Korean Grand Prix

We were up in Ottawa over the weekend so I didn’t get to see any of the race weekend until now. Given everyone else saw it days ago, I’m just going to post the highlights.

Tyre compounds for Korea: prime = soft (yellow band); options = super-soft (red)

My GridBids picks: MS, JB, MW, FA, NR, LH, VP, BS & DR. (Yes, I picked MS!)

Practice

  • FP1: LH fastest (1:39.148) followed by FA, MW, FM, SV, MS
  • FP2: SP loses drive & parks off track; SV fastest (1:38.832) followed by MW, FA, JB, MS, FM, NR, LH
  • FP3: CP uses 9th engine = 10 grid-spot penalty; SV fastest again (1:37.642) followed by LH, JB, RG, KR, FA, MW, FM, PM, NH

Qualifying

  • Q1: Back of the grid = BS, VP, HK, CP*, TG, PRo, NK (*penalty to be applied); everyone inside 107% time; LH squeaked through in P17, thanks to a mistake by BS
  • Q2: DR parks his Toro Rosso; yellow flags could ruin some quick laps. Middle of the grid = JB(!), SP, KK, PRe, PM, DR, JV
  • Q3: MW makes it Red Bull’s 200th pole position – front of the grid = MW, SV, LH, FA, KR, FM, RG, NH, NR, MS

Race
Grid: MW, SV, LH, FA, KR, FM, RG, NH, NR, MS, JB, SP, KK, PRe, PM, JV, BS, VP, HK, TG, DR*, NK, CP*
*Penalties: DR for a gearbox change; CP for a new engine
Top 5 of the Drivers’ Championship table are the first 5 on the grid

JB is starting on primes, as is SP
MW leads everyone away on the formation lap
Radio for SV suggests the Red Bull’s engine temperature may be a little high
Grid re-forms

01/55: Bit of a slow start for MW
SV leads through Turn 1
MW & SV battle through Turn 2 and T3
Radio from JB – describes KK as an idiot
Replay shows KK blasted through JB under braking – yes, he’s an idiot

02: SV, MW, FA, LH, FM, KR, NH, RG, SP, MS
JB standing beside his stranded McLaren, presumably waking for KK to come by
KK in the pits – long stop
NR is out too – didn’t see why

03: DRS enabled
SV fastest lap 1:46.474
Is NR still sitting in his parked Mercedes? Is he OK?
Replay shows a fair start for SV who firmly takes P1 from his teammate into Turn 1

04: Replay shows SP made contact with JB before his teammate (KK) clouted the McLaren

05/55: SV f/lap 1:46.330
SV, MW, FA, LH, FM, KR, NH, RG, SP, MS; retirements: NR, JB

06: Radio from DR complaining of losing time behind his teammate (JV)

07: SV f/lap 1:46.083

08: SV f/lap 1:45.959
Drive-through penalty for KK … but he’s already P22/last, so what’s the penalty?
KK serves his penalty

09: Still yellow flags around NR’s car – looks like the marshals are finally trying to move it
JV takes P12 from BS

10/55: DRS enabled again, which means NR’s Mercedes is finally cleared from the DRS zone

11: MW f/lap 1:45.623
BBC interview JB – clearly unhappy at the Sauber drivers (SP & KK)

12: SV f/lap 1:45.543 – he’s opened a 2.3sec lead over MW
PRe battling MS for P10; MS pushes PRe wide to retain P10

13: SV f/lap 1:45.439

14: LH pits from P4; NH, RG pit too, as do MS & JV

15/55: MW pits from P2, followed by FM and KR

16: SV pits from P1, as does FA
LH f/lap 1:45.389
FA rejoins alongside SP; close battle but FA gets ahead
LH attacking SP; takes a couple of looks before finally passing the Sauber

17: FM f/lap 1:45.097

18: SV f/lap 1:44.307
KK pushed into the garage
PRo is in his garage too

19: SP pits
Only PM and NK yet to pit

20/55: SV, MW, FA, LH, FM, KR, NH, RG, PM, DR; retirements: PRo, KK, NR, JB

21: FM makes an easy pass on LH to take P4

22: Radio for FM encouraging him to pull away from LH because they suspect LH’s lack of performance is temporary due to graining

23: Radio from LH asks “what is the problem?”; engineer says it’s mechanical
KR attacking LH but the McLaren stays ahead

24: KR continues harrying LH and eventually takes P5
LH fights back and reclaims P5

25/55: SV, MW, FA, FM, LH, KR, NH, RG, DR, MS; retirements: PRo, KK, NR, JB
KR still tucked up behind LH

26: SV f/lap 1:44.110
JV passes MS for P10
LH continues to defend P5 from KR

27: SV f/lap 1:43.948
LH pits; slow right-front; takes on primes

28: Radio for SV reminding him to look after his tyres
SV has 8.9sec lead over teammate MW, who is 1.8secs ahead of FA
Radio from LH saying the car is “getting very nervous”

29: MW f/lap 1:43.761
RG closing on NH for P6
Radio for LH saying Plan B

30/55: SV, MW, FA, FM, KR, NH, RG, LH, DR, JV; retirements: PRo, KK, NR, JB
FM f/lap 1:43.718

32: RG pits
PRe takes P14 from PM

33: MW pits from P2; primes; rejoins P4
NH pits, as do MS & BS
NH rejoins ahead of RG but the Lotus attacks and takes P9

34: RG f/lap 1:43.593
SP pits

35/55: HK pits … but goes off
FA pits from P2; rejoins alongside TG
MW f/lap 1:43.567
Replay of a big lock-up for SV in Turn 1
Radio for SV = “box, box, box”

36: SV pits; primes
MW f/lap 1:43.457
FM pits too; also takes primes
KR pits
SP f/lap 1:43.054
PRe looks around the outside of MS but the Mercedes holds P11

37: SP closing on PRe

38: SV f/lap 1:42.644
Radio for SV telling him not to worry about MW
PRe has another run at MS and this time takes P11

39: Radio for FM telling him he’s too close to FA
JV pits – that’ll be a relief for LH
SP looks down the inside of MS but MS slams the door shut

40/55: SV, MW, FA, FM, KR, LH, RG, NH, DR, JV; retirements: PRo, KK, NR, JB
RG all over the rear of LH
RG tries to go round the outside – LH runs him wide
NH passes RG and immediately attacks LH
NH takes P6 from the McLaren
Radio for LH – they have to pit again

41: Everyone down to and including SP (P13) has made 2 stops

42: RG looks for a way around LH

43: Radio for SV warning him again about wear on his front-right
LH pits; options; rejoins way down behind JV (P10)

44: BBC report FM has been on the radio saying he could go faster than his teammate

45/55: SV, MW, FA, FM, KR, NH, RG, DR, JV, LH; retirements: PRo, KK, NR, JB
MW is 9.9sec behind SV
Radio for MW reminding him about his front-right too
FA is 4.2secs behind MW, so the Red Bull still needs to push on

46: LH is close enough to JV to be able to use DRS

47: Radio for SV with more detail instructions about where he has to protect his tyres
LH still all over the rear of JV – he’s fastest through the speed trap but LH is quicker through the corners

49: FA f/lap 1:42.500
FM f/lap 1:42.242
Radio from SV saying he’s looking after his tyres but his engineer says it’s not enough
Cars are kicking up the fake turf

50/55: SV, MW, FA, FM, KR, NH, RG, DR, JV, LH; retirements: PRo, KK, NR, JB

51: LH locks up his front-right as he continues to harry JV; they’re both closing on DR

52: Radio for SV warning him that his front-right tyre is down to the core, so anything could happen under braking
SV has a 9.2sec lead over MW
JV makes an easy pass on his teammate; now DR has to hold off LH

53: Radio for SV says his tyre could let go without any warning
LH has caught some of the fake grass on his right side-pod – that’s disgraceful – hopefully the circuit will get a massive penalty

54: LH is falling back from DR as the astro-turf flaps around
Radio for SV – “sorry to be on your case” but the pit wall is clearly very concerned about his tyres

55/55 = final lap: MW f/lap 1:42.037 meanwhile his teammate is tip-toeing around

SV takes the chequered flag
MW easily home for P2
FA, FM, KR, NH, RG, JV, DR
LH squeaks through in P10 with SP 0.3sec behind him

Provisional result: SV, MW, FA, FM, KR, NH, RG, JV, DR, LH; SP, PRe, MS, PM, BS, VP, HK, TG, CP, NK.
DNF: PRo, KK, NR, JB

There aren’t any outstanding investigations but the stewards should re-think the ineffective penalty they gave KK, but also how to punish the circuit for ruining LH’s chances of attacking DR.

BBC interview LH – apparently there was a suspension failure in his first stint but the team decided it was safe to continue racing
Sam Michael confirmed it was the rear anti-roll bar; completely different problem from Japan

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