Japanese Grand Prix race weekend

As I’ve said recently, I’ve been really busy – so much so that I’m only now catching up with the Japanese Grand Prix weekend from a week ago!

Practice:

  1. Free Practice 1 (FP1): Ferrari are testing a new front wing; local boy Kobayashi topped the timing sheet at one point; Vettel touched the gravel and ran off into the tyre wall; Button was fastest (1:33,634) followed by LH, SV, FA, MW, FA, FM & SB
  2. FP2: VL parked his Force India off track; BS lost the Renault’s tail under braking for Turn 1 but the marshals pushed him out of the gravel and rejoined; RB touched the grass, spun the Williams into the tyre wall and wrecked the car but walked away unscathed; KK runs wide in the Spoon curve and turns his tyres green (paint from the run-off area); PM retires the other Williams; KK lost the tail at full speed in 130R (about 190mph), somehow saved it and kept going! JB fastest again (1:31.901) then FA, SV, MW, FM, MS, NR, LH.
  3. BS crashed coming out of Spoon; JB tops the time sheet again

Qualifying:

  1. Qualifying 1 (Q1): JT on track as soon as the lights turn green; lots of understeer in the hairpin
    5mins left; order is FA, LH, JB, SV, MW, FM; bottom 7 are JT, TG, JD, DR, NR, BS, VL
    KK top of the timings as he’s on the softer tyres
    NR is still in the pits – in fact he’s out of the car
    KK still top at the end of Q1
    Back of the grid will be: HK, JT, JD, TG, DR, NR, VL
  2. Q2: Lights turn green; AS first on track
    BBC confirm VL had an engine problem, which was why he couldn’t take part in Q1
    3mins left; bottom 7 are KK, AS, BS, RB, PM, PD, SP
    PM relegates JA
    Chequered flag falls; KK pushes SB to P11 … last minutes shuffles … KK scrapes through to Q3
    Middle of the grid will be: AS, PD, PM, SB, JA, RB, SP
  3. Q3: The fight for the top 10 grid spots is between LH, SV, JB, MW, FA, FM, MS, VP, BS & KK
    FA runs wide in the Spoon curve
    FM 1:31.287
    LH 1:30.617
    (JB P2)
    (SV P3)
    (MW P4)
    2mins left; time for a final flying lap
    Chequered flag falls; MS & LH didn’t cross the line in time so they can’t set a new lap time
    (FA P4)
    SV 1:30.466
    (JB P2)
    (MW P6)
    Provisional grid: SV, JB, LH, FM, FA, MW, KK, MS, BS, VP; AS, PD, PM, SB, JA, RB, SP; HK, JT, JD, TG, DR, NR, VL.
    LH weighing in, shaking his head

Race:
Revision to the grid: RB now P13, ahead of his teammate
SV leads everyone away on the formation lap – he needs just 1 point to clinch the Drivers’ Championship again
Looks like a lot of people starting on the softer compound tyres
Grid forms up, ready for the lights to go out
01/53: JB attacking but SV defends; pushes JB onto the grass
LH takes P2 from his teammate
Radio from JB saying SV should be penalised for pushing him onto the grass
02: SV, LH, JB, FM, FA, MW, MS, PD, VP, AS, SB
Incident involving cars 1 and 4 (SV and JB) under investigation
03: SV fastest lap 1:40.120
DRS enabled
04: Replay of the start shows KK had a terrible getaway
SV f/lap 1:39.852
05/53: SV, LH, JB, FM, FA, MW, MS, PD
06: FA attacking FM … and easily past his teammate for P5
VL off track but recovers
07: Stewards say no further action in the SV/JB incident
08: Radio for FM asking about balance; engineer says “do the thing with the rear wing”??
JB attacking LH and eases past his teammate in Spoon
LH falling back into the clutches of FA
09: LH pits – right rear puncture – rejoins P11
Pit/car radio from SV asking about the gap to P2
10/53: SV pits – another set of soft (option) tyres – slow stop
11: JB pits with FA right on his tail, so FM leads for now
MW pits too
JB released still ahead of FA, with LH just behind the Ferrari
12: FM pits
BBC say Ferrari snapped off the gurneys from FM’s rear wing!
SB exits the pits – front right isn’t attached – he pulls off track just as the wheel comes off
13: JB f/lap 1:39.187
PD closing on the rear of PM for P12
14: Yellow flags removed as they’ve cleared SB’s car
SV locks his front left in the hairpin
15/53: SV, JB, FA, LH, FM, MW, VP, MS
MS passes VP for P7
16: Close battle for P12 between PM, JA and KK
Slow pit stop for BS
17: KK takes P13 from JA at the hairpin
PM pits, releasing KK
18: FM harrying LH, with MW closing on the battle for P4
19: FM using DRS to close on LH but not close enough to attack the McLaren just yet
20/53: SV, JB, FA, LH, FM, MW, MS, AS
SV pits and drops to P5 before he reaches his box
MW pits too and has to wait briefly as the team release SV
BBC confirm the Red Bull team had both sets of tyres ready before their two drivers stopped
21: JB pits – soft tyres again – rejoins ahead of SV!
SV locks up as he tries to hang onto the back of JB
22: FA and LH pit – Ferrari release FA just before LH reaches the McLaren box
Replay shows FM break his front wing against LH – 4th incident between these two in 3 races!
23: FM pits – no new nose
JB f/lap 1:38.498
SV is less than 0.7sec behind JB
24: TSN have lost the BBC commentary 🙁
Safety Car deployed – why? Debris from the LH/FM incident?
25/53[SC]: Race Control – debris on track at Turn 7 and Turn 16
Mercedes release NR almost into the side of KK
26[SC]: JB, SV, FA, MW, FM, LH, MS, VP
Half distance
27[SC]: Replay shows MS cut across MW; contact; when was that?
SC in at the end of this lap
Incident involving cars 3 and 6 (LH & FM) – no further action
JB really backing everyone up into the final turn
28: Pit-car radio from LH complaining of understeer
29: JB f/lap 1:37.576
BBC say the MS/MW incident was 3 or 4 laps before the SC period
30/53: AS attacking VP for P10
JB f/lap 1:37.527
MW closing on FA
31: JB f/lap 1:37.519
AS takes P10 from VP
TSN lose all coverage 🙁
NR passes VP too
32: JB leads SV by ~2.5sec
33: LH closing on FM
34: SV pits – medium (prime) tyres – rejoins in P11
35/53: MW pits – primes
SV has caught traffic
36: LH pits; team reset, ready for JB
SV uses DRS to pass AS
37: JB pits; rejoins comfortably ahead of SV
38: FA pits
LH attacks FM – easily past into Turn 1
FA has passed SV
40/53: MS*, JB, FA, SV, MW, LH, NR, FM, KK, SP; retirements: SB (*expected to stop again)
41: JB right on the rear wing of MS
42: MS pits; JB retakes P1; rejoins between LH and FM
SV all over the rear of FA
44: SV is pushing FA but probably won’t risk a pass
45/53: JB, FA, SV, MW, LH, MS, FM, SP, KK
Big lock up from KK into the final turn
SV gesticulates as he laps
46: AS attacking KK – takes P9 – brave move on the dirty side of the track
VP takes P11 from PD
PD struggles as VP blasts past
47: FA closes the gap to JB by 1.3sec on that lap
VP takes P10 from KK
FM closing on MS for P6
48: Pit-car radio for MW telling him not to attack SV
49: FA under 2.5sec behind JB
50/53: JB, FA, SV, MW, LH, MS, FM, SP, VP, NR; retirements: SB
FA closing the gap to ~1.5sec!
51: FA within 1sec of JB, so he’ll have DRS to help him attack JB
52: JB’s having to pick up his pace again in order to keep FA a safe distance behind
53/53: JB f/lap 1:36.568 – he’s opened the gap back to 1.8sec over FA
JB rushes up behind VL and blasts past – no time to think about it
JB takes the chequered flag – pulls over and stops -must be low on fuel
SV gets (more than) the one point he needed to become the youngest double world champion (he’s 24 years old!)

Provisional result: JB, FA, SV, MW, LH, MS, FM, SP, VP, NR; AS, PD, KK, PM, JA, BS, RB, HK, JT, TG (+2 laps), JD, DR, VL (+3 laps).
DNF: SB.

As they’re getting ready for the podium ceremony, JB asks SV “didn’t you see me at the start?” 🙂
SV – “you were behind me”
JB – “that’s how we’re racing then?”

3 Replies to “Japanese Grand Prix race weekend”

  1. The FIA fined Toro Rosso €5,000 for “unsafe pit release” when they sent Buemi out without securing the front right wheel.

  2. 2011 Drivers’ Championship

    1 S Vettel 324 = World Champion
    2 J Button 210
    3 F Alonso 202
    4 M Webber 194
    5 L Hamilton 178
    6 F Massa 90
    7 N Rosberg 63
    8 M Schumacher 60
    9 V Petrov 36
    10 N Heidfeld 34

    2011 Constructors’ Championship

    1 Red Bull 518
    2 McLaren 388
    3 Ferrari 292
    4 Mercedes 123
    5 Renault 72
    6 Force India 48
    7 Sauber 40
    8 Toro Rosso 29
    9 Williams 5
    10= Lotus 0
    10= Virgin 0
    10= Hispania 0

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