There’s no contest. Another success for Sebastian Vettel (nine GP won out of 15, 5 of which were won in sequence) and Red Bull which, thanks to Webber’s second place, scored a double-declutch. It’s an overwhelming and embarrassing supremacy. Once again they played the game of the “cat with the mouse”. Vettel seemed to have the control operated until he was sure not to have the car damaged as a consequence of a collision with Hamilton’s car. Then, he put into the seventh gear, took over rivals and won another race, even if this time, the time gap with the other drivers was a little more “human”. The German driver has now a 90-point lead over Alonso.
Webber took the first pole of the season, so he hoped to get on the top step of the podium, but he was handicapped by the strategy. Lotus is making miracles in this final stage of the season, so the English team deserves to be praised. Despite the team’s budget is not as high as top teams’, the team’s car is very competitive. Grosjean is improving his performances race after race. He took an excellent start and got a podium finish, defending his position. Raikkonen’s fifth place finish ended a racing week end which was positive for the Enstone-based team, which not only consolidates its fourth place in the constructors’ championship, but also gets closer and closer to Mercedes’s third place. Two episodes marked the Stuttgart-based racing team’s Japanese GP. At the kick-off, Vettel clipped Hamilton’s right-rear tyre, causing a puncture. The Englishman dropped down to the bottom of the standing until he had to retire. Rosberg’s race was affected by a pit-stop mistake, because of which he only managed to finish 9th.
Ferrari was in a spot throughout the week end; the Italian team delivered fluctuating performances during the race. Alonso and Massa tried to score as many points as possible, taking advantage of the Mercedes’s failure to consolidate their second place in the drivers and constructors championship. I noticed a little bit of annoyance in the Italian team, so this is not of help. I hope the Maranello-based team will make technical upgrades for the 2014 season, during the winter. That will maybe help the team to cheer up. Sauber is showing unexpected performances. Gutierrez’s first point finish is a good omen for the future. Suzuka is a favorable track for the C32 and the team was good at taking advantage of the opportunity at the detriment of Toro Rosso and got the seventh place in the constructors’ championship. Next circuits will be the test bench for them. In this final stage of the season, Toro Rosso is slacking off. The Faenza-based team’s position seemed to be solid until a short time ago, while now they have to make an extraordinary comeback, considering the prize up for grabs.
McLaren’s fifth place in the constructors’ championship is almost certain; we can say that the team’s season is almost finished. Mind is set not only on the 2014 season, which can be considered as a transition year, but, above all, on the 2015 racing season, the year Honda will officially return to competition.
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 53 1:26’49.301
2 Mark Webber Red Bull/Renault 53
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 53
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 53
5 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus/Renault 53
6 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber/Ferrari 53
7 E.Gutiérrez Sauber/Ferrari 53
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 53
9 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 53
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari 53
11 Paul Di Resta Force India/Mercedes 53
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Ferrari 52 1 Giro
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso/Ferrari 52 1 Giro
14 Adrian Sutil Force India/Mercedes 52 1 Giro
15 Sergio Pérez McLaren/Mercedes 52 1 Giro
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams/Renault 52 1 Giro
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Renault 52 1 Giro
18 Charles Pic Caterham/Renault 52 1 Giro
19 Max Chilton Marussia/Cosworth 52 1 Giro