A fearsome duel between the two Red Bull drivers dominates the Team Mate Battles for Japan, but who gets the points? From Marussia to Mercedes, let’s compare the team-mates.
1 point is awarded to the driver who sets the faster lap.
3 points are awarded to the driver who performs best in qualifying.
5 points are awarded to the driver who performs best on raceday.
Jules Bianchi had a weekend that was destined to go wrong from start to finish. Entering the event with a grid penalty had him on the back foot from the minute the weekend began, but any chance he had of setting a good time in qualifying was scuppered when the red flag was thrown in Q1. As Marussia had opted to concentrate on raceday, Jules was only given one set of new option tyres for Q1, and had his lap ruined by the red flag. Due to this, Max outqualified Jules.
The race was over before it started for the Frenchman, with both himself and Van Der Garde spearing straight off at Turn 1. Interestingly, the FIA statement post race about the incident attributed the actions of Chilton & Van Der Garde for the crash, although neither were punished. Max himself showed a decent turn of pace on Saturday to outqualify both Caterhams, but was left as the only competition to Charles Pic following the Lap 1 crash. Pic & Chilton swapped places regularly at the back, but it was Chilton who gained the upper hand…until Lap 46, when he ran wide struggling with his tyres, and allowed Pic through.
Fastest lap: Max Chilton (10-5 to Jules Bianchi)
Qualifying: Max Chilton (39-6 to Jules Bianchi)
Race: Max Chilton (62.5 – 12.5 to Jules Bianchi)
Marussia: 111.5 – 23.5 to Jules Bianchi
Both drivers complained that they couldn’t get as much as they wanted from their cars after Saturday qualifying, with both feeling that the red flag stymied them. Pic said that he lost out on a lap 0.4 seconds faster than his best due to hitting traffic on his final run, a time that would have moved him ahead of Max Chilton in Q1, while Van Der Garde said that his ‘tyres were gone’ following the red flag.
Van Der Garde went straight out of the race at Turn 1, by running into the back of Jules Bianchi, eliminating them both straight away, but wasn’t found to be at fault for the collision. In a racing series that seemingly must always find someone to blame for racing incidents nowadays, Van Der Garde’s case must have been rock solid for the Dutchman to have escaped without reprimand at least.
Pic’s drive through penalty on Lap 1 ultimately didn’t have any real effect on his result, as he finished ahead of Chilton, which was pretty much all he could have hoped for.
Fastest lap: Charles Pic (10-5 to Charles Pic)
Qualifying: Charles Pic (30-15 to Charles Pic)
Race: Charles Pic (55-20 to Charles Pic)
Caterham: 95 – 40 to Charles Pic
With brake problems eliminating both cars in Korea, it was interesting to find out that the cause of Vergne’s fire during Q1 wasalso due to a brake problem. As the Frenchman said following another disastrous qualifying session ‘All this bad luck? I just hope that I have used up all my share of it for next year too.’
His luck didn’t change much on Sunday, as he failed to gain ground at the start, and following an early stop which went slower than expected, he found himself caught in traffic. One of the few drivers to attempt a three stop strategy, due to having so many tyres left after qualifying, Vergne made some good overtakes during the race but ultimately couldn’t make many inroads into a points finish.
Daniel fared slightly better, gaining two positions at the start, and working his way up to 4th on the harder tyre as the medium runners pitted. A cheeky pass around the outside of Sutil proved to be his undoing, as running wide off the track and keeping the place meant a drive through, dropping him from what could have been a 9th place. Despite protestations as to how he felt he had gained the place legitimately, there is a simple barometer as to whether the move was legal or not…Could he have made the move stick if 130R hadn’t got a tarmac run-off area?
Fastest Lap: Daniel Ricciardo (7.5 – 7.5 each)
Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo (33-12 to Daniel Ricciardo)
Race: Daniel Ricciardo (40 – 35 to Daniel Ricciardo)
Toro Rosso: 80.5 – 54.5 to Daniel Ricciardo
Peter Sauber’s birthday fell on the day of the Japanese Grand Prix, and a double points finish was the best possible present that the popular gentleman of the paddock could have hoped for, particularly following such a tough start to 2013. Both drivers performed very well throughout the weekend, with Gutierrez starting to show some of the talent he displayed in lower formulae.
Hulkenberg comfortably had the measure of Esteban in both qualifying and the race, although the Mexican wasn’t helped by his garage fire in Q2. Just 0.2 seconds was the difference in Q2 that saw Nico go through into Q3, while Esteban had to make do with 14th. Hulkenberg then went on to outqualify Alonso, Raikkonen & Button.
Both drivers embarked on a straight forward 2 stop strategy on Sunday, with Gutierrez jumping straight up to 9th on Lap 1, while Hulkenberg held station in 7th. Hulkenberg went on to battle Alonso & Raikkonen in the latter .Sp5rl!47rs of the race, and ultimately lost out in the closing laps to two great passes from the champions, although there is little shame in that. Gutierrez finished an excellent 7th, holding off Nico Rosberg in the closing laps, who must be getting sick of the sight of Saubers in front of him. Nicogets the points overall, but an impressive display from Gutierrez overall.
Fastest Lap: Nico Hulkenberg (9-6 to Nico Hulkenberg)
Qualifying: Nico Hulkenberg (42-3 to Nico Hulkenberg)
Race: Nico Hulkenberg (60-15 to Nico Hulkenberg)
Sauber: 111 – 24 to Nico Hulkenberg
If I was Valtteri Bottas, I would have been a very unhappy man following Sunday’s race. Outqualifying Pastor by just 0.050 seconds, the pair ran only seconds apart for the entire race, while attempting to eke out a two stop strategy, something that Williams later admitted was right on the limit of what they could do, based on their tyre usage.
Having lead Maldonado all race, the Finn possibly relaxed into the final chicane (the Casio Triangle isn’t a great name for that infamous chicane by the way), and left the door open for his team-mate to have a go up the inside. What Valtteri wouldn’t have been expecting was for Pastor to not even attempt to leave room, shoving Bottas off the track to avoid colliding. Speaking afterwards, Valtteri said ‘There was no space on the track. It was not fair. If I hadn’t gone straight on we’d have crashed. Racing shouldn’t be like that.’
Rumours that Clare Williams has gone to Venezuela to end the PDVSA sponsorship that marries Maldonado to the team are unconfirmed, but based on Pastor’s recent comments that he would rather ‘sit at home’ in 2014 than endure another season like this year, means that the pass may have been the actions of a man who knows he is on his way out of Williams and Formula One.
Fastest Lap: Pastor Maldonado (8-7 to Valtteri Bottas)
Qualifying: Valtteri Bottas (30-15 to Valtteri Bottas)
Race: Valterri Bottas (37.5 – 37.5 each)
Williams: 75.5 – 59.5 to Valterri Bottas
Paul didn’t crash out in Suzuka, so automatically that means it’s the best weekend he’s had since July, but it wasn’t a particularly strong race either. He qualified a reasonable 12th, while Adrian caused his own misfortune by getting caught out by a gust of wind on Friday, and damaging his gearbox when he crashed at the exit of Spoon. The resultant 5 place grid penalty meant qualifying 17th was actually starting from plum last.
Adrian made a great start to launch himself straight past the Caterhams and Marussias, meaning he was ahead of the resultant collision at the back, and then passed the stricken Lewis Hamilton to be running 16th at the end of Lap 1, while Di Resta held station in 12th. Both cars circulated very close together on track, seperated by a handful of seconds at most, but this was possibly due to Di Resta’s second stint being compromised by being jumped by Bottas in the first round of stops. The pace of the pair was very similar throughout the race, but Adrian ran out of speed and tyres towards race end, resulting in a loss of around 15 seconds over the last 4 laps, and finishing as a lapped runner.
Fastest Lap: Adrian Sutil (12-3 to Adrian Sutil)
Qualifying: Paul Di Resta (24-21 to Paul Di Resta)
Race: Paul Di Resta (40-35 to Paul Di Resta)
Force India: 68 – 67 to Adrian Sutil
Scuderia Ferrari S.p.A
0.1 seconds was the gap between the two McLaren boys on Saturday, enough of a gap to see Jenson through to Q3, with Sergio in 11th. Jenson wasn’t able to go much further, only lapping 0.011 seconds faster in Q3 to claim 10th place.
The balance of power shifted on Lap 1, with Jenson not making a particularly good start, remaining in 10th place despite Lewis Hamilton falling by the wayside. Perez jumped up to 8th place, and kept pace with the group of cars from 4th downwards, including Alonso, Hulkenberg, Massa and Rosberg. It all started to go wrong for Sergio on Lap 12, when he emerged from his pitbox to find Nico Rosberg beside him. The resultant delay while they got where they needed to go without hitting anything meant that Sergio emerged behind Jenson & Gutierrez, and while he quickly despatched Button, he couldn’t do anything about his compatriot, resulting in a compromised second stint.
Perez also suffered a puncture on Lap 42, having been involved in another incident with Nico Rosberg, but didn’t lose too much time to it, as it happened at the final chicane. Perez finished 32 seconds behind Jenson, having lost a minimum of 25 seconds due to making his extra unscheduled stop. Without the hiccups caused by Rosberg, Perez would probably have finished ahead of Jenson, but Jenson gets the points on this occasion.
Fastest Lap: Jenson Button (8-7 each)
Qualifying: Jenson Button (27-18 to Jenson Button)
Race: Jenson Button (52.5-22.5 to Jenson Button)
McLaren: 87.5-47.5 to Jenson Button
Jenson Button has scored 60 out of 83 points for McLaren, 72% of their points.
Sergio Perez has scored 23 out of 83 points for McLaren, 28% of their points.
Sergio Perez has scored 38% of Jenson Button’s points total.
Raikkonen never got near Grosjean’s level of performance this weekend. A spin in practice didn’t affect his preparation too much, but another mistake during his vital Q3 run meant that, yet again, the Finn started from the lower half of the Q3 finishers, while Grosjean made it to 4th place.
Grosjean immediately spiced up the race by snatching the lead from that 4th place, while Raikkonen fell back to 11th. Both cars ran a similar two stop strategy, and while Kimi made some great overtakes to slowly claw his way back up, he finished the race almost 40 seconds behind Romain.
Grosjean was possibly the star of the race, withstanding the pressure applied by Mark Webber during the early laps, and causing a headache for the Red Bull team in thinking up of methods to get their two drivers ahead of him. Ultimately, the Lotus didn’t quite have the raw pace to hold off the Bulls, with Romain’s fastest race lap 0.6 seconds slower than Vettel’s best, and 1.5 seconds slower than Webber’s best. Grosjean did his best to hold off Vettel at the end of Lap 40, but was powerless to stop Sebastian passing him. He may have held off Mark had traffic not hampered his rhythm in the final laps, but 3rd place was surely enough to seal his F1 future at Lotus.
Raikkonen looks off the boil ever since he signed for Ferrari, and while this is likely due to the rumours he isn’t adjusting well to the revised Pirellis, the fact is that Romain has adjusted very nicely to them. Interestingly, qualifying reveals a sway in the drivers powers. Kimi was 8-2 ahead on Saturdays in the first ten races of 2013, but he has now been outqualified 4-1 by Romain in the 5 races since. If the Lotus is capable of running up front, then why is it Grosjean leading the charge all of a sudden?
Fastest Lap: Kimi Raikkonen (10-5 to Kimi Raikkonen)
Qualifying: Romain Grosjean (27-18 to Kimi Raikkonen)
Race: Romain Grosjean (52.5 – 22.5 to Kimi Raikkonen)
Lotus: 89.5 – 45.5 to Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen has scored 177 out of 264 points for Lotus, 67% of their points.
Romain Grosjean has scored 87 out of 264 points for Lotus, 33% of their points.
Romain Grosjean has scored 49% of Kimi Raikkonen’s points total.
A miserable race for Mercedes, particularly after looking quite strong in Friday practice. Only a tenth of a second split the Mercs in Q3, but that gap was enough to put Lewis in 3rd, and Nico in 6th, showing how close things are in qualifying at the moment. Hamilton may have been right up there battling with Grosjean and the Red Bulls in the race, with the possibility of even snatching the lead at the start, but that all came promptly to an end at Turn 1. The slightest of touches of the Merc’s right rear sidewall against Vettel’s front wing was enough to slice the Pirelli open, and the damage of driving around for a lap of Suzuka with no rubber on his wheel hub was enough to send him out of the race.
Rosberg wasn’t at fault for the incidents with Perez, being released stupidly into the path of the McLaren at the first stops, and falling down the order. The tyre rubbing incident that caused Perez’s puncture on Lap 42 was similar to the contact that sent Hamilton out, with Sergio failing to spot the Merc which had gotten the run on him through 130R.
Nico made some good progress while recovering from his various maladies, including a great pass on Massa in the final .Sp5rl!47rs, but it was a race of what could have been for both Nico & Lewis.
Fastest Lap: Nico Rosberg (8-7 to Lewis Hamilton)
Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton (30-15 to Lewis Hamilton)
Race: Nico Rosberg (40 – 35 to Lewis Hamilton)
Mercedes: 79 – 56 to Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has scored 161 out of 287 points for Mercedes, 56% of their points.
Nico Rosberg has scored 126 out of 287 points for Mercedes, 44% of their points.
Nico Rosberg has scored 78% of the points total of Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari were surprisingly nonchalant about the fact that Felipe Massa disobeyed team orders in Japan. After outqualifying Alonso again, Felipe was ahead of Fernando in the early .Sp5rl!47rs, and was clearly holding up the Spaniard, when the order ‘Multifunction Strategy A’ came through, an instruction to let Fernando through. Felipe ignored this, but was passed by Fernando anyway a few laps later. It would have been really fun to see what would have happened had Fernando still had a chance of winning the title. As it is, Ferrari and Fernando’s blase dismissal of Massa’s disobediance really shows the pathetic light in which Felipe is viewed at the team.
He may be liked at the team, but the fact that Massa isn’t seen as a legitimate threat to Alonso really shows how the former runner up has fallen. He was off the pace of his team-mate throughout the race, incurred a penalty for pitlane speeding, and was passed by Rosberg and Button in the final .Sp5rl!47rs, while Fernando only went forward after passing Felipe. Fernando didn’t make much of a fuss about Felipe’s disobediance either, as there is little point to doing so.
As an aside, Massa is guilty of the same crime that Sebastian Vettel was so vehemently criticised for in Malaysia seven month ago, only the difference is that he was unsuccessful in achieving his own agenda. Massa is driving to save his career, something that looks unlikely at this point if he is serious about only wanting a competitive seat, and he still can’t hold back Alonso.
Fastest Lap: Fernando Alonso (10-5 to Fernando Alonso)
Qualifying: Felipe Massa (27-18 to Fernando Alonso)
Race: Fernando Alonso (70-5 to Fernando Alonso)
Ferrari: 107-28 to Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso has scored 207 points out of 297 for Ferrari, 69% of their points.
Felipe Massa has scored 90 points out of 297 for Ferrari, 31% of their points.
Felipe Massa has scored 43.5% of the points total of Fernando Alonso.
Finally, Mark Webber shows up for a race and decides to compete. On his day, Mark is every bit as quick and competent as Sebastian, it’s just that his day doesn’t happen too often. Webber made the most of a troublesome FP3 for Vettel to take the pole position, but lost the race at the start, when Grosjean got ahead of him.
Had Mark managed to hold the lead through Turn 1, then he may have gotten the two stop strategy that could have won him the race. This excellent article from James Allen shows that Red Bull did all they could to maximise their positions, based on the fact that Romain had gotten ahead of both their drivers. Mark may have expressed surprise at being switched to a three stopper mid-race, but sticking to a two stopper would have almost definitely ensured a third place finish, behind Sebastian & Romain. Red Bull gave Mark the best opportunity to win that they could give him, based on his start, and penchant for going through tyres slightly quicker than Sebastian does.
The body language and cordiality between Seb & Mark after the race showed that Mark knew he had been given a fair crack of the whip. It’s just unfortunate for Mark that Seb did exactly what he needed to do to win the race, lapping quickly when required, and passing Grosjean almost instantly in the closing .Sp5rl!47rs, something Mark was also required to do, but couldn’t pull off with the same ease.
Mark losing this race was not due to a strategy call, it was due to him failing to convert pole position into the race lead. If he had succeeded in doing that, Webber fans may have gotten the Multi 21 he’s been owed since March.
Fastest Lap: Mark Webber (10-5 to Sebastian Vettel)
Qualifying: Mark Webber (42-3 to Sebastian Vettel)
Race: Sebastian Vettel (70-5 to Sebastian Vettel)
Red Bull: 122-13 to Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has scored 297 points out of 445 for Red Bull, 67% of their points total.
Mark Webber has scored 148 points out of 445 for Red Bull, 33% of their points total.
Mark Webber has scored 49% of the points total of Sebastian Vettel
Team Mate Battles – Korean GP
Team Mate Battles – Singapore GP
Team Mate Battles – Italian GP
Team Mate Battles – Belgian GP
Team Mate Battles – Hungarian GP
Team Mate Battles – German GP
Team Mate Battles – British GP
Team Mate Battles – Canadian GP
Team Mate Battles – Monaco GP
Team Mate Battles – Spanish GP
Team Mate Battles – Bahrain GP
Team Mate Battles – Chinese GP
Team Mate Battles – Malaysian GP
Team Mate Battles – Australian GP