The Badgerometer is fired up and ready to give you the top 5 talking points from the Japanese Grand Prix. Enjoy!
Formula One IS competitive
Look at the final laps of this Sunday’s race – McLaren being caught by Ferrari, being caught by Red Bull. There were sprinkles of good fortune, tyre management and negotiating traffic, but the outcome was the same: there is plenty of competition between the teams in the remaining races even though the trophies have been pretty much handed out. It also means the last four races of the season can still be looked forward to.
Michael Schumacher leads a lap. That is not a mistake.
It finally happened: Michael Schumacher led a race after making his comeback! Granted, it’s nearly two seasons since he returned, but we’re not counting or anything…
The most important thing is that he’s closing the gap to his younger, slightly faster teammate Nico Rosberg. The difference in points isn’t as much as last year, and that’s encouraging for the grizzly veteran. One more season to go at Mercedes – will it all click next year?
Being the sole Japanese representative on this year’s grid the focus was always going to be on Kamui Kobayashi. The fans love him, as shown on the BBC coverage, with a packed grandstand staying behind after qualifying to watch him walk the track. Fantastic stuff.
Kamui gave something back to his country as well. He invited the Fukishima choir to Suzuka over the weekend, where they sang the pre-race Japanese national anthem. It was a nice touch from KK and also a heartwarming story, uniting a country that had suffered much this year.
The Curious Case of the Inconsistent Stewards
We’ve never been one, but we’re pretty sure being a race steward is a tough job. Japan had a few incidents that were, as Jake Humphrey would put it, “tasty”. The fact that no penalties were handed out in comparison to Singapore is a bit odd. In fact, most of the stewards decisions this year have been a bit up and down.
Take Singapore: Hamilton got a drive through for clipping Massa. On Sunday, Massa repaid the favour, but because there was no puncture, there was no penalty. Another prime example was Mark Webber hitting Michael Schumacher and losing his front wing, an unavoidable accident that was deemed a racing incident.
Dear stewards, please be more consistent. Regards, Badger.
Sebastian Vettel – The most complete F1 driver on the grid.
What do you get is you mix Lewis Hamilton’s speed, Jenson Button’s intelligence and add a bit of Fernando Alonso’s racecraft and top off with Mark Webber’s psychological prowess?
Sebastian Vettel – double World Champion. That’s who.
This season the young German has been on a completely different level to anyone else on the grid – even his team-mate in the same dominant car – and that’s partly down to the fact that he’s mastered every level of being a Formula One driver. While the others excel in one area, Vettel has become remarkable in all of them.
Any question marks over overtaking were scrubbed out at Monza, and although one move doesn’t make a driver, it sure does make you think that a couple of years ago Sebastian would have probably wiped Fernando out. That’s how far he’s come.
Vettel is young and hungry – still – and next season it’s going to be about who can become the sport’s youngest triple world champion, him or Alonso,