Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2018

Hamilton on cusp of fifth title as Vettel throws in the towel

2018 Japanese Grand Prix review

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The destiny of the 2018 world championship titles looked set before Suzuka. A fourth consecutive victory for Lewis Hamilton and second one-two in a row for Mercedes means it’s now all over bar the shouting.

In a repeat of last year, a championship which for so long looked set to go down to the final races has swung decisively in Mercedes favour. At no point during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend did they look like losing the race, while the increasing desperation of Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari grew ever more obvious.

Verstappen vs Ferrari part one

Vettel’s weekend started to go wrong in qualifying. Both he and the team slipped up in Q3: The latter by sending him (and Kimi Raikkonen onto a dry track with intermediate tyres, trying to second-guess the weather. Then Vettel made two mistakes on what turned out to be his only clear lap.

That left him ninth on the grid. He was promoted to eighth by a three-place penalty for Esteban Ocon, who was confused by his radio beeping when red flags were shown in final practice and, thinking he was driving too slowly, accelerated above the minimum speed.

Ahead of the weekend there was much speculation about what had happened to Ferrari’s performance advantage. Had the FIA recently added a second sensor to monitor its engine which suspiciously coincided with a drop in power? No: that sensor had been on the car since much earlier in the season.

And as the opening laps of the race showed, Vettel was hardly wanting for power. He shot past the Honda-spec-three-powered Toro Rossos on the run to turn one, then drew alongside Grosjean on the sweeping run from the hairpin to Spoon Curve, his super-soft tyres giving him a traction advantage over the soft-tyred Haas.

Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Suzuka, 2018
Verstappen made sure there was no room for Raikkonen
Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen used his Ferrari power to put Max Verstappen on the defensive heading into the chicane. The Red Bull driver locked a wheel, ran off the track, the rejoined at the apex of the following corner on a line which was clearly intended to cause maximum inconvenience to Raikkonen.

Unsurprisingly, Verstappen laid the blame for the subsequent collision at his rival’s feet: “I braked a little bit too late into the chicane, so I did everything I could to get back onto the track and I think I did it in a safe way, because I was not crazy-fast onto the track.

“But Kimi chose the wrong line in the chicane. He could have also just waited for me to come back on the track.”

Of course Verstappen could just as easily have “waited” by rejoining the track in a safe manner and might even have done it without losing third place. He was handed a five-second penalty for the incident, which he called “really ridiculous”.

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Verstappen vs Ferrari part two

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2018
Vettel fell back after Verstappen clash
This ultimately handed Vettel a gift-wrapped third-place: He swept around his delayed team mate and was perfectly poised to benefit from Verstappen’s imminent penalty. To his credit, Vettel wasn’t prepared to sit back and wait, and pounced on the first opportunity he had to get the place back.

A Safety Car period handed him the chance. Once again he got a strong run out of the hairpin and arrived at Spoon charging down the inside of Verstappen. He got far enough alongside that the initial contact was front wing to front wheel, though whether Vettel would have made the corner without the Red Bull to lean on is a debatable point.

The pair made further contact with Vettel’s front-right wheel to Verstappen’s left-rear. This tipped Vettel into a spin and, fortunately, did not flip Verstappen’s car. Indeed the Red Bull driver kept going without losing a place, while Vettel fell to the back of the field with a damaged car.

“He drove into the side of my car,” was how Verstappen saw it. “In that corner you can’t overtake,” he added, a strange comment from a driver who’s made passes in unexpected places his trademark. Vettel accused Verstappen if failing to give him sufficient room.

Realistically, this was a textbook racing incident. In the context of the championship situation for Vettel his high-stakes, low-percentage move had been a risk worth taking. But it condemned him to a long slog through the field for a mere sixth place in the race and, in all likelihood, second place in the championship.

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Hamilton romps to ninth win

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2018
Hamilton took his fourth win at Suzuka
Hamilton was never seriously rivalled at the front. By lap 22 he was five seconds clear of Valtteri Bottas, which afforded Mercedes the luxury of being able to pit Bottas first, thereby ensuring that even a surprise Safety Car appearance wouldn’t cost Hamilton the lead.

The only concern for Hamilton came when he reported glitches with his power unit. These were resolved, however, and he motored home with a comfortable 13-second margin over his team mate.

This was because Bottas had come under threat from Verstappen. As he had started the race on super-softs, he was able to switch to the preferable soft compound tyre for his final stint, while Mercedes were forced from softs to mediums, not wishing to risk the fragile super-softs.

Bottas fared much less well on these tyres than Hamilton, while Verstappen made inroads on his softs. A late Virtual Safety Car period compounded Bottas’s woes and brought Verstappen within range. The Mercedes’ superior straight-line speed meant he never looked likely to capitalise, however.

Daniel Ricciardo arrived in fourth which was a surprise given he’d started 15th due to yet more Renault power unit problems. His progress had been aided by the collision between Charles Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen which brought out the Safety Car.

Magnussen gives Leclerc a scare

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Suzuka, 2018
Magnussen-Leclerc clash could have been nasty
The incident began when Magnussen got by Leclerc at 130R on the first lap. Leclerc came back at him on the pit straight but Magnussen, leaving it late, moved to cover. Leclerc tried to swerve back to the left but hit the Haas square up the back at a point on the track where speeds hit 300kph.

The pair were passing under the start line gantry at the time and the consequences had Leclerc’s car been launched upwards don’t bear thinking about. Leclerc left the world in no doubt what he thought of Magnussen’s “stupid” driving. Yet once again the stewards ruled the Haas driver had done nothing wrong: this was his fourth consecutive investigation for a driving infringement which resulted in no action being taken.

It ended his race, however. Magnussen sustained a puncture which caused floor damage and forced him out. Nor did Leclerc see the chequered flag: he slithered off the track on deteriorating tyres, then parked up.

Pierre Gasly led the ‘best of the rest’ class after the start but was having to run his power unit in a more conservative setting due to problems with its calibration. Toro Rosso stretched both their drivers’ first stints out long enough to fit softs, but it cost both track position.

Romain Grosjean and the Force Indias jumped Gasly when he pitted. Sergio Perez, showing his usual flair for nursing a set of tyres, took the soft tyres for the final stint and used them to pass Grosjean’s medium-shod Haas after a VSC restart, in a move which left the startled Grosjean convinced his rival must have jumped the restart. Esteban Ocon followed them in ninth, ruing the grid penalty which dropped him behind his team mate.

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2018
No home points for Honda, again
Gasly held a grip on the final points place for Honda until, with three laps to go, he was passed by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Renault. The sole remaining Sauber of Marcus Ericsson was 12th, the only distinguishing moment of his race coming when he rammed his team mate at the Safety Car restart.

A dreadful, wheel-spinning start destroyed Hartley’s start to the race and once his woes were further compounded by his strategy he came in a distant 13th. The McLaren pair were next, Fernando Alonso unimpressed by a mid-race penalty incurred after he was knocked off the track by Lance Stroll.

From the replay it was clear Alonso had use the contact as an excuse for cutting the chicane to a ridiculous extent. But he appears to be counting the days until he leaves the sport now, and couldn’t resist an opportunity to stick the boot into F1 once again.

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Vettel’s title hopes end

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2018
The title is a near-impossibility for Vettel now
As the race neared its end Raikkonen’s lap times tailed off badly. They took a big hit after the VSC period, which Ferrari hoped to use as an opportunity to bring him in, only to for it to end before he reached the pit lane entrance.

As Vettel drew closer to his team mate over the final laps it seemed Ferrari might consider telling Raikkonen to back off, hand Vettel fifth place and an extra two points, and help keep his title hopes alive.

After all, Vettel had strenuously defended Mercedes’ use of team orders in the previous race. But Ferrari gave Raikkonen no message telling him to move over.

Or they could have brought Raikkonen in for some fresh rubber, surrendering the place to his team mate without need for an instruction. But this didn’t happen either.

If Ferrari or Vettel still thought this title was winnable, he would have been given fifth place. The fact he wasn’t shows the towel has been thrown in. A 65-point deficit is so much to gain over four races that it might as well be 67.

Barring some extreme misfortune for Mercedes, another Hamilton coronation now awaits.

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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76 comments on “Hamilton on cusp of fifth title as Vettel throws in the towel”

  1. Sebastian “The Egg” Vettel

    So called because he cracks easily …

    1. Doubtful.
      He was still going for it, four grand prix after it was obvious Hamilton is going to win.
      Four grand prix to crack is a pretty tough job.

    2. SeeBashem’s mental fragility under pressure is now plain for all to see.
      This self same problem has only been exacerbated & magnified by the confirmation of the brilliant young gun Charles Leclerc, being confirmed at Ferroro for next season.
      SV’s days at the top of that pecking order are now done.
      CL will only take the first couple of races of 2019, to settle in.
      Then SV will be demolished!

      1. Absolutely. Vettel is better off quiting

    3. Yeah Lewis doesn’t look at all fragile when things aren’t going his way lol.

      1. Showing emotion when you don’t win is not the same as cracking up. When things go wrong for Hamilton he and the team go back to base and sort it out for the next GP. He then wins. He doesn’t implode with desperate moves to gain short lived advantages or crash the car for kicks when in the lead with the win secured.

        1. “Crash the car for kicks”
          An equally stupid comment.

    4. If anyone is suggesting that Seb Vettel is cracking under pressure from the performance of the Mercedes drivers, he is only 10% near the truth. Ferrari is in turmoil and chaos, Seb is losing his trustworthy secondant Kimi and what makes it worse is that Kimi will be replaced by a talented, eager young upshot that is bound on winning the world title before Max Verstappen
      gets it. Leclerc is not on friendly terms with Max Verstappen and it shows in the comments he makes. In fact he is not on friendly terms with anybody on the grid that could hamper his ambition. Seb Vettel is aware of the danger and his emotions are running away with him. It infects his calculation and his patience resulting in a all or nothing driving style. All of that is very, very human and I would not be surprised if Seb calls it a day. At some point it comes to enough is enough and he will realize that he is in a place he no longer wants to be in. After that he will be able to come back to the likable person he deep down is.

    5. This season is about as bad as it gets. It looked like it might get interesting after a few races but Ferrari started to screw up as usual and then Vettel made huge mistakes which put the final nail in the coffin.

      Minimal pressure on Hamilton for most of the season meaning no chance of him cocking up. Then Bottas plays rear gunner to make even more boring. At least ROS made it interesting. In fact I don’t think it’s a stretch to say F1 took a big hit when he left.

      Unfortunately it will be the same next year. Ferrari can’t get their act together and in fact maybe heading back into a McLaren funk if they don’t right the ship and quickly.

      Honda isn’t going to be competitive with Merc anytime soon regardless of their chest thumping. Sure they will make progress but Merc now has time to work on next year. Renault in a similar situation to Honda.

      Anyway, too bad it ended up this way as many of them do. Next year will most likely be the same.

  2. Justin (@boombazookajd)
    8th October 2018, 17:45

    If we want to see closer standings, the points need to be brought closer together. the old points system of 10,9,8,etc.. was too close, but 25,18,15 is too much of a spread.

    If we want close racing, and a close championship in November, the points need to be overhauled.

    1. @boombazookajd No, the current system is good.

    2. GS (@gsagostinho)
      8th October 2018, 18:10

      @boombazookajd You are blaming the point system for something that is caused by Vettel’s and Ferrari’s poor performances: Lewis has won 9 times this season vs 5 times by Sebastian. Lewis had 14 podium finishes vs 10 by Vettel. As you see, we would only need to revise the point system if after such drastic performance differences Vettel would be much closer in the standings.

      1. What he said.

        1. GS (@gsagostinho)
          8th October 2018, 18:52

          @sham Nope, he wrote that the points need to be overhauled and he criticizes the current system as being too spread out, hence putting (at least part of) the blame for this championship being effectively over down to the point system in use (i.e., if the point distribution was closer Vettel would be closer to Hamilton). What I wrote is that the championship is over because of the lack of performance of the Ferrari/Vettel camp. Vettel has nearly 80% of Hamilton points despite having only 56% of his victories and 71% of his podiums. Only a more unfair point distribution would make Vettel being even closer to Hamilton than he is with such results.

          1. BlackJackFan
            9th October 2018, 2:32

            Gilberto – I think ‘Sham’ was agreeing with you…

            Justin – I believe the larger spread of points was introduced to discourage drivers from accepting 2nd (or 3rd) because trying harder didn’t give much extra – drivers were thus sometimes inclined to play safe – for the championship – and the races were ‘dull’.
            e.g. If VER was leading VET, VET might play safe, being ahead of HAM, and not risk everything by attacking VER… and we’d get another procession…
            Whether it has worked is another question…

          2. @gsagostinho, as noted by BlackJackFan, What he said is an English expression meaning I agree 100% with that last statement. :O)

          3. GS (@gsagostinho)
            10th October 2018, 20:06

            @shimks Ah, the joys of not being a native speaker :-)
            @BlackJackFan thanks for the clarification!

    3. When was there ever a ‘10,9,8…’ scoring system…?

      1. Justin (@boombazookajd)
        8th October 2018, 18:52

        I was incorrect, from 03-09 it was 10, 8, 6, etc..

        1. I think 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 as before that would be better. They changed the system last time because drivers were settling for 2nd place.

    4. The points system was overhauled to the current system after a lot of people criticising the old system for the situation in 2008 where Hamilton was champion but Massa had more wins, so they shook the system up to make wins proportionally more valuable.

      1. Well I thought that the situation with 08 was nore down to Singapore, but yeah, that could do as well

    5. John Toad (@)
      8th October 2018, 20:18

      Perhaps give Vettel extra points for finishing without hitting anybody?

    6. The points system is just fine.
      Better just needs to win more races and he will be closer in points. Secondly I don’t see why someone finishing 2 laps down consistently should be in contention for the championship if you reward them with almost as much points add the winner.

    7. @boombazookajd, Vettel would be no better off under the previous points system than he is now – in fact, the current points system is fractionally more favourable to Vettel than the one you propose.

      If you recalculate the totals using the 2003-2009 system, Hamilton would be on 135 points and Vettel on 107 points, resulting in a 28 point gap – a score exactly equal to two victories and one second place under that system.

      Under the current points system, if Vettel was to score two victories and one second place more than Hamilton, he would end up one point ahead of Hamilton – so, whilst Vettel would remain behind Hamilton under the old system (he would be tied on points, but ranked behind him on countback as he has fewer victories), he’d actually overtake him under the current system with the same finishing positions.

      In fact, I think that the current system is possibly one of the most favourable for a driver in Vettel’s position for decades. Under the system used from 1991-2002 (10-6-4-3-2-1), Vettel would be even further adrift than he is now (Hamilton would have a 35 point lead, being on 121 points to 86 for Vettel – the equivalent of three race victories, a third place and a sixth place clear).

      The systems in place before that were more convoluted, since it involved dropping a certain number of results over the course of the season. Under the system in place from 1981-1990, where the driver could only count his best 11 results (on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 system), I think Vettel would be slightly better off – he’d be on 72 points to 93 for Hamilton, but would still need two wins and a third place to overtake Hamilton (only fractionally less onerous than the 2003-2009 and current system, so not really making that much of a difference).

      Basically, to sum up the situation – Vettel would be worse off under most of the points systems tried in the past, so your proposal would actually be counterproductive to what you want to achieve.

      1. Completely agree, don’t understand why some people propose stuff without doing maths before, and checking how the season went.

        This was an incredibly balanced season up to hungary, each of the 3 top teams had 4 wins except red bull if I recall, and they were looking like favourites in hungary in virtue of their chassis, but in the wet mercedes is ofc superior, so that was the first time things went wrong in order to make it a challenging fight.

        Now ofc hamilton having 9 wins and even without team order, 8 and bottas 1 with red bull 3 and ferrari 5 says enough about how one-sided it is, and no points system will fix that.

      2. @boombazookajd @anon I don’t like the current points system because the proposal was to make a win “worth more,” but it actually made second place worth less, and third is worth the same as pre-2010.
        Pre-2010, a win was worth 10 points (100%), 2nd is 8 (80%), and 3rd is 6 (60%)
        2010 – Present: 1st is 25 (100%) 2nd is 18 (72%), and 3rd is 15 (60%)

        The original proposal actually had 2nd place valued at 20 points, but it was changed, of course.

  3. Now the points system is the problem… Eyes rolling… Ferrari hav dropped it too many times. In qualy what were they thinking? They should hv split strategies atleast. In the race vettel messed it up. Altho i do believe blame is more on verstappens side. Hamilton and mercedes are not racing desparately. they are very calculated.

  4. “In that corner you can’t overtake,” he added, a strange comment from a driver who’s made passes in unexpected places his trademark.

    That and telling Kimi how to avoid his own out of control car, as he drove back onto the track over a kerb with dirty tyres “in a safe way”, show Verstappen still has some way to go in terms of maturity. I’m a fan of his style and even his bravado and not going to get on his case about it. But for his own sake, he needs to drop the Max Driving Advice Centre thing, it’s ridiculous.

    1. Even the German TV commentators blamed Vettel for crashing into Verstappen…

      1. I agree entirely Markos, I should have made that point. The issue is with him saying it isn’t somewhere where overtakes are possible. Not true and as Keith point out, doubly ‘untrue’ given that Verstappen specializes in overtaking in unusual places.

        1. What Max essentially meant is that if Kimi had taken the line they take when they speed up for a qualifying lap, then he would have passed Max on the left taking more speed up for the run to the straight.

          It is standard practice to line up for maximum exit speed if the normal line is blocked when someone overshoots a corner; the ‘cross back’. This was entirely possible.

          1. when someone overshoots a corner

            isn’t the same thing, though, as going off track. Raikkonen can’t guess what Verstappen is going to do at that point. He could have cut the chicane, waited for the traffic to pass, rejoin the track along any line he saw fit. But the point is that it’s not up to Raikkonen to avoid Verstappen coming back on track and effectively pushing him off it, causing damage that compromised his race (and then being applauded for beating Raikkonen to third!). The latter has to accept there’s a racing penalty to pay for messing up his cornering. If he loses a place or twelve, it’s his problem. As Whiting put it, “You’re required to rejoin safely and Kimi was there and he pushed him off the track. I think that was a fairly straightforward one for the stewards.” In this case, it’s not a case of Verstappen battling to pass and being penalized, which I agree can often be questionable. It’s him making a mistake and wanting to get away with it by not losing a place.

          2. And more importantly, Kimi can take any line he wants whilst he’s within the white lines. Whereas Max, in order to meet the criteria of “rejoining safely”, would have to take a line that doesn’t hit or obstruct another driver. Which he didn’t do.

            I can’t believe this is being discussed at all.

          3. Sorry. @david-br had already fielded this one.

      2. They always blame vettel. Its a german thing….

        I call it 60/40 on max (and i do race) , but with him involved it was 100% bound to happen – so not a smart vettel move…

        1. Vettel was on a curve (too much speed, wrong apex) that could only result in him hitting Verstappen, even if verstappen had moved to the right, which he did not have to.

          100% Vettel’s fault. Not a matter of opinion, a matter of observing the facts.

          That’s why Vettel calls Verstappen simply following the curve ‘turning into me’. Verstappen was spot on comparing this to china, where we could just as easily and just as idiotically say vettel turned into verstappen. Difference is that ver apologized to vettel for that.

          What we should be talking is that second sensor, not the idiotic accusations of Mr Caught.

          1. Not even remotely similar: https://imgur.com/a/NlbSznu

  5. Does anyone know/can be bothered to work out what the standings would be like if the old points system of 10 for a win was in use?

    1. With 6 or 8 points for 2nd? There have been a lot of systems.

    2. My quick calcs come to…

      HAM 135
      VET 107

      28 points diff (2x 1st (10) and 1x 2nd place (8))
      67 points diff (2x 1st (25) and just shy of a 2nd place (18))

      1. Just had a quick google, after thinking to myself ‘I’m sure it would be possible to make a website to convert all of the points to the different scoring systems… if someone hasn’t done so already..’


  6. Vettel is being found out. Unfortunately in a high pressure championship dogfight, he is not the man to have as your lead driver. Ferrari needed to overhaul their number 1 driver policy, hence Charles being hired. If Charles proves more than a match for Seb I can genuinely see Vettel being forced into retirement.

    1. Switch the Ferrari n Merc drivers n Vettel wd be the 1 grinning like a cheshire cat instead of HAM. And you HAM fans would be back in the Red Bull days of ‘but he’s got a better car!’ Yet no mention of the car advantage Lewis now enjoys? Vettel just cracked? errrm ok.

      1. Vettel did have the best car, last year and this (up until Singapore). He just didn’t maximise it.

        Vettel just cracked? errrm ok

        Have you been watching this season at all? Let me get you started with Vettel’s costly errors, starting with Baku. I guess there are non so blind than those who don’t want to see eh.

      2. Switch the Ferrari n Merc drivers n Vettel wd be the 1 grinning like a cheshire cat instead of HAM.

        Switch the Ferrari and Merc drivers and Vettel would have been fired by now.

      3. From Monaco to Singapore (10 races) where Vettel had a faster car than Lewis’s Merc. Out the 10 Lewis won with 2 runners up. if you switch drivers with Lewis having the faster car, Lewis will be winning 8 or 9 out of the ten races

      4. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        9th October 2018, 10:46


        He still would have stuffed it in the rain.

        He still would have lost out at Monza.

        He still would have been outqualified in Singapore.

        In conclusion, he would still be behind if he was in a Mercedes.

  7. If Ferrari or Vettel still thought this title was winnable, he would have been given fifth place. The fact he wasn’t shows the towel has been thrown in.

    Forgot to say, good point that seems to have gone largely unnoticed.

    1. Or they knew Kimi would not accept orders anymore. Sky’s commentator mentioned that.

    2. There was a large gap between them. Kimi had almost to stop on track to create the possibility. I do not think it’s realistic.

      1. Probably enough time for a very quick ice cream, true. But they could have given him some nice new tyres. I guess they may also not have wanted extra media attention, recalling the post-Sochi debate on Mercedes switching drivers, on a weekend to forget. Just pack up and go home. But still, it does signal they’ve little fight left.

        1. Very difficult after the “We hire drivers not butlers” quote from Maurizio…

      2. Right, it was about 40 seconds. Kimi could made a pit stop, had an ice cream and still come out ahead of Vettel.

        Was surprised Crofty kept mentioning it on Sky.

  8. He could have also just waited for me to come back on the track.

    Can anyone really stand the blind arrogance? That’s a bit much even for a raw race driver; that’s bordering on some mental disability. I’m reminded of Trum, who honestly believes himself.

    1. *Trump.

    2. I can stand the “blind arrogance” perfectly well as I see it more as confidence. Max has great faith in his own abitlities and decisions. Without that you cannot be successful. And I think his confidence level plays a big part in his current success. And yes, that is not exactly humble and I think a lot of people dislike him for that.

    3. The message is very consistent. Only those drivers that are equally arrogant take a chance on him and pay the price. It’s part of the game. You can always choose to watch darts

  9. Vettel’s season is so disappointing that he is as far from Hamilton, when arriving at COTA, as he was in 2015, with a way lesser car and only watching the WDC fight from a distance.

    His position as a leader within the team may have been seriously damaged beyond repair.
    If things weren’t looking good for him when they dumped his always loyal friend Kimi to bring a much more interested Leclerc, now it is even worse.

    Times are difficult, pressure is on, but at least put on a resistance and bring a result the car deserves would make things a little better than what he did.

  10. I’m sure Ferrari didn’t bother swapping their cars because they were not sure Vettel would not find a way to throw that position away, so why bother.

  11. Had the FIA recently added a second sensor to monitor its engine which suspiciously coincided with a drop in power? No: that sensor had been on the car since much earlier in the season.

    This needed to be said loud and clear. Misoferrarian goebbelsians are abusing this point beyond nausea.

    1. Highly intellectual comment… :)

  12. Lewis has 331 points, Sebastian has 264, a difference of 67 points. So to win Sebastian has to earn 68 or more points than Lewis does in the remaining 4 races. So Sebastian needs to earn an average of 17 points more than Lewis at each of the remaining races to win the WDC.
    If Lewis were to not earn any more points this season, then Sebastian would still need a minimum of 3 second places (54 points) + 1 third place (15 points), (54 + 15 =69) to win the WDC.

    1. Exactly, it’s what I pointed out: there’s 2 ways vettel can win the title, 1 is injured hamilton who doesn’t take part in any of the last 4 races, and that would be quite a challenge given a competitive mercedes to bottas and sometimes a strong red bull, even if hamilton’s replacement is badoer-like.

      Other option is forcing hamilton to commit such an infraction he’s disqualified from 2018, just like schumacher in 1997, that can lose you the title even after you mathematically won it I suppose!

      1. To avoid misunderstanding, Schumacher was disqualified for the entire year, but he was in second place. He rammed his car into JVilleneuve’s Williams (hoping to take both cars out and thus keep JV from taking the lead in the championship). Ironically, MS took only himself out.
        If I remember correctly, JV finished third and went ahead on points. Consequently, Schumacher was disqualified for the year and lost all his (2nd place) points, but he retained his wins and poles.

  13. Silverware Is Ham’s , he’s just got to show up and finish,

  14. Fikri Harish (@)
    9th October 2018, 5:37

    “He could have also just waited for me to come back on the track.”
    Okay, how lacking in self-awareness does a person have to be to say something as daft as this?
    It’s a race, you made a mistake and somehow, you still think that the guy behind you should wait until you have safely rejoined the track before he could proceed? Do you want extra fries to go with that as well?

    Verstappen is already 21 and in his fourth year and yet somehow, his attitude is getting worse.

    1. “extra fries” = brilliant…! lmao.

    2. I guess what he meant was that whenever the guy in front overshoots a corner his line towards the outside of the following corner is blatantly obvious or at least very predictable given physics etc. 9 out of 10 drivers following would opt to lift briefly and then cut back to the inside of the corner to complete the pass. RAI was hasty, albeit not wrong. So poor choice of words. And yes, I agree no one else can be blamed but VER since he was the one leaving the track

  15. I’m calling that Vettel will not win another title, and Hamilton will match or even beat Schumacher’s record.

    Ferrari are a mess as (nearly) always.

  16. Can’t wait for Verstappen to be battling for titles.

    And get taken out by a snotty, petulant comer-upper.

  17. Reading this @keithcollantine, I felt this was just about a perfect review of the race.

    Sorry people, need to rant a bit though: As a Dutch guy, I’m getting seriously tired of the Dutch ‘stand by Max’ attitude which goes along with him and results in headlines like ‘too many penalties, stop it F1’ rather than telling Verstappen to cut out the mistakes without any (apparent) self-consciousness.
    That his father thinks ‘there was no one around him so I think he was perfectly entitled to get on track that way’ well, it’s his father (though wasn’t he coaching him, to actual good effect? Not by being blind to his failings I’d think), but why are veteran motorsport journalists indulging him like that? He’s a great driver even with that mistake, and would be even better if he improves and cuts those out. Despite those errors, I am/was close to giving Max the DotW this time, but we don’t have to be blind to anyone’s faults even as we admire their best driving, do we?

    Thanks Keith for providing your great motorsport coverage here.

    1. but we don’t have to be blind to anyone’s faults even as we admire their best driving, do we?

      You’re living what we Spaniards lived 15 years ago: the first time a national driver was competitive and ended up winning the WDC. If you were to believe what the journalists said, the guy was simply perfect. You’ll eventually learn to ignore them.

  18. Just did a little math.

    If Vettel wins all four remaining venues Hamilton still wins the WDC if he manages
    to finish third in all these races.

    I really cannot imagine Vettel being crowned this year.

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