Formula One: Team Mate Comparisons After Japan (Round 15)

Mike CassCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2009

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 04:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates with the winners trophy in his changing room after victory the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 4, 2009 in Suzuka, Japan.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Continuing my regular article where I compare Formula One team mates against each other.

I will compare qualifying performance and judge them after the weight of the cars has been announced.

How qualifying results are displayed:

Position Qualified/Driver Name/Qualifying Time/Weight

I will then give my opinion of who had the better race, which is not necessarily the driver with the best result.

How race results are displayed:

Position Finished/Driver Name/Total Race Time/Fastest Lap

Drivers will be awarded one point for qualifying and one point for the race, come the end of the season we will see who did the better job.

Feel free to challenge my opinion.

Brawn GP

Qualifying: Barrichello +1

Button had a slight bump with Alguersuari during practice three that wasn't exactly the best way to prepare for qualifying, but no real damage was done.

All the red flags didn't help either during the qualifying sessions, but Brawn seemed to be taking unnecessary risks by leaving it to the last minute to send their cars out.

It cost them dearly in Q2 when Buemi wiped out along the wall, bringing out the waved yellows.

Button and Barrichello had to go for it despite the yellow flags at the end of Q2 to get a competitive time in, though obviously this got them both a five-place grid penalty.

Bizarrely, though, Barrichello only lost one place while Button lost three, due to others penalties and timings of their infractions.

P5 Barrichello 1:32.660 660.5kg (Grid: P6)

P7 Button 1:32.962 658.5kg (Grid: P10)

Race: Button +1

Button's start wasn't great; he got a bit of wheel spin off the line, but only lost out to the KERS of Kovalainen.

The move on lap three by Button to get by Kubica could prove crucial come the end of the season; it was a fantastic piece of driving by Button.

He sold Kubica the dummy by looking like he was going on the outside and when Kubica moved across to block it off, Button just slipped through on the inside.

Button then had a bit of luck when Kovalainen and Sutil took each other off, but the safety car at the end didn't help Button.

Rosberg managed to get by whilst Button was behind the safety car and rather unfairly Rosberg isn't going to be penalized, because he had a fuel light on blocking his view of the lap delta time!

Barrichello drove a solid race and would also have probably finished in front of Rosberg had it not been for the safety car at the end. However, his fastest lap time was over half a second slower than Button's and he didn't make any places up in the race.

Button takes the point for his sublime move on Kubica and his quicker pace during the race.

P7 Barrichello 1:28:31.043 Fastest Lap: 1:33.910

P8 Button 1:28:31.843 Fastest Lap: 1:33.251

Season: Jenson Button 18 – 12 Rubens Barrichello


Qualifying: Hamilton +1

Hamilton was battling with Vettel for P1 in all three sessions, but ended up third in Q3.

Meanwhile, Kovalainen was once again nowhere near Hamilton's pace, and his driving was unbelievably scruffy.

Q1 Kovalanien struggled to get out of the drop zone and had a spin, then in Q3 he caused the third red flag of qualifying when he lost it in the wall.

P3 Hamilton 1:32.395 656kg

P9 Kovalainen No time 675kg (Grid: P11)

Race: Hamilton +1

Kovalainen used his KERS to good effect at the start getting by Button, and in the opening laps got by Kubica and Sutil.

However, Sutil managed to comeback at Kovalainen and the pair ended up spinning as the Finn wouldn't yield the position despite being out manoeuvred by the Force India driver.

Kovalainen had a slight reprieve when he pulled off an opportunistic pass on Fisichella as the pair rejoined from the pits, but he finished where he started.

It's clear the pressure of holding onto his race seat has gotten to him and he's trying far too hard.

Hamilton put in another great performance; he got by Trulli at the start and nearly had Vettel.

Hamilton then spent most of the race running in second place, but just before his second stop he lost his KERS and then had a gearbox issue (or so claimed) rejoining from the pits.

This allowed Trulli to reclaim his second place and Hamilton had to settle for third as he couldn't match the pace of the Toyota.

P3 Hamilton 1:28:26.843 Fastest Lap: 1:33.259

P11 Kovalainen 1:28:34.143 Fastest Lap: 1:33.801

Season: Lewis Hamilton 21 – 9 Hekki Kovalainen


Qualifying: Raikkonen +1

Fisichella again didn't get out of Q3, while Raikkonen went all the way to Q1.

P8 Raikkonen 1:32.980 661kg (Grid: P5)

P16 Fisichella 1:31.704 661.5kg (Grid: P14)

Race: Raikkonen +1

Fisichella had a sniff at Button at the start and other than getting mugged by Kovalainen when the pair were re-joining from the pits, it was a pretty uneventful afternoon for Fisichella.

Raikkonen had some really good pace at times throughout the race and considering Ferrari haven't been developing their car for a while now, fourth was a great result.

P4 Raikkonen 1:28:28.343 Fastest Lap: 1:32.999

P12 Fisichella 1:28:34.943 Fastest Lap: 1:33.479

Season: Giancarlo Fisichella 0 – 6 Kimi Raikkonen

(Season: Luca Badoer 0 – 4 Kimi Raikkonen)

(Season: Felipe Massa 10 – 10 Kimi Raikkonen)

Red Bull

Qualifying: Vettel +1

Vettel takes this by default, as Webber didn't take part with qualifying due to a crash in practice three that damaged his chassis.

Vettel was faultless during all three qualifying sessions, and he deserves his pole position after missing out in Singapore.

P1 Vettel 1:32.160 658.5kg

P20 Webber No time (Grid: P19 – Start from pits)

Race: Vettel +1

Webber really is the unluckiest man in F1, not only did he have to start from the pit lane after not being able to take part in qualifying, but he had five pit stops during the race!

The first two stops were quite early on and were because his head rest was loose, he then had a puncture and also had two scheduled stops.

On the bright side, Webber did set the fastest lap of the race at the end, but still ended up finishing two laps down.

Vettel led from lights to flag in a dominant performance; no one was going to catch the young German today, his pace was unbelievable at times.

His victory keeps him in the title fight, can 2007 really repeat itself?

P1 Vettel 1:28:20.443 Fastest Lap: 1:32.572

P17 Webber +2 Laps Fastest Lap: 1:32.569

Season: Sebastian Vettel 20 – 10 Mark Webber


Qualifying: Trulli +1

Trulli was on to take this before Glock's crash any way, but he now gets the point by default.

Glock had no running in P1 or P2 due to feeling unwell and it showed in qualifying.

Maybe he was still feeling unwell, or just wasn't with it due to the lack of running, but he lost control of his Toyota and crashed heavily into the wall at the final corner.

Glock had to have stitches for a cut to his left leg, and now won't take part in the race.

I, like everyone else assumed Trulli had gone for a low fuel glory run, but when the fuel weights were revealed his second place was on merit.

P2 Trulli 1:32.220 655.5kg

P14 Glock No time

Race: Trulli +1

Trulli takes this by default, as Glock didn't take part in the race due to his leg injury from qualifying.

Trulli got jumped by the KERS of Hamilton at the start, but managed to reclaim his second place after the second round of pit stops.

Hamilton did have an issue with his KERS at the end and a problem re-joining from the pits, but Trulli had fantastic pace throughout the race and deserved to finished second.

It's a second consecutive podium for Toyota who are having a strong end to the season, the result will also boost Trulli's chance of getting a race drive next year after his dismal showing in Singapore.

P2 Trulli 1:28:25.243 Fastest Lap: 1:33.152

Glock - Did Not Start

Season: Jarno Trulli 17 – 13 Timo Glock


Qualifying: Alonso +1

Grosjean once again went out in Q1 whilst Alonso qualified 12th, however Alonso was later penalised for setting his fastest lap time under waved yellows.

P12 Alonso 1:31.638 689.5kg (Grid: P16)

P18 Grosjean 1:32.073 691.8kg (Grid: P17)

Race: Alonso +1

Grosjean's didn't feature all afternoon other then when he got lapped, Alonso didn't have much air time until the restart when he was hustling Kubica all the way to the chequered flag.

P10 Alonso 1:28:33.443 Fastest Lap: 1:33.946

P16 Grosjean +1 Lap Fastest Lap: 1:34.643

Season: Fernando Alonso 9 – 1 Romain Grosjean.

(Season: Fernando Alonso 15 – 5 Nelson Piquet Jr.)


Qualifying: Rosberg +1

Japanese drivers normally excel at home, just look at what Sato used to do at Suzuka. Nakajima though once again struggled and didn't make it to Q2, his time in F1 is running out.

Rosberg was the big winner from others penalties making four places on the grid, and he'll start the race with a load of fuel to boot!

P11 Rosberg 1:31.482 684.5kg (Grid: P7)

P17 Nakajima 1:31.718 695.7kg (Grid: P15)

Race: Rosberg +1

Nakajima yet again had one of those anonymous drives, the only thing that happened to him during the race was getting passed by Liuzzi.

Rosberg's fifth place has caused some controversy after seeming to gain an advantage under the safety car. However, the stewards have decided he hasn't done anything wrong as his fuel light was stopping him from seeing the lap delta time (bizarre, I know).

P5 Rosberg 1:28:29.143 Fastest Lap: 1:33.595

P15 Nakajima 1:28:38.343 Fastest Lap: 1:34.783

Season: Nico Rosberg 27 - 3 Kazuki Nakajima


Qualifying: Heidfeld +1

Kubica dropped out in Q2 as he wasn't able to show his true pace due to the red flag, but he can be happy that he has been promoted four places due to other drivers penalties.

Heidfeld had a good showing in qualifying, and showed just how much effort BMW have put into the end of this season with continued development work on the car claiming sixth.

P6 Heidfeld 1:32.945 660kg (Grid: P4)

P13 Kubica 1:32.341 686kg (Grid: P9)

Race: Heidfeld +1

Kubica was jumped at the start by the KERS of Kovalainen and then got out-manoeuvred by Button.

However at the end he was pushing Button all the way to the line and he put in a faster lap time than Heidfeld.

Heidfeld was doing a solid job at the front, but a stuck wheel nut during his pit stop cost him fourth to Raikkonen and Rosberg stole fifth under the safety car.

P6 Heidfeld 1:28:29.943 Fastest Lap: 1:33.600

P9 Kubica 1:28:32.143 Fastest Lap: 1:33.334

Season: Robert Kubica 16 – 14 Nick Heidfeld

Force India

Qualifying: Sutil +1

Liuzzi was nowhere, Sutil was fourth although slightly light.

However he will be starting eighth after being penalized for setting a fast lap time under waved yellows.

P4 Sutil 1:32.466 650kg (Grid: P8)

P19 Liuzzi 1:32.087 682.5kg (Grid: P18)

Race: Sutil +1

Liuzzi did ok, but his fastest lap was some half second off his team mate.

Sutil got passed by Kovalainen in the opening laps, but managed to stay with the McLaren and then launched a move to reclaim the position.

Sutil had the line, but Kovalainen wasn't prepared to yield and put both into a spin.

P13 Sutil 1:28:35.343 Fastest Lap: 1:33.668

P14 Liuzzi 1:28:36.143 Fastest Lap: 1:34.294

Season: Vitantonio Liuzzi 3 - 3 Adrian Sutil

(Season: Giancarlo Fisichella 13 – 11 Adrian Sutil)

Toro Rosso

Qualifying: Buemi +1

Buemi was first onto the track in Q1 and first to chuck his car at the wall at the Degner corner, some how he drove away and made it all the way to Q3.

However, he didn't take part in Q3 as he wiped out along the wall in Q2 bringing out the yellow flags that caught out the Brawns.

Buemi was penalized though for driving his wreck of a car pack to the pits and will start 13th.

Alguersuari made it to Q2 for the first time, but then did what Buemi did in Q1 and chucked his car at the wall at the Degner corner; however, he didn't drive away and he caused a red flag.

Red Bull should have had some advertising boards down there, what with Webber visiting the Degner corner wall in P3 and then Buemi and Alguersuari in qualifying!

P10 Buemi No time 665.4kg (Grid: P13)

P15 Alguersuari No time 682.5kg (Grid: P12)

Race: Alguersuari +1

Another race to forget for both Toro Rosso drivers and the team as the chalk up a second consecutive double-DNF.

Buemi had a dire start and was forced to retire on lap 11 with a clutch issue.

Meanwhile, Alguersuari was having an ok race, and then he went and chucked it at a wall again, at least it wasn't Degner this time.

Alguersuari can have the point for bringing out the safety car that added a little excitement to the end of the race.

P18 Alguersuari -Crash Lap 43- Fastest Lap: 1:34.049

P19 Buemi -Retired Lap 11: Clutch- Fastest Lap: 1:35.392

Season: Sebastian Buemi 8 – 4 Jamie Alguersuari

(Season: Sebastian Buemi 13 – 5 Sebastian Bourdais)


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