Yellow flags at Interlagos during the 2012 Brasil Formula One GP

They’ve been over the footage of the Vettel-Kobayasi pass under variable flagging.

First there is a yellow light next to a slippery surface flag.  Then there is a green light!  Then there is a yellow light again, Vettel passes, Kobayashi IMMEDIATELY goes into the pits.

Based on the complexity of the situation, multiple flags, extreme conditions, and Kobayashi immediate entry into the pits, you’ve got to call this a racing incident.

Even if Vettel were to (inappropriately) get the maximum penalty for this, he would only go back one position, and stil win the championship.

So why lay the penalty?

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Okay, here we go, last race of the best season ever in Formula One – Brasil 2012 F1 Grand Prix Sao Paulo – INTERLAGOS!

Mark Webber is cool; I’ve just seen the Martin Brundle Grid walk, and their conversation.

As predicted by the meteorologists, and reported by me, rain is almost certain, and is in fact technically falling now, during the Brundle grid walk.  Jensy, so square!

Please see some of my comments at James Allen’s place:  http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/11/hamilton-on-top-after-day-1-in-brazil-as-rain-threatens-for-sunday/#comment-683228

The Brundle interview with the Ferrari man was good, and I hope we have a race where both Filipe and Webber, just go; and that is the best thing that they can do; so they should do it.

“Anything can, and usually does happen”, Murray Walker knew what he was talking about when he said this; and I expect to see it, shortly.

Go Kobayashi, go!

Go Sauber, go!

Go Lewy, go!

Vettel doesn’t need any encouragement; he knows exactly what he is doing, and if he does it, he will win.

Vettel trying to go too conservative will back fire; as with many great champions of the past and present, backing off chokes the magic.

Drive YOUR race Vettel, and earn your just rewards.

Nothing else really matters, final race, 2012 Formula One Grand Prix calendar – Interlagos, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL

Friday November 23rd 2012

There are two title contenders left for the 2012 F1 Drivers’ Championship, neither one of them look to be the fastest so far, not that it may make much of a difference in the weekend.

Lewis continues to have an edge over Vettel as the fastest package with the McLaren, a quarter of a second ahead of Vettel, with nine more drivers within a second.

For the race, we can take only the broadest brush strokes; the main reason, variations in:

  1. hot and cold, and
  2. dry and wet

Currently, the weather predictions are 100% rain, and 15 degrees colder, yes, COLD!

First off, way to go Lewis!  Getting your fiftieth win at McLaren would be totally reflective of your career there, and an appropriate way to move on…

For the contenders:

Vettel-Red Bull:

It’s comparatively straight-forward at Red Bull.  Besides making what ever preparations they can for the expected cold, wet weather, they just need to get the best car they can ready and reliable for Vettel, then let him do his stuff.

Alonso-Ferrari:

It’s complicated at Ferrari; they have to gamble one way or another.  Even in a best case scenario, Vettel gets a DNF, Alonso still needs to be on the podium to win the championship.  Let’s face it, if Vettel finishes the race, then Alonso really almost must have a win.  It’s been a while.  But Ferrari will do everything they can to win; expect the unexpected this weekend, expect bizarre happenstance; if advantage can be gained behind the scenes, expect Ferrari to be making the most of it.  I think you can look on an Alonso victory in the championship to be the only thing that will keep Stefano Domenicali secure in his job for another season.

The changing weather conditions favour the bold, and whether deserved or not, Alonso has the reputation of making the most of all conditions.  One way or another, Ferrari are going to have to be ready for any track condition, maximized for any track condition.

Also, I expect radical manoeuvres to get Fernando further up the grid; off the top of my head, figuring out what I would do, for example: look for a light-fueled Massa to get the pole, then control the pace by very, very aggressively managing challengers, to enable the well-motivated and capable Alonso, possibly fueled to require a safety car deployment, ample opportunity to move up through the field, if he qualifies using a race-optimized set up, i.e. high-seven gear ratio for passing on straights, etc.

With the expected weather, the chance of there NOT being a safety car, is slim to none; for this race, I will go out on a limb and say that there SHALL be a safety car deployment, at least one.

The big disadvantage to my proposed strategy is the start amongst so many jacked-up mid-fielders, taking Alonso’s fate into a checkered crowd, no mater how good he is, in the mid-pack, into the first corner, his fate is in the hands of many; a huge gamble in the rain and cold.

Speakng of the rain and cold:

Just who knows how the tires will perform?

We’ve had cool and wet races this year, but quite a while ago by the measure of the development pace this year.

For example, didn’t Mercedes win one this year?

So it is going to be a bit of a lottery.

I’m still hoping for a Kamui Kobyashi victory this year, and this will be the best chance he is ever likely to get.

Go Kobyashi, go!

Also would be a good way for Lewis to finish off his McLaren career.

I’d enjoy seeing a second Kimi victory.

But I’m really putting the crystal ball away for this race.  With the cold and wet, and in particular, the cold and wet, following abruptly after hot and dry and/or hot and wet, means that most predictability is out the window, and down the sewer (where it belongs).

My recommendation:

Just enjoy the race; it could be good.

2012 F1 U.S.A. Grand Prix at the Circuit o the Americas – qualifying

Vettel stays focused and nails the P1.

What else did you suspect?

The Red Bull-Vettel package is in a class of their own!

Who else is getting tired of the crowd, incessantly making excuses and casting blame for his performance, all over the place; but never on him, of course.  Everyone is entitled to a bad day at the office; it is only human.

Yes, we all know the Red Bull machinery is the best, at the moment.

Yes, yes, yes.

But!

Massa HALF A SECOND faster than Alonso!

Whoa there Bessie!

Maybe Massa has been getting the shaft for most of the season.

Not complaining, well, not complaining about the machinery; he knows this is the best machinery he is ever going to get.

I am happy to see the resurgent Massa; way to go Fillipe!  I’d love to see you win the championship next year, and beat your team mate.

I’m not dissing Alonso, these things happen to all drivers; he’s fought long and hard, enduring, this season, in a car that was never a front runner over a single lap, though it did have a decent run as the race-pace leader or very close to race pace leader.

It is just the incessant chorus of Alonso apologizers, and their ilk.  Enough is too much already; can it!  At least you could go graciously; that’s the most championship display that can be made now.

Lewis did another great job, and I am definitely NOT convinced that can’t win the race tomorrow.  He’s got nothing to lose.  Then again, Vettel is another one of those pathological racers, that won’t stop, can’t stop; maybe that’s his weakness.  We’ll know if he gets banged up in an unnecessary crash in the second half of the race tomorrow, six position in front of Alonso.  And I think it’s a possibility.  Hamilton has little to lose by oing for it.  He has the most to gain by establishing a fan base in the States, where his ostentatious style is ripe for adoration.

I expect a full onslaught by Hamilton, and if his machinery doesn’t give out, an exciting race to the line.

Don’t miss the start, because I expect a lot of attrition and a safety car on the first lap, maybe crashes at more than one place.  You might suspect an aggressive team to start on the Hard and go immediately on a first lap safety car to the mediums and try to get through the race; I’m not mentioning any team, in particular, but if you are Japanese or in particular, Mexican, I think you might go for it, and see where that takes you.

Go Kobyashi, go!

2012 November 13 before the American Grand Prix

Just a few tidbits that have crossed my mind.

Oh yeah, back to the U.S.A!  “Eh, right on”, as we say here.  Yeah, they are next door, but it is all the way on the other side of the country, for us, and it’s a big country.  Plus… the other stuff.

It could be interesting.

My early call: The McLaren should still be good on every circuit, including this one.  I do also think Red Bull will continue to be strong.  If Ferrari are going to challenge, they have to at least start, for this, as they so fondly like to say, on the British Formula One television coverage, the ‘penultimate’ race of the championship. We call that, ‘the second last race’, or, in a race, ‘the second last lap’; it’s easier to say, and at least as descriptive.  I also think Lotus will be strong, perhaps yet a little bit stronger than in Abu Dhabi.

So, it could be interesting.

I haven’t really been too down on Martin Whitmarsh, but he’s really, REALLY losing the plot, here:  in the same week as he is getting headlines, that read, “Lewis doubting move to Mercedes”, or something like that, it SHOULD DEFINITELY BE, IN THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE, “Whitmarsh says Lewis doubting…”, he says something like, “… oh yeah, I’m doubting my decision on my driver next year, oh yeah, that’s how confident I am… …about MY driver selection for next year… Oh yeah… I did that, didn’t I?”  Trouble at McLaren; say it ain’t so!?!  That’s pretty bad.  Pull it together, man!  When confused, just keep quiet and see if you can’t find a bit focus again, before opening it, and subsequently, losing it.  Poor Lewy, damned if he do, and damned if he don’t.  Stick to your guns, man; you made the decision, and now go and do it, (after your car breaks down for two more races you are leading – oh well, you’re going.)

By the way, Perez is still looking great, as far as I’m concerned.  What’s happening now, at Sauber, is everybody getting their money’s worth.  Perez is pushing the boundaries, learning everything he can, especially since he is leading the charge in a constructor’s battle for Sauber, and they are willing to support alternative strategies, to just maybe get one of their guys further up the pecking order by the flag.  It’s been a bit rough over there, and this strategy may not always work, but maybe their due, either one of them; I’m still a big Kobyashi fan, and I’d love to see him at Williams with one of them Finns; they seem to make good race car drivers, there.  I think it’s a bit like Canada there; they have great hockey players; they’re doing something right; I hear they have a good education system, short hours, and much of it spent outside, even in the winter.  That makes healthy people, not just physically.  We should have shorter hours in grade school, and mostly teaching outside, here, too.  Then maybe we’d get a few more race car drivers who could win in formula one; you never know.

The “warned over language…” thing is a bit much.  I admit that it did seem a little bit like Sebastian was, kind of, sort of, emulating Kimi!?!  Now that is a bit weird!  Let’s just think about this for a second, the reigning champion, a two-time-in-a-row, double world champion, likely, shortly to be, three-time-in-a-row, world champion, is out of character, a bit anyways, sort of… kind of… being like Kimi?!?  Well, I don’t blame him; there’s no doubt about who the coolest driver.  The one who likes to drive, and doesn’t like the corporate types; who could blame him on that one?  But being… something… that you are not?  That’s just not cool; it’s the opposite of cool.  Anyways, he sure a great race car driver, though.  What a bunk of uptight gunk!  The language police!  If Vettel hadn’t made such a mess of it, it probably would have just cruised under the radar, with Kimi’s quite appropriate usage.  Oh well, it was it is.  NBD.

Slightly off, but really not that much: I am happy that Lorenzo, already having won this year’s MotoGP championship, the approximate equivalent in the motorcycle racing world, is seemingly in good health following his BIG HIGHSIDE, (WAY!)  at the last race in Valencia, won by Dani Pedrosa, who is runner-up in this year’s championship.  VERY SAD, that Casey Stoner, the best motorcycle racer of all time, is retired.  He’s a young guy.  I think he should get a Formula One test with the smartest team, why not straight to Ferrari.  He could win a world championship in F1; he might as well go right to the top; or maybe… Williams!?!  (So far, I must have about ten people driving for Williams next year!)

BACK TO THE RACE…

Yeah, I think it’s going to be good; I got at least six guys who I think could win this one; and I still think (and like the idea of) a Sauber victory, in the last two races, either one of them; so really, I’m looking at eight guys who I think can win this one; unknown to everybody.  How often do we get that, unknown to everyone, therefore everyone of similar experience, still a hot fight in the drivers’ championship, and potentially, closely matched machinery, for FOUR TEAMS!  I hope the machinery is evenly matched, and I think it’s going to be interesting.

First thing I’m looking at:

Tire wear, and tire wear across varying conditions, warmer and cooler.

Kimi! Victory! Yes! 2012 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

Kimi Raikkonen back on the top step, winning the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix 2012!

Webber’s slightly off-kilter start, in front of Kimi, Kimi not hesitating, got him into position to fight for victory.

Not much needs to be said about Lewis’ machinery failure, yet again in 2012.  Lewis, having a great, and dominant weekend, leads from pole, looks comfortable, after a minor cold-tire lockup, and edges a comfortable gap over the fast and steady Kimi, only to have his McLaren whoof, and lose power.  Race over!

Kimi establishes dominance on the soft tires, takes a good cushion and winds out fastest laps, edging forward.  He stays out a bit longer on the Lotus-favoured softer tires, returning from the pit stop in good position to continue to the flag.  Alonso charging hard in the last five laps, but Kimi responded trading fastest laps to the flag to take his first victory: this season, since his return, and for Lotus since Aryton Senna.

A morose Alonso takes second.

Vettel: I suggested the potential for an amazing drive, before the race, and yet was surprised as it was even more interesting than I had warned.  Starting from the pit, Vettel shortly gets wing damage advancing through the field, then during the safety car, for the Rosberg/Karthikeyan, Vettel gets squeeze by a brake-warming Ricciardo, as he is accelerating to take out a brake-zone market and effectively finish off his front wing!  So he pits and takes on new tires, possibly planning to run the remaining 42 laps on the soft tires!  With new wing and new tires, he carves his way through the field, and advances as other teams begin to change tires for this one-stop race.  Then the Di Resta, Perez, Grosjean, and Webber (more on him in a moment) coming together safetycar launch, lap 39/55; Vettel takes his chance and dives in for a new set of softs, again lunching upwards through the ranks.  In the final few laps Vettel fights Button, in a slower car, but defending valiantly.  Button deserves driver of the race, for what he didn’t do, that is, take Vettel out on a gutsy passing move, Button drove with the utmost respect and integrity, giving the minimum, but enough room for Vettel to make the move stick and up into third, which he held until the flag.  Astonishing race from Vettel.  Unfortunately for the race winner, by gaining third, Vettel mathematically eliminates Kimi from the 2012 World Championship.

Webber drove a feral race, but was always behind the eight ball from his  (slightly) compromised start off the line.  Webber drove like a man possessed, or as the say down under, ‘totally feral, mate.’  He mixed it up with Maldonado around turn eleven, spinning out and losing places.  he then fought his way back after a seemingly ill-timed for him, (but not Vettel who was immediately behind him), pit stop, through dense and competitive traffic, to mix it up again at turn eleven, this time wiping out Fillipe, who spun his Ferrari after an awkward bounce off a curb.  Finally, Webber was in the wrong place, at the wrong time to get clipped by Grosjean (also not at fault), getting popped by Perez rejoining the track in an ill-advised manner after swinging wide following very aggressive double overtaking attempt.  Webber provided about 50% of the excitement and spectacle of the race!

Kudos to the stewards who did not give Webber a penalty for either his Maldonado nor Massa contacts; the Maldonado contact being the more grievous of the two.

Maldonado 5th, his first top six, aside from his Barcelona win, this season, and Bruno Senna 8th means a good day fro Williams.

Kobayashi 6th, a good drive from him.

But the man of the hour, a crowd-pleaser with his no-nonsense approach (especially to the strained contrivances of the media interviewers), wins (FINALLY!) this season, and many of us could only be happier if he was still in contention for the 2012 World Drivers’ championship.

2012 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix post-qualy – way to go Lewis!

Lewis Hamilton was 0.348 ahead of Webber; clearly he was the best package.  Webber put in a fine lap to get what he did; way to go, mate.  Vettel hasn’t looked like his fine post summer break form, all weekend; what is going on?  But don’t count him out!

This weekend is getting more interesting as it goes on; I think we’re going to get a very interesting race, including a very interesting first corner.

Talk about the golden horseshoe stuffed so far up there, his main, and only title rival demoted to the back of the grid?

¡Que bueno suerte!

7th on the grid is now on the third row, against Jenson Button; things are  looking so much better for the butteri primo of the prancing horses.

Kimi is now on the second row, but next to Pastor.

That crafty Alonso could be third by the end of the first lap; then anything could happen.

Another guy I just have a feeling for is Roman Grosjean; I have no idea why; perhaps it is such minute attributes, so as to be imperceptible to the conscious mind, yet perceptible nonetheless.  I think he’ll advance on the first lap, and keep on passing and going faster, and… maybe a podium.

Lewis could pull away if he can keep ahead of Webber into the first corner; I expect Webber to be completely going for it; and it could be interesting.

Expect phenomenal displays from Sebastian Vettel, provided his car is working as well as it has in recent races.  He might put on a display of the race, starting from the pitlane, following his sanctioning by the FIA for  insufficient quantity of fuel following qualifications, after failing to complete the drive the the parc ferme.

This is going to be good.

Out of all on the grid, however, the man in red is happiest of all, after all.