Valtteri Bottas, Matt Deane, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Suzuka, 2018

Fifth championship awaits Hamilton after dominant Suzuka win

2018 Japanese Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton can win his fifth world championship at the next race after scoring his ninth victory of the year in the Japanese Grand Prix.

While the Mercedes driver led from start to finish, his championship rival Sebastian Vettel endured a disastrous race. After making rapid progress on the first lap he tangled with Max Verstappen at Spoon and spun, falling to the back of the field. He eventually recovered to sixth which leaves him 67 points adrift of Hamilton with 100 available.

Verstappen collided with both Ferrari drivers on his way to third. Early in the race he ran wide at the chicane and clashed with Kimi Raikkonen as he rejoined, damaging the left side of the SF71-H. The stewards handed him a five-second penalty, but after serving it in his first pit stop he came out still ahead of Raikkonen.

The Red Bull driver spent the final laps of the race hounding Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes for second place, but was unable to break the silver cars’ hold on the top two places.

Sergio Perez took seventh place after jumping past Romain Grosjean at the end of a Virtual Safety Car period in the second half of the race. The disgruntled Haas driver came in eighth ahead of Esteban Ocon, who passed the tyre-troubled Charles Leclerc, whose retirement triggered the VSC. The final point went to Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Leclerc was one of three retirements. Kevin Magnussen, who was hit by Leclerc after the Haas made a late defensive move on lap two, dropped out first. Nico Hulkenberg also failed to see the chequered flag at the end of a poor weekend for the Renault driver.

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2018 Japanese Grand Prix reaction

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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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137 comments on “Fifth championship awaits Hamilton after dominant Suzuka win”

  1. Well done Merc, hats off.

    1. Absolutely! Ferrari messed up at vital junctures in the Championship. With Kimi, they could have had more Constructor’s points. With Vettel, he could have fared better without the mistakes. Vettel seems to be not alright (slump of form) since German GP crash. But as always, hindsight is a beautiful boon to have.

      He has to live with it and live to fight another year (next year of course!).

      1. He may well be fighting against a young driver by the name of Leclerc.

  2. I’m going to say it. Ferrari needs Alonso, and Alonso needs a competitive car in F1. Both parties should honestly have swallowed their pride and joined forces once more, but each is maybe as arrogant and proud as the other. I think they should have kept a Vettel/Alonso pairing for 2019, then promote Leclerc for 2020 or 2021 in place of whoever quits/retires of the two. And this isn’t just purely out of a reaction from Vettel’s mistake today, I’ve been thinking along these lines for months now.

    1. That would be lovely.

    2. @mashiat
      Agree about both Ferrari and Alonso needing each other. Ferrari need a top tier champion.. someone who can challenge the likes of Hamilton in equally competitive machinery. Alonso needs just one shot at the title in a genuine championship contending team.

      I’ve been thinking that an Alonso – Leclerc pairing at Ferrari would be much more formidable pairing. Leclerc can learn from the master himself, and Alonso would be giving it everything he’s got at his last title chance. I would consider their driver lineup stronger than Mercedes if it actually happens.

      Unfortunately, I just don’t see Ferrari swallowing their pride and giving him a call. Which is a shame… because if they had Alonso driving for them for the past two seasons, they would have easily won at least one driver’s championship.

      1. @todfod I actually think an Alonso-Vettel pairing might actually get the most out of the team. Alonso will be extremely motivated to beat Vettel, to prove how he deserved to win the title during those Red Bull years, while having Alonso alongside should give Vettel the kick up the backside he seems to need. The risk with an Alonso-Leclerc partnership is that if Alonso is quicker, this could destroy Leclerc’s confidence and belief (ask Nelson Piquet Jr. and Vandoorne, Hamilton was an exception), but if they are close or Leclerc slightly edges it, Alonso is not going to be a happy bunny.

        1. @mashiat

          Realistically, I can’t see Vettel and Alonso getting along within the team. Both of them would spend more time squabbling with each other. Leclerc seems like he’d be the more obedient team mate regardless of who he’s paired up against.

          Also not sure how Vettel would handle pressure from a formidable teammate. I think he isn’t great at handling pressure anyways, and to get a further element of pressure from Alonso would just make him perform worse than he is now.

      2. I don’t know on what basis you assume Alonso would have “easily” won one of the past couple of championships? Considering how much he struggled against rookie Hamilton in the same car I think had he gone against Hamilton 2.0 in the Mercedes he wouldn’t have fared any better than Vettel.

        Frankly driving poor cars the past few years has only preserved his reputation in the eyes of his fanboys since the expectations are so low.

    3. I can’t say you are wrong @mashiat, I think Vettel could have learned a lot from Alonso’s racing.

    4. No, what would be the difference? Not winning still but have their driver pointing the finger to the car? How would that help them?

      Ferrari need 2013′ Seebashem, Leclerc to deliver or if both those things fail try to get Verstappen on the car, even Hamilton if it comes to it. No point in pitching an idea that is 12 years old, also they have tried it and it didn’t work either.

      1. @johnmilk The difference would be that they wouldn’t be 67 points off the top despite having the best car this season on balance. We will only see 2013 Vettel if you give him a car that can qualify 0.5s quicker than the rest of the field. Otherwise, you see 2012, 2017 and 2018 Vettel. Also, Verstappen’s contract runs until the end of 2020, so Ferrari would have to wait at least two years to get him, and it really wouldn’t be a surprise if Red Bull overtakes Ferrari in the pecking order in that time. I’m talking about a solution in the short-term.

        …they have tried it and it didn’t work either.

        Well, Ferrari seem able to actually build a car that can race at the very front. It’s a shame they have a driver that can’t.

        1. But that is a solution that you believe in it, it is a bit unfounded if we are honest here

          1. @johnmilk Well of course. It is entirely hypothetical, but to say it is unfounded can be considered slightly ignorant. My statment was based on balance of probability. I don’t recall a single season in Alonso’s career where he has made so many high-profile errors. 2010 was one in which he made some errors, but even those were nothing compared to the ones by Vettel. Hence, I can conclude by saying that it would be very likely indeed that Alonso would have more points than Vettel. And this is a conclusion that 95% of F1 fans would agree with.

          2. Better not bring probability into this. Firstly because I don’t want to have the work, secondly I think it will play in favour of my argument and finally it might not show a representative picture

        2. Vettel lost the championship in the Wet, if he could stay ahead in the wet, he would not be under pressure in the dry – Quali and wet race days put an end to his lead and championship ambitions.

      2. @johnmilk

        Ferrari need 2013′ Seebashem, Leclerc to deliver or if both those things fail try to get Verstappen on the car, even Hamilton if it comes to it.

        What Ferrari need is a machine with the performance advantage of the Red bull in 2013.. Maybe then Vettel can start winning again.

        No, what would be the difference? Not winning still but have their driver pointing the finger to the car? How would that help them?

        Yeah.. Sure. I think it’s fair to say that if Alonso could take Ferraris garbage trucks to the last the last race of the season with a chance of winning.. Then he would fair a decent amount better in a championship winning F1 car. Unless… Your clouded judgement thinks that Ferrari had the quickest car from 2010 to 2014

        1. @todfod I gave 4 alternatives for the future of Ferrari, somehow you managed to single one Vettel to take the opportunity to say how bad you think he is, and I’m the one with the clouded judgement? I get it why you say that however, you only care about my comments when it involves your profile picture, the others you just pass them by, so I must not be seeing things right. Plus one of those alternatives you agree with, don’t you? At least that’s what you said somewhere.

          Your idea and @mashiat‘s for that matter comes from your perception that Alonso is so special, when he isn’t, neither of them are, some better than others, but that is it. Of course my train of thought is derived from my narcissistic personality, I will give you that. But Alonso for the future of any team right now? Please.

          Your excuse is always the same, the RBR was so dominant right? But the Mercedes wasn’t? That’s why I think the outcome would be the same, but Alonso would complain about the machinery, as he does. While Vettel, well, I don’t know what the hell he is doing, maybe he went to Kimi’s Vodka cabinet or something. But surely that 2013 season can’t be dismissed, it was good stuff no? Which takes us full circle to my first comment.

          Hell who knew, I actually bothered to answer, we need an edit button, I have to correct something above

        2. @johnmilk

          I get it why you say that however, you only care about my comments when it involves your profile picture, the others you just pass them by, so I must not be seeing things right.

          My comments aren’t all that different from yours. All your Ferrari recommendations, involve suggesting anyone else other than the person in my profile picture. Maybe be more pragmatic in your ‘Ferrari recommendations’ considering both Lewis and Verstappen are locked in their respective contracts, which is why Alonso would be Ferraris best bet. Although, given your love for Fernando, you’re probably more inclined to think that Lance stroll deserves that Ferrari seat over Alonso.

          Your idea and @mashiat‘s for that matter comes from your perception that Alonso is so special, when he isn’t, neither of them are, some better than others, but that is it. Of course my train of thought is derived from my narcissistic personality, I will give you that. But Alonso for the future of any team right now? Please.

          It’s a fact that he performed better than Vettel during his time there. It’s not even debateable…its cold, hard facts. Leclerc is the future of Ferrari, but if they want a driver to deliver a title within a year or two Alonso seems like a better bet than their current #1 driver.

          Your excuse is always the same, the RBR was so dominant right? But the Mercedes wasn’t?

          Not denying that Mercedes hasn’t been dominant up until 2017. My point is that Vettel can’t win a championship in anything other than a dominant car. Ferrari need a driver who can fight for the championship even when the machine isn’t quite there. Wouldn’t you agree that Alonso is a better bet than Vettel in that category? Regardless of his finger ponting?

          1. @todfod no because he hasn’t done it either. For me it is the same really, if the car isn’t there, the result would be the same, even if it was Alonso this year, and lets say there weren’t any mistakes, I’m pretty sure he would come up short regardless. And one of my “recommendations” can be seen next year, of that one doesn’t work they can try another thing for 2020. And then there is the others. You can be pragmatic without disruption, and Ferrari surely don’t need that at the moment.

            You can keep telling me I’m biased, truth is I hate them all equally.

          2. @johnmilk

            You can keep telling me I’m biased, truth is I hate them all equally.


          3. sorry, not entirely true, I like Kevin

          4. @johnmilk, you said Alonso “hasn’t done it either”. I assume this was a response to @todfod question “Ferrari need a driver who can fight for the championship even when the machine isn’t quite there. Wouldn’t you agree that Alonso is a better bet than Vettel in that category?”.

            But Alonso did fight for the championship in cars that were not the most dominant. Even in his 2 titles with Renault, Renault was not the team that won the most races each year (although the car was one of the best those 2 years).
            And in 2010 and 2012 he managed to stay in contention until the last race, finishing second those 2 years, in a car that was arguably 3rd best.

          5. Having said that (see above), I don’t think the solution for Ferrari is to re-hire Alonso (even if he was willing to stay in F1) and I agree with your 4 alternatives, @johnmilk

          6. IMO, Vettel’s “disadvantage” when fighting these last 2 years (as compared to when Alonso was fighting for the championship at Ferrari) is that his opponent, in this case Lewis, is unchallenged in his dominant team, and the 3rd best team does not “steal” enough point from that dominant team. Let alone having other teams mixing there like what happened in 2012 with Mercedes, Williams and Lotus managing to win races.

            In 2010 and 2012 Vettel had to fight with several drivers besides Alonso, but these last 2 years Hamilton basically just needs to “fight” Vettel…

    5. @mashiat I agree. Alonso would have a shot at the title at this stage with this car. Or even be ahead in the championship. He’s relentless and makes very few mistakes, and he takes the most out of every opportunity, even if it means finishing 3rd. Vettel should learn that approach. His team made mistakes this year but Hamilton owned him overall. He made a lot of costly mistakes. You don’t see a championship contender spinning out while battling twice in 4 races…

    6. Alonso burns bridges wherever he goes. Ferrari, as a company, as an organization, is very prideful, as you have said. They would never, ever, ever consider that THEY NEED a driver. The driver needs them. That is the mentality. And in fairness, in every drivers heart they wonder what it would be like to drive for Ferrari, to win for Ferrari.
      The Ferrari team has made disastrous strategic mistakes the past two seasons that have cost them dearly. They need to fix that first and foremost. Their late season blunders have become almost routine. It doesn’t matter who is filling that seat if the team can’t get it’s act together when it matters most. Ferrari was so full of itself after beating Mercedes at Silverstone. Ferrari was beyond gutted when Mercedes returned the favor at Monza. Ferrari hasn’t been right since Monza.

      1. At Monza, Ferrari were spot on. Kimi grabbed pole may be was unscripted. But Merc found an advantage that allowed them to lean more on tyres. From then on, Ferrari is not the kindest machine out there. In Suzuka and Sochi, it became more evident.

        1. Ferrari car is nowhere since Spa, unbalanced and sliding all over the place, honestly dont know where they left the car from the first half of the year.

    7. Agreed… Ferrari started this season with fastest car but Vettel’s mistakes is costing his championship and more importantly Ferraris hopes for constructor championship. What is Vettels learning from so many years in F1?

      Alonso might have proven things better because of his ability to extract maximum. Hats of to his experience.

    8. Yes, I totally agree, it’s just a shame, alonso had the talent, or really, we’re talking about “ability to make little to no mistakes” in what differentiates him from vettel, but in his ferrari years he didn’t have a good enough car, similarly to schumacher’s 1997, and now that ferrari brought a better car than 2010-2012 overall in 2017 and 2018 they have a lacking number 1 driver.

      It’s really bad to see alonso (as much as I don’t like him in general) retire having last driven such an uncompetitive mclaren that even a last podium isn’t realistic and meanwhile ferrari who would really need a driver of alonso’s calibre fall once again.

  3. Get someone else in that Ferrari as the lead driver, Vettel has been absolutely humiliated by Hamilton this season.

    1. Even though Mercs and Hamilton have messed up more frequently this year. Also K-Mag needs a boot in rearside for endangering other drivers on track.

      1. Even though Mercs and Hamilton have messed up more frequently

        Errrrrrrr … no?

        1. Australia, China and Austria slow to react to VSC/SC for free pit stops costing crucial points.

      2. What series are you watching? Because it’s not F1…..

    2. Actually, he humiliated himself, not by HAM. Mercedes was the better car for most of the season now. The simple fact that HAM managed to overtake both Ferrari drivers when it mattered is proof enough he had the better car.

      1. @mg1982 Not really particularly convincing proof given Raikkonen and Vettel have also overtaken Hamilton this season.

      2. Actually he made two passes on Hamilton while Hamilton made one on him this year.
        And the talks about car.
        Hamilton has been much better driver and didnt even needed the best car to put this in the bag.
        Until Monza Ferrari was clearly ahead, and who won that race again?

        1. Spa was some sort of a one-off. Then, if 5 seconds advantage for VET after more than 2/3 of the race = clearly ahead, then I guess we have different views of balance/comparison.

          1. @mg1982 you are clutching on straws, great overtaking skills around the bend is now reduced only to machinery and, when you are informed that your hero has overtaken Lewis twice then you are stuck. You can blame a car all day long, but the fact of the matter is that Vettel is performing worse this 2nd half of the season then his rookie year. We have became used to your truckload excuses when it comes to Vettel.

      3. @mg1982

        ‘The simple fact that HAM managed to overtake both Ferrari drivers when it mattered is proof enough he had the better car.’

        ………. or that he is a better driver?

        1. @stubbornswiss

          or is the glass half full? or half empty :) people always see what they wanna see…

      4. @mg1982

        Don’t you think it’s a little futile to defend Vettel by saying Ferrari isn’t the best car? Even if they didn’t have the best car.. Vettel was rubbish this season. Nowhere close to the likes of Hamilton.. Or Alonso… Or Verstappen for that mater

        1. Well, if there’s someone who in the first part of 2018 was making as many mistakes as vettel now is making it’s verstappen!

          Sure he improved then, but I wouldn’t mention him in a discussion about much better drivers than vettel this season.

          1. @esploratore

            Agree. Verstappen made as many mistakes as Vettel this season. I would put them at around 5 to 6 each. But still… Verstappen looked like a far more impressive racer once he got his act together. He’s been putting the car in places it doesn’t belong on many occasions, while Vettel is failing to capitalise on the positions the Ferrari should be in.

  4. Verstappen should’ve re-join the track a bit later/further into the run-off area. The incident was all down to him re-join too quickly. Magnussen’s move on Leclerc was silly as well as dangerous.

    1. @jerejj, well, in both cases neither driver is really being given any reason to not behave in that way given that nobody is punishing them for it.

      1. Indeed Anon, neither will change their ways. I do agree that Verstappen’s ‘I tried to do it as good as possible’ left out the unsaid ‘for my own race’, while the rule is you should take care to rejoin the track, ie. he would have had to let Kimi (and maybe others …) go through first.

        1. Perhaps there would have been the possibility that had Max stayed off the track and rejoined a little further down he would have been accused of gaining an advantage, assuming he would have stayed ahead of Kimi of course. Of course Max was going to try to harm his own race the least…they’re racing. Certainly he did not intend to hit Kimi, imho.

  5. Gasly overtaken by Sainz for the last point

  6. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    7th October 2018, 8:09

    Ferrari needs to focus now completely on 2019. Vettel needs to collect himself and if he does then he will have a shot at winning against Lewis. Well done to Lewis for his 5th title and to Merc as well.

    1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou

      Ferrari needs to focus now completely on 2019.

      Ferrari need to reshuffle their plan entirely for 2019. Vettel isn’t good enough to land them a championship.

      They should either focus more of their effort in supporting Leclerc for the title, or if they want a more fail-safe plan, they should end Vettel’s contract early and bring in Alonso for a season or two.

      1. Patrick Ngaira
        7th October 2018, 21:08

        this thing is not over..yet.. hamilton could easily have two DNF and also finish the last races out of podium while Vettel wins all the remaining races….

        1. Let’s talk more realistically, shall we? Hamilton could do a lauda 1976 and not participate in the remaining races (injury), even then it’d be hard for vettel cause coming 2nd in all 4 races with a strong mercedes, bottas, verstappen, ricciardo, don’t count on it even then!

    2. Could have sworn, they were going to do that after last year? Or the year before that? Or every year for the last decade?

      I think it’s time Ferrari take a step back over winter, look at their processes and work out their issues instead of waiting for them to crop up on track.

  7. Vettel seems to have capitulated. Pressure isn’t a question, surely, it should have been a matter of pride this weekend. Ferrari are a mess, but you can understand their management issues. Vettel, though. That was shockingly bad stuff.

    1. @david-br Up to the point of that move on Max, Seb was actually looking great. For a moment there it looked like he was putting the blues behind him and was getting ready to charge at the Merc’s.


      1. @psynrg True but that’s actually Vettel all over. He doesn’t have many mediocre races, he fights and puts himself in a good place – but then too often messes up with a badly calculated or executed move.

  8. Also, I think Vettel and the race strategy team should apologize directly to the people back in Maranello working on the PU and the chassis. They have done their job brilliantly well, and although Ferrari’s pace seems to have gone recently, they generally still have had at worst the joint-best car on the field throughout the season, but have been let down by Vettel and the strategists at Ferrari. Who knows if they’ll be able to produce another car this good in the next few seasons?

    1. @mashiat They should still have a decent car next year and Leclerc should add a bit of quality and stability. Though if they put Leclerc on suboptimal strategies in won’t make a huge lot of difference.

    2. How about Kimi apologise? Why isn’t he fighting for the championship? Seriously Vettel gets a lot more crap for basically being the better driver able at least to take the fight to Hamilton on occasion.

      1. @john-h I think he should as well, but the reason Kimi isn’t receiving the same flak as Vettel is that Vettel was recruited to be the one to lead Ferrari’s charge since Alonso left. Kimi was retained to just support him. And you said it yourself. Vettel gets more criticism because he’s quick enough, and is underperforming relative to what he can do. With Raikkonen, he just isn’t quick. He is more or less operating at his level, and can’t really do much more with his limited ability now.

        1. Yes, age is definitely a good reason why vettel is more criticized than raikkonen, who arguably has never been as fast as vettel even in his prime, OR it’s just cause when he was really fast (2003-2005) he never got the best car, unlike vettel.

  9. With that kind of performance in Qualy and Race, Seb can only dream of winning the championship.
    Seb is lucky Ferrari and Mercedes have huge advantage over the other teams that they can comeback from the bottom and still finish Top 6.

  10. Watching Seb’s mistakes on C4 right now is like watching Lewis’ in 2011.

  11. Seb made sure today that this championship is out of his reach…he can now race in peace for the last remaining races. Congratulations to the Hammer, he has a date with lady destiny.

  12. Ham likes winnjng the title in USA doesn’t he!

    1. He surely loves America and Canada. Always went well there.

      1. Hamilton has won every US GP he has entered bar 1.

  13. High risk move from Vettel, against Max. Had it worked he’d be a hero, but hero/zero game plan won’t in titles in a very tight scenario. All this talk of errors earlier in season were in my view either marginal (Baku and France) or part of a wider team strategic failure to manage their drivers better and position the faster driver (Germany and Italy) However this weekend the quali and race errors were Sebastian’s fault. Great start totally destroyed by a really high risk move on a penalised driver. Biggest pain was probably the soft tyre performance at the end. Like 2017 Ferrari and Vettel have imploded since Spa. Vettel needs a mental reset and to decide if he wants to win strategically or win every spat in track. Ferrari needs a strategic overhaul, which should settle Seb. Car is fine and Leclerc should be a much stronger and compliant teammate. Hamilton is having it far too easy, hardly his fault however, and is driving really well. Bottas the perfect butler and blocker. Ferrari humiliation hard to take. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    1. @Tippracer Honestly completely agree with what you wrote.

      Max had a 5 second penalty, he would have been able to overtake in the pits absolutely no need to overtake there especially as Max was keeping pace with the Mercedes.

      Similarly Seb and the mercs were on different strategy which might have meant possibly there would be an opportunity to do something on strategy.

      Disappointed with his performance this weekend. I might be a Hamilton fan, but would have liked the battle between them to go further this season.

      Lets pray the Honda is working well in the red bull next season and we have a proper three way scrap!

    2. Actually, I would say that Vettel probably drove more consistently in 2017, and it was more often a case of the team letting him down rather than him letting the team down.

      If you look back over the 2017 season, after the Italian GP – thirteen races in, and the last race before things started going wrong – Vettel had managed to score 235 points and was only 3 points behind Hamilton. This year, at the same point in the season – the Belgian GP – he had only scored 214 points and was 17 points behind Hamilton.

      Whilst he had won one more race at that point in the season compared to 2017 (five versus four), he’d picked up half as many top three finishes (he’d managed six second or third place finishes in 2017 in those other races, as opposed to just three by the same point in this season). It means that, compared to 2017, his average finishing position by that same point in the season was been worse than in 2017 – his average finishing position was 2.5 in 2017 over those races, but 2.75 in 2018.

      Hamilton, by contrast, has managed to go the opposite way – whilst the retirement in Austria meant that, by the Italian GP, he had scored slightly fewer points than in 2017 (231 versus 238), his average finishing position in the races he did finish was actually better – 2.2 in 2018, as opposed to 2.6 in 2018.

      We can discuss why and where it has gone wrong, but personally I think that Vettel was more consistent in 2017 – he might not have been able to secure quite as many victories, but his low points in 2017 were not as bad as they have been this year.

      1. You never disappoint.

        1. A long winded excuse for his hero in a red car. I tell you if it was Lewis who was bringing this dismal performances by Seb, he will be shouting from rooftops as to how overrated Lewis is and call for his total ban from the sport.

          1. @jagged-jake, there is an individual who has been making such posts, but I am not that individual – I would have thought that it was obvious from my writing style that was not the case (unless you chose not to read my original post and just assumed that I was the same individual who has been charging in to attack Hamilton and defend Vettel).

            I am not seeking to exonerate Vettel or to call Hamilton overrated – you will see from my post that I have not made either claim, and if anything remarked about how Vettel has been less consistent in 2018 relative to his performance in 2017, whilst with Hamilton we have seen the opposite trend. Please tell me how that is supposed to be a “long winded excuse”?

          2. @anon, yes, please register in whatever nom de plume you fancy so we can (A) : know which anon is posting. And (B): know you will be aware of responses to your posts.

          3. @anon I’m always quick to check first which ‘anon’ I’m reading and whether it’s worth proceeding. Your posts are always worth it. I agree with @hohum you should register another name though :)

          4. @anon register at least something like “real_anon” so we know you are not the other provacative non-sensensical radical troll! So we can know which of you is real and fake!

          5. 1. Are you claiming that this site allows people to register with the same name as other commenters…? Seems weird to me… Perhaps Keith could answer…
            2. If there’s such a disparity between you, and the other ‘anon’ is clearly troubled, I would have thought you would have very quickly changed your name to something a tad more appropriate…
            3. As it appears to me, ‘anon’ is a multiple personality… ;) And has my sympathy.

      2. Last year Vettel was driving better, I agree. However the Baku incident really shifted the dynamic of the season. The aggression Vettel (and Ferrari) were bringing to the championship became muted and Hamilton began to hit his mid-season composure. That in turn put pressure on Vettel and by the time of Singapore he was making the kind of reckless mistakes we’ve seen this year too. The Ferrari overcompensated with their engine and had the Malaysia disaster. This year Ferrari have been overcompensating with wild strategy calls. Vettel may not want a sports psychologist but he and Ferrari need to map out their seasons much better, rather than making random stuff up on the spot under pressure. The more this season goes on, the more I think Leclerc could be ideal for them as a calming and focused presence. Whether he’ll get that chance at Ferrari – whether they’ll let him help them – is another question, though.

      3. Completely agree, I think Vettel will reflect on 2018 as his ‘Annus horribilis’, consistency far away from 2017 and his Red Bull years. He does need to raise his game to beat Hamilton in the future, and that is what we all want to see, two drivers at the height of their powers over a long season.

        Adding to other comments, please register! These days I ‘swipe’ past anything posted by ‘anon’ with the other regular anon-troll lurking on many comment streams, however I would like to read your comments!

        You could well be the same individual, having some fun on the internet (that, I would appreciate!) however if you’re not then it’s best to be disassociated from the ‘anon’ identity ;).

  14. Great recovery from Ricciardo, great passes, and kept all the parts on his car on the way. It would have been nice to see a Ricciardo & Leclerc team at Ferrari next year. I have a feeling I’m not going to enjoy seeing him in yellow for the next two seasons.

    1. But somehow no mention in the summary, do we just assume he will always finish 1 place back from Max.

      1. I find the exclusion of his drive from 15th on the grid quite telling, given we were fairly well sounded out about how astonishing Max’s drive was last race…Dan has had a very rough second half of the season, with a large amount of technical issues. While Max has complete flipped his early efforts of the season. He has done his best to appear in the media at every chance, he even threw in an engine comment at the end of this race, while racing a Mercedes.

    2. I agree, Ferrari should have got Ricciardo as one of their drivers for next year, although I wouldn’t like to see him there as a Number Two driver.
      It seems to me Vettel is loosing his touch. This weekend has been a weekend of blunders by Ferrari, and one of them has to be Vettel’s attempt to overtake Verstappen.

  15. so how is it that vettel can slam into ver, causing him to go off-track, without any investigation let alone a penalty. that could hardly be called a racing incident – that was no mere ‘contact’.

    at the time you decide not to investigate – say a lap or two, you don’t know if the colllision affected the rb pace. more generally, what if any car (say perez) would have finised in the top 10 within 5 seconds of vettel? is that fair?

    1. It was investigated though.

    2. @racefan It was investigated, but given that Vettel was with his left front on the kerbstone when he and Verstappen banged wheels, the stewards seemingly judged both could have done more to avoid, and deemed it a racing incident (maybe also bc. it put Vettel at the back of the field, so if he was more to blame, he gave himself a good penalty?)

  16. Don’t understand the negativity towards Vettel and Ferrari to be honest, they are doing their best to keep the championship alive, the fight for P2 with Bottas will go down to the wire

    1. Mission winnow

      1. @rethla, so who is the chaff ?

      2. Mission minnow

  17. Remember a few years ago how Alonso said Seb’s title will hurt him in the future? essentially purveying that it was the superiority of his car and his golden boy status at RB that helper him win all this titles.

    Can’t say that was a bad assessment. This year, same as last, when the pressure was on, Vettel capitulated. As I’ve said before, I really think he is getting found out now. He just made too many mistakes.

    Is it a stretch to suggest that an Alonso or Schumacher type would be a lot closer to Lewis if not leading him in the 18 Ferrari?

    Hats off to Lewis. I am not a fan, but credit where it’s due, he delivers time and again when it matters, he deserves all the plaudits thrown his way. Well done to him and the team.

    1. Proud_asturian
      7th October 2018, 15:35

      whereas a guy who last won a title 12 years ago, last won a race five years ago and who spends most of his weekends bitching on the radio is sooooooooooo much better.

      get real. alonso ruined this team. ferrari have produced a better car in every year since.

      1. Yes, Alonso would be much better. It doesn’t make sense, but Vettel is doing so poorly that is impossible not to think about it.

        If Vettel fails to win the WDC next year, it may very well be his last there. And very few will remember his days wearing red as foundly as they remember Alonso’s.

      2. What do you expect from a driver who drives the 9th fastest car on the grid? Do you expect him to dominate races?
        At least Fernando never failed as miserably as Vettel when the opportunity to win a title presented itself?

        get real. alonso ruined this team. ferrari have produced a better car in every year since

        Yet he’s come closer to handing Ferrari a title than Vettel ever has. What a yoke!

    2. @jaymenon10, I will agree that perhaps Ferrari needed to get rid of Alonso (or perhaps only ‘their main driver at the time’) in order to regroup behind a new number one driver in Vettel, and a new team of people that got them to the good cars of the last two years, and that Alonso’s political nature might have stoked the uncertainty they seem to have in their nature, so that with him they could not have been where they are now.

      But, I also believe, like @todfod, that Alonso would have been more consistent inside the car, making hay when possible, and settling for the next best thing when needed. Vettel seems to have trouble doing that, especially when he’s under pressure, and that in turn seems to strengthen that instability the team have too, so they resort to unlikely strategies, which easily backfire, putting it all in a downward spiral.

  18. To bad. I was hoping Ferrari to take it to the last races with their #winnow but instead they they sump it like an angry 8yo. They wanna win but doesnt wanna work for it.

    Congratz Mercedes.

  19. Ferrari needs Max Verstappen! It’s amazing this kid finishing 3rd looking for 2nd after eventful bumper car clashes. He would’ve clashes multiple occasion with Hamilton this year had he on Vettel’s car. Win it or bin it is the chance to versus Hamilton…

    1. Papaya this breaks a point about drivers and cars.

      I would like to see a test day at end of season, where one driver from each team can drive another teams car. This will do two things, one it gives us fans all a sense of the contributions to success from the car and the driver. Second, it evens out the technology by making the other teams aware of the other teams’ advances.

      By having this forced sharing of knowledge between teams, the teams costs go down and the racing becomes closer since the technology is closer. This is down in yachting.

    2. Max is fast but his borderline cheating and high risk approach is something you can get away with when you are not in contention and looking for a flattering impression. Like Max, IMHO even more so than Max, Lewis has always known how to pass and get his car up alongside, not lose it, and make the corner.

      However, when in contention, the 30% of the time when they go wrong count, and Lewis has over the years decreased the error rate and learned to pass with reduced risk. Max hasn’t shown any evidence of learning to tone it down over his time, and his tone after the race about his incorrect treatment of Kimi was belligerent and entitled to the point if pig headedness and distortion of reality.

      He should have waited behind me for me to rejoin !??!

      1. Well, Michael Scumacher was borderline cheating, too (or way over it). And the rest is history…

    3. Sorry F1 needs Max banned for a few races.

      His consistent disregard for any other driver on the track is going to end up with someone being seriously hurt.

      Yesterday he outbraked himself nd went off track – turned straight back onto the track nd deliberately took aim at Kimi’s car. Then because of his stupid temper tantrum elected to cut straight back over the front of a car that was clearly faster and passing him.

      Other drivers actually have some respect for cars that have gotten alongside them but not this clown. He should be banned from F1 until he can demonstrate that he actually has got the skill and temperament to be in it.

      1. @dbradock

        turned straight back onto the track nd deliberately took aim at Kimi’s car.

        Didn’t look deliberate at all. He locked up and went over the kerbs. He could have taken the “Bottas route” and easily held his position, or try and get back on the track as quickly as possible to avoid gaining an advantage. He made the right decision, but unfortunately couldn’t enter the track any safer. He was a little unlucky.

        While I have been critical of some of Verstappen’s moves this season … I really don’t think this was anything bad enough justifying a race ban. He got a fairly harsh penalty if you ask me.

        If anyone deserves a race ban it’s probably Magnussen.

  20. Vettel proved again why he wont be champ this year, and equally Lewis proved why he will. A bit disappointing this wont go down to the wire, yet again.

    I think I heard it was Lewis 50th Merc win today? Not taking anything away from his skill & talent, but it shows drivers like Alonso that team choice at the right term makes a huge difference.

    1. Had Verstappen not taken him out, he’d have actually probably finished second and people would be suggesting it was a good recovery from a bad qualifying.
      Alas Max (nobody’s important except me) fixed that.

      In reality, Sebs tilt at the WDC finish’s quite a few races ago. To win it from yesterday would have taken some exceptional flukes – playing safe and accepting third by staying behind Max was never going to get him any closer to the WDC.

      1. Exactly @dbradock, had Vettel not taken upon himself to make a quicky move into spoon, which backfired, he might have finished 2nd. Which tells us enough (regardless of whether Verstappen did, or was ever unlikely to, make it hard work): Vettel should have been more patient at that moment, thinking not just tactically of the opportunity, but strategically for the race and his WDC, he might well have gotten Verstappen in the chicane, or on the start-straight (or in the pit stop).

        1. Have a look at it a few times – there was no effort at all to minimise the angle when he re-entered the track. His only goal was to push Kimi out and bounce off him. Standard Max.

          1. Sorry – reply was for @todfodearlier.

            @bosyber – he had to have a crack at it. At this stage of the season, Vettel will gain nothing from patience. Unfortunately it has to be all or nothing and it turned out to be nothing.

          2. @dbradock, well, maybe if he had waited through spoon, saved his battery and got the slipstream through 130R, he could have gotten max cleanly, safely, at the end of the lap; or perhaps another driver might have, and gotten 2nd, rather than a distant 6th.

  21. Time, not term

  22. Well F1 fans certainly fell for the ridiculous myth that Ferarri had the best team.
    I don’t know why so called fans are having a go at Vettel. He will still have won as many championships as Lewis this decade with one season to go. In fact when Seb was winning his championships Lewis’ driving and behaviour was being questioned too and most true fans were admiring Alonso.
    Way too easy in this sport to knock the guys who don’t have the best car.

    1. @bigjoe performance has ebbed and flowed. Merc and Ferrari have been close at times (China, Britain, Spa) and even at these races there was evidence to say Ferrari were marginally quicker, but let’s just say they were close. However, Ferrari were significantly quicker (particularly in qualifying) in Bahrain, Baku, Monaco (not as quick as RB but better than Merc), Germany and Hungary. Race pace has been closer. Mercedes have the advantage in the wet.

      Mercedes had a quicker car in Spain, France, Austria, Singapore, Russia and Japan. It’s only recently that you could say Mercedes is clearly quicker.

      Vettel and Ferrari needed to take more advantage when they had the upper hand. For a championship consistency is key

    2. True fans don’t admire a single one of these baboons.

      1. And real men don’t eat quiche…? :)

        1. is that a fun read? Honest question btw

          1. Hi Joao – just a joke… Back in the 80s (I think) quiche suddenly became popular in Britain (and perhaps elsewhere) and there was a book about ‘sexism’ called: ‘Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche’… I think the book was ‘serious’ but the phrase became a joke… i.e. macho and quiche don’t go together…
            I suspect your name is Portuguese (Brazilian) where ‘macho’ has a slightly different meaning. ;)
            Best wishes.

          2. ah I thought it was a sarcastic book, never read it though. It is a Portuguese name as am I. You should catch that from my profile picture

    3. Who really cares who has the best car at this point when one driver was so much better than the other?

      Vettel is completely broken. Didn’t he said a number of times that the mistakes he made weren’t that big because he had the car to win races at the end of the year?

      Well, things changed, and the points he wasted now are missed as he can’t go to every track expecting to win every race. His shortcomings are becoming more and more clear.

  23. Still think people are being too harsh on Vettel. That move was legitimate, the gap was there – if it had paid off then he’d be a hero but it didn’t. It wasn’t his fault, wasn’t Verstappen’s – it was just bad luck. The amount of times I can write that about Vettel’s moves this year is honestly crazy – I’ve seen drivers attempt much more questionable moves and come off clean and others do simple moves and come off badly. Could he have waited? Sure, but he went for it. I’m pleased he tried – just disappointed it didn’t pay off. Even then he still fought back.

    Yep the guy has made errors here and there, but he’s also suffered with pretty terrible luck too. Monza collision could have spun either Hamilton or him, but it spun him. Verstappen said in Germany anyone could get caught out by the conditions and it ended up being Vettel. Baku he was perfect until the end and gambled on a move and lost. There are others, and that’s not listing the ones he was fully to blame with, but the guy’s been pretty good all things considered! But unfortunately when things have a chance of going wrong they have always gone wrong for him. Up until the last few races I’d say he’s been scrappy but brilliant, but these last races Hamilton and Mercedes have been in a different zone entirely. Their team and driver are working perfectly while Ferrari are just deflating. Again.

    Ferrari’s strategies have been typically awful and ever since the summer break – just like last year – they seemed to give up development. The ‘advantage’ Ferrari had is not there anymore, either due to the mystery sensor or Mercedes/Red Bull outdeveloping and out-strategising them. Ferrari are incapable of holding a championship fight to the end and honestly it doesn’t matter who’s driving. They could have god himself in there are they’d still screw it up. I’ve said it before but if Red Bull-Honda really come good next year Ferrari won’t even see a podium. I wouldn’t ever say I was a huge fan of Ferrari, but I’m pretty much done with them now.

    1. @rocketpanda I see where your coming from re Vettel’s move, I too respect the racer in him going for the gap, and if he pulled it off it would have been amazing. I was surprised by it when there’s so much at stake but I assume that he wanted to be past Verstappen as quickly as possible so that he could put pressure on Bottas and Hamilton. That instinct to fight is what we want from our racers.

      The problem here is that he has 4 WDCs so he’s being compared to drivers who have that ability (Ham, Alonso, Schumacher, Prost, Senna), and other current top drivers that have shown great racing acumen (Ricciardo) and they don’t generally make those kind of mistakes, and seem more measured about when they make an attacking move.

      Maybe if he did get past Verstappen at that point and put pressure on Bottas and Hamilton to turn their engines up, he would have increased the chances of Mercedes having mechanical issues and we might be talking about the start of a great sporting comeback. But that move was “all or nothing” and he had to make it stick or be prepared for nothing. Maybe he decided in that split second that he’d prefer to have tried and it not come off than not to have tried and wonder “what if…”

      1. It wasnt all or nothing though. At this point and in previous races what they needed to stay in the championship was realibly scoring not hail mary charges for what at best could be a couple of more points.

        I love racers going for the gap but this isnt it. This is what i do when i play games, diving into a corner trying to gain 1 place in the middle of the race but crashing and losing all hopes of first place.

        1. @rethla @3dom Sadly I agree. I don’t mind Vettel and I love watching him fight, but that move wasn’t needed. He could have waited and he’d have gotten past in a safer place. It was hugely risky. But that’s rather my point with him all over this year – he’s done moves that other drivers have come off fine from and ended up coming off poorly. In years past I’ve even seen Vettel himself do EXACTLY that move on people and pass them fine with cars that aren’t as good as this year’s Ferrari! He did it at Red Bull, he’s done it at Ferrari and in the past he’s benefited from good luck, but this year if it can go wrong it did.

          I think any overtake has an element of risk – its why we love seeing ‘proper’ ones insteand of DRS ones, and applaud drivers like Button and Ricciardo for instance that (usually) can drive wheel-to-wheel combat and not hit the other car. Takes not only skill but a lot of luck and trust in the other driver. As you mention of Ricciardo – a lot of Ricciardo’s amazing passes rely on the other driver playing with him. Now I am NOT blaming Verstappen, but he’s known for not giving an inch – even to Ricciardo, and while Vettel has the skill he just hasn’t had the luck and that seems to be something he’s suffered all year. Again – man’s made mistakes absolutley, but he’s also had a lot of poor luck – and not helped by Ferrari’s ridiculous excuse for strategy to make his job even harder. Sometimes I get the feeling bashing Vettel is half the sport for some people.

        2. Do you really think they have a realistic chance by “staying in”

          From Singapore their chances have been somewhere between non and extremely slim and their ONLY chance is for Vettel to start winning.

          His only chance at a win yesterday (or a second at worst) was to get that pass done right when he went for it.

          Unfortunately for quite some time it’s been a case of all or noth8ng. Unfortunately when it’s someone as careless as Max, it’s always going to be nothing.

      2. This is getting ridiculous. We saw a lot of passing at that corner and in exactly that same way but only two drivers made contact: Max and Seb. Do you think this is a reasonable way to do things? We watched for a couple of hours as passes were made there by people who are aggressive and defensive, all race, but the only complaint is that Vettel’s move was somehow the only one that was wrong?

        And if Max had tried the same exact pass he would have been praised as someone who is at least trying to be aggressive. Then we’d hear Max on the radio complaining about the other driver and we’d have people here attacking the other driver.

        Is that reasonable?

        No. People need to get off it. Vettel’s move was no different than any other move in that corner which happened throughout the vast majority of the race. People are only annoyed at Vettel’s attempt. It wasn’t that far back, nor was it further back than from where others had tried.

        Geez. It’s like you guys can’t see reason when you’re presented with an opportunity to criticize something you don’t like….

        1. Spot on. Can you imagine Crofty and co wetting themselves if it had been Max trying that move.

    2. wouldn’t even say that.

      he couldn’t afford to wait behind verstappen. not “until verstappen takes his penalty” as sky were getting up themselves suggesting.

      third wasn’t good enough. letting hamilton and bottas go off unchallenged wasn’t good enough. he needed to try something to keep the championship alive.

      eh, better to try and lose than settle for third and let it slip away. better to lose 17 points and have tried than 10 points and do nothing.

      sebastian’ fault, to be sure, but what other choice did he have at this stage? what would you do?

  24. I think it’s more straightforward than that. I don’t he has the pure instinctive talent that the true greats have to be ever so slightly out of control and hold it together. That last 0.1% of control that makes the impossible seem easy. That’s why he spins in situations like today and Monza. That’s why Hamilton has the edge in qualifying and it’s why Vettel loses out in the wet and when under pressure.

    He has the speed, but not whatever it is that makes a true great great.
    He just isn’t as good as the true greats. He’ll win a lot of races, but not when things are tough.

  25. Ferrari has two problems. Vettel doesn’t handle stress well and never has. Part of the stress seems to be his trying to “run the team from the cockpit” as I’ve heard several pundits say. The team has made numerous errors in strategy over this season and previous seasons. When are we going to start hearing rumors about Arrivabene being Arrivederci? The former Phillip Morris Promo Man hasn’t proven to be very effective as Team Principal. If Vettel feels he has to second guess every decision they are making there is a leadership problem. I’m honestly amazed he’s lasted this long. With the budget they have and the talent available to them there is no excuse. How long is Marinello going to put up with these embarrassing seasons before they make wholesale changes?

  26. Soooo, mmm, russia team orders, mercedes did the right choice to not give back the win to bottas in the 1 track he could win on merit, hamilton could still have 3 DNF in a row in an era when 1 DNF a year is much for a top team, sounds even more ridiculous now, doesn’t it?

    Not even if hamilton is injured and doesn’t participate in the last 4 races vettel win win the title imo.

    1. Of the series, unnecessary team orders, 2002 all over again.

  27. Even if Vettel wins 1-2 more titles he’ll go down as one of the more undeserving multiple time champions. This year his racecraft has totally been exposed as a tier below the elite level and he just keeps producing ammunition for his detractors. Hamilton haters on the other hand have to dig deep in his personal life to take potshots at him; Vettel gives you enough just by his on-track driving!

  28. Re: VET… He has indeed been around for a good few years – many poles, many wins, 4 x WDCs – and now very experienced…
    He doesn’t seem to have had much experience of passing other cars – except from the back of the pack…
    Just a thought… ;)

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