The 2012 Japanese Grand Prix has been and gone, and there was plenty to talk about both on, and off, the track. There was enough to fill the Badgerometer 10 times over, but what was the Top 5? Read on to find out!

Lewis the Twit rides again.

Yet again, the actions of Lewis Hamilton, the David Brent of Social Media, take precedence over Lewis Hamilton, Racing Driver. All it took was a couple of innocuous tweets a good 14 hours after the race had actually finished, but how, or why, would anyone speak their mind like this is beyond us;

 

 

Luckily, many of the wonderful people on Twitter trawled through their timelines to find this little gem on the day of the “Lewis to Mercedes” announcement;

Thankfully, Lewis apologised. Kind of.

 

We seriously hope that on Hamilton’s first day at Brackley, the Mercedes PR man snatches his phone.

Perez fails his screen test

Suzuka was the first race since all the 2013 driver moves, and all eyes were on Sergio Perez after the news he’d be in a McLaren in 2013, and beyond. Luckily, the Sauber was pretty quick around the Japanese tarmac, and the Mexican was feeling feisty.

He survived a hack job of an overtake on Kimi Raikkonen after the restart, but recovered well to then put it up the inside of Lewis at the hairpin – the man whose seat he’s jumping into next season. It was brave and bold in equal measures, and also had shades of Hamilton AND Kobayashi about it.

So, when he tried it for a second time later in the race, Lewis was wise. Sticking to the inside meant Sergio had to take the higher, dirtier line, got too much marbles on the tyres and spun into the gravel trap.

It might be a concern for McLaren that when the sport was watching, Sergio buckled a bit. And we all know how the pressure builds at McLaren now, don’t we?

 Who doesn’t love an underdog?

Japan was all about the little guys, the ones who we all root for but they never get the success they really deserve. Apart from Sebastian Vettel, of course.

Take Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi. Both drivers have solid fan following and have taken a bit of a battering from their team-mates throughout this season, yet it was all about them when the flag fell on Sunday.

Felipe, after an inspired pitstop by Ferrari, got him ahead of Kobayashi and Button and into an unchallenged 2nd place. Even the stumble off the podium when getting his trophy couldn’t dampen his spirits. The pace he managed to get out of the Ferrari means it bodes well Alonso’s title fight, but more on that later.

The biggest cheer of the day came for home hero KK, being only the third Japanese man on the podium, and the first to do it on home turf in 22 years. And when we say “cheer”, we really mean “chant”, as that’s exactly what the grandstands were doing before he stepped out onto the rostrum. It brought goosebumps to all in the Sett.

Has it been enough to secure both a drive for next season? Who cares. Let’s just enjoy their glory for a bit longer.

Dare you to find a happier picture – Photo: Sauber Motorsports AG

The Grosjean “crisis”

Photo: Lotus F1/LAT

OK. We admit it. Romain Grosjean is getting a bit of a reputation for causing problems at the start of a race. But, here’s a little exert from our knee-jerk reaction after the race;

Romain has already served a one-race ban for the pile-up triggered in Belgium, and has had numerous penalties handed to him because of some of his actions. In Japan, he was awarded a 10s stop-go penalty, a very old school punishment which is deemed the most serious stewards can give without disqualifying the driver from the race.

But, the man is fast. In the races he hasn’t crashed out of he’s ended up no lower than 7th, and has nabbed 3 podiums on the way. That’s exactly the same amount as Sergio Perez, and he’s just landed a McLaren drive for 2013.

The other thing to look at is that while Grosjean’s been involved in first lap accidents, not 100% of them are his fault entirely – it takes two, or more, to tango, ultimately.

He was rightly punished for Spa, but apologised for that almost immediately. Same in his first lap contact with Michael Schumacher in Malaysia. Spain was a racing incident, when his Lotus just kissed Perez’s rear tyre. What happened in Melbourne, Monaco and at Silverstone were not his fault at all.

In all taken in context, obviously. If you have more accidents than most, you get a reputation for being reckless (just ask Pastor Maldonado). And that, it seems, is a problem he has to bear from now on.

And that’s the problem with Romain right now – he can’t do any right. In Korea everyone will now be watching what he does, he’ll be over-thinking what he’ll be doing, and the very slightest of contact with anyone will throw this mess all up again. It’s also strange in that the more he works at staying out of trouble, the more he seems to attract.

Still, he’s entertaining, isn’t he?

Advantage Sebastian

Right now, the only thing keeping Fernando Alonso in the title fight is the extra four precious points that keeps him ahead of Japanese victor Sebastian Vettel. Other than that, there’s nothing going his way; momentum lost, good luck deserted, he’s a sitting duck for the Red Bull man.

Photo: Red Bull Racing

It’s all quite ominous for everyone watching. Vettel has won the past two races, becoming the first driver to win back-to-back in 2012. The margin of victory was 20 seconds, the largest since Nico Rosberg in China. That’s three wins for the German this season, exactly the same as ‘Nando. And, the Red Bull is just getting faster with each passing race, while the Ferrari is not.

The luck has deserted the Spaniard too. On Saturday, he was on for 4th on the grid until Raikkonen binned it, bringing out the yellow flags and ruining any chance of a faster time. This put him deeper in the pack at the start, which is not where you want to be when you’re fighting for a championship. Or near Romain Grosjean.

Everything is working in Vettel’s favour, like it always does when we leave Japan it seems. The game is well and truly on.

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