much time Massa lost to
    Hamilton after the puncture and his first pit stop?

    1. 78 Seconds or so.. and at some point of time, 88.5 seconds behind .. As I can remember.. He managed 25 laps on super soft at the end !!

    2. Massa’s move was barely legal, but Senna’s defense was way too agressive. Could’ve been much worse for both.

      1. Barely legal? Please explain.

        1. Almost all of his car was outside the track lines. Both onboard and aerial shots show so.

        1. Interesting thing that Massa is still unhappy about the move. He recovered from a difficult position and should be commended for the good driving, from there he should’ve just shut up and enjoy the accolades for once. Senna took the proper racing line and wasn’t expecting Massa to get such a good run on him. I would also suspect Senna was concentrating on the approach for the next corner and didn’t see Massa.

    3. I didn’t think Senna did anything wrong when I watched it.
      My only concern was did Massa go off the track at the chicane. I had to watch it back a few times to spot that Massa was inside the track. Massa sure does run that corner close with his track side wheels just on the track. In the end it was great driving by Massa to make the pass available and hold onto the car afterwards.
      I was wondering if that’s what Williams were concerned about on the move. Did Massa cut the chicane? I guess the stewards only needed to check a couple of camera angles that we are not privileged to see to work that out.
      Also, that was probably the first attempted pass across that bridge too. The giant turtle humps at turn 10 were supposed to prevent side by side action across that bridge to protect it.

  2. First time in his career he’s actually benefited of a retirement from a car in front of him to win rather than being the victim as he’s been countless times.

    1. Poor him, always the victim.

    2. That’s not true at all. In fact, it’s not even the first night race where he has inherited a victory from LH. In 2009, Lewis Hamilton retired from a commanding lead in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix leaving Sebastien Vettel to win. However, Sebastien returned the favour (not the best phrase) in 2011, by having a car failure after turn 1 of Abu Dhabi where Lewis went on to win.

        1. Just want to be part of this conversation. Hamilton didn’t pull away as many expected, given the MP4-24’s combination of great straight-line speed with it’s KERS package & relatively great amount of downforce & a brake problem made matters even worst, which ultimately lead to his retirement obviously & Vettel was able to jump Hamilton at the end of the first stint when Hamilton ran wide on his out-lap I believe.

      1. @kodongo as @david-a said, Hamilton retired from P2.

        1. @raymondu999, yes but that was because he was losing time with the brake problems that forced him to retire. Before that, he looked very strong, qualifying a lot quicker with in a car with more fuel onboard (if you remember those days), a significant strategic advantage.

          1. @Adrianmorse Less fuel than Vettel, but his pole advantage was indeed more than his 2 laps worth of less fuel should have been. (i remember doing some number crunching on my own model) and fuel corrected he was 4 tenths quicker than Vettel.

            But he had no race pace. The brakes turned out fine, but McLaren did not feel that having Hamilton turn up into 320kph braking zones with potentially dodgy brakes was a responsible risk.

          2. Retiring from P1 and retiring from P2 are still different

    3. First time in his career he’s actually benefited of a retirement from a car in front of him to win

      it’s just because he was the first time ready to capitalize, if he didn’t passed Pastor in the first corner who knows …….

      being the victim as he’s been countless times

      that’s was the result of his team taking too much risks in designing his car

      1. that’s was the result of his team taking too much risks in designing his car

        Load of horse manure – does it mean the RedBull in this race didn’t have any design related risks. All designers take a certain degree of risk in designing a car. Even a barbie doll design will involve some risk

    4. @kingshark

      haha..I sense a tone of sarcasm. But anyways, for argument’s sake, if Lewis had continued, do you reckon he would have won the race? Based on the pace Vettel had at the end of the race, he seemed to have taken care of his softs extremely well, and was pulling away from Button significantly. I think it would have been a classic duel at the end, if Lewis continued…and it wouldnt have surprised me if Seb had won passing Lewis..

      1. @Jay Menon
        I reckon Lewis would’ve won, barely though keeping Seb behind, kind of like Alonso 2 years ago.

  3. Terrible mis-judgement by Schumacher. He can bleat all he likes about the drivers ahead breaking earlier than usual, but it looked awfully like he was going to go past the corner anyway….

      1. He’ll probably get pole now.

        1. :D!

    1. In his defense he wasn’t putting the blame on the guys in front of him. in the interview he says that HE was breaking a little bit earlier than usual, but the car didn’t slow down as he expected so he slammed on the breaks even harder locking up. We can argue about whether there was a car problem or not, but Schumacher was certainly not putting the blame on Vergne. The stewards have access to GPS and would be able to know if he did in fact brake earlier than usual. Judging by the fact that he got a penalty i doubt it though. Personlay i thgink that he didnt do a good enough job of keeping the heat in his brakes and tyres during the safety car period, and was surprised by the lack of declaration when he pushed the break pedal. having said that, please dont put words in his mouth about blaming the cars ahead.

  4. Vettel and Button is under investigation by the stewards:

    1. No further action in 3, 2, 1.. :D

    2. 40.5
      No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed
      potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the safety car is
      deployed. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the
      pit lane.
      2012 F1 Sporting Regulations 29 of 43 7 December 2011
      © 2011 Fédération Internationale de l?Auto

      Ruyle developed in December this year precisely because of a previous incident with Seb….

      1. No further action

      2. Ruyle developed in December this year precisely because of a previous incident with Seb….

        Care to cite this previous incident you are quoting?

    3. @dantheman @valentino @juij
      Whiting has told the press there will be no action taken.

      1. The stewards decided “An examination of the telemetry overlay for throttle, steering and brake traces of both cars did not indicate any erratic driving”.


        1. Hmmm….Isn’t it erratic? so Why did Button suddenly get close(Hem!) to Vettel and tried to avoid collision? I don’t know. I can’t erase the idea that no action is because Seb is title contender in my head. even if I didn’t expect summon and penalty from this but that’s the case when they had not been summoned.

          1. Hold a banner saying “I’m an Alonso fan and I want a penalty for Vettel because he is a championship contender”. That will be more than reason to penalize Vettel than providing a reason to support stewards ruling

          2. I think that Jenson thought that Vettel was going to start from there and he tried to stay as close as possible.
            I was quite surprised about the investigation, because it was only a little misunderstanding between Vettel and Button, clearly no one to blame.

        2. The stewards also spoke to the drivers. I wonder what the Mclaren position was because although they might have fought for the race win, on balance they may benefit more by keeping Alonso down in third and not taking as many points from Hamilton. I also can’t see Button trying to talk up the issue just to gain a race win, I think that he’d rather have won it on the track than go to the effort to gain victory with a post race intervention.

          1. Yes, the investigation was because Buttom complained.

    4. Just seen it now, and if anything, Button was going too fast.

  5. The race went for 2 hours, so you’d expect there to be a few lulls, but nope! The write-up reflects just how much actually happened. My poor fingernails…

  6. I actually feel a little sad for Maldonado.

    Over the past 2 races he’s actually been doing quite well, keeping himself out of trouble and putting in good enough pace. I felt he should have deserved some points for his performance this weekend, but alas.

    1. @pjtierney

      Agreed. I thought Pastor was going really well yesterday. His duel with Alonso was a classic, tough but very fair. I mean, this guys has all the qualities to become a top driver, but the problem being, he only manages to pull it all together once every few races.

      He seems to have improved lately, hopefully he keeps it up…I’ve always had a soft spot for Williams and I would love for them to win another race this year.

  7. Now, I think that only Vettel and Alonso have a realistic shot at the ttle, and I personally think Vettel will win it; he only needs to outscore Fernando by about 5 points per weekend, which is doable

    1. You should wait a couple of race before saying so. Mclaren’s pace would go nowhere and there’s no guarantee Vettel would always finish ahead of Alonso. Yes, Alonso has inferior machine but you know, he has had all over the season and still leading the championship. It seems not easy for Hamilton to win the title but he still can win against others in some races with that car which is able to ruin Vettel’s campaign.

      1. But JB needs to make up 3 races, and judging Ferraris reliablility throughut the season, Fernando is unlikely to retire in the next few races, and Hamilton needs to make up 50 points or so, which isn’t realistic.
        Kimi has got to make up about 45 points (ish) and that’s not really that realistic.
        Vettel learly has the best chance to overhaul Alonso, particurlarly in Japan; Vettel loves Suzuka

        1. @xjr15jaaag and he lost to Button and Alonso there last year when he had the fastest car for such circuit. I know Vettel loves Suzuka but that’s it. If RB8 is not the clear best there, I won’t assume he would win easily.

          1. @eggry Except that he didn’t have the fastest car. The McLaren was so much better. Button only lost pole by 9 thousandths of a second and we all know that the RB7 forte was qualifying. Plus he was more worried about finishing and sealing the title than fighting Alonso.

            Anyway, I believe Alonso doesn’t have the car to beat Vettel next race, but I can see it being a McLaren walk in the park.

    2. he only needs to outscore Fernando by about 5 points per weekend, which is doable

      it’s too early to say that it will be a fight between Alonso & Vettel because they simply don’t have the fastest car,hamilton still have a chance to win the WDC who knows in F1 anything can happen & it usually does

      the only way to outscore Fernando (considering his consistency & his car’s reliability) by at least 5 pts is to score wins i can’t see Fernando finishing outside of the top 5 in the remaining races (of course in normal conditions)

      so Vettel has to beat Hamilton,Button,& Alonso in the remaining 6 races with the 2nd or 3rd fastest car (depending on the circuit) without ignoring reliability i think that’s a quite a difficult job

      1. But it is at least fairly realistic though

        1. You are right @xjr15jaaag, It is more than fairly realistic. MClaren form flunctuates but RBR’s is getting stronger which leaves Ferraris behind and that’s how is going to end.
          Vettel 1st, Alonso/Hamilton 2nd, Button third. Well, the usual suspects…

    3. @xjr15jaaag Hamilton is still in with a chance The MP4-27 is still I believe the form car on the grid.

  8. “Vettel and Button were into the pits immediately to make their third and final pit stops” – They only made 2 stops during the race (as did most others)

    1. Corrected.

  9. Martin Whitmarsh does not seem very definitive/certain:
    “He discounted the possibility of the problem having been caused by Hamilton’s contact with the wall during qualifying: “Lewis brushed the wall but it was very light. So I don’t think it’s something that came from that.”
    He doesn’t say that they know definitely that the brush with the wall was not the initiator of the problem. It will be interesting to see what they find to be the cause.

    1. Remember when Vettel did the same thing while qualifying in 2010 and nothing happened.

      1. I’ll tell you want didn’t happen when Vettel brushed the wall, he didn’t win the race.

      2. as far as I concern, Vettel touched wall with front wheel not rear.

  10. In five races he’s had two wins and three no-scores, the latter down to a puncture, a first-lap collision, and now a gearbox problem.

    Cruel luck for Hamilton not just for losing a potential win but also for having all this bad luck in a season where his car finally has the speed again to challenge for the title.

    The safety car spoiled the race at the front for me. Would Alonso have gone for three stops, would Button have been able to make any use of his 6-lap tyre advantage over Vettel (probably not, given their final stints, but still)? I’m glad Ricciardo was able to score some points again today, especially after his appalling luck in Monza.

    As for the other Aussie, Webber hasn’t had a good qualifying (Spa was Ok) or race since Silverstone. The 2012 season looks to be something of a reversal from the 2011 for Webber: he’s had a good start to the season this time around, but the second half is very disappointing so far.

  11. Well done, Fernando, you are the 2012 champion. The only man that had the pace and the car ended his challenge today, OK, the points gap between 1st and 2nd is less, but a) Vettel doesn’t have the car and b) Vettel vs Alonso is a fall-gone conclusion, Hamilton vs Alonso isn’t. Before today the 2012 world championship was an excellent and probably close one-on-one duel between Hamilton and Alonso, but now the championship is Alonso’s. And I know you’re thinking I am underestimating Vettel and Red Bull, but that wasn’t pace for Red Bull at Singapore, it was the effects of the McLaren, which prefers fast corners, being on a track with only one. However most corners at Suzuka and Korea are fast, so expect McLaren to dominate, which will, again, play into the hands of Alonso, and bring him yet closer to the title, which he already has one hand on.

    1. Hamilton needs to outscore Alonso by about 10 points per race. Whilst difficult, the form he’s showed recently means it’s not impossible, especially with Button able to back up Hamilton.

      One more DNF or weekend earning less points than Alonso though, and you would have to say it’s all over for Hamilton, which is a real shame as he hasn’t put a foot wrong in the car this season, being almost unbelievably unlucky. He’s lost at least 40 points in the last 5 races alone, not to mention the 50 odd he lost earlier in the season with team gaffes.

      1. To be honest… I think Lewis has been driving great, but he wasn’t all that stellar at the start of the season. He took poles at the beginning of the season, but didn’t convert them to victories. He struggled with the tyres while Jenson managed fine. In my books, if he lost out to Jenson, means he wasn’t at the top of his game.

        But I do agree that he had some serious bad luck

        1. he was beaten by Jenson in 3 of the opening 4 races, but I think only in Aus was he outperformed by Jenson. Aus was lacklustre, but I think from then on he’s been up there with Fernando

          1. Lewis wasn’t his usual self at China and Malaysia either

    2. Vettel vs Alonso is a fall-gone conclusion

      Nothing is a “fall-gone” conclusion in F1. Nothing is a foregone conclusion in F1 either.

      1. Yeah, sorry about the spelling, but in the past, such as Germany ’12, Britain ’11, Singapore ’10 and Germany ’10, Alonso just looks like he has Vettel covered in the race, almost as if Vettel’s a bit easy for him. It’s only really Hamilton, and maybe sometimes Button (when he has the “balance”) that brings sweat to the brow of Alonso. If its on Alonso’s terms, i.e. not a poor team decision or a car failure, the championship is now Alonso’s, which he fully deserves.

        1. There have been times where the opposite has been true, including today, Italy ’11 and Brazil ’10 (and Korea ’10, Bahrain ’10, Valencia ’12). I also doubt Alonso has ever seen Button as more of a threat generally than Vettel.

          Nevertheless, with a 29 point margin (and only 6 rounds left), his unbreakable consistency and with the close nature of the front runners, I agree that the title is Alonso’s to lose. And indeed, he would fully deserve his 3rd title.

          1. artificial racer
            24th September 2012, 8:16

            There’s no point speculating really because so much depends on who DNFs and when. I would bet serious money that Alonso and Vettel won’t both finish all the next races. Besides the usual randomness we have decent chances of wet races coming up.

            I would bet that McLaren will win a race or two making it tougher for Vettel to gain ground. Hamilton is still in there with a chance.

    3. This comment reminds me of those football matches where the losing team’s fans all desert the ground five minutes before the final whistle to avoid the moment of defeat and the post-match traffic and then their team scores two late goals for a famous win in front of a half-empty stadium. Plenty of championships have turned around more than the points differences we have at the moment, I think that the new points system is still fooling people – with arguably the three fastest cars in reverse order in the championship this is shaping up for a tight finish if the main contenders run to form over the next few races without car failures or other incident.

      1. +1 (and then some).

    4. I can still see Hamilton able to pull it back, but it feels like a bit of a stretch. He needs to win the next race, with Alonso, and preferably Vettel, off the podium. In that case, maybe he could finally get the momentum to start seriously cutting into the lead, as his form most of the season has kept suggesting he can do.

      At first glance, I would think it highly unlikely, but then I think that catching up 25 points to Vettel might not be too difficult if the McLaren stays on form. And I can also see Vettel catch Alonso easily. So if Hamilton can catch Vettel, and Vettel can catch Alonso, it stands to reason that Hamilton making up the difference to take the lead isn’t out of the question.

  12. The only disappointment for Vettel this weekend was his qualifying position, other than that he’s looked exceptionally on the pace, particularly in practice & reminded me so much of 2011. My instincts on Friday when looking at pictures of the sessions on this site told me that he’ll win & ultimately, little did I know he did, pressurised Hamilton by quite a reasonable amount before inheriting a well-controlled victory after Hamilton’s retirement, which after didn’t look troubled one bit. A victory I say is fully deserved despite the inheritance. Looking at Vettel when he was at Parc Ferme celebrating, I didn’t see it as a ‘typical’ Vettel win, perhaps mainly due to his tributes to Sid Watkins & knowing he was enviable in inheriting the probable win of Hamilton’s.

    That Hamilton retirement is another question as to when we’re finally going to get some answers of the quality of arguably the best three drivers on the grid today in Alonso, Hamilton & Vettel, now we’re going to have to wait longer (God knows how long the battles will keep getting spoiled by extraneous variables, which we can’t control) for one of the three to beat the other relatively on merit because let’s be plausible, McLaren & Red Bull in Hamilton & Vettel respectively today, were pretty much matched on overall pace.

    Exceptional displays could be said the same for Hamilton (you can tell him and Vettel visibly were) this weekend as well prior to his retirement, was really strong throughout all parts of the weekend & personally would’ve went on to win today if it weren’t for his gearbox prematurely letting go given whatever pressure from his perspective he may have endured from Vettel, that was sustained. That elusive consistency of his is looking a real issue at the moment & I feel McLaren surprisingly looking reasonably unreliable is just partly why, which at the same time is hindering them in closing the gap to Red Bull in the WCC. Back to Lewis, in other words, this is really the time of the season where he’s going to need every single point he can get & by doing that he needs to start picking up podiums (2nd places ideally) that are not race wins, otherwise I see Alonso being out of reach if you ask me.

    Solid podium from Button this weekend though didn’t quite have the pace of the two in front but think he also lost out on a potential win with McLaren leaving him out late enough for his tyres to start going away at the end of the first stint, was in a clear position to come in for new primes & leapfrog Vettel (would’ve controlled the gap afterwards even with Hamilton’s retirement) & that opportunity was lost thanks to McLaren’s passiveness. Moreover, only closed the gap to Alonso slightly & the form he’s in currently doesn’t suggest to me that he’s a genuine title contender, for now at least because you never know anything can happen.

    Creditable mentions for Drivers of the Day/Weekend: Rosberg (Day), Glock (Weekend to some extent), Di Resta (Weekend)

  13. Did you guys know that the last time a dry race lasted the two hour limit was back in 1991? It was the United Stated Grand Prix and Ayrton Senna won!

    1. Hey !!!! save it for the statistics page

    2. Yup…, I knew. I guess being a (nearly) life-long 43 year old American Fan does have its perks. Fernando is nearly there. Today cemented it. I would much rather it be him than Vettel.

      1. I believe Alonso has equalled Senna’s tally of 80 podiums..only Prost and Schumacher have more!


  14. Here’s an interesting stat. Hamilton has never won a race the BBC have broadcasted live. Canada, Hungary & Monza have all been exclusively shown live on Sky.

    So… that should make him early favourites for a win at Suzuka, also with his trend of Win-DNF-Win-DNF, it should emphasis it more.

    1. @ younger-hamii Interestingly, it’s a trend that’s followed Hamilton around his whole career. On many occasions he’s followed a win with a DNF and vice-versa, and at “his” track (Canada) he has a record of Win-DNF-Win-DNF-Win.

    2. So Korea will be DNF then?

    3. @younger-hamii You mean live on the BBC this year :p

  15. race disgraces:
    1) 60kmh limit in the pitlane.
    2) delta times for saving tires: i checked live timing and it didn’t make any sense in the first half of the race, lap times didn’t make any sense at all, even after pitstops.
    3) DRS.
    4) rule to unlap needs to be changed, the safety car was out for too long a time; lapped drivers should be go to the pitlane in the second lap the safety car is out and start from there once the pack has passed.

    1. Keith i would LOVE to read an analysis of yours of the laptimes of this race and if you could give any reasons (for ex. why was hamilton so fast at the beginning and alonso so slow then after a few laps the situation is completely the opposite? Why is massa faster than anybody using tyres that are only 1 lap newer than everybody else’s? i might be answering myself, were those the tyres he didn’t use in q3? how come webber is able to post the fastest 1st sector in the lap in which he goes to pit, if they were good for that 1st sector they must be really good for another couple of laps right?)

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        23rd September 2012, 21:13

        My thoughts:
        Hamilton being fast at the beginning: He pulled a Vettel, opening a gap to avoid DRS and managing it.
        Alonso being slow: Usually he does that to save his tires to attack when the cars in front stop, but he was too far back here.
        Massa: Because newer tires are that much better.
        Webber: On the inlap, driver push to the limit to use up all the grip in the tires before the stop.

        1. but surely the point is valid, the tyres still had life left in them so why stop early and come out behind the pack ?

      2. On Massa’s tyres:
        He was on a fresh set of soft (not super soft) tyres, so he could push it where as all the other front runners were trying to extend their red set. He wasn’t impeded by the dirty air of the guys in front of him, unlike everybody except Hamilton. And for Hamilton and the other front runners, their tyres were not a lap older, they were a qualifying out lap, a qualifying lap, a qualifying in lap, 2 warm up laps and a race lap and a half older. So at least 3-4 real laps older, for a set of tyres that were only lasting 12-14 laps on full fuel while being nurtured.

  16. was frustrated that mercedes decided to start on the super soft. what a waste after not running in Q3 it was a no brainer to start on softs with at least one of the cars. with potential of a sc, and it also giving you max free air time it could of given one of them a great result.

    but no they decided to follow the flock and get nothing more than they would normally get…and one of their drivers tripped over another driver being out of position.

    1. Yes I am also frustrated by this, if you can’t get pole, atleast run your slow set of tyres in clean air!

      1. yeah it looked very strange decision. I believed they would use new soft and then follow the leaders for 10 laps (cause the eight in front had used tires) then continue with them another 10 laps in front of the pack. They use supersoft (new?) and last less than the other with horrible pace, 2 to 3s a lap adrift. But we can imagine that they simulate it and there was no way to do better… Shumi was able to do 6 laps at the same pace as Rosberg before he begin to loose close contact. They are very very far in downforce level comparing to the others, the last of the midfield !!!

  17. I’m not really a fan of Hamilton, but you have to feel for him. Last year, he was having a difficult year and wasn’t on it, simply put. He might have some odd moments this year, but in the car he is really doing well. It’s a shame this happened, even though it’s good news for Alonso. McLaren definitely seems to be the car to beat now, but somehow things keep going wrong.

    Vettel had been impressing me all weekend and I’m glad he finally won again. I’m even less of a Vettel fan than a Hamilton fan, but he was flawless this weekend, spare Q3. Solid drive by Button, was kind of disappointed Alonso needed Maldonado’s pitstop in order to pass him. Ferrari needs to find a little extra in order to be up to challenging Hamilton or Vettel on a good day.

    Speaking of Maldonado, while I felt no remorse for him crashing out or under-performing for most of his non-points finishes lately, he was having a clean, good race. Shame he lost out too, especially since Senna had to DNF after a stellar race as well. Williams have probably lost more points over the season than McLaren did with the pitstop incidents..

    Good drive by Massa as well. He sometimes has shown in 2012 that he does belong in the Ferrari. But is it often enough? Impressed by Di Resta as well. With the season slowly coming to an end, one has to wonder; will Lotus ever have another close show at winning a race?

    1. I’m pretty curious whether we’ll hear anything more (I kind of doubt it, Williams never seem to shed much light on their various car issues) about what exactly happened with Senna’s car. He lost KERS with 16 laps to go, but then the radio message to him at the end (with 60 seconds to go! what a heartbreaker) was warning him that it was dangerous to get out of the car: “Jump out of the car, it could be a KERS problem. Do not touch the ground at the same time. The car is unsafe. Find a fire extinguisher.” That’s… rather concerning, but also very curious. I can’t recall the last time we heard a message quite like that.

  18. It was interesting to read how many people have posted to the effect ‘…so X has no realistic chance of winning the title…’ but IMHO it kind of misses the point of being a driver.

    Common terms used about Alonso include ‘he makes his own luck as a great driver’ but if he had taken the view of some people posting today of what was ‘realistic’ at the start of the year then he wouldn’t be where he is now.

    It seems there are more likely and less likely outcomes, but calling something realistic is removing the element of chance and determination that all drivers bring to the race.

    Its great to speculate on possible outcomes and applying knowledge on previous performances by teams, machines and drivers is part of what makes F1 for me such a cerebal as well as physical sport.

    But I do find armchair pundits writing off the abilities of drivers to make something happen against the odds, be it for example, Jenson, Kimi or Lewis [alphabetical order before anyone commments]and trying to distill it down to purely what is possible within their own frame of reference interesting.

    If the drivers were taking some of the speculation that people put forward about what they can acheive on here as fact then why would most of them bother racing at all?

  19. Return of Finger (this time double fingers actually) and the ever more evident loss of mojo in the arguable legend of F1 history…and of course very persistent and continuing pattern of win-DNF-win-DNF… due to, whatever you call it.
    Leaving the glory at the top of the peak is that much difficult ’cause it seems eternal and you can make it forever, dear.

    1. @leotef I am sure you can work this up into a popular chart hit.

  20. Look who is at 10th in the championship now….Its Marussia!

  21. Just read this article on the BBC F1 page about Jenson Button who is quoted as saying that the only person who can challenge Alonso now is Vettel.

    How does that make him the great driver many people claim him to be?

    I accept all the stuff about mind games with other drivers, but you don’t usually hear other sports people in competitive situations speaking with such an air of resignation, normally the inverse applies.

    1. I think the title in the article took Jenson’s quotes out of context. He merely mentioned it was going to be hard for everyone else but in the article he didn’t emphatically say that no one else were going to win the WDC.

  22. There are still 150 points up for grabs and this is F1, nothing is a foregone conclusion. One DNF from Alonso in the last 6 races would really make it interesting if the other drivers in contention are able to complete the last 6 races without retirement.

    Alonso is in the best position to be World Champion, there`s no doubt about it. He is the only one of the main competitors that can have a DNF/bad weekend and still be in contention. That`s a huge advantage to have, he doesn`t have to be flawless to be in with a chance. He definitely has the mental strenght to win it in a tight fight. He does have one problem though, the Ferrari is not the most competitive out there at the moment and he might loose a lot of points if both McLaren and Red Bull is beating him consistently.

    Vettel is in with the second best chance of becoming World Champion in 2012. He can have a bad weekend if Alonso also has one and still be in contention. Furthermore Vettel has always been competitive in the second part of the season, probably because the corquits suit him well. I also think he`s got the mental strenght to win it, he`s proven that before. I know many love to question Vettels mental strenght, but come on. The kid has been in contention for the world championship for 4 years in a row now and won 2 of them, and he`s 25 years old. You just don`t get that sort of results unless you are very strong mentally. But he`s also got a problem, the Red Bull is not the fastest car out there, that honour goes to McLaren. If he get`s beaten by Hamilton and Button on a regular basis he`ll loose a lot of points.

    Hamilton is in with the third best chance of winning the championship. On pure pace I think he should be ranked as the contender most likely to win it. The McLaren is and has been the fastest car this season, no doubt about it. But he`s got one problem, he cannot afford a single mistake, mechanically or other. One more DNF from Hamilton will effectively put him out of the race for the World Championship. Furthermore I fear we might see the return of the “old” Hamilton if things get tight. One bad weekend might lead to desperation on Hamiltons part and excessive risk taking. I think there are more questionmarks over Hamiltons ability to handle pressure than Alonso or Vettel. Hamilton lost the championship to Raikkonen and looked shaky at best, the next year he almost lost it to Massa and also looked very shaky when the pressure was on. He might make mistakes where instinct replace common sense towards the end of the season.

    I don`t think Raikkonen, Webber or Button have a chance unless something extraordinary happens to the 3 mentioned above. The Lotus doesn`t have the pace, Webber is too far back and will not be able to beat his teammate this year, the same goes for Button.

    But it`s going to be very interesting, I hope it goes down to the wire, last race last turn..

    1. I would love another last corner, last race Hamilton WDC claimed in Brazil – not sure I could take the tension in the last race though!

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