2018 Japanese Grand Prix team radio highlights

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Revisit the Japanese Grand Prix as seen by the drivers with over 250 of the most revealing radio messages from last weekend’s race.

Before the race began Toro Rosso were advised by the FIA to revert a settings change on their power unit in order to comply with the regulations.

To Gasly: The switch that we did reverting the engine performance to yesterday, the FIA told that, you need to expect that, OK? Apparently start was on target. Pierre we’ll be fine. We start the race, don’t worry.
Gasly: I know. It’s stupid.

Max Verstappen went off at the chicane as lap one came to an end, leading to a tangle with Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen: He just drive into me completely.
To Raikkonen: We saw, Kimi, we saw.
Raikkonen: I don’t know what I lost, I lost some parts.
To Raikkonen: Engine three, Kimi. On our data car seems fine Kimi.

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Meanwhile Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll also clashed at the chicane. The Williams driver was penalised for hitting Alonso, but the McLaren driver also received a penalty for cutting the chicane following the collision.

Alonso: The Williams pushed me in the gravel into the last chicane and I cut the chicane but I didn’t gain any place. But he pushed me in the gracel.
To Alonso: Fernando please confirmed who it was that pushed you off.
Alonso: The Williams, braking for the last chicane and I had to cut the gravel. It realy really unsporting.
To Alonso: Understood.

Unable to use the optimum settings on his upgraded Honda power unit, Gasly was struggling to keep the Force Indias behind.

Gasly: I have lost some power.
To Gasly: Copy.
Gasly: Big loss of power, guys.
To Gasly: Up-shift after the beep from fourth onwards. Mode six.
To Gasly: Pierre we need later up-shift.
To Gasly: Pierre we need very high up-shift.
To Gasly: Safety Car, Safety Car. Charge on and save fuel.
Gasly: OK guys you need to do something for the settings. Toggles.
To Gasly: Pierre one powerful thing is to up-shift much later than the beep.
Gasly: OK.

The Safety Car was deployed after Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc collided.

Leclerc: Magnussen is and will always be stupid. It’s a fact.
To Leclerc: Copy, Charles. Just cool down now. We are P13 at the moment. Still a long race. How’s the car any damage, question?
Leclerc: For sure.
To Leclerc: OK we’re checking data at the moment looking all OK from the data. OK to continue.
Magnussen: Oh fuck I have a puncture
To Magnussen: Mode puncture. Think you have been hit by Leclerc.
To Vettel: Safety Car. Mode slow. Pre-select engine one.
Vettel: Verstappen came from off the track and pushed Kimi straight out.
To Vettel: Copy that so Verstappen pushed Kimi out. It’s under investigation, we reported.
To Hamilton Go positive on the delta time. Plus eight.
Hamilton What’s plus eight?
To Hamilton Plus eight on your delta time.
Hamilton Plus eight seconds?
To Hamilton Affirm.
Hamilton OK so that’s OK. Safety Car at turn one.
To Hamilton I was sticking to my delta.
Hamilton OK, copy.

The Toro Rosso drivers continued to struggle with tyre problems as well as power delivery concerns.

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Gasly: We have some problems on power. We need to fix it because the Force Indias are too fast in the straight.
To Gasly: Copy, Pierre. For the moment the up-shift later than the beep looks very powerful in the data so keep doing it.
Gasly: Do I have overtake button available?
To Gasly: Pierre 10 seconds available.
Gasly: OK.
Hartley: I had no traction on the strat and I have no traction anywhere on the lap. I think we’re going to have to get off these tyres as soon as we can.
To Hartley: Everyone behind is on soft, it’s always gong to be more difficult. You know what the plan is. Reminder on toggle usage, we forgot it last lap.
Hartley: Copy.
Gasly: Rear brakes locking for Grosjean
To Gasly: Copy.
To Gasly: Radio off.
To Gasly: Safety Car in this lap. Mode three for the restart and offset minus two.
Gasly: Fire, fire for Grosjean.
To Gasly: OK, be careful. Cars are backing off at the front Perez will try to overtake you in the first lap. We have eight seconds overtake button available.

Towards the end of the Safety Car period Marcus Ericsson ran into the back of his team mate.

To Ericsson: OK Marcus so the plan is once the Safety Car is out of the way, in front of you you have Charles, and tyres are new, and then Sirotkin. We need to get Sirokin ASAP. Obviously.
Ericsson: We were ahead of him.
To Ericsson: I know. Mode SC.
To Ericsson: Safety Car in this lap so go back to spark two now and mode RS before last corner.
Ericsson: Copy.
Ericsson: Check my front wing for damage.
To Ericsson: Yep, we are checking.
To Ericsson: Should be fine.
To Ericsson: Yellow 14, mode push before last corner. OK Marcus everything looks OK for us so crack on with your race. You have Vettel behind, we are racing him.

Verstappen was given a five-second penalty for the collision with Raikkonen.

Raikkonen: So no action on what happened to me?
To Raikkonen: He is under investigation at the moment.
Raikkonen: He just came completely off the track into me.
To Raikkonen: It’s completely clear from the images.
To Verstappen So you’ve been given a five-second time penalty for leaving then track and not returning safely.
Verstappen What the fuck, honestly. I tried to do the best I could, he drives around the outside he could have easily just waited for me to come back. They do a great job, it’s good for racing, I really enjoy this.
To Raikkonen: Kimi, Verstappen got a five-second penalty so it’s important we stay in three seconds between him and us.
Raikkonen: Can you repeat?
To Raikkonen: Yes I will. We need to stay within three seconds, Verstappen has got a five-second penalty.
Raikkonen: Yeah but you told me already.
To Raikkonen: And the gap to Verstappen is three seconds now.
Raikkonen: Yeah but I’m going as fast as I can.
To Raikkonen: How is balance, Kimi?
Raikkonen: I’m struggling like fuck in 14. Generally in the left-handers I don’t know if we lost something on the left?
To Raikkonen: Yes we lost something on the left.

Having tangled with one Ferrari, Verstappen then collided with the other.

Vettel: Is it believable what this guy is doing? I don’t think so.
To Vettel: Car damage?
Vettel: …give the space. Maybe have a puncture on the rear-right.
To Vettel: Tyre pressures fine.
Vettel: OK. I mean this guy, honestly, where is he thinking we can go?
To Vettel: OK, stay out.
Vettel: Copy.
Verstappen What the fuck is he thinking to overtake there? So fucking stupid.
Verstappen Guys I think I have a puncture, check it please. No, I think it’s fine.
To Verstappen Stay out, stay out. And mode eight please no Max.
Verstappen Please let me know as quick as possible with the damage.
To Verstappen Will do.
To Hamilton OK Lewis we’ve had contact between Verstappen and Vettel. Verstappen still P3, Raikkonen P4.
To Sirotkin The car behind is Vettel, he’s coming through the field after his spin. Don’t lose time with Vettel but we are racing everyone else.
Sirotkin: Copy.

Alonso hit the roof when he was told about his penalty:

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Alonso: The same thing with Gasly he pushed me again off the track in the last chicane. Tell me what to do with the position but if they push you into the gravel what can I do, man?
To Alonso: OK Fernando go back to your previous position, maintain your previous position.
Alonso: OK, done.
To Alonso: DRS is enabled again.
Alonso: It doesn’t work like this, we spoke in the briefing, you cannot push people out of the track, on braking especially.
To Alonso: Fernando we think that’s a very fair point, we are reporting it to race director now.
Grosjean: Everything OK on the car? There’s a weird feeling.
To Grosjean: Weird feeling, OK. The tyre temp sensors aren’t working. Just sensor problems but we’ll look at everything. Try brake balance one click forward if it feels weird.
Grosjean: It’s not going straight on the straight, I don’t know what’s happening.
To Grosjean: Checking everything. Definitely sensor issues. Don’t know why it would affect steering but we’re checking.
To Grosjean: OK let’s do some lift-and-coast I think we’re having rear overheating now. And another click forwards brake balance we’re probably having some rear locking.
To Alonso: Fernando we have a five-second penalty at this pit stop for the incident with Stroll. It’ll be a five second penalty. We are box this lap, please confirm.
Alonso: OK, box.
To Alonso: Box now, stay right of bollard. This will be a five-second penalty.
To Alonso: Launch map, launch map.
Alonso: Shame on you, Formula 1. Shame on you. Well done.
To Alonso: Careful, Stoffel will be exiting alongside you.
Alonso: Well done. We can push people around, well done. Shame on you, Formula 1.
To Alonso: OK Fernando we share your frustration. Stoffel will let you past into turn 16.
Alonso: I don’t want, I will pass on the DRS.
To Alonso: OK Fernando understood it’ll be into turn one then.

Around the middle of the race Lewis Hamilton began to experience some problems with power delivery. After the race the team said these were different to the ones he experienced at the previous race in Sochi and they expect to have them resolved for the next race.

To Ericsson: OK Marcus you have now Gasly behind, 1.7 seconds behind, he needs to stay behind. Hulkenberg is out so push, push.
To Ericsson: Spark two and we need to slow him down especially sector one.
To Ericsson: Spark two, he needs to stay behind.
To Ericsson: OK Marcus we are fighting for the point with gasly obviously.
To Ericsson: You still need to save your tyres. The best place to do that is sector one and in sector one he cannot overtake you so be clever sector one with him.
Hamilton: Hesitations turn two, getting back on power, and turn five.
To Hamilton: OK copy we’ll have a look at it.
Hamilton: Engine doesn’t feel great, man.
To Hamilton: Give use your tag mode.
Hamilton: Tag two.
Hamilton: Should I be worried with this drive-ability?
To Hamilton: Negative.
To Sainz: OK Carlos you’ve cleared Sirotkin, he’s going 37.6, he’s just in your pit window now.
Sainz: Box, guys. Box, box, box.
To Sainz: Copy, box.
Sainz: Too much flat spot.
To Sainz: Close to Sirotkin on exit, you have overtake available for this lap.
Sainz: He pushed me out.
To Sainz: OK good job mate.
Sainz: Ah, that was dangerous man. He banged wheels with me.
To Sainz: Keep your head down, Carlos, Saubers are on very old mediums.
To Sainz: Nice job. So Leclerc in front, 13-lap-old mediums.
To Sainz: Nice job, Gasly next.
Sainz: I’m going to give my tyres a rest.
To Bottas: Watch for any blistering on the soft.
Bottas: Affirm you have blistering on the soft, affirm, both sides, it’s a bit worse than Sochi.
To Bottas: Same for Lewis?
Bottas: Less of an issue but yes, still blistering.
To Bottas: Race Situation?
Bottas: Stand by.
To Bottas: So diff high speed two. Situation P2, Verstappen is P3 after taking his penalty. Gap to Verstappen currently 7.5 seconds he is on soft tyre so currently at this stage is expected to be quicker. Vettel P9. And the order behind is Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen. Ricciardo and Raikkonen both medium tyre.
To Bottas: And just further information expecting everybody on a one-stop at the moment. 20 to go.
To Bottas: Recommend fifth gear for turn seven just to avoid surge.
To Bottas: Gap to Verstappen now 5.7.
To Bottas: Rear temperatures have peaked and are now dropping. Track temperature dropping also.
To Ricciardo: OK Daniel so race update: Both Mercedes are trying to keep their tyres cool. You’ve taken about four seconds out of both of them in the last five laps. Hamilton now 14 seconds ahead. Bottas eight seconds ahead of you.
Ricciardo: OK. Understood.
To Ricciardo: They had some blistering on the soft in the first stint so I think they’re a bit cautious. Our tyres temperatures and pressures look good, very stable.

Romain Grosjean was unimpressed by the manner in which the recovering Vettel overtook him.

To Grosjean: OK so Vettel three behind then Perez is behind him.
Grosjean: OK Vettel which tyre, which lap time.
To Grosjean: Vettel on soft, I’ll check the lap time.
Grosjean: Is he going to the end?
To Grosjean: Yes. Vettel going to the end, it’s for position, last lap was 34.5, he’s on a soft. I think his free air lap is more like a 33.5.
Grosjean: Not the same race.
To Grosjean: Copy that. You are leading our race.
Grosjean: There is so no need to overtake me there. No need.
To Grosjean: Yep understood mate.
Vettel: It’ll be quite a boring race from now.
To Vettel: Understood.
Vettel: That was a question, copy?
To Vettel: Do you copy that?
Vettel: I said ‘it will be a boring race, right, from now?’
To Vettel: Yep, understood, yep, going to the end.
To Alonso: Yes, Fernando! Well done mate. Let’s keep going. Next car ahead of us is Hartley.

However Grosjean was even less impressed when Sergio Perez nipped by him after a Virtual Safety Car period. The Haas driver was on his radio omcplaining about the Force India’s restart even as Perez drew alongside him at the exit of 130R to complete the pass.

Leclerc: There is something broke. Something is broken. Oh, nearly touched the wall. Yeah, something broke.
To Leclerc: OK Charles stop the car and remember switch off procedure.
Leclerc: Can you see what it was?
To Leclerc: OK Charles we’ll discuss later. Something is broken.
To Grosjean: Possible gravel turn nine exit. OK yellow 10 and 11 for Leclerc stopped on the left into 11, watch for gravel there.
Grosjean: Yeah. Don’t think Perez has slowed down, to be fair, he came back a long way.
To Grosjean: Understood. Let’s keep working on those medium temps.
To Grosjean: VSC, stay out.
To Perez: Virtual Safety Car deployed. Stay positive once in each marshalling sector.
To Perez: In cool, in cool. Stay positive once in each marshalling sector. Currently plus 3.8.
Perez: We want to cool the tyres?
To Perez: Yes Checo, that’s why we’re in cool and cal one. We can coo lthe tyres. Currently positive, plus 3.6. This could be a short one. You’re currentlu positive plus 3.5. They are moving the car, they are moving the car. You’re still positive plus three. Virtual Safety Car ending soon. Stay positive. Stay positive.
To Grosjean: So stay positive, just try to keep as much temp as you can and when we get going again let’s get these mediums warmed up. The track temp is dropping so I’m sure we just need to push instead of lift-and-coast. We tried lift-and-coast, it didn’t work, so let’s try pushing. I’m sure they’re just going to clear that car and go again. And we’ll use BC3 for the restart. Mode race start. And we passed on the message.
To Grosjean: OK VSC ending, still the yellow there in 10, 11. Track clear, VSC ending.
Grosjean: Mate he’s jumped the restart, he’s in my arse.
To Grosjean: Passed on, understood.
To Perez: Race plus. Purple mode eight and race plus. Checo you can use energy three times a lap.
To Grosjean: Spark one, spark one.
Grosjean: He cheated.
To Grosjean: Understood, we’re discussing.
Grosjean: Mate this is not possible I was plus 0.3. It’s not possible.
To Grosjean: Understood, we’re working on it.
Grosjean: He has got to give me the position now.
To Grosjean: Yes we’re talking to him.
Grosjean: He has got to give me the position.
To Grosjean: We’re on it, we’re working on it.
To Grosjean: OK gap to Perez 1.7, let’s stay within five in case ghet gets a penalty.
Grosjean: No I need to get the position now.
To Grosjean: OK we’ll get it sorted, just get the temperatures up and just drive and close up these gaps.
Grosjean: Mate I’m in dirty air.
To Grosjean: You can do it man, just stay with him, I know you can do it, the tyres are going to come to you…
Grosjean: Yeah but…
To Grosjean: It’s alright, it’s alright, just stay with it, OK. Just stay with it.

Alonso’s mood hadn’t improved either.

Alonso: Unbelievable how Bottas lapped us. I lost four seconds.
To Alonso: OK mate understand we’re still one second quicker than Ericsson. He is dragging Hartley back. Head down, let’s go get him.
Alonso: We were there without the FIA.
To Raikkonen: Virtual Safety Car deployed. Slow button on and be positive.
Raikkonen: We should probably box.
To Raikkonen: Minimal line, Kimi, keep the minimal line. We are thinking about it.
To Raikkonen: Stay out, Virtual Safety Car ending, slow button off.
Raikkonen: Yeah the tyres have no grip anymore.
To Raikkonen: Understood, Kimi.
To Raikkonen: Engine five, Kimi.
Raikkonen: Yeah I don’t have much tyres left.
To Sainz: Scenario one. Got four more laps after this, go get him.
Sainz: Woohoo!
To Sainz: Nice job. So two more laps after this one.

While Hamilton was thrilled with his ninth win of the season, a dejected Vettel sounded like he knew his title hopes were over.

To Hamilton: Get in there Lewis! Absolutely perfect weekend. So that’s the 50th win and a grand slam this weekend.
Hamilton: Woohoo! Guys, man, I love you guys, I love driving the car, I love this track, I’m so happy man, I so appreciate everything you’ve done. Thank you so much guys.
To Hamilton: No worries Lewis. Well done yourself that’s just a stellar weekend from start to finish.
Hamilton: I hope you guys are not getting bored of this because I’m definitely not!
To Hamilton: Never grow tired Lewis, never grow tired. You guys are looking good out there.
Hamilton: Yeah! The silver arrows in formation.
To Verstappen: Well done Max it was a very strong drive to get that in spite of the penalty. I doubt you’re too popular with the Italians today.
Verstappen: Yeah, well, that’s not my problem. They were too aggressive.
To Vettel: P6, Sebastian.
Vettel: OK not much to say. Enough’s been said. I don’t know. If I don’t go for that gap and that gap was there I might as well stay home. Sorry for the result.
Perez: Good job guys. this is what we deserved. Well done to everyone. Just a question why at the end were you pushing me to push hard?
To Perez: Checo well done, good job. We’re just working on tyre temperatures there, had a couple of concerns on tyre temperatures. But you did a good job, well done.
Perez: Good job guys, good points. So we put a good advantage on P4 in the championship. Well done to everyone. Good job.
To Grosjean: Chequered flag.
Grosjean: Yeah don’t know what happened at the beginning of the race but definitely something strange on the car.
To Grosjean: Something’s wrong, yeah.
To Grosjean: Suspension or something.
Grosjean: Perez, that’s not acceptable.
To Grosjean: OK man. As far as we can tell we were positive but anyway we’ll go through the data later.
Grosjean: When the dash became black I was plus 0.3 so that’s the restart. Unless we’ve a problem with the soft tyre but that’s the restart. He closed a 2.4 second gap within 10 metres, that’s not normal.
To Grosjean: Understood. When the race is over, when everyone’s back, we’ll go through all the data and get everything straight. You did a really good job managing these tyres with no information. Really good.
Grosjean: Yeah confirm my feeling, look at my steering wheel when I accelerate, check it,
To Grosjean: Understood, collecting the data now.
Grosjean: It’s pulling to the right as soon as I accelerate and when I lift off it goes straight.
To Grosjean: Yeah I see it there, very clear.
To Sainz: Nice job mate P10 well done. Scenario 12.
Sainz: Thank you guys well executed again. brave everyone. I know it was difficult to salvage a point here but we did it.
To Gasly: OK thankyou P11
Gasly: Yeah we were P7. Have to explain what’s happened because I was in front of both Force Indias and suddenly I;m six seconds behind.
To Gasly: We will revise later, Pierre.
Gasly: Can you give me a [unclear] please. Or Ibuprofen whatever you want just for my headache because my head’s going to explode now.
To Gasly: Copy Pierre.
To Ricciardo: And you will be thrilled to know you were voted Driver of the Day.
Ricciardo: OK.
To Ricciardo: I think you will if they play that out.

NB. As some messages will have been transmitted simultaneously the chronology of the above extracts is not exact.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “2018 Japanese Grand Prix team radio highlights”

  1. Do drivers really care about being voted driver of the day? They might once they get out of the cockpit, but I somehow doubt they care too much when they are in it.

    1. @mashiat I doubt it. I doubt they care too much about something like that.

  2. Ericsson: Check my front wing for damage.
    To Ericsson: Yep, we are checking.

    Can you imagine the face of that engineer going “Yep”

  3. Magnussen is and will always be stupid. It’s a fact.

    This was quite an interesting radio converstation.

    1. Ha ha, I was taken aback at Leclerc’s forthrightness there. Good for him.

    2. ForzaAlonsoF1
      11th October 2018, 18:41

      Deserves the seat at Ferrari for this comment alone!!

  4. Moangean moans a lot.

    1. He did have a bit of a rotten race, though. No info on tyre temperatures, car reluctant to drive in a straight line, losing several seconds behind the VSC and subsequently losing a place through no fault of his own … Yet, he came very close to scoring the best possible result for his team. If venting his frustration immediately is what he needs to perform at this level, more power to him.

      But hey, I’m most likely wasting my breath here, if my prior experience in dealing with people who habitually spoof drivers’ names to get their point across is anything to go by.

  5. To Verstappen: Well done Max it was a very strong drive to get that in spite of the penalty. I doubt you’re too popular with the Italians today.
    Verstappen: Yeah, well, that’s not my problem. They were too aggressive.


    1. The ignorance of that lad. Maldonadoing Kimi and then saying it was Kimis fault for being too aggressive. SMH

      1. Well, they have every right to be agressive. But he is right that if they had been more patient, the both of them would have finished in front of him. Taking nothing away from his errors (RAI was clearly Max fault and with Vettel he could have been more lenient), it is right they were to agressive and with the experience both have and knowing VER it is not smart from them for sure

        1. (@mayrton) What it does show is an inflated sense of entitlement on Verstappens part.

          1. That too. Vettels finger, Hamiltons mindgames and Verstappens entitlement. Whatever makes them perform.

  6. To Raikkonen: Kimi, Verstappen got a five-second penalty so it’s important we stay in three seconds between him and us.
    Raikkonen: Can you repeat?
    To Raikkonen: Yes I will. We need to stay within three seconds, Verstappen has got a five-second penalty.
    Raikkonen: Yeah but you told me already.

    LOL! Kimi wins the radio highlight of the day award. But we knew that already.

    1. This gave me a good chuckle too. Wouldn’t be a Grand Prix without a “classic Kimi” radio comment.

  7. @keithcollantine is there any more details on the STR engine setting situation? I’ve only seen it here this article, unless I completely missed it and it has been reported somewhere else

Comments are closed.