“Grand Prix POP – Podium or Pits is Badger’s regular Thursday column of  ‘good week / bad week’ stories in F1 where you get the news, comment and opinion… and have fun at the same time – genius” – Martin Brundle*

Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images - RBR Media

PODIUM.  Lee McKenzie –

Go girl!  Jake who?  Lee McKenzie stood in for Jake Humphrey at the Japanese grand prix while he was gallavanting off in India somewhere for the BBC Commonwealth games coverage.  She’s normally just a voice interviewing the drivers after they crash out of the race, but last weekend Lee showed us she’s no ‘window dressing’ in the BBC crew.  Watch out Jake, POP’s got a new favourite BBC presenter.  Hint: it’s not you.

On another BBC coverage-related note, what on earth happened with the commentary feed during the race?  At one point we heard Ted Kravitz sounding like a ghost talking down a large tunnel, and later we lost Martin Brundle and Jonathan Legard entirely (hooray!)  It really is a pleasure to listen to 5Live’s David Croft and Anthony Davidson with all their enthusiasm and passion for the racing in front of them.  Shame we can’t ‘lose’ the normal BBC feed every race weekend.

PODIUM.  Kamui Kobayashi –

The Japanese grand prix couldn’t have gone better for Kamui Kobayashi unless the famous Japanese bullet train had ploughed through the track taking out the entire field from first place to 6th (thereby elevating Kobayashi up to 1st!)

Good job Kamui: POP salutes you!

Kamui salutes his fans © Sauber Motorsport Media

PITS.  Autosport –

Autosport, the well-respected sport news website, this week ran with this scarily war-mongering headline: ‘Alonso says he will need to ‘attack’ in Korea’ Attack?  Korea?  Now let’s be a bit more geographically specific here: you’ve got dictator leader Kim Jong-il presiding over the communist country of North Korea, and then you’ve got democratic South Korea, which is where the grand prix will take place.

In future, POP recommends that Autosport check its Dictatorships 2010 manual before making such potentially WWIII-inducing statements.

PODIUM.  Lotus –

It was a proper bore-fest at the front of the field at last weekend’s Japanese grand prix: “it’s Red Bull in 1st and 2nd” … 1 hour later … “and it’s Red Bull still on for a 1-2″ … half an hour later … “Red Bull score a 1-2 at the Japanese grand prix!”


So it was great to see Lotus doing such a good job further down the field with a 12-13 finish (don’t laugh, that’s actually amazing for the F1 newbies).  Kovalainen, who finished 12th for Lotus, said afterwards “our pace was amazing – we were only lapped once.”  Now that’s the kind of blind positivity and enthusiastic morale-boosting talk we need in F1!  McLaren:  take note.

Petrov by Unlap.co.uk

PITS.  Vitaly Petrov –

It’s official.  The crash at the start was indeed Petrov’s fault.  It’s mightily impressive to cause a crash before you even reach the start line, let alone the first corner.  The stewards decided after the race to blame Petrov, and have therefore handed him a 5 place grid penalty for the next race.

*according to the unofficial Martin Brundle fan page