Alonso claims victory in Japan

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Fernando
Fernando Alonso has won his second consecutive Grand Prix today by claiming the top step in the Japanese Grand Prix.In what is considered a gift win by a safety car rule in Singapore, the Spaniard earned his victory today in a hard fought battle with Robert Kubica.  Both drivers watched as Lewis hamilton overcooked the first corner after a bad start and nearly collected the field while running Kimi Raikkonen wide for which Lewis was later penalized.  Both Heikki and Lewis hit Kimi at turn one and all three drivers as well as Felipe Massa ran wide giving Robert and Fernando the lead out of the turn.  Felipe Massa failed to largely capitalize on Lewis’s aggressive start and penalty as he too was guilty of punting Lewis Hamilton in turn 10 on lap 2. Felipe did claw his way back into the points claiming a single point to draw him within 6 points of championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

In the calm of the McLaren offices it is easy to assume that being prudent, taking no risks and concentrating on just finishing behind Felipe in the last three races is something Lewis is quick to tell the media but in the heat of battle, Lewis seemed to forget that as his actions in turn one were completely uncalled for. Lewis is a racer and cannot abide being passed or beaten. That’s part of why he is so successful but it may just be his undoing if he can’t see the bigger picture before him.

“What can I say, it was a bad day, I’ll move on to next week,” Hamilton said. “I went wide at turn one, it was a mistake, and then Felipe hit me off, I went on the inside and he broke left and hit me pretty hard.

“I lost one point which I guess is damage limitation.”

Robert Kubica took serious criticism by McLaren boss Ron Dennis after Robert suggested that Lewis was dangerous and too aggressive. Lewis, correctly, had no direct remark to Robert’s criticism rather saying that he does his talking on the track. Apparently that on-track talk is done in this language: getting a bad start means diving way to deep into the first corner, locking your front tires in a cloud of smoke, missing the apex entirely and almost collecting the first half of the grid in the process and hitting Kimi Raikkonen in the process. Fair enough if that is your answer to Robert’s comments I can accept that…although I think Roberts off-the-track comments says more than your on-the-track talking. In fact, you may have just proved Robert correct.

If Lewis wins the title this year, he will have a whole host of people to thank including himself. If he loses, he’ll have no one else to blame but himself. Today was avoidable and as it is, the boys in red had no answer for his shortcomings. Massa, who drove a good race, had his own incidents and as of this writing it remains to be seen what the Stewards will decide with the investigation between Le Seb and Massa. Should he be penalized 10-grid positions for next weekends Grand Prix, perhaps you can clinch the title then.

Honorable mentions go to the STR boys for 6th and 7th while Nelson Piquet Jr. placed 4th proving that Alan Permane was more than likely correct when he said that the cool weather would favor the Renault’s as they are good with the tires in cool weather. And we also cannot forget Jarno Trulli who held the banner for Toyota finishing 5th on this their home Grand Prix. Well done Jarno. Heikki, who could have been a mitigating factor int he Constructor’s Championship run lost and engine and retired on lap 16.

Kimi is mathematically eliminated and Massa is still facing a difficult deficit of 6 points heading to Shanghai next week. While Lewis’s first corner debacle is nothing to praise, I am more critical of Massa and Ferrari’s inability to capitalize on Lewis’s brain-fade and haul some real points home. These are the moments when you have to pounce. McLaren gave them the window of opportunity but Ferrari failed to take full advantage. Lewis showed Ferrari last year that he is capable of bending under pressure and making mistakes. Massa knew he had to pass Lewis but punting him is another story. Many will argue that he has nothing to lose but in F1 anything can happen and as it is, it did. Massa would be in the catbird seat as Lewis was penalized for pressing Kimi wide in turn 1. All hindsight I know but Ferrari are not new to this sport. Ron Dennis said it before the race even started; anything can happen in F1 and he was absolutely correct.

1. Alonso Renault (B) 1h30:21.892
2. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 5.283
3. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 6.400
4. Piquet Renault (B) + 20.570
5. Trulli Toyota (B) + 23.767
6. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 34.085
7. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 39.207
8. Massa Ferrari (B) + 46.158
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 50.811
10. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 54.120
11. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 1:02.096
12. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 1:18.900
13. Barrichello Honda (B) + 1 lap
14. Button Honda (B) + 1 lap
15. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 1 lap

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