As we get to the business end of the season, we get another race made difficult to judge by the safety car intrusions, so who gets the points at each team?
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.
A weekend that started well for Bianchi with the team announcing he was set to stay on for 2014, turned slightly sour with a slightly unfair penalty for impeding Paul Di Resta. Despite being entitled to start his flying lap at the time, the penalty stuck, and this meant he started behind Max, having outqualified the Englishman by two tenths of a second. The pair then swapped positions at the start, and Jules stayed in front throughout the race, but Max remained in close attendance throughout. Even through the first round of pitstops, Jules was never further than 4 seconds ahead, and indeed Max was actually closing ever so slightly on his French team-mate when the safety car came out on Lap 30.
Bianchi blotted his copybook by driving too fast under yellow flag conditions, and has been hit with a ten place grid penalty for Japan, due to it being his third reprimand of the year. With no problems reported by either car, and with the pair being so closely matched all weekend, it’s split points on raceday.
Fastest lap: Jules Bianchi (10-4 to Jules Bianchi)
Qualifying: Jules Bianchi (39-3 to Jules Bianchi)
Race: Split points (2.5 each) (62.5 – 7.5 to Jules Bianchi)
Marussia: 111.5 – 14.5 to Jules Bianchi
Pic was another driver to drive too fast under safety car conditions on raceday, and will also get a grid penalty for Suzuka, but aside from that, had a largely quiet weekend. He outqualified Van Der Garde by just 0.007 seconds, but Giedo was up to 15th at the end of Lap 1, despite both Caterhams taking off track when Massa spun close to the head of the field. Pic made it through unscathed, but Giedo was judged to have pushed cars off track whilst taking avoiding action, and was served with a drive through penalty.
Making this on Lap 10, he then had to make his first pit stop for tyres on Lap 11. With the two drivers now seperated on track by around 25 seconds, Charles had pushed this gap up to around 30 seconds by the time the safety car came out. Resuming after the safety car, Giedo had a great battle with Jules Bianchi and was back close behind Charles. However, he attributed a flatspot as the reason he couldn’t attempt to pass his team-mate, and the pair finished only a second apart.
Fastest lap: Giedo Van Der Garde (9-5 to Charles Pic)
Qualifying: Charles Pic (27-15 to Charles Pic)
Race: Charles Pic (50-20 to Charles Pic)
Caterham: 86 – 40 to Charles Pic
Ricciardo comfortably outqualified Vergne on Saturday, half a second clear in Q1, and 0.3 seconds up at the end of Q2, but couldn’t quite unlock enough pace to make it into Q3. However, he had a good race, particularly in comparison to Jean Eric Vergne. Starting from 16th, he only gained one position through the opening laps, and while Daniel was running ahead of Raikkonen in 7th, Vergne was still in 15th. Vergne continued to lose time to Daniel throughout the opening half of the race, but attributes this to one of the mechanical problems the team suffered, complaining of his car continuously pulling to the left. Due to higher degradation, he was switched to a three stopper, but ultimately had to retire on Lap 53 with a broken brake caliper.
Daniel made good use of the prime tyre to run long on the first stint, and despite his work being somewhat undone by the mid race safety cars, was still a respectable 9th when his car also suffered a brake caliper failure. Disappointing weekend for Toro Rosso.
Fastest Lap: Daniel Ricciardo (7.5 – 6.5 to Jean Eric Vergne)
Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo (30-12 to Daniel Ricciardo)
Race: Daniel Ricciardo (35 – 35 to each)
Toro Rosso: 71.5 – 54.5 to Daniel Ricciardo
Despite Nico Hulkenberg’s headline grabbing drive on Sunday, Esteban Gutierrez looks as though he might be getting the hang of this Formula 1 business, and put in a decent weekend overall, even if his final result didn’t work out. Both cars qualified in the top ten on Saturday, for the first time since Suzuka last year, with Esteban only 0.2 seconds slower than Nico. At the start, Esteban made a great getaway to be ahead of Nico, but was caught out in the melee at Turn 3.
Falling down to 14th, while Hulkenberg remained in 5th was always going to doom Esteban to an anonymous race, and even with the intervention of the safety cars, the young Mexican was consistently slower than his colleague, resulting in a thirty second gap between the two by the time of the first safety car. On the restart after the 2nd safety car, the gap was only 6 seconds, but despite Nico constantly having to defend from Lewis Hamilton’s manic attack for the last dozen laps, he still pulled away from Gutierrez.
Hulkenberg continues to show all the reasons why he deserves a top team and car, and the travesty that he may be ousted for the likes of Sirotkin shows the extent of the dangerous path F1 is heading down. Lotus’s recent loss of top names from their design department could mean that (assuming Nico ends up there) it is yet another sideways step for the German, much like his move from Force India to Sauber.
Fastest Lap: Nico Hulkenberg (8-6 to Nico Hulkenberg)
Qualifying: Nico Hulkenberg (39-3 to Nico Hulkenberg)
Race: Nico Hulkenberg (55-15 to Nico Hulkenberg)
Sauber: 102 – 24 to Nico Hulkenberg
Williams are caught in no mans land at the moment. While being comfortably faster than the likes of Caterham and Marussia, they don’t seem to have quite the pace to battle with anyone faster, such as Force India or Toro Rosso. Sauber are now comfortably faster, and because of that, the Williams drivers only really have each other to use a barometer. This seems to be boring Pastor, as he says ‘While Valterri is a a very good driver, I’m not here to race him, I’m here to race the big guys’.
Pastor may not even be given the opportunity to race Valterri next year, particularly as he has failed to beat Valterri consistently or by any lagre margin over the season, and failed to lead his young Finnish team-mate home on Sunday. Bottas was 0.5 seconds quicker in Q1, and that was as far as the Williams boys got in qualifying. In the race, Pastor made the most of the Turn 3 incident to rise to 9th place, while Valterri gained a position, but promptly lost it again taking avoiding action.
Due to Maldonado’s higher race position, he needed to push harder than Valterri, and wore out his tyres faster, pitting on Lap 7 for his first stop and Lap 23 for his second. Pitting on Lap 28, Valterri’s tyres were fresher, and he was one of the four drivers to swamp Pastor on Lap 44.
Fastest Lap: Valterri Bottas (8-6 to Valtteri Bottas)
Qualifying: Valtteri Bottas (27-15 to Valtteri Bottas)
Race: Valterri Bottas (37.5 – 32.5 to Pastor Maldonado)
Williams: 67.5 – 58.5 to Valterri Bottas
The pressure was rising on Paul Di Resta after Singapore to put in a good show in Korea, and he then produced the exact opposite. While the Q1 incident with Bianchi was not his fault, Paul then attributed the same incident for his poor showing in Q2, citing a ‘lack of confidence with the front wing’. Lining up 15th, with Adrian in 14th 0.3 seconds faster, Paul only made it to Lap 25 in the race before overcorrecting some oversteer and spearing off into the barriers.
Adrian was running behind Paul, due to being another driver to lose out on Lap 1 and required a nose change at the end of Lap 3, but had been closing consistently on Paul after their first pitstops, with the gap down to around 4 seconds when Di Resta pitted the lap before his crash. Lying in 12th at the second restart, with all his planned pitstops made, Adrian looked like he might produce a good result, but lost the back end at Turn 3 and caused Mark Webber’s by now infamous retirement and fire. A poor performance from both drivers, but Adrian edges the points for race day. Paul had a quiet race in Suzuka last year, not helped by a dodgy clutch at the race start, but desperately needs a good result to steady his flagging career.
Fastest Lap: Adrian Sutil (11-3 to Adrian Sutil)
Qualifying: Adrian Sutil (21-21 each)
Race: Adrian Sutil (35-35 to each)
Force India: 67 – 59 to Adrian Sutil
Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1 Team
Neither McLaren made it to Q3 again, although Perez did start in the top ten once Webber had his ten place grid drop. Less than 0.03 seconds separated the two drivers on Saturday. The race didn’t get off to a great start for Jenson, with his front wing getting damaged in the Lap 1 fracas, but he had jumped Sergio, and only fell behind when he pitted for his fresh nose.
From there on, any comparison of pace is largely useless, as while Jenson was slightly quicker over the first half of the race while running lower in the pack, Sergio’s tyre delamination on Lap 31 and resultant front wing damage essentially meant a reset after the safety car. The delamination came on tyres that were only 21 laps old, while Jenson’s final stint on the same compound were on tyres that did 33 laps.
Due to Jenson’s tyres being ten laps older than Sergio’s for the final quarter of the race, Sergio did reel in Jenson over the remainder of the race, and they were only separated by three seconds at the chequered flag. Jenson lost 7th place to Nico Rosberg right at the end of the race, and was disappointed to do so, but he extends his lead over Perez in the Team Mate Battles.
Fastest Lap: Sergio Perez (7-7 each)
Qualifying: Sergio Perez (24-18 to Jenson Button)
Race: Jenson Button (47.5-22.5 to Jenson Button)
McLaren: 78.5-47.5 to Jenson Button
Jenson Button has scored 58 out of 81 points for McLaren, 72% of their points.
Sergio Perez has scored 23 out of 81 points for McLaren, 28% of their points.
Sergio Perez has scored 40% of Jenson Button’s points total.
The only thing that Kimi Raikkonen did better than Romain Grosjean all weekend was negotiating the final corner on Lap 37. That was the difference between 2nd and 3rd for the Finn, who had an unusual weekend, made difficult yet again by his lacklustre qualifying position.
Raikkonen’s weekend started badly, with him crashing heavily in FP1. He may have been honest enough to admit he ‘ran out of talent’ but it was yet another annoyance for the team whose relationship is straining with their departing lead driver. Qualifying was only OK for Kimi, before he only managed a lowly 10th in Q3, while Romain was right up front in 4th place. Kimi’s wayward lap was explained away by an unnoticeably damaged front wing, but, yet again, Raikkonen was satrting from lower than he should have been.
Both Lotus drivers drove excellently on Sunday, with Grosjean’s tidy and assured pass on Lewis on Lap 1 showing none of the desperation of 2012 spec Romain. He then soaked up the pressure from Lewis magnificently, and even clung onto Sebastian’s coattails throughout the opening stint. Kimi made a good start, got boxed in at Turn 1, and lost a place to Gutierrez, but was up to 7th on Lap 5, with a great outside pass on outgoing Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo. Another good pass on Fernando Alonso soon followed, and through his pace, was a genuine contender for 3rd place with Mark Webber by the time the safety car came out.
As Alan Permane said afterwards, Kimi’s 2nd place did involve a stroke of luck, in that the safety car helped him extend his second stint. Raikkonen pitted on Lap 25 for the second time, with Romain coming in on Lap 31 for his final set of tyres. Kimi’s predatory pounce showed Romain no mercy, and due to the extended safety car period, Kimi eked his tyres out to ease home ahead of his disgruntled team-mate.
Lotus’s reluctance to impose team orders and allow Romain through for second was the correct call. Romain may have felt aggrieved, due to Kimi not being a serious contender for the title any more, but Kimi, as ever, took the opportunity that Romain gave him by getting twitchy into the final corner. This shark-like instinct made the difference between 3rd and 2nd, regardless of circumstances, and while Romain may now be the favoured son at Lotus, he must be shown that lapses of skill, concentration, and relentlessness will have consequences.
Fastest Lap: Romain Grosjean (9-5 to Kimi Raikkonen)
Qualifying: Romain Grosjean (27-15 to Kimi Raikkonen)
Race: Split points (2.5 each) (52.5 – 17.5 to Kimi Raikkonen)
Lotus: 88.5 – 37.5 to Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen has scored 167 out of 239 points for Lotus, 70% of their points.
Romain Grosjean has scored 72 out of 239 points for Lotus, 30% of their points.
Romain Grosjean has scored 43% of Kimi Raikkonen’s points total.
If I was an F1 driver, a charged up Lewis Hamilton is probably the man I would nominate as the man I would hate to see in my wing mirrors, especially in a faster car. Nico Hulkenberg’s defence against Hamilton for a dozen laps at race end was immensely enjoyable, but only because you knew that Lewis was giving it everything and throwing the whole kit and caboodle at his efforts to get past the Sauber.
Nico & Lewis qualified well on Saturday, both in the top 5, with Lewis 0.2 seconds faster. The first stint suggested that Lewis would retain an advantage through the race, but having opened a lead over Nico of around 12 seconds, it all started to go wrong for Lewis ten laps into his second stint, around Lap 23. Higher than expected tyre degradation meant Lewis lost ten seconds to race leader Vettel in only three laps, having only lost 8 seconds in the previous 23. This drop off in pace meant Nico quickly caught back up, having no problems with the tyres.
As so spectacularly seen on TV, ‘no problems’ didn’t apply to his front wing, and despite high-tailing it back to the pits, was running in 8th place by the time the race resumed after the second safety car, due to the stop taking around 18 seconds longer than usual.
With Lewis stymied by Hulkenberg, Rosberg closed right back up on his team-mate, and was less than two seconds behind by the chequered flag, although separated by Alonso. Yet another team to be awarded split points for the race, although I almost gave Lewis the full points, just because of his radio message ‘Anyone got any suggestions?’
Fastest Lap: Nico Rosberg (8-6 to Lewis Hamilton)
Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton (27-15 to Lewis Hamilton)
Race: Split points (2.5 each) (40 – 30 to Lewis Hamilton)
Mercedes: 76 – 50 to Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has scored 161 out of 283 points for Mercedes, 57% of their points.
Nico Rosberg has scored 122 out of 283 points for Mercedes, 43% of their points.
Nico Rosberg has scored 76% of the points total of Lewis Hamilton.
Thankfully, one of the easier Team Mate Battles to judge after this race, thanks to Felipe’s first lap lunge at Turn 3. Felipe attributes the spin to ‘One of the cars going more slowly’, which one would have thought somewhat expected considering its a 90 degree corner at the end of a kilometre long straight. Fernando’s post race comments that someone must have touched Felipe to cause the spin either indicates that he didn’t think it possible for Massa to make the error all by himself, or that he’s reluctant to dig the bootheels into a man likely looking at his last races in the sport.
Fernando was faster throughout qualifying, 0.3 seconds quicker in Q1 and Q2, and 0.2 up in Q3. He was still in front when Felipe tried his lunge, and had Fernando not noticed the rear of the Ferrari heading towards him on the apex on Turn 3, both Ferraris could have been out on the spot, with Felipe possibly facing a backlash from the tifosi who still believe the title is possible. As it was, Fernando avoided trouble, but didn’t have the pace to keep Kimi Raikkonen or Mark Webber behind him during the race.
On a positive note for Felipe, his pace was roughly equivalent to Fernando’s, both before and after the safety car, and included a great battle with Perez, Gutierrez, & the Williams drivers towards the end. The 5 car duel between some of the less reserved/wild drivers on the grid threatened to end in tears, but Felipe showed his experience to clear the lot and finish 9th.
Alonso’s post race comments show an uncharacteristic defeatist tone, saying that he ‘cannot expect miracles’ and that ‘2nd place is probably more realistic’ for this year. While the general consensus has been that it hasn’t been a title fight for several races, Alonso’s & Ferrari’s recent comments suggest that they are admitting it’s game over for this year.
Fastest Lap: Fernando Alonso (9-5 to Fernando Alonso)
Qualifying: Fernando Alonso (24-18 to Fernando Alonso)
Race: Fernando Alonso (65-5 to Fernando Alonso)
Ferrari: 95-31 to Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso has scored 195 points out of 284 for Ferrari, 69% of their points.
Felipe Massa has scored 89 points out of 284 for Ferrari, 31% of their points.
Felipe Massa has scored 45.5% of the points total of Fernando Alonso.
As Christian Horner opined to Sky F1 after the race, Mark Webber must have done horrible things in a past life to deserve the luck he has. In a time where fires (thankfully) are a rarity for the sport, Mark has managed two in two consecutive races, both out of his control. While his travails in Singapore are, by now, well documented, the startling circumstances that lead to his retirement would almost be unbelievable if they weren’t completely true.
Starting from 13th following his grid penalty (deserved or not), he had a great opening stint to have hauled himself up into a possible podium position when the safety car came out. Had he been unaffected by Perez’s debris, he would have been directly behind Raikkonen at the restart, with only Grosjean then separating him from the lead. Unfortunately, he was the one to suffer, being directly behind Perez when the Mexican’s tyre let go, getting a puncture and upon getting it repaired and racing resuming, is promptly crashed into by a Force India facing the wrong direction at Turn 3. Before going on fire.
Vettel handled the race perfectly, as usual. Making a good getaway meant Hamilton couldn’t challenge into Turn 1, and neither Lotus driver could make a move on him following the two restarts. Despite never being hugely out in front, you never got the impression that Grosjean, or Raikkonen later on, were going to be able to make a serious go of racing the Red Bull.
We’re approaching the end of 2013, and Vettel looks as dominant as he has at any point over the last four years. Much is being made of the rule changes possibly shaking things up for 2014, but with no significant changes on the chassis and aero front, and assuming Renault’s engine and energy recovery systems are at least of equal par to Mercedes & Ferrari, there is no reason to think Vettel won’t be fighting at the front next year. Vettel era coming to an end? It’s possibly only starting.
Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (10-4 to Sebastian Vettel)
Qualifying: Sebastian Vettel (42-0 to Sebastian Vettel)
Race: Sebastian Vettel (65-5 to Sebastian Vettel)
Red Bull: 117-9 to Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has scored 272 points out of 402 for Red Bull, 67% of their points total.
Mark Webber has scored 130 points out of 402 for Red Bull, 33% of their points total.
Mark Webber has scored 48% of the points total of Sebastian Vettel
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