Japanese Grand Prix gets average rating for 2013

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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Suzuka, another of the “classic” F1 tracks and a regular stop on the F1 calendar since the late eighties, aside from a couple of trips to Fuji – and another firm fan favourite.

A decent average score of 7.338 out of ten puts the last race smack in the middle of the first 15 rounds – an indication that the season has been a decent one so far. It ranks second out of the last six Japanese races.

During the race it briefly seemed we might see a new winner in Romain Grosjean, who took an early lead ahead of the Red Bull pair, and went on to a well deserved podium finish.

The race also saw Sauber’s first double points haul of the year and drive through penalties for Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Pic – the latter earning his before the race had even begun.

Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers had to say about the Japanese Grand Prix:

Again I have to say, this was a good race for 2013 standards. The battle for the lead was a charade: during the first stint, it was a matter of maintaining the gap and looking after the tyres.

In the second stint, it became apparent how much better Red Bull was. Vettel just breezed past Grosjean, while Webber did the same, with a little bit more effort. It looked exciting, but it really wasn’t.

There were a lot of passes, too bad most of them DRS-assisted, but thankfully there were others too: Raikkonen on Hulkenberg round the outside of the chicane was great, as were some into 130R.

So a good race, but it felt more like a smoke screen than an actual race

Plenty of action down the field, but the result was inevitable and predictable (the top three at least). Good results for Sauber and Grosjean, not a bad recovery from Rosberg but in all honesty – and it pains me to say this – I don’t know why I bothered getting up early this morning to watch this race.

I’m lucky enough to watch the race on Sky and believe they have the better show, but I’m tending to agree with a couple of my mates (who don’t have Sky and are big fans of the sport) and may just start watching the highlights show of the races for the rest of the year.

Some great midfield action, a brilliant battle for the lead with mixed two versus three stop strategies and all around a classic grand prix track. I would have loved to see either Webber or Grosjean win, but still a very entertaining afternoon of racing.

Grosjean’s remarkable start and gutsy driving won many plaudits:

Given that the Red Bulls are over 30 seconds ahead of everyone else, it is pretty impressive for Grosjean to be able to challenge them at all in the first place. Besides, the benefit of clear air for Grosjean was only because he qualified much better than Raikkonen.

Grosjean is outperforming the Lotus and/or Raikkonen is underperforming in qualifying, likewise for Alonso. Either way, it doesn’t look good on both Alonso and Raikkonen who need to step up their game in qualifying.

Brilliant strategic race from vettel. Watching Grosjean grow as a driver is a great sight indeed. A genuine three way battle for the lead… what more can I ask for?

I was hoping that Grosjean and Hamilton could make good starts and take advantage of the Red Bulls because Webber was first and he usually has poor starts, too bad Hamilton had a flat tyre, but Grosjean did a great job.

The lack of authenticity in the racing has been a recurring theme this year:

Had some good battles but still far too much tyre management. A lot of it didn’t feel like proper racing, though occasionally the tyres did give some good train battles.

They say you should take the good with the bad, but these tyres are more bad than good. One of the best strategy races though.

It might not be remembered as an all-time classic, but the mere doubt that Vettel would have to work for the win was enough to keep the excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Vettel fan, but his best races have been where he’s had to fight for it (Whether he’s won or lost) and he certainly had a challenge on his hands.

However, I did feel DRS was a bit too strong in the race today. Very few overtakes happened outside the DRS zone, but maybe that’s the drivers who should be looking to attack elsewhere (I know a few had a go at 130R). Tyres might have been fragile as some have said, but if they were completely flat-out, then we wouldn’t have had Grosjean being anywhere near the Red Bulls, and Webber wouldn’t have been near Vettel either. Having to limit the tyres is the best way of keeping the pack together (And can also allow strategy to have drivers build gaps should it be needed e.g. Vettel Singapore)

Tight racing all down the field, a few surprising results in Grosjean and Gutierrez (both of whom have long been deserving this) and some lovely tactical decisions resulting in a decent race

Very enjoyable. A good strategic race and a brave fight from Grosjean in an inferior car. There were some good battles and the nature of the track neutered DRS to the point where it was pretty much irrelevant.

Dizzy felt DRS ruined what could have been the high point of the race:

Vettel’s pass for the lead showed why DRS should be banned.

He slip-streamed alongside Grosjean without using DRS and that would have been a thrilling side by side fight into turn 1, However he then remembered he had DRS and was then driven clean past really easily.

DRS made what could have been a thrilling fight into turn one somewhat less thrilling.

But above all, many fans simply enjoyed seeing the cars in action on a great track:

I always enjoy watching races at Suzuka, one of the three best tracks along with Spa and Interlagos. Superb track, great atmosphere and challenging driving conditions.

Today’s race was excellent from a strategic point of view and a well-deserved win for Vettel. He showed precisely why Webber is unable to match him despite having the same kit (nonsensical conspiracy theories ignored).

While Vettel overcame a relatively poor start to make the best of the situation, Webber failed to take advantage of his pole position. As usual, his tyre management was not as good as Vettel’s and unlike his team mate, Webber repeatedly put his car in an unfavourable position while trying to pass Grosjean on the DRS straight.

Some interesting battles at the back as well. Gutierrez seems to be a young man to watch; he certainly has talent.

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2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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Image © Renault/DPPI

13 comments on “Japanese Grand Prix gets average rating for 2013”

  1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    23rd October 2013, 21:24

    A decent average score of 7.338 out of ten puts the last race smack in the middle of the first 15 rounds – an indication that the season has been a decent one so far.

    Well, but especially after the usual favorites turned out to be boring and the boring ones became exciting.
    That would be good for tomorrow, because India doesn’t have many fans GP-wise

  2. I thought it was a pretty good race personally!

    1. Me, too. There was an actual fight for the lead. Vettel overtook Grosjean on track… Webber with a different strategy. Good race.

      Webber not being able to pass Grosjean for several laps was indication enough that DRS was not overpowered whatsoever. But rather useless.

    2. I think that’s a reflection on how good this season has actually been. :D

  3. Blimey, didn’t realise my comment was that long, or even made the slightest bit of sense to anyone bothered to read that far down the comments list..

  4. This season has been an absolute disappointment!!!!!!! After 2012 i thought it could only get closure between everyone as the top teams peaked performance, but it wasn’t to be. Also a shame as my top 6 tracks are the bottom six rated races this year, just shows that these pirelli tyres are ruining great circuits and instead we have bahrain leading the chart!

    1. @jdc123

      just shows that these pirelli tyres are ruining great circuits

      Or maybe that the ‘great circuits’ just haven’t produced good races? It’s called ‘Rate the Race’, not ‘Rate the Circuit’. 2011’s top race was China, 2012 had Valencia and Abu Dhabi in the top 3 (Only beaten by Brazil, but no-one’s going to deny that race being a classic).

      Lets face it: Spa, Monza, Monaco and Canada deserve to be at the bottom this year because they didn’t produce interesting races. I’d argue Catalunya and Singapore were good as they were great strategic races (Much like Suzuka in that respect). Conversely, Bahrain, Australia and Germany were good races (I can’t speak for Hungary as I didn’t see it, could only catch it on radio, and it’s not quite the same) and deserve to be at the top. Tyres don’t have anything to do with it, it’s people’s expectations of when a good race is going to occur at a particular track

  5. I think calling this season “decent” is a bit of an overstatement. I know nearly anything was going to be a comedown from 2012, but it has been disappointing in isolation.

  6. Mark in Florida
    24th October 2013, 0:04

    I enjoyed the race. Vettle is just in a different league right now. It reminds me of Schumacher’s glory days when the races were really predictable. The racing further down the field was very entertaining.

  7. “this was a good race for 2013 standards.”

    Says it all really. Average race overall that looked poor in comparison to the Bathurst 1000 that ran prior to it.

  8. At just 7.3, this is still the second-best Japanese Grand Prix! The new tracks would get lot of flak if they produced such average scores. But only because Suzuka is a ‘classic’ no one says a word.

    If Suzuka were a new track without history, there would be calls for it to be removed off the calendar immediately.

    1. Yes, because it wouldn’t conform with the beloved FIA regulations… ;)

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