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Race analysis GP Japan: Kimi sends Alonso into the sandpit

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Race analysis GP Japan 2012
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Should the commissioners have punished Raikkonen?

Suzuka is always a tricky start. First, because the drivers have to start downhill. Second, because the home straight is followed by a super-fast corner that leads to a third-gear corner. Speed: about 140 km /h. There is stress almost every year. So this time too. The first victim was Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard was sandwiched between Sergio Perez's Sauber and Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus. When Alonso swerved to the outside, Raikkonen took off the gas too late and hit the Ferrari on the left rear tire. Alonso spun through the field.

K aum the smoke had settled, the Ferrari engine had died. It is permissible to ask why the anti-stall program did not work. Nobody at Ferrari had an answer. Didn't the computer go into neutral in time, or did Alonso forget to pull the clutch? Because he could have gone on. Only the left rear tire was flat. The collision is on Raikkonen's cap. Should the Finn have been punished for it? Even Ferrari racing director Stefano Domenicali agreed with the stewards' opinion. It was a normal racing accident. 'I couldn't see any bad intentions from Kimi.'

What happened behind the Alonso drama?

When Alonso looked the rest of the field in the eye, there were two more collisions. First Romain Grosjean turned over Mark Webber's Red Bull. Then Bruno Senna crashed into the rear of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes. Grosjean received the toughest penalty that can be given in a race: ten seconds stop-and-go. Senna got away with a drive-through penalty.

Both are repeat offenders. Regarding the Grosjean case, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said: 'I don't understand that he can start from scratch after the suspension. We should take him out of circulation for three races.' Senna spun around Kamui Kobayashi at the European GP. And he collided with Grosjean on the opening lap at Hockenheim.

How did Massa get past Button and Kobayashi?

Felipe Massa's start was phenomenal. From eleventh to fourth place. 'I passed Hamilton immediately. Since Fernando and Kimi drifted further and further to the outside, I also overtook them. Then suddenly Webber was standing across in front of me. I saw a small gap and went through it. Because we were all slowed down , I used KERS and had two more cars behind merelaxed. '

After the starting lap only Kamui Kobayashi and Jenson Button were between Massa and front runner Sebastian Vettel. The only chance to overtake was the first pit stop. Button wanted to outsmart Kobayashi and changed tires on lap 13 Sauber forced to counter a lap later. Massa fell by the wayside. 'At first I had spared tires and waited until Jenson and Kamui came to the pits. Then I picked up the pace. 'The Brazilian only pitted on lap 17. He lost seven tenths of a second on Button and 0.2 seconds on Kobayashi and still came back on track before the two of them.

His teammate's name was Daniel Ricciardo. After their stops, Kobayashi and Button landed behind the Australian who was still on his first set of tires. Beat Zehnder was amazed: 'Our simulation told us that we should have got Kamui out before Ricciardo, but somehow A mistake crept in. 'The Button /Kobayashi tandem lost 4.9 seconds in the two and a half laps behind Ricciardo. Too much to stay ahead of Massa.

Why did Vettel finish the fastest lap in the end ?

Sebastian Vettel had set the fastest lap on lap 44 with 1.36.466 minutes. That was miles faster than the second best driver in the race, although Vettel finished the 51st lap with 19.3 Seconds ahead of Felipe Mas sa led, he put in an intermediate sprint on the penultimate lap. With a time of 1.35.774 minutes, he was 0.9 seconds faster than Jenson Button in the end. But was that necessary?

'You can't teach the hag about that anymore,' moaned Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko. 'We told him on the radio that no one was on the road with fresh, soft tires in the last stint. To keep him from chasing times again. What is he doing? He's going one better.'

What happened to the McLaren?

McLaren was on the defensive in Suzuka. Fourth place for Jenson Button and fifth place for Lewis Hamilton, 25 and 46 seconds behind the winner, respectively, are the McLaren's worst results since their technology offensive at Hockenheim. 'We had no chance,' admitted team principal Martin Whitmarsh. 'If everything goes well, we have to take the places behind Vettel.' But not everything went according to plan.

'We gave Jenson a bad starting position by changing the gearbox. Overtaking is extremely difficult in Suzuka. He made the best of the situation. At the end of the stints we were faster than the Sauber.' In the meantime, there was an alarm at Button. He reported transmission problems to the pits. 'Not again,' they thought at the command post. Later, the emergency call turned out to be a blind alarm.

'During the pit stop, the rear right brake disc caught fire. As a result, some of the sensors in the vicinity got too hotInformation to the transmission, which shifted into neutral every now and then. Jenson felt that something was wrong with the gearbox. After everything had cooled down again, the transmission was running normally again, 'so the first error analysis by Whitmarsh.

Lewis Hamilton also had to slow down in the meantime.' We noticed a loss of downforce at the front on Lewis' car . At the pit stop we knew why. On the front wing pieces of rubber had collected in the gaps in the flap. When we had cleaned the wings, the speed returned. '

We have the best pictures of the race in our photo gallery.

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