Vettel delivers in Suzuka to throw title fight wide open

7 Oct

Good Day Bad Day, Japan 12.

Good Day:

Sebastian Vettel: 8/10 S1 F1

  • What a dominant performance by, pole yesterday, fastest lap today, led every single lap and won the race to complete the grand slam. This track is Vettel’s playground, he’s been pole here for the last 4 years and it wouldn’t be a big exaggeration to suggest he could have won that race in a Robin Reliant. Of course the icing on the cake will be that Alonso crashed out on lap 1 so Fernando’s title lead is down to 4 points.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 S10 F2 #DriverOfTheDay

  • Massa may not have shone yesterday but his speed today was second to one (Vettel). Felipe had a fantastic start capitalising on he carnage at turn 1 to move up to 4th before taking advantage of Kobayashi and Button’s early pit stops to move up to 2nd, a place he held for the rest of the race to take his first podium since the 2010 Korean GP.

Kamui Kobayashi: 9/10 S3 F3 #DriverOfTheDay

  • There is a little bit of Kamui’s brain that switches on when he races in Japan and when it’s switched on Kamui turns into one of the best drivers on the grid. Kamui put in a fantastic performance yesterday to qualify 3rd but a quick and consistent performance today paid dividends as Kobayashi has claimed his 1st podium, the first Japanese podium in Japan. Great timing for Kamui but I doubt he’ll be in F1 next season unless he can perform like this on a regular basis.

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 S9 F5

  • It wasn’t the greatest performance by Hamilton finishing 21 seconds behind Button who finished 4th, but due to Alonso’s turn 1 retirement Lewis is now back to being one of the major candidates for the championship.

Nico Hulkenburg: 8/10 S15 F7

  • With the season end drawing near and still chances of Hulk moving to Ferrari the timing of this great result could have only been made better by Massa struggling at the same time. Nico had a great start moving up 7 places to 8th and was lapping quicker than Hamilton before he pitted, even better for the German is the knowledge that Di Resta’s performance was at best average in comparison.

Bad Day:

Romain Grosjean: 3/10 S4 F ret.

  • After being banned from racing in Monza Grosjean knew he needed to improve his percentage of completing the first lap. This time he collided with Webber ruining both of their race and I imagine making a trip to the stewards office inevitable.

Sergio Perez: 7/10 S5 F ret.

  • Perez had been having a fantastic race before his retirement on lap 18, he was outperforming Hamilton (the man he’ll replace at McLaren), but a poor pit stop left him back behind Hamilton before Perez pushed too hard going into the hairpin and spun off.

Fernando Alonso: 6/10 S6 F ret.

  • Alonso must have been hoping to pick up a podium finish today so that he could reduce how much Vettel reduces his lead by but a puncture caused by Raikkonen left Alonso beached and unable to carry on leaving his championship lead destroyed down to 4 points. Just to add salt in the wounds the car was clearly quick around the circuit as proved by Massa and so if Alonso hadn’t retired he could have challenged for 1st place. Ferrari are going to need to give Alonso a better car if he is still to win the championship.

 

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