Driver Performance Analysis: Japan
Published 10th October 2012 - Written by Craig Norman
Flawless? Yes. Masterful? Yes. Lucky? You betcha.
For all the skill and speed Sebastian has, the fact that all of his major title rivals – including points leader Fernando Alonso – started well behind him was the key factor. With his only real rival on pace, team-mate Mark Webber, becoming the latest victim in Romain Grosjean’s quest to tag every car on the grid this season, it was all about by how much the German was going to win by.
On a different note, was anyone else hoping for another Renault alternator failure?
All eyes on the Mexican after his McLaren announcement, and it was Sergio’s time to show the world exactly why the Woking team wanted him. Did he fluff his lines during his big audition though?
The move on Hamilton was something the Brit used to pull off on a regular basis (remember that?), but the earlier clash with Kimi Raikkonen saw him lose some track position, and then it all came to a premature end with another crack at Lewis.
If anything, Perez might just have proved that he still is a rough diamond, and ultimately, a gamble for McLaren.
Another tick in the “bust” column for driver that either does very, very well, or very, very badly. Romain’s quickly gaining rivals and losing friends at an alarming rate.
Yes, it was another first lap accident, but what was Mark Webber doing going that slow heading into Turn 2? It put everyone behind him on the back foot, and with Sergio Perez putting the squeeze on the Frenchman it was all going to end horribly.
He’s now the big hot topic in F1 – is he a scapegoat? is he a liability? – but the people who have the say the most, the FIA, have ben completely quiet. Why isn’t he being dragged over hot coles by the sports governing body? Maybe by every press outlet going is enough punishment.
First Lewis Hamilton leaves McLaren, then Felipe Massa gets on the podium. What’s next? Cats and dogs living together? Mass hysteria?
All jokes aside, just how happy was little Felipe to have a taste of champagne? Negotiating all the issues at the start got him into 4th place, and some blistering laps and a fast pitstop got him ahead of the Kobayashi/Button battle to nab the Brazilian his first podium for nearly 2 years.
Also, it gives us an excuse to show off this photo again – how happy does Massa look?
If you want to see what “dogged determination” looks like in terms of F1 racing, look no further than the young Aussie’s final stint on Sunday. Harassed by a charging Michael Schumacher, Ricciardo held the German legend off to claim the last points scoring position. Never has a single point tasted sweeter, we imagine.