Thursday, 11 October 2012

Japanese GP - The Race

Beautiful Suzuka - if only Vettel didn't keep winning there!

So this week I thought I’d try something completely different. I might just skip a race blog and see if anyone noticed. As I’ve not been deluged with emails or tweets, its safe to say I don’t think anyone did. Well unless you count the husband who casually asked me in a not-really-bothered tone of voice the other day whether I was going to write a blog on the Japanese Grand Prix. I think this might have been a diversionary tactic on his part to take me away from perusing dozens of websites featuring boots. He figures I can do much less damage when blogging than I can to his credit card when checking out boots. In his Man World, people have a need for one pair of boots and any extra boots constitute a ‘non-essential’ item of expenditure.

The 2 year old - the next speed demon in the family!

But I digress. As ever. And actually you know what, of course I didn’t really take a conscious decision not to do a blog but somehow it just didn’t happen this weekend, or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday. It is now Thursday and, to my alarm, the F1 rat pack have already all rocked up in South Korea for the next Grand Prix race. So profuse apologies all round. I’m going to jointly blame the just turned 2 year old for her two days of festivities (!) to mark her birthday and also Michael Schumacher for retiring and making me write an emergency blog.

Just to recap, the top ten qualifiers were:

1. Vettel           2. Webber
3. Kobayashi    4. Grosjean
5. Perez           6. Alonso
7. Raikkonen    8. Button
9. Hamilton      10. Massa

So what went down in Suzuka?

Its a two horse race now for the title - between this man and Fernando Alonso. Probably.

1.    Vettel took pole. Vettel won the race. By over 20 seconds! This *may* have dissuaded me from moving heaven and earth to sit down and watch the recorded race.

2.     In a Potential Turning Point in the Title Race, Alonso crashed out on the first lap. As he duelled with Raikkonen down the opening straight, there was contact and Alonso sustained a puncture. Race over. His nil points and Vettel’s boring dominant win means that Alonso’s championship lead has been cut to a miniscule FOUR POINTS.  Please don’t say after such a brilliantly exciting and unpredictable season that Vettel is going to win the title for the 3rd year in the row.

Andrea de Cesaris - not called Crasheris for nothing

3.     Grosjean has been at it again. He is racking up enemies in the F1 paddock like a modern day Andrea de Cesaris. This time, his poor hapless victim was Mark Webber. Grosjean just ploughed into the back of Webber on turn two on the first lap and poor old Mark was only able to end up finishing in a dismal 9th place. Title chances well and truly over. This was Grosjean’s SEVENTH first lap crash of the season. In some ways, that is almost impressive but in most other ways it is very bad and his antics are making a lot of his fellow drivers extremely cross. To quote Jenson Button, one of the more measured and sanguine F1 drivers:

"Unbelievable isn't it? Is it for Formula One to do something about it? Or should he just take a good look at himself and sort his shit out, because that what he needs to do…He's quick, he's very talented in terms of speed and results. But you can't do that. We saw it a lot in GP2 with him. He'd either win or crash and it seems he has the same philosophy and he needs to change his views."

Someone needs to have a word. Is anyone from Lotus on the case? They’re keeping very schtum on the subject.

All hail Kamui - hero of Suzuka!

4.     Kobayashi held off Jenson Button for a brilliant 3rd place, at his home Grand Prix. After all the appalling luck Sauber have had this year, that’s a great story!

5.     Vettel and Kamui were joined on the podium by the unlikely figure of Felipe Massa. It is Massa’s first podium in two years which given Alonso is fighting for the championship is pretty piss poor. Still I like Felipe and actually am not gunning for him to be ousted by the distinctly mediocre and most un-Ferrari like options of Nico Hulkenberg or (shudder) Paul Di Resta. We’ve had 13 different drivers on the podium this season and we still have 5 races to go. There’s still time for Narain to make it!

6.     Never one to miss out on a spat (I swear he would cause a fight in an empty room), Lewis took umbrage with Perez’s rather tenacious and feisty driving. Perez had the temerity to pass Lewis (and yes, Lewis, he did catch you dozing!) on lap 6. He tried a similar manoeuvre on Lewis a few laps later, misjudged the angle, went wide and stuffed his race. It was fun while it lasted and just think, Sergio, next year you’ll have a much better car than Lewis to drive!

Moss and Fangio. Best partnership ever?

7.     And what of Lewis’s new team that will definitely deliver Lewis a world title. So we’re told. Rosberg spun on lap 1 after being hit by Bruno Senna and Schumacher finished <scrolls down list of results for an eternity> in 11th place. Despite being all over the back of Daniel Ricciardo for several laps, Schuey just couldn’t find a way past. I feel this says more about the state of the Mercedes car than it does about Michael Schumacher. Despite the crushing loss of Schuey in Formula 1 next year, I’m strangely fascinated to see how Lewis Hamilton will fare and indeed cope at Mercedes. I’m saying nothing more for now except to say that the Legendary Sir Stirling Moss agrees with me that Lewis’ move to Mercedes might not have been the cleverest. And this coming from a man who drove for the Silver Arrows with Fangio. Was that not THE best driver line-up ever?!

8.     A blog wouldn’t be a blog without reporting on Narain Karthikeyan’s race day experience. For those who are desperate to know (!) he retired with ‘vibrations’ on lap 34. Has Narain been confirmed in the HRT seat for 2013? It would not be a sensible move to announce a driver switch just before the Indian GP in just over 2 weeks time.

9.     The other mobile chicane of F1 (or the Next Senna if you’re the husband, ie. clinically insane), Pastor Maldonaldo, finished in 8th spot. Not mind-blowingly brilliant but his first points since he won the Spanish GP back in May. The husband will be pleased.

10.  And finally just time to bring you news of Lewis’ latest Twitter spat. This time with lovely, smiley Jenson Button. He publicly accused Jenson of disrespect for ‘unfollowing’ him on Twitter when it turns out that Button had never followed him in the first place! Ironically, Lewis might have a right to feel snubbed that Jenson never followed him at all (yes they see each other every day but the husband and me follow each other and indeed often choose to communicate on Twitter while in the same room!!). But he is a fragile flower and a bit of a daft sod for playing it all out in public. But please don’t stop tweeting, Lewis. You are Twitter gold! Modern day sports stars with a personality are a rare and dying breed.

Be afraid, be very afraid. Eddie Jordan is back for the Korean GP!

There endeth my quick canter through Suzuka. Round 17 beckons in South Korea. Fantabulously, Psy who gave the world ‘Gangnam Style’ (over 400 million hits on You Tube and counting!), will be a promotional ambassador at the Korean Grand Prix. I fear an Eddie Jordan classic moment coming on. Run for your lives!

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