Japanese Grand Prix

Reading time ~5 minutes

I am so happy that Hamilton didn’t podium.  Anything to keep that punk-assed whiny bitch off camera.  Every race weekend it’s a non-stop litany of “it’s everyone else’s fault but mine” excuses.  And again, AGAIN! he makes contact with Massa.  There are folks who think that the back-marker teams are a safety issue in F1.  Yeah, they add a bit of randomness to the field, but Hamilton is a consistent hazard with mass destruction of carbon fiber and debris fields in his wake.  There was a theory floated by Matchett or Varsha that the Hamilton tire puncture was caused by tire wear.  It’d be interesting to find out if that was really the case.  The wife says that Hamilton keeps running into other cars because his mirrors are aimed so he can look at himself and check out his yellow diamond earrings (douche).  She maybe more correct than we imagined:  Sorry Hamilton admits mirror visibility problem.  Although, he claims that the mirrors are vibrating too much for him to be able to see.  I kinda find that fallacious since we see from the onboard the mirrors and the reflect seems surprisingly clear to me.  I’m guessing he’s just got the full gangsta lean going on with his seat and can’t see over the side bolsters.
so low, can’t see over the steering wheel

Webber didn’t qualify as well, but for the first time in too many races he didn’t lose any positions at the start.  That dishonor went to the hometown hero, Kobayashi.  After such a stunning qualifying run it was sad to have him relegated to barely an afterthought.  He seemed to nearly stall off the start and also later in trying to leave the pit.  Maybe the gearbox or clutch were reaching EOL, or just anti-stall software glitching.  Maybe he needed some rain.  The crowds stood and shouted every time he sped passed the stands.  And our mid-pack rookie excitement was also muted this weekend.  Maybe we give some of them a pass as it seems that di Resta and Perez were both experiencing flu-like symptoms all weekend.  I can hardly navigate stairs when I have the flu and these guys were navigating Suzuka in an F1 car at an average speed of over 140mph.

I think there were two factors that made this race kinda dull:

  • Fuji TV really fell down as the provider of the world feed.  Some of the worst camera work and directing we’ve seen all season.  We missed so many pit stops and there were at least a couple close calls with release errors leading to near misses.  E.g. Button was released at the first pit cycle almost in Webber as Webber was coming in, but the shot was clipped so it’s difficult to be sure.  We saw 1 pass made by Rosberg as he moved up the field.  WTF!  He finished in the points after starting 23rd.

  • After Vettel’s first pit stops took 4.6s and then 3.9s (still slow for Red Bull) leading to Button leap frogging him, I think there was a concerted effort put on by the entire team to make sure that Vettel finished.  Then again, he just didn’t seem to be able to pull away like he has done time and again this season.  So maybe they were nursing the car (as much as Vettel will nurse a car).  Regardless, getting “stuck” mid-pack after his third pit at least meant that we saw some nice driving as he made some very smooth passes.Back to not being able to pull away for Vettel… maybe the McLaren of Button was lighter.  I mean, even with the safety car he nearly ran out of fuel so he didn’t do a cool-down lap.  Without the SC, what’s the probability that he would’ve run dry before the end of the race?

Speaking of passes, Webber’s made two very cool passes in high speed corners this season.  His pass on the outside of the 130R corner against Sutil was almost as sweet as his pass of Alonso at Eau Rouge at Spa.  No wonder he’s 0.5-0.8s slower than Vettel since he’s carrying some extra weight with those brass balls.

Someone needs to remind Vettel not to make that dick-move at the start.  He did it a bunch of times last season and not only is the move stupid and possibly dangerous, but most of the time it leads to a slower start.  Last year there were a few times he lost positions from pole because of that dick move.


Don’t be a dick, Vettel.

Speaking of dicks.  What was up with Hobbs being a Hamilton sympathizer during the race?  He kept making excuses for the douche.  That might have been just annoying, except he then made the crazy assertion that Alonso’s DRS wing opened illegally because he missed the back-marker HRT that Alonso was behind at the activation zone.  Considering the jerky move/pass that Alonso made in order to get around the HRT you would’ve thought they would’ve seen that the first time around (or at least noticed the HRT in the background when they did the freeze frame of the open wing).  Instead they had to yap about it for 3 or 4 laps before someone found a replay of the detection zone for the old coot.  This was one of the first non-Fox broadcasts that I can think of where I found it necessary to mute the F1 commentary from the Speed boys.

At least the next time we mentioned a back-marker there was some fist-waving and heart stopping because Vettel nearly rear-ended the Virgin of d’Ambrosio.  That was fun.  Or Button almost ramming an HRT on the last lap.  Or the Lotus-Renaults not getting lapped for the first time all season.  I like the back-markers.  I almost wish they were required to remain on the racing line instead of having to go off-line to allow getting passed.

Using backmarkers for passing.

It will be very interesting to see what the strategy is for Vettel for the rest of the season.  Will he push harder?  Maybe we’ll get a blown engine.  I can’t imagine he’d hold back and just cruise.  That doesn’t seem to be in his nature.  In spite of Vettel’s dominance this season and his regular long leads during race day, most of the races have been entertaining.  We just have to focus on the rest of the pack.

Vettel, donuts, Suzuka…awesome!

Alcohol content: medium (drinking homebrew)

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Published on July 25, 2018