Button says tyres could give him shot at victory

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Jenson Button says “difficult” tyres could give him a chance to win at Suzuka.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Suzuka victory possible – Button (BBC)

“The tyres are difficult for everyone here. They have been difficult all year but especially here with blistering and graining – strategy is going to be important.”

Raikkonen sets target of beating Alonso (Sky)

“Right now we try to gain on points on Alonso. Hopefully at the next races we can get the maximum out of whatever package we have.”

Drivers call for chicane guidelines (Autosport)

Paul di Resta: “It’s dangerous, the closing speed, with a car that’s doing 315kph [compared] to a car that’s in first gear doing probably 60kph. It probably needs to be looked into, for getting gaps, how slow you can actually be going.”

Button ready for senior citizen role (The Telegraph)

“I also love sombreros and, for me, that is key. When Martin [Whitmarsh, McLaren’s team principal] told me Perez was coming, it made me smile because I love margaritas and sombreros. There is a good picture of me somewhere wearing a sombrero and not much else.”

Hamilton hoping “that something magical happens” (Adam Cooper’s F1 blog)

“Unfortunately in this sport as soon as you start qualifying you’re stuck with it," said Hamilton of his choice. As soon as I did my first lap I thought immediately this is wrong. I did everything with the adjustments that I have with the steering, I had the front wing maxed out, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the issue I had.”

Japanese GP – Conference 3 (FIA)

Sebastian Vettel on Michael Schumacher’s second retirement: “I think it’s a loss for Formula One. It’s a shame, obviously, I think it was good fun to have him around, race against him and joke with him, so I think I will miss that but obviously you can understand his decision and, as I said, we will miss him, but obviously wish him all the best for his future, and hope we still have him around somehow in some function.”

Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel’s F1 title fight is No1 in Japan (The Guardian)

Button: “I was very surprised when I heard Lewis was going. Because every season you race for this team you win grands prix. We all have different challenges and things we want to achieve. He wants to try something new.”

Red Bull RB8 – new front wing (F1)

“There was speculation in the paddock that the changes were also to better comply with the more severe FIA load tests introduced at Suzuka.”

Michael Schumacher and Retirement, Round 2 (IHT)

“This sounded like a man who will succeed better in retirement this time around. It sounded very much like a much more mellow and complete person, who has grown from his latest foray into racing.”

36 Years On… Hunt takes victory at a wet Mount Fuji (McLaren)

“That Sunday at Fuji truly seemed like the day that would never end. In modern day Formula 1 at some of the more far-flung races the press corps are quite accustomed to being bussed-in from outlying hotels and guest houses. But back in 1976 it all seemed most unusual.”

Formula One Betting: Japanese Grand Prix Preview

My latest column for Unibet looking ahead to today’s race.



Comment of the day

Alex Brown (@Splittimes) on Vettel’s reprimand for impeding Alonso during qualifying:

After watching the footage again (first saw it on BBC highlights program), I’d say that whilst Alonso probably brakes around the same point he normally would, Vettel’s presence compromises his line.

This does affect the braking as he has to turn in slightly earlier. You can’t turn and brake hard at the same time (see the countless lock-ups at this corner as drivers attempt to trail brake into it), so turning in earlier means coming off the brakes earlier. This creates an over-speed into the apex. You can see Alonso turns in twice. I’d call that cadence braking, as in: brake, off brakes, turn, straighten, on brakes, off brakes, turn again. That’s not a quick way to drive a car. And the whole incident was avoidable.

These things happen though. What is immeasurably more annoying is that it took three hours to get a decision, an inconsistent decision, and then no explanation from the stewards. Vettel and Alonso are doing their thing at 200mph-plus and 5G braking, so a slip up here and there is to be expected.

I expect the same level of performance from the organisers as I do the participants, and this does not demonstrate that.
Alex Brown (@Splittimes)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Alexandre Carvalho!

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On this day in F1

Victory for Jim Clark in the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen 50 years ago today meant he remained in with a chance of clinching the championship in the final race.

But that wouldn’t come for over two-and-a-half months, with the season finale not until December 29th in South Africa.

Behind Clark’s Lotus came championship leader Graham Hill (BRM) followed by Bruce McLaren’s Cooper.

Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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21 comments on “Button says tyres could give him shot at victory”

  1. Suzuka victory possible – Button (BBC)

    From 3rd, plausible. From 8th? No chance IMO.

  2. “It’s dangerous, the closing speed, with a car that’s doing 315kph [compared] to a car that’s in first gear doing probably 60kph. It probably needs to be looked into, for getting gaps, how slow you can actually be going.”

    Do the drivers really need someone to tell them what to do at the chicane?

    I would have thought common sense would dictate going through it at or near racing speeds on warm-up and warm-down laps, to clear it as quickly as possible. And maybe the teams could keep an eye on the run through the fly-over and 130R to watch for incoming traffic. It’s not like they don’t have this ability.

    1. Rohan (@neobrainless)
      8th October 2012, 8:40

      Clearly common sense isn’t enough, as drivers aren’t doing that… I think Di Resta raises a good point, it’s all very well going slow to make space on track and the like, but through a chicane where there’s really only one line, going slow is asking for trouble!

  3. Sorry Jenson but nobody’s is coming close to the Red Bulls unless they mess it up for themselves (fingers crossed).

    1. Everybody thought the same thing at Suzuka last year – and Button went on to win (though he had a better grid position).

    2. Didn’t Jenson win here last year against a very fast Red Bull?

      1. It was slower than Jenson’s car last year, and ate its tyres quicker

  4. Be interesting to actually see you in a sombrero, Jenson. How’d you compare to Speedy Gonzales? :)

  5. Tyre…I heard that Red Bull had blistering on rear tyres friday. I don’t know they fixed it saturday.

  6. Unfortunately in this sport as soon as you start qualifying you’re stuck with it,” said Hamilton of his choice. As soon as I did my first lap I thought immediately this is wrong. I did everything with the adjustments that I have with the steering, I had the front wing maxed out, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the issue I had.

    Just as well he hasn’t signed a multi year deal with a struggling team on the basis of being a technical leader then.

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      7th October 2012, 1:17

      At least he has the guts to take a risk and challenge his technical ability. He could’ve taken the easy route, stayed at McLaren and coasted along for the next three years in a team that is almost certain to have a competitive car. His move to Mercedes could end in disaster, on the other it could be one of the best decisions a driver has made in recent years, either way, he has displayed the characteristics of true champion. He is willing to risk it all, to win it all.

      1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        7th October 2012, 1:19

        I’m not Russian BTW :-)

      2. The characteristic of a champion is to work to your strengths, and nullify your weaknesses.

        Hamilton’s strength has always been his natural speed. One of his weaknesses, as has been amply demonstrated over the past few years, is working with the team, and understanding the bigger technical/strategic picture outside the cockpit.

        Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he’s been signed up to do. I think Ross Brawn, whatever he’s told Hamilton, is not going to rely on that input to drive the team onwards. He has 4 technical directors for a reason….

  7. I know it’s the wrong end of the grid, but AI just noticed Marussia is ahead of Caterham. Wow, what a feat that is!

    1. And Pedro is ahead of Pic and Petrov…

  8. Ahhh… The McLaren M23 and James Hunt. Now that’s as tasty as bacon and eggs and an ice cold pint after a long night out.

  9. German media reporting that Red Bull were running a Double DRS through practice & qualifying.

    Also reporting that it was setup specifically for qualifying & that there expecting to be slow in a straght line for the race. There plan seems to be the same they used a few times last year, Grab the front row, pull away from the DRS of cars behind early on & then manage the race from there.

    1. With this Button’s optimism might be a bit more realistic. Still, if Webber is not going to charge Vettel, will Kobayashi? I think maybe Grosjean could try something from where he starts, and if Alonso has a great start, who knows he might?
      It might be up to the tyres, and that is an area where Red Bull have been very solid, at least with Vettel.

  10. Again (as in Spa) I wonder whether Hamilton would not be better off starting from the pit lane. The advantages would be:
    – he wouldn’t have to start on a set of tyres that has done 5 laps
    – he would avoid any first-corner drama
    – he would have a fast race car. Grosjean demonstrated in Silverstone that it’s possible to go from last to 6th. Of course it’s more difficult to overtake in Suzuka than it is in Silverstone.

    I think it’s extremely unlikely they would take such a gamble, but I am curious whether it is at least discussed in the McLaren garage. Another thing: can anyone explain to me the rules regarding setup changes between qualifying and race? Do you have to race with the setup you set your best time with, or would Hamilton have been allowed to change his setup if he had sat out Q3 (which, in hindsight, would have been a brilliant tactic given how qualifying turned out for him)?

  11. Button is great, I love his quote about the sombrero. I do fear for him a bit next year as he will be expected to deliver consistently which he lacks most of the time. However, without Hamilton hanging around and grabbing all the attention he might have an upswing in performance.

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