Tag Archives: Suzuka

Driver Ratings, Japan. Pt.4 Toro Rosso, Virgin and Williams

14 Oct

Sebastian Buemi 6/10 Q15 F ret.

Was driving a decent race before the tyre became loose on lap 11 forcing him to retire.

Jaime Alguersuari 6/10 Q16 F15

Nothing amazing all weekend, but then again the car wasn’t up to anything around Suzuka so it shouldn’t affect the battle for the Toro Rosso seats next year.

Timo Glock 5/10 Q21 F20

You could drive your socks off in a Virgin and still finish at the back which makes judging Timo difficult. Although he is one of the best drivers on the grid he isn’t helping the car improve enough to catch up with the lotuses.

Jerome D’Ambrosio 5/10 Q20 F21

Was he fastest of the ‘new’ teams through the speed gun during qualifying which helped him out qualify team mate, Glock. The speed just wasn’t there in the race though finishing 2 laps behind Button and behind Glock.

Rubens Barrichello 6/10 Q13 F17

Williams’ dismal run continues and evidently the race pace just isn’t there, early on in the race he was running in 14th but he was just going backwards and eventually finished 17th.

Pastor Maldonado 7/10 Q14 F14

Was much quicker through the speed gun during qualifying than the other Williams and Pastor’s race pace was much better finishing up in 14th.

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Driver Ratings, Japan. Pt.3 Renault, Red Bull and Sauber

13 Oct

Vitaly Petrov 5/10 Q10 F9

Despite setting the pace early on in the season Renault are starting to struggle, it was a disappointing qualifying not even going out in Q3 but there wasn’t a dramatic improvement in the race trundling home to 9th.

Bruno Senna 2/10 Q9 F16

May not be in the car to beat at the moment but to drop 7 places in the race is a disappointing performance for young Brazilian. Despite this he is one of the young guys to watch and will be fighting for a drive seat next season.

Sebastian Vettel 8/10 Q1 F3

May not have the raw ability of Schumacher but he has the brain of Prost, managing all that was needed. Some say he may win more than Schumacher’s 7 but we need to see how Red Bull cope with the major rule changes around the corner.

Mark Webber 7/10 Q6 F4

Starting to drop back compared to his team mate and may not have many seasons left in him, his 6th in qualifying was a bit of an insult to the speed of the car, on the positive side he had a good start as far as he’s concerned not losing any places.

Kamui Kobayashi 6/10 Q7 F13

Lit up the Japanese Fan’s faces when he was fastest in Q1 and qualified for Q3, but couldn’t keep it going and a poor start gave us signs of what was to come. Unlike last year he wasn’t the exciting overtaker and the hairpin this year was overtake free.

Sergio Perez 9/10 Q17 F8 Driver of the Day

Went up 9 places throughout the race an achievement  even his team mate would find a hard feat. I for one think he’s been the rookie of the season so far.

Driver Ratings, Japan. Pt.2 Lotus, McLaren and Mercedes

12 Oct

Heikki Kovalainen 6/10 Q18 F18

The gap is closing between the midfield teams and Lotus and Heikki proved it racing Bruno Senna and Rubens Barrichello at points during the race.

Jarno Trulli 5/10 Q19 F19

Still can’t beat team mate in qualifying and it’s the same during the race, next year may be Jarno’s last at Lotus.

Lewis Hamilton 6/10 Q3 F5

Another race another incident involving Massa, this time Lewis just turned in on Massa knocking a piece off Massa’s front wing and calling out the safety car. Lewis though was running good pace during the end of the race and was almost on pole.

Jenson Button 9/10 Q2 F1

Amazing concentration shown by Jenson as he held off a rapidly chasing Fernando Alonso at the end and was constantly putting fastest lap. This race was Jenson’s first win with McLaren where the conditions of the track haven’t changed during the race.

Michael Schumacher  7/10 Q8 F6

One of Michael’s best races for a long time, leading a whole lap (the first since 2006) and completing a top 6 of former world champions to take home 8 points. Most importantly to Michael that’s 7 more than Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg 7/10 Q24 F10

Unlucky to suffer a hydraulics problem during qualifying but was quick enough during the race to move up 14 places to finish a comfortable 10th.

Driver Ratings, Japan. Pt.1 Ferrari, Force India and Hispania

11 Oct

Fernando Alonso 8/10 Q5 F2

Weak in qualifying only managing 5th, but drove a solid race to finish 2nd and had he started his charge earlier could have battled for first at the very end.

Felipe Massa 5/10 Q4 F7

I’m not sure what Massa did pre season but it looks like he must have entered a mirror smashing contest he’s had that much bad luck. Another collision with Hamilton and a bad strategy let him down. On the positive side he did beat team mate Alonso in qualifying.

Adrian Sutil 6/10 Q11 F11

So close yet so far. Not as impressive in qualifying as he has been of late but really challenged in the race taking part in a 5 way battle for 9th.

Paul Di Resta 5/10 Q12 F12

Had an astonishing start going up to 8th but a few mistakes brought him back to earth and he finished a lackluster 12th to make sure the battle between Sauber and Force India gets closer.

Vitantonio Liuzzi 1/10 Q24 F23

Didn’t go out in qualifying but it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway he’d have still started 24th, and after less than 10 laps was quite simply in a race of his own.

Daniel Ricciardo 2/10 Q22 F22

Being in a HRT isn’t a good place to be at the moment it’s so unbelievably slow. Despite this it was a good performance by Daniel to beat team mate Liuzzi during the race, again.

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Japan

8 Oct

Winners

McLaren: Really took the fight to Vettel in qualifying with both Button and Hamilton dominating sessions until Q3 came and in a last minute attempt Vettel took pole. Button was fastest in all the practise sessions and Hamilton was fastest in Q2 and came so close to taking pole in Q3.

Kamui Kobayashi: Phenomenal laps by the native to take the fastest in Q1 and to make it to Q3, somehow he always performs at his best in front on his home crowd, it’s just a shame he didn’t set a lap in Q3.

Felipe Massa: In a year when everything appears to be going wrong Massa had a good qualifying to start higher than Alonso for the 3rd in the second half of this season.

Losers

Michael Schumacher, Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna and Kamui Kobayashi: Yes you may want as many sets of options as possible for the race but it’s still not the right thing to do not going out in Q3.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez: All suffered problems with their car which left them out of qualifying, Rosberg and Perez with hydraulic problems and Liuzzi with a problem with his engine. This means we have drivers like Perez and Rosberg starting from near the back and making overtaking manoeuvres.

Toro Rosso: Were looking good in practise never dropping below 12th in practise and then managed to mess it up in qualifying starting 15th and 16th. Despite this they still look good, they have an extra set of options and have been recorded going fast through the speed trap.

Kamui Kobayashi at the 2010 Japanese GP

My favourite corners of the 2011 tracks.

6 Aug

Sakhir (Bahrain):

Turn 14, the braking point is very important as if you get your foot on the accelerator too late and you won’t have the speed on the longest straight of the track. Not many other interesting corners except for turn 1 where the line is important as it will affect your speed between corners 3 and 4.

Melbourne (Australia):

It’s between two. Turn 3, the car comes into it at 275KM/H and has to be brought down perfectly to 105KM/H, otherwise the car will go off and probably end up skipping turn 4, which will not only get you an inquiry from the stewards, but also ruin your floor as the speed bumps there have done in the past. Also, Turn 12, not a normal choice I know but as the tracks so wide it’s very easy to not brake enough, also it’s important  to hit the kerb as otherwise you’ll lose a lot of time.

Sepang (Malaysia):

The turn 1/2 complex, it’s an amazing curving line that goes 180 degrees right then almost 180 degrees left, it’s a very important corner on all laps as varying from the racing line could leave you in the wall. On the lap 1 the corner is especially important as it’s after quite a long run up and then having to get through a tight corner so it’s where drivers are fighting for position and risking going wide to get a better line thought turn 2.

Shanghai (China):

Has a very similar start to Malaysia but has 4 corners in it rather than 2. My favourite corner though is turn 14 as it’s where the overtaking usually happens especially with DRS, the corner is quite wide as well so it’s possible to overtake on the inside or the outside or equally likely you can brake too late and run wide off the track.

Istanbul (Turkey):

Only 1 corner is worthy of the title, the legendary triple apex turn 8, even Sebastian Vettel crashed there in practise this year. The corner is especially tricky as if you miss an apex or the racing line then you lose a lot of time, the corner is also -after the first apex- taken without braking again which means the driver will suffer a huge amount of G-Force which increases the drivers likelihood  of making a mistake.

Barcelona (Spain):

Again it’s between two corners, turn 1 and turn 10. Turn 1, a place where overtaking happened this year, mainly due to the DRS and tyres but also chosen for the way the track then starts to go uphill, also it is amazing on the first lap due to the massive run up to the corner which is how Alonso managed such a good start at the race this year. Turn 10, it’s after another long straight and yet again is going uphill, the corner is also a place that if you risk it enough you can gain time.

Monaco (Monaco):

Turn 6, such an iconic corner that is the slowest corner in the season and requires it’s own special gear ratios, not usually a point for overtaking although this year Schumacher overtook Hamilton at it.

Montreal (Canada):

Turn 11, it’s the make or break corner it’s between the two longest straights on the track and the wrong line means a slower speed on the longest straight which will let drivers past especially if they use DRS.

Valencia (Europe):

Not many great corners at this track but turn 8 is a picturesque corner with the bridge coming into view, isn’t so important from a race point of view but offers a great oppertunity for the cameramen. Did you know that during the race weekend the bridge is opened every evening to allow boats in and out.

Silverstone (Great Britain):

Turn 1 (Abbey), A great first corner which can produce an amazing spectacle with the drivers all fighting to overtake and get the better line through turn 2. Having said this almost any corner could be chosen as all have such a history and provide excitement as the high speeds needed to put in a good lap you’d think are mad with between corners 9 and 15 the car doesn’t go below 200KM/H.

Nurburgring (Germany):

My favourite track this season with some amazing corners, my favourite of which is the turn 8/9 complex as it is two followthroughs going left then right where taking your foot off the pedal would be useless the corner is also great for the way that the car has just come out of the slow hairpin and then hits the high speeds as the driver has to get over the feeling of expecting to hit the walls.

Hungaroring (Hungary):

Turn 5, I know it’s an unconventional choice but in the build up to the recent grand prix I did some laps of it on F1 2009 for Wii and when I went in tutorial mode on the track it was the only corner where the guy who speaks said I did amazing at and didn’t say that I was too slow or needed to stay on the track. If it weren’t for that it would be turn two as it was so devastating to the drivers in the rain with both Ferrari’s and Vettel as well as a few others going off there.

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium):

The corner to watch this year will be turn 5 as I’m expecting (just a guess) that the DRS will be on the straight going up to it, this could make overtaking interesting as turns 5 and 6 are quite narrow and are likely just going to be the drivers confirming their overtaking as the straights long enough for the driver to fully overtake. Favorite normally though would have to be Eau Rouge as despite being made easier in recent years is still a corner that would make your heart thud.

Monza (Italy):

Lesmo 1 mainly because of the Wii again as it’s a corner where I am surprisingly quick. Favorite non-Wii corner though would be Parabolica it’s the best named corner ever as the name parabolica just conjures up an amazing image, as well as that it’s important as it leads up to the longest straight on the track and I suspect that straight will be the DRS one.

Singapore (Singapore):

The chicane of turn 10, it’s a corner which if done well looks amazing and if done badly makes you look an idiot and badly damages the underside of the car as Jaime Aguersuari will testify (I think it was him who came off last year in one of the practices) it’s also a very tight chicane which makes it harder.

Suzuka (Japan):

So many great corners, turns 3,4,5 and 6 are an amazing spectacle with the even numbered ones being the ones you brake into, Degner 2 or crossover (turn 9) an amazingly important corner where braking point is vital, as Hamilton proved last year, turn 11 now making the grade after Kobayashi’s antics their last year overtaking almost everyone there, turns 13 or 14 or the legendary  Spoon corner which tests both car and driver as the exit it vital to a good run along the longest straight (most likely a double DRS with both straights at the entry and exit to turn 15 -or 130R-). Turn 15 is also a great corner in it’s own right as if you turn the steering wheel as either just the wrong time or at the wrong angle can see you seeing wall rapidly advancing on you and finally the title deciding 16,17,18 or Casio Triangle where Prost won the 1989 championship by taking both himself and Senna off the track just for Senna to carry on and get disqualified.

Yeongam (South Korea):

This year it’s going to have to be turn 3 already a very tricky corner that I expect will have a DRS zone going into it and maybe another going out of it, so it’s going to be an important corner for every driver as drivers will take their battles for position to it.

Jaypee Group Circuit (India):

Having had no race previously I’m just going to go on where I expect overtaking to take place and envisage it being turn 4 as it comes after the longest straight (likely DRS zone) and before another straight so line through the corner will be vital as well as a bad run off it could see a driver losing the place he’s just taken from the DRS on the next straight .

Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi):

Turn 1 (from a pitlane point of view), when the Abu Dhabi track was constructed many people commented on the way the pitlane went under the track, it’s a stupid idea really as there would be nothing wrong with ending the pitlane on the outside of turn 1, instead we end up with a difficult corner which is too narrow in a place where no one should crash and if someone did the race would have to be black flagged.

Interlagos (Brazil):

Turn 1, there’s something majestic about the way the corner just goes downhill and the overtaking opportunities there will be on lap 1 as it’s a place where you can overtake. Also, it’s named after the great Ayrton Senna which has to make the corner better.