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Posts Tagged ‘Fuji’

Fernando Alonso has won the Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway on a day when the championship closed up for in preparation for an epic conclusion. Alonso was gifted second after the cars in front of him ran wide at the first corner and took race leader, Robert Kubica, at the first round of pit stops to win his second race in a row.

At the race start, Kimi Raikkonen immediately took Lewis Hamilton and started to pull away down the main strait. Hamilton made a desperate attempt to regain the lead at turn one and went strait on, braking heavily, and forcing the Raikkonen wide along with Heikki Kovalainen and Felipe Massa, who were just behind him. This allowed Alonso through, but he was also affected by Hamilton’s manoeuvre and Kubica got past and into the lead. David Coulthard’s rear suspension broke after making contact at the start and he went head-on into a wall. Massa got past Hamilton and on the second lap Hamilton tried to pass his main rival but was spun by the Brazilian, and fell to last place. Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty for his actions at the start whilst Massa was given a drive-through for spinning the McLaren and both championship rivals found themselves at the back.

Raikkonen made his way back through the field and climbed to fourth behind Robert Kubica, who was just managing to keep ahead of Alonso and Kovalainen. Alonso easily got past at the first round of pit stops, though, and took the lead while Kovalainen sufferd an engine failure and retired. After his second stop, Alonso was comfortably leading and a battle emerged for second between Kubica, Raikkonen and Nelson Piquet Jr. Meanwhile, Massa was the fastest man on track and chasing down points, but he spun after contact with Sebastien Bourdais, and when his rivals rejoined, he could only fight his way back to eighth for one point. Kubica hung on to second ahead of Raikkonen, Piquet, Jarno Trulli, Bourdais, Sebastian Vettel and Massa.

This shrinks Hamilton’s lead from Massa in the championship to 6 points, while Kubica catches up with his second place and is now 12 points behind the Brit. Despite third place, this race sees the end of the reigning world champion’s title hopes. Ferrari take back the lead in the constructors’ championship from McLaren.

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Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position in qualifying for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway. He snatched provisional pole from Kimi Raikkonen by just over two tenths of a second, with a lap of 1:18:404. Raikkonen will line up with Hamilton on the front row.

Heikki Kovalainen qualified in third and put McLaren in an even better position for the race, with Singapore winner Fernando Alonso in fourth, pushing Hamilton’s main title rival, Felipe Massa, right back to fifth. Robert Kubica was just behind in sixth and, despite his pace all weekend, Timo Glock was out-qualified by teammate Jarno Trulli. Torro Rosso appeared to just be happy both cars made it to Q3 and settled for ninth and tenth, with Sebsatien Bourdais the only man on the grid qualifying with a 1 minute and 20 second lap. Nelson Piquet Jr split the two Red Bulls, with David Coulthard two tenths faster than Mark Webber. Kazuki Nakajima was probably hoping for more than fourteetnh in front of his fans, but he did out-qualify his teammate, Nico Rosberg. Nick Heidfeld didn’t get past the first session of qualifying, and starts from sixteenth, while Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella start from the last two rows.

Massa starts from a terrible position if he wants to close the gap between him and Hamilton in the championship, so will Raikkonen, who starts behind the Brit, play the team-game and help him out? The Japanese Grand Prix will be hosting a strait battle for the championship, which can still go either way.

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Robert Kubica set the fastest time on a drying Fuji speedway in the final practice session ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. It stopped raining at the start of the session but most of the action came in the dying minutes when Timo Glock continued his pace from the previous session on Friday, and took second behind the Pole.

Nelson Piquet Jr landed third position, a full 0.4 seconds faster than teammate, Fernando Alonso, who finished ninth. NIck Heidfeld continued BMW’s speed in the conditions, taking fourth, and local favourite, Kazuki Nakajima, improved even more in his Williams and took fifth. David Coulthard climbed out of the back two positions he had been in during Friday and set the sixth fastest time, just 0.1 seconds faster than his teammate, Mark Webber, in eighth, and Felipe Massa sat in seventh, with Lewis Hamilton splitting the Toro Rossos in eleventh. Jarno Trulli could only manage thirteenth ahead of Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Rain was initially predicted for Qualifying, but is now looking unlikely, so will the battle be with the front runners and, if not, who will spring a surprise?

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Timo Glock has topped the time sheets for the second practice session at the Fuji Speedway. His best lap for Toyota was a 1:18.383, putting him ahead of Singapore Grand Prix winner, Fernando Alonso, who went just 0.04 seconds slower for Renault as lap times noticeably improved from the first session.

The top two finished ahead of the main title rivals, who stayed in the same order as the in the morning session, with Lewis Hamilton extending the gap to 0.2 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa’s best lap. Kimi Raikkonen followed the two closely throughout the session, whilst Mark Webber pushed his Red Bull into the top six. Kazuki Nakajima continued his strong pace at the circuit, proving his knowledge of the track, and improving to seventh for Williams in front of his home fans. Sebastian Vettel kept Toro Rosso in the top ten, beating McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen could only manage tenth ahead of Jarno Trulli, Robert Kubica, Nelson Piquet Jr, Nico Rosberg and Sebstien Bourdais. Toyota had more reason to celebrate as their arch-rivals, Honda, had a poor session with Rubens Barrichello in fifteenth and Jenson Button last, despite being only 1.6 seconds adrift of Timo Glock. Adrian Sutil, David Coulthard, Giancarlo Fisichella and Nick Heidfeld joined Honda at the bottom.

Friday action is complete, and as F1 heads into the final practice session and qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, the battle this time looks to be set between the title rivals, unless Toyota or Renault can spring another surprise.

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Lewis Hamilton has set the early pace ahead of this weekends Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway. His time of 1:18.910 was the only lap into the 1:18s, despite only beating his main title challenger, Felipe Massa, by one tenth of a second.

Heikki Kovalainen spilt the Ferrari’s in third, with Kimi Raikkonen setting a best lap of 1:19.399 for fourth. The Renault’s finished just behind, with Fernando Alonso leading Nelson Piquet Jr who was struggling with his tyres. Sebstian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais continued Toro Rosso’s strong form in seventh and ninth, with BMW’s Robert Kubica in eighth, just 0.04 seconds slower than Vettel. Kazuki Nakajima completed the session in tenth, ahead of Adrain Sutil, Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld. The Japanese teams had a dismal start to the weekend in front of their home crowd, with Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Timo Glock bringing up the rear for Toyota and Honda, with only Red Bull’s David Coulthard and Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella behind.

The first session at Fuji this year saw little incidents, but perhaps more notably, no rain. Will the conditions in Japan continue to benefit the front-running teams when FP2 gets underway?

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