Wednesday, October 7, 2009

F1: “Kuhnichiwah” Suzuka Circuito - 2009 Edition


So the Japanese Grand Prix returned to its traditional (and rightful) home of the wonderful Suzuka Circuito this year for the first time since 2006, after a massive infield complex upgrade, including brand new Pit garages, Media Centre and extensive track repaving, which thankfully the circuit was NOT neutered by Herman Tilke, while reputedly Uncle Bernaughty was overly quick to point out to the BRDC how he’d asked the Japanese to spend money and they’d done it…

As memories came flooding back (Pun intended) as Friday’s practice session was an extremely soggy affair due to a fast approaching Typhoon, of which I’d encountered upon my wonderful outing to Suzuka way back in 2004… (Can it really be already 5yrs ago? Since seeing the TERMINATOR score another glorious victory…)

And I sat there pondering just how well would the Laser ride height sensor that Steve Matchett had pointed out its red light during the Singapore event function in the abysmal conditions.

Interestingly, it was originally pointed out by Bob Varsha that nine of the current twenty F1 Piloto’s on the grid had never raced a Formula 1 chassis in anger at Suzuka, which seemed pretty high to Mwah, as it was later pointed out during the Qualifying pre-amble that there were six “Freshman” debutants at this year’s Japanese GP event, with obviously half of these being the three Formula 1 Rookies of Renault’s Romain Grosjean and both Scuderia Toro Rosso Drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi.

The other three debutants are none other then reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton and McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen and Toyota’s Timo Glock.

Meanwhile Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel and Force India’s Adrian Sutil have only participated as Friday Third Driver’s back in 2006, while Williams home grown talent Kazuki Nakajima had previously run at Suzuka countless times, just not in a Grand Prix.

Thanks to F1 Fanatic for doing the heavy lifting on this, as I got tired of SPEED blathering on ‘bout it all weekend long with never saying the names out loud!

F1 Drivers relish Suzuka challenge
And according to Inside Grand Prix, the hardest braking spot is the Casio Triangle corner just prior to the start/finish straight, where the drivers must bleed off a massive 204kph and resist a “Mega” 5.9G deceleration force.

And I’ve already scribbled about the wild ‘N wacky Qualifying session in Utterly chaotic Qualifying in Japan.

While the race seemed to be a somewhat more sedate affair, with Pole Sitter “ZEBB (Vettel) basically rocketing off into the distance on his Monza Renault Lump which will be utilized in one of the final two races, with Toyota’s Jarno Trulli getting jumped by the KERS powered McLaren of Lewis Hamilton on the start and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld moving up to fourth place, while once again ‘JENSE struggled mightly to get into the points from his tenth place starting position.

As the race was fairly dull from the leader’s perspective, although I was happy to see Trulli-Scrumptious get back around Hamilton, who would finish 2-3 respectively, while Button’s points lead was shaved once again, with great infighting occurring mid-pack, while Vettel simply “Walked-it!” For his third victory of the season and fourth of his young career, and thus, the Championship rolls onto Brazil, with button on 85 points, leading teammate Barrichello by 14 (71) and Vettel by 16, (69) with a maximum of 20pts up for grabs; meanwhile BRAWN GP is all but assured of wrapping up its very first Constructors Title at Interlagos, as it leads Red Bull 156-120.5 and both cars would have to retire from both races with a maximum of 36pts available in the Constructors chase.

Race Drive of Suzuka
Although I was hard pressed to choose between Jarno Trulli and a very impressive outing by “Quick Nick’s” (Heidfeld) resurgent BMW Sauber, my choice goes to the German wunderkind Sebastian Vettel, who simply dominated the weekend and is always a pleasure to listen to in the interviews and especially on his in-car radio when celebrating victory! As ‘Hobbo (David Hobbs) said again; Vettel like Michael Schumacher just seems to enjoy winning...

Top 3 - Qualifying
Pole: Sebastian Vettel
Second: Jarno Trulli
Third: Lewis Hamilton

Race Results
Winner: S. Vettel; 2nd: J. Trulli; 3rd: L. Hamilton; 4th: K. Raikkonen;
5th: N. Rosberg; 6th: N. Heidfeld; 7th: R. Barrichello; 8th: J. Button.

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