07/10/2012

Japanese GP - Sunday Analysis

Race Results: Hulkenberg 7th (6 points), di Resta 12th, Karthikeyan DNF.

All things considered, it was a good weekend for our guys - especially after such a poor qualifying!

A clutch issue on the formation lap caused a big problem for Paul di Resta at the start of the race, he ended up way back in the pack. This resulted in the Scottish driver being held up by slower cars, pretty much for the entire rest of the race. It meant he was unable to show the true pace of the car - but P12 was a decent finishing position considering the circumstances.

As for Nico Hulkenberg, he drove a simply faultless race. The German driver started 15th on the grid but had a cracking start, able to make up positions in the chaos at turn one to be in 8th before the first round of stops. He had a great battle with Lewis Hamilton during the middle of the race but couldn't quite squeeze past. In the end he would finish in 7th overall, benefiting from a retirement to Sergio Perez.

Given that both drivers had major incidents through the practice sessions, and lost track time as a result, to come away with six points is a great effort.

Let's see what this does in terms of the championships:

Drivers championship (11th-16th)
11) Kamui Kobayashi (50 pts)
12) Paul di Resta (44)
13) Michael Schumacher (43)
14) Nico Hulkenberg (37)
15) Pastor Maldonado (33)
16) Bruno Senna (25)

It's still pretty close between our drivers. It seems as if this on-going battle will only be decided for certain at the final race.

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (136 pts) (+0)
6) Sauber (116) (+15)
7) Force India (81) (+6)
8) Williams (58) (+4)
Note: numbers in green represent the points scored this weekend.

For P5:
Pre-Japan: an average of 10.17 points more than Mercedes needed each race.
Post-Japan: an average of 11 points more than Mercedes needed each race.

For P6:
Pre-Japan: an average of 4.33 points more than Sauber needed each race.
Post-Japan: an average of 7 points more than Sauber needed each race.

Mercedes are most likely out of the question without a major shock such as a VJM05 winning a race. However, Sauber are still within touching distance - it is important that the team don't allow Sauber to score more points than them at any of the remaining races though.

At the back of the grid, Narain Karthikeyan was having a cracking race, running ahead of Charles Pic for many laps, with an old floor that was 1.5 seconds slower per lap than his teammate, de la Rosa. This was until Narain's HRT suffered a broken T-tray (the front of the floor) which was scraping along the ground. The car could continue, but the team retired him on safety grounds.

An encouraging weekend for Narain though, over the last three races he has seemed to improve somewhat by demonstrating that he does have the pace to match his teammate.

Review quotes are online here. I would like to pick up on one thing Robert Fernley (Sahara Force India deputy team principle) had to say:

"I'd also like to pay special credit to both sides of the garage for their incredible effort this weekend. We kept them very busy and they did an amazing job under difficult conditions. Overall it's been a remarkable team effort".

I could not agree more with this statement! The team personnel; mechanics, chefs, truck drivers etc. really don't get enough credit for the wonderful job they do. F1 would not be possible without them, they deserve a huge amount of praise!

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