• 2011 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix - Mercedes GP Preview

      Round 15, the Japanese Grand Prix, one of the greatest circuits in the world that pushes both car and driver to the limit, having some of the most challenging corners in the world. It's the only track in F1 to have a figure eight configuration and is a favorite for most drivers. In the last ten years, 75% of races at Suzuka have been won from pole - a higher percentage than in Monaco (70%). This race has seen quite a few battles for the championship.

      In 1989 Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna were battling for the championship; Senna tried to pass only to have Prost shut the door on him. The resulting crash saw Senna continue with help from the marshals, but Prost was beached. He was not upset though, believing he had clinched the championship anyway. Later, however, a stewards ruling disqualified him from the race for gaining an unfair advantage at the chicane. The following year the two clashed again on the first lap, sending them both spinning off and handing Senna his second championship.

      The 2000 Japanese grand prix, saw the battle between Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen. Where Schumacher took advantage of his superior speed in damp conditions during a mid-race rain shower to secure the race win and his first World Title for Ferrari — his third in all.

      At the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher endured one of the most trying races in his career — needing to come at least eighth, he started at fourteenth on the grid, but managed to secure the point he needed to take his sixth World Championship, beating the record held by Juan Manuel Fangio.

      At the 2006 event Michael Schumacher led until an engine failure virtually ended his chances of an eighth championship.

      The qualifying session for the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix, due to have been held on 9 October, was postponed until race day after a typhoon hit Suzuka. This led to the idea of holding qualifying sessions on a Sunday morning (an idea that was abandoned half-way through the following year). The 2005 race was one of the most exciting races of the season after many top drivers started near the back of the grid after the qualifying in variable weather. Kimi Räikkönen won the race after starting from 17th place, overtaking Giancarlo Fisichella at the beginning of the last lap.

      Current drivers that have won Suzuka are: Sebastian Vettel (2009,2010), Fernando Alonso(2006, 2008), Lewis Hamilton(2007), Ruben Barichello(2003), and Micheal Schumacher(1995, 1997, 2000-02, 2004) with Kimi Raikkonen holding the lap record with 1:31.540 set in 2005.

      The question on everyone's mind this week is: Will Sebastian Vettel become a two time F1 world champion this week?


      For Michael Schumacher, Suzuka represents a very special circuit:



      Nico Rosberg always enjoys visiting Japan for the Japanese Grand Prix:


      For Ross Brawn:


      Norbert Haug:

      F1 TIMETABLE (Japan Local Time)
      Fri 07 October 2011
      Practice 1
      10:00 - 11:30
      Practice 2 14:00 - 15:30
      Sat 08 October 2011
      Practice 3
      11:00 - 12:00
      Qualifying 14:00
      Sun 09 October 2011
      Race
      15:00

      F1 TIMETABLE (Pacific Time)
      Fri 07 October 2011
      Practice 1
      (Thu) 18:00 - 19:30
      Practice 2 (Thu) 22:00 - 23:30
      Sat 08 October 2011
      Practice 3
      (Fri) 19:00 - 20:00
      Qualifying (Fri) 22:00
      Sun 09 October 2011
      Race
      (Sat) 23:00

      F1 TIMETABLE (Eastern Time)
      Fri 07 October 2011
      Practice 1
      (Thu) 21:00 - 22:30
      Practice 2 (Fri) 01:00 - 02:30
      Sat 08 October 2011
      Practice 3
      (Fri) 22:00 - 23:00
      Qualifying (Sat) 01:00
      Sun 09 October 2011
      Race
      02:00

      BONUS: For the GT5 account holders. If Vettel wins the championship in Japan, GT5 will give out a free X2010 to all players one week after the race! So don't forget to login!





      This article was originally published in forum thread: 2011 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix - Mercedes GP Preview started by Scourge82 View original post
      Comments 13 Comments
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        Mercedes GP didn't seem to put much effort during the Japanese grand prix qualifying session. In Q3 Michael Schumacher aborted a late run to save a set of tires for the race, once he realized he had 7th place by default. Nico Rosberg will start in 23rd place after a hydraulic problem prevented him from making any runs.

        Mclaren seemed to be the favorite at Suzuka, by dominating all of the practice sessions and parts of qualifying. Hamilton set the pace for qualifying, with Button and Vettel hot on his trail. In Q3, Vettel took advantage of Hamilton's snoozing mistake and took pole a few seconds after the checkered flag, with a 1:30.466. Jensen Button finished second, just .009 sec behind Vettel.

        Hamilton took third unable to improve his first time after he failed to set a second hot lap, when he was caught sleeping by Red Bull's Mark Webber and Schumacher and overtook him on the last chicane.

        Ferrari's Massa starts along side Hamilton in 4th, Alonso and Webber start on the 3rd row in 5th and 6th.
        Michael Schumacher will start seventh, with Bruno Senna eighth, Vitaly Petrov ninth and Kamui Kobayashi tenth. Even though all four failed to set a time in order to save tires for the race. Their positions were decided by sector times as none of the four completed a lap


        Michael Schumacher

        "It was a tricky ending to my qualifying session today, but at least we have saved a set of tyres for the race tomorrow. We are still in a good position for gathering some important points, and obviously that is what I am geared to do. I am very happy with how we worked as a team to improve our performance this weekend, and I am really looking forward to having a good race at this great track which is one of my favourites."

        Nico Rosberg
        "On my first lap out in Q1, the team advised that I had a problem and asked me to come back into the pits. We tried to fix it in time for me to complete a lap, however the hydraulic systems are quite complicated and there just wasn't enough time. So for the race, I have a promising strategy with all the new tyres that I have! But seriously, I will push and try to get into the top ten. That will be my aim tomorrow."

        Ross Brawn, team principal

        "It was a mixed qualifying session for us today. We had a hydraulic problem with Nico's car right at the start of Q1 which we now need to investigate and establish what the cause was. It's going to be quite a challenge for him starting from the back of the grid but it will be an interesting race with the tyre situation so there should be opportunities. Michael had a good session although the end of Q3 wasn't as clean as we would have liked. It should be a good race and I look forward to seeing what both Michael and Nico can do."

        Norbert Haug, head of motorsport

        "Michael and our team did a calculated job to save tyres during qualifying and it was more important for us to go into the race with the maximum number of fresh tyres than to maximise our grid position. Thanks to our overall strategy for the session, Michael got into Q3 with a single run in Q1 and Q2 - and will start the race with more fresh tyres available than the cars ahead of him, which means he has a variety of strategic options. We will wait to hear from the FIA whether he will ultimately start from seventh on the grid tomorrow. It was unfortunate that Nico suffered a hydraulic problem during Q1 - sorry for that, Nico. This prevented him from completing a timed lap and means he must start from P23 tomorrow. However, three races ago, Michael started last and climbed through the field to a strong fifth place at the finish. That's positive motivation for us all - Nico first and foremost."


        Times

        1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 01:30.466 14
        2. Jenson Button McLaren 01:30.475 14
        3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 01:30.617 14
        4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 01:30.804 15
        5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 01:30.886 13
        6. Mark Webber Red Bull 01:31.156 14
        7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes no time 10
        8. Bruno Senna Lotus Renault no time 12
        9. Vitaly Petrov Lotus Renault no time 17
        10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber no time 15
        11. Adrian Sutil Force India 01:32.463 14
        12. Paul di Resta Force India 01:32.746 10
        13. Rubens Barrichello Williams 01:33.079 13
        14. Pastor Maldonado Williams 01:33.224 14
        15. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 01:33.227 10
        16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 01:33.427 10
        17. Sergio Perez Sauber 01:34.704 6
        18. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 01:35.454 3
        19. Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 01:35.514 6
        20. Jerome d' Ambrosio Virgin 01:36.439 8
        21. Timo Glock Virgin 01:36.507 7
        22. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 01:37.846 7
        23. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time 1 lap
        24. Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT no time 2 lap.

        Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Awesome qualifying report!!!!
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Scourge82 Click here to enlarge
        In Q3 Michael Schumacher aborted a late run to save a set of tires for the race
        In doing so almost taking out Lewis. Startled him so much he also missed out on his last qualifying run, for which he already was on the limit.
        Only one making it as the last driver passing LH and MS was Webber.
        Button missing the pole by .009s, increddible. If Mc Laren was gonna have a chance at pole, it would have been here.
        Anyways, let's see what happens tomorrow with all this tire degradation.
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        LH, MW, and MS were fighting to get past the start line before, time ran out. LH decided to abrubtly slow down before the last chicane. Was it because he wanted to have a good gap behind Button or to block MW and MS? I don't know. Still Hamilton knew he had 2 drivers on his tail and should have never slowed down like that. FIA pushed Kobayashi up from 10th to 7th because he actually started a hot lap, while the others didn't So far, I'd like to think this race will belong to Button. He's the best driver out there that knows how to manage his tires. I'd be shocked if he didn't finish 1st or 2nd tomorrow. It still won't matter, all Vettel needs to do is finish 6th and he'll be this year's champion.
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        Button wins the Japan Grand Prix but, Vettel is the 2011 F1 Champion. Full report to follow after driver interviews.

        Now I'm gonna have to get my wife to log into GT5 for me to get my free Red Bull X2010.
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        Button was not happy with Vettel's action at the start.
        Fortunately for him he lived thrue that and got on to win the race.
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        No he wasn't, that was sort of a $#@! move. Hamilton again was being a little naughty on the track. I'm suprised he escaped with no action. The stewards love him this season.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Scourge82 Click here to enlarge
        Now I'm gonna have to get my wife to log into GT5 for me to get my free Red Bull X2010.
        So you get a free car?
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        Yup, The GT5 game director said that if Sebastian Vettel won the championship in Japan, He would give away a free Red Bull X2010 Vettel edition to everyone who logs in with their GT5 account within a week.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        That is pretty cool.
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        Mercedes GP proved to be the best of the mid running teams this year and at times able to challenge the top teams. This race was no different. Michael Schumacher took advantage of his tire strategy and placed himself between the battling Hamilton and Massa to claim 6th place. Nico Rosberg, who suffering a hydraulic failure in qualifying and started 23rd in the race, finished in 10th place.

        Jensen Button won the Japanese Grand Prix in brilliant fashion, His third win of the year. The big story though, was Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel becoming the youngest back to back F1 World Champion at the age of 24 after placing 3rd in the race.

        The excitement began from the start as Vettel held 1st place after he pushed a fast charging Button onto the grass on the first corner allowing Hamilton to pass by. Button pleaded for a penalty to be issued to Vettel, after investigation, the stewards said it was a fair move and took no action. All that changed when Button passed Hamilton and began attacking Vettel. Little, by little Button began eating away at Vettel’s lead. Button was able to snatch first after undercutting Vettel on the second round of pitstops and never looked back.

        After Vettel was radioed not to challenge for 2nd place, Alonso was free to focus on challenging Button and was able to close the gap to one second, but Button responded with a fastest lap of the race. Webber who had an uneventful race claimed 4th after being told to not take any risks by challenging Vettel. Hamilton had a difficult race and finished 5th after he punctured his rear tire and clashed again with Massa.
        Sauber’s Sergio Perez claimed 8th place, while Renault’s Vitaly Petrov took 9th. Nico Rosberg despite starting in 23rd place drove an excellent race and managed finish in the points to round up the top 10.

        Even though Vettel has become this year’s champion, there are still 4 races left in the season. That means more battles between Button, Alonso, Webber, and Hamilton for 2nd place. Also with Rosberg and Schumacher just having 3 point separating them, the fight is goes on to be the top Mercedes driver.

        Full Results:




        Mercedes GP Team Comments:

        Michael was very happy after the race in Suzuka:

        We maximised our potential of the car, and managed to put in a good race today. The team did a great job the whole weekend in finding performance and transforming it into the race. I think there was not more to expect and achieve. The pit stops were perfectly timed and everything worked out according to plan.
        I would like to congratulate Sebastian and his team who have been exceptional the whole year. It is extremely emotional to see him win the Championship again - I am very happy for him and even a little bit proud.
        After the race, Nico was pleased to have scored a point after starting in P23:

        I had fun out there with a few nice overtaking manoeuvres. This is definitely one of the toughest tracks for overtaking so starting from the back of the grid meant that I had a pretty tough job.
        Before the race, I hoped to achieve between eighth and 10th places and, whilst it would have been nice to be a bit higher, it’s still a decent result. Thanks to the team for a good strategy and great pit stops today. After this complicated weekend, I hope to have a more normal weekend in Korea and fight in our usual position. And finally, Sebastian, congratulations: you deserve the title.


        Ross said:

        We made the absolute most of the car and opportunities we had at our disposal today. The car performed well throughout the race, our strategies were right for both cars, and the pit crew produced fantastic stops - we have performed strongly all year in the pits, and today our stops won us places, particularly for Nico during the Safety Car period when he jumped two cars. Michael and Nico both delivered great performances in the cockpit, passing cleanly when they needed to and defending strongly. Overall, I think it was a very exciting race and a fitting Grand Prix in which to crown a new World Champion. Congratulations to Sebastian and Red Bull Racing on his second World Championship - he has driven impeccably all year, and together they have set the standards we must now aim for and exceed.


        For Norbert:

        Michael and Nico both delivered strong races this afternoon and quite competitive lap times. Michael raced and finished among the top three teams, leading laps during the pit stop cycles, and Nico drove strongly through the field into the points, as we believed he could after qualifying yesterday, even starting from P23. Compliments to our pit stop and strategy crew as well, who played a key role in our team result this afternoon. Congratulations to Jenson Button and McLaren-Mercedes on their victory over the World Champion but, most of all, we take our hats off to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing - not just for winning the title, but also for defending it with an exceptional level of performance throughout the season.
        Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Awesome, awesome, awesome yet again.

        You have no idea how nice it is having someone do as detailed and quality of a job as you are.
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        no problem, thanks for letting take the lead on them.