2011 Japan Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Everybody went gaga over last year's championship battle, but let's face it, this year's title fight was what last year should have been. The Red Bull was just as dominant. The only difference is Sebastian Vettel did not keep shooting himself in the foot. In hindsight, all we were doing last year was marveling at his mistakes. Now that he didn't make any, the championship was obviously very predictable ... and short.
EVENT: Glad to see the event go off well for the Japanese.
QUALIFYING: Thanks to nine-thousandths of a second and Hamilton getting messed up on what should have been his penultimate lap, Red Bull kept their pole streak going.
RACE: It was all about Vettel's point, so it was hard to pay attention to the others.
TRACK: The drivers love it, so who's to complain?
START: Vettel pulls a bullshit move, Hamilton takes advantage of his teammate getting boned, and Webber finally gets a good start ... when it doesn't matter.
BUTTON: The master of taking care of his tires is rewarded again.
ALONSO: Now trying to salvage second place in the point standings.
VETTEL: He got his point. Now, Sebastian can just go out and have fun the rest of the year.
WEBBER: And Mark can keep looking forward to playing second fiddle...
RED BULL: The flexible floor controversy strikes again thanks to the car being lifted up by a crane for all the world to see underneath.
HAMILTON: Lewis is using the "can't see with my mirrors" excuse? How long has he been driving open wheel race cars?
SCHUMACHER: Michael finally leads his first laps since his comeback. The last time he led was, ironically, at the Japanese GP.
MASSA: Is he Hamilton's personal bitch?
PEREZ: A strong run for Sergio. But, Ferrari material? We don't think so. Certainly not ahead of di Resta or Rosberg.
PETROV: He stayed out of trouble this time.
ROSBERG: A lost cause after zero qualifying laps.
KOBAYASHI: Gave his home crowd plenty to cheer about on Saturday, but couldn't come through on Sunday.
TRULLI: Two years ago, Jarno qualified on the front row (and finished second). This year, he was on the 10th row (and finished where he started, 19th). How quickly fortunes change in F1.
BUEMI: Tighten the wheel nuts. Tighten the wheel nuts.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Again.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 24 years, 98 days -- Last year, Sebastian became the youngest driver to win a World Championship. Now, he is the youngest to claim two titles.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: On Saturday, Watkins Glen celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Formula One race on the storied track. The 20-year run of the USGP put Watkins Glen on the worldwide racing map. Innes Ireland won his only GP in a Lotus-Climax in a time of 2:13:45.8 over the 100 laps of the 2.35-mile circuit. Though it was Team Lotus' first win, it was not the first win for a Lotus chassis. The independent Rob Walker Racing Team won with a Lotus the year before at Monaco thanks to Stirling Moss.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Nico Rosberg's sarcastic response after being told he now has plenty of tires after failing to do a qualifying lap, "Yes, a very promising strategy with all those tires left."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh on yet another Hamilton-Massa coming together, "They do seem to be magnetized."
SCHEDULE: This time, there isn't any anxiety over the Korean Grand Prix.
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