There we go then, not the most exciting race of the year really; it does make the race for the chase for the cup for the win a bit more interesting though.
It’s been a long time since Vettel nailed the pole, won the race and got the fastest lap. The last time he did it in India last year, the year he won the championship you’ll remember, after stealing it from under the nose of Alonso the year before, don’t forget.
There seems to be a sort of momentum building for the Redbull driver, The Ferrari development team seems to have hit a bit of brick wall whilst the lads and lasses in Milton Keynes have a whole new body shell ready for the Korean GP next weekend. They have a sniff of the title and are going for it body and soul. Whilst the McLaren team got bogged down in who was signing for whom, took their eyes off the prize and are now looking at saving a season going for the constructor title.
The race wasn’t that interesting really; with lots of follow my leader and not being close enough to make a move type racing. Alonso got punted off the circuit at the first corner when Button squeezed him into Kimi, who dropped back and tagged the unfortunate Ferrari driver. Lady luck looks to have left the Italian hospitality bar and is heading up the hill towards here new favourites at Redbull.
Meanwhile Grosjean pretty much got himself a two race ban when he slammed into the back of Webber whilst watching Perez. Webber was able to restart, but I suspect this will be the end of Grosjean’s F1 career. Unless he has a whole shed load of cash for one of the backmarker teams of course.
Hamilton who had made the classic mistake of signing for a new team before he’d won the championship with his old team. Went backwards with the set up on Saturday after dominating on Friday and only qualified ninth, from where he wasn’t going to get much out of the race with a car that wasn’t going where he wanted it to. First Perez had a bit of fun getting past him, before getting it wrong the second time round and spinning out of the race.
Then we had a flash of the old Lewis when he exited the pits along Kimi into turn one. It looked for a second as if The Lotus driver had done enough to stay ahead of the McLaren, but Hamilton kept his foot in and muscled his way past Kimi to take the fifth spot. Proper old school driving at its best.
And that was it for highlights. Jenson almost, but not quite caught Kobayashi for third as the race ran out. The suggestion that the McLaren lads don’t really have the heart for the rest of the season is a difficult one to shake. Realistically they’re both out of the title hunt, if they weren’t Button would have had another “gearbox issue” and let Hamilton though. But the team wants points for the constructors now and isn’t going to risk upsetting Jenson for a driver who’s off to pastures more silver and green next year.
Vettel and the finger of win claim back to back wins, and more to within four points of Alonso’s lead. Can you see him not winning the championship now ... no me neither.
Massa makes a rare appearance on the podium with a very creditable second place. He got there on merit and you can’t take anything away from him here. It looks like his seat for 2013 at Ferrari is secure and that’s made him a happy bunny.
Kobayashi makes his first podium finish at his home GP, much to the delight of the home support. Jenson kept him honest at the end, but I think the likable Japanese chap and the Sauber team had it pretty much covered. He was miles behind Massa and never looked like taking the fight to Vettel, but that wasn’t his race today. The rumours are that Sauber are looking around for two new drivers next year after Koby has been less than stella this year. This third place might just change their minds.
Jenson was forth for a day the McLaren would like to forget. He had gearbox issue in the first third of the race and was lucky to get to the end. He made a fist of chasing Koby down, but didn’t look like getting there without the Sauber driver making a few big mistakes. The much vaunted “I’ll help Lewis win the title if I can” stopped at giving up his fourth spot you will notice.
Hamilton was fifth, after telling everyone he wasn’t expecting to win a championship in the Mercedes next year, and nor will he win his last one in a McLaren.
Raikkonen was sixth in a lotus that has defiantly gone off the boil.
Hulkenberg puts the disappointment of not even being asked if he wanted to talk about starting contract negotiation with McLaren behind him and makes a case for getting the vacant Sauber seat, is seventh.
Maldonado was eighth with a quite race.
Webber after being punted off by the prize idiot Grosjean, was ninth and can kiss his title chance away as well.
Finally Ricciardo did enough to keep Schumacher getting the last points at his last Japanese GP.
Schumacher who had suddenly realised on Friday that the music had stopped and the other players were sitting down watching him. Then the Sauber team told him that their chair was being saved for someone else and that he was now free to go and help himself to the snacks at the side of the hall and wait for the goody bag at the end of the evening. I'm still not sure what he was expecting to happen when he came back to F1 three years ago, but I doubt a couple of podiums and a lot of walking back to explain why he driven into the back of yet another car, figured in his plans.
Some people still think the sun shines out of his backside. I don’t and i never did. I’ll respect what he did, seven world titles is not to be sniffed at. But I lost all respect for the man when he tried to drive Ruben into the Hungarian pit wall. The same as I lost all respect for Senna when he drove into Prost to win his championship. A driver making mistakes and just not concentrating is one thing; deliberately trying to drive another car off the road is another.
So then Grosjean almost salvaged something for you by being dead last, but he couldn't even manage that, so the HRT of Pedro De La Rosa takes the honors and the five points.
Right, the Korean “drive around a soggy looking waste land next to a river that no one in their right minds would ever go near “ GP is next. And I think you be a fool to bet on anyone other than Vettel for the win. Unless McLaren get it right this time or Ferrari pull a new car out of their backsides.