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Alonso in champion form after Korea win

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Andrew Benson | 11:57 UK time, Sunday, 24 October 2010

Runner-up Lewis Hamilton applauded race-winner Fernando Alonso as they cruised round their slowing down lap at the Korean Grand Prix. Was the Englishman also hailing the 2010 world champion?

Alonso's superb victory in yet another thrilling race has turned the title race on its head - for the umpteenth time this year.

It moves the Spaniard, already a double world champion, into the lead for the first time since the Australian Grand Prix, the second race of the season, at the end of March.

The Ferrari driver is 11 points ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber, who crashed out on the second lap of racing. Hamilton's second place moves him up to third, 21 points behind his arch-rival.

It is a sign of just how close this incredible championship is that all five men who were in contention before this race remain so, even though Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel retired with an engine failure and Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button could finish only 12th after a difficult race in his McLaren.

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However, with only 50 points still available in the two remaining races, Button - 42 points behind Alonso - must effectively be counted out, as he admitted himself after what he described as "a pretty horrific day". Are you still in the championship, BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie asked Button after the race. "Not really," he said.

Vettel, too, 25 points (one win) adrift, is in serious trouble, despite having what is undoubtedly the fastest car.

Both those two teams must surely now start to give serious thought to backing their leading driver over the other - as Ferrari have been doing since they asked Felipe Massa to hand the lead of the German Grand Prix to Alonso.

For Red Bull, in particular, it is an agonising situation.

Their emotional investment in Vettel has been clear for a very long time - and it was emphasised yet again when team principal Christian Horner was quoted saying before the Korean race that they were building the team around him for the future.

But unless some disaster befalls Alonso in Brazil or Abu Dhabi, it is difficult to see how Vettel can make up 25 points in two races on a man who has won four of the last seven grands prix, scoring more points than anyone, and whose last four results read: win, win, third, win.

Still, though, Horner told BBC Sport after the race that it was too early to start backing one driver over the other.

"As we saw in this race, different drivers were leading the championship at different points," Horner said.

"Fernando we gave a big gift today, and we need to look at that, but we have seen how quickly things can change.

"At the moment our strategy remains unchanged - this championship will not be over until the last lap in Abu Dhabi has been completed, and we will be pushing flat out until that time."

That is all well and good, but this is surely the point at which Horner - and team owner Dietrich Mateschitz - have to start asking themselves some hard questions and making some equally tough choices.

They have had by far the fastest car this season - a Red Bull has been on pole at 14 of the 17 races - and yet, for a variety of reasons, they find themselves with two races to go with neither driver leading the championship.

Alonso's advantage over Webber is not large - it is effectively the equivalent of a fourth place.

If, therefore, Webber won the two remaining races with Vettel second and Alonso third, Webber would win the championship. But if Vettel won them, with Webber second and Alonso third, then Alonso would be champion.

Complicating the issue is that, on the evidence of this season, the chances of Red Bull taking one-twos in the next two races are pretty slim.

There are two reasons to say that.

Firstly, Red Bull have proven again and again in 2010 that they cannot consistently deliver the results the performance of their car suggests they should.

Sometimes that has been down to the drivers, sometimes the team and sometimes things out of their control, such as the engine failure that hit Vettel in Korea. Whatever the reason, though, it keeps happening.

Secondly, it is far from clear they will, on pure performance, be able to dominate the last two races.

Of the two tracks, Abu Dhabi probably favours Red Bull more than Brazil. But neither of them are 'Red Bull tracks' in the fashion of, say, Suzuka, the Hungaroring, Silverstone or Barcelona. Both remaining events are difficult to predict.

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Alonso, then, will remain a serious threat on pure competitiveness on the track and could well win in either Sao Paulo or Abu Dhabi. As Eddie Jordan pointed out in the F1 Forum, if you were minded to bet on anyone to win the championship, it would be the Ferrari number one.

Alonso drove another fantastic race in Korea. He was the only man anywhere near the Red Bulls on qualifying pace and in the race he buried an undeserved reputation for not being particularly good in the wet.

Although the Red Bull clearly has more downforce than the Ferrari, Alonso never let Vettel off the hook, pressuring him hard throughout the race.

Horner said Vettel had lost a "guaranteed race victory", but it did not look very guaranteed as the Ferrari closed right up to the gearbox of the Red Bull in the laps before its retirement.

Was Vettel managing the gap? It didn't look that way as he made a mistake and ran wide on lap 43, allowing Alonso to gain more than a second on him.

Was he already struggling from a lack of power that prefaced the failure? We may never know. But, until just before Vettel retired, the race still looked to me like a proper, flat-out fight between the German, Alonso and Hamilton.

What a battle it was. What a season it has been. And what a climax it promises to be.

Alonso might be favourite to win the title after what Martin Brundle described as "a champion's drive". But it is still all to play for. And after a year of so many twists and turns, you would be better off keeping your money in your pocket.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    YES! YES! YES!

  • Comment number 2.

    Come on Alonso! two more to go and massa should be able to help us in brazil

  • Comment number 3.

    01Fernando Alonso 231 Points
    02Mark Webber 220
    03Lewis Hamilton 210 -Driver who will win the championship!
    04Sebastian Vettel 206
    05Jenson Button 189

    Great drive from Lewis today he really showed all his crtics what he was made of eg.EJ Button fans and Alonso fans!

  • Comment number 4.

    I like you Benson. You write nice @.@

  • Comment number 5.

    What's overlooked is the fact that Alonso could actually win the title in Brazil with a win and Webber placing far enough behind.

  • Comment number 6.

    5. At 12:55pm on 24 Oct 2010, itsonlyagame wrote:
    What's overlooked is the fact that Alonso could actually win the title in Brazil with a win and Webber placing far enough behind.

    _________________________________________________________________________

    I think Massa could win in Brazil or Lewis because its Massa`s home race and he will have the full support of the fans who have said they will riot all night on race day if he cedes a race victory to ALONSO

  • Comment number 7.

    Now that I've calmed down a bit I just want to say how prophetic Alonso has been all throughout the season.
    He highlighted from the start that Hamilton and Vettel were his main challengers for the title. This has not changed - In fact my only criticism to this article is not mentioning Hamilton much at all - he really is now in a position to threaten.
    As much as I admire Webber, his mistake might cost him dear - and (saying this last season) the fastest car by far doesn't necessarily make it the BEST car.
    Vettel and Webber should be light years ahead of the pack, but speed does not equate to reliability and CONSISTENCY, a theme Alonso has been banging on, more so in the last few races - achieve podium finishes and you will win the championship.
    It would be foolhardy to declare who will win outright - Red Bull's bad luck could easily transfer itself to either Alonso or Hamilton in the last two races, and Button must surely concede that his chances of retaining the championship are hanging on the thread that's hanging by a thread...

    But this moment belongs to Alonso (YES!)...and as Dominicalli put it quite succinctly on the radio - "Beautiful, beautiful"....

  • Comment number 8.

    F12008, the ch'ship has been such a helter-skelter ride that it could just as easily be turned on its head again in Brazil and Alonso could go into the last race sitting 4th in the title race. However, I think the fact that he could take the ch'ship without the circumstances having to be all that crazy is worth a mention on the blog.

  • Comment number 9.

    LOL at Massa being allowed to win the Brazil GP. Massa is Ferrari's number 2 driver, a fact that conveniently goes unnoticed by Alonso's supporters. Ever since Germany Massa has been told to play number 2 to Alonso and I suspect that is down to assurances given to Alonso when he joined Ferrari.

    Red Bull have only themselves to blame for this situation as like William in 1986 all this fair play malarkey is very honourable, but when you lose the championship by a point or 2 it doesn't seem like such a good idea.

    We should also not forget Alonso is driving round with 7 illegally acquired points ... what exactly is so wonderful about that?

    Here's hoping Webber can still do him in the last two races.

  • Comment number 10.

    Vettel was flawless and deserved to win, but those things happen and the only thing he can do is not get downhearted. Alonso + Ferrari, other than the pit-stop, were right on Vettel's tail for most of the race, and once Vettel had retired, showed that he had saved his tyres by completely destroying Hamilton in the final few laps, so even though he got lucky, he had done enough to easily deserve his win, and now looks very strong - perhaps the engines might be his achilles heel? Hamilton was largely brilliant too - unlike Button who himself couldn't explain why he was so slow. Webber will be kicking himself. Fair enough if the world snatches something away from you (a la Vettel) but to make a mistake like that, well, it was really silly. Although Vettel is still in touching distance, Red Bull need to support Webber now, as do Mclaren have to support Hamilton.

    The rain at the very start was probably the right decision, but for the 2nd start, the cars should have got full racing about 5/6 laps earlier. Visibility? It's rain, of course there's going to be lots of spray. I realise some people had championship bias (Red bull not wanting to risk open racing versus Hamilton having nothing to lose) but really that's silly. It was fine, as shown by the Virgin's and HRT's pitting and then lapping pretty fast (with their questionable downforce) to catch up to the pack again. These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world but for at least half of the first 17 laps they all looked like complete scaredy-cats.

  • Comment number 11.

    tiggerspp a couple of things.
    First, I really doubt Alonso knew he was number one in the team from the beginning of the season. Why then did he stay behind Massa in Australia,
    or had to make such an agressive move on him in Bharein? Besides, what's the point of investing so much money in a pilot, a two-times world champion, if you are not going to give him full support when he needs it? F1 it's about pilots challenging each other, but above all, it's about TEAMS trying to show who's best, and that may mean favouring the driver who's ahead.
    Second. "illegal" points? Ferrari was acquitted and the case is over. So points are as legal as any others. And what about Schumi's championships, or Hamilton's 2008 (remember Hockenheim and Kovalainen), do you also consider them to be "illegal" world champions?

  • Comment number 12.

    Vettel will still win the championship, as long as the long known Red Bull teething problems don't hamper him. Alonso is nowhere near to his best circa 2005/6 but is a challenging driver. Alonso has shown that the underdog can win as he was so far off the lead earlier in the season. So Vettel (the best driver in the best car) still win the championship. I don't want Alonso to win as Hockenheim left a very sour taste in the mouth. Button has been terrible this season, Webber is soooooo annoying and I feel he is only at Red Bull now for by the virtue of racing for them as a developing team. Hamilton won't win the championship as he will lose his head. Please Red Bull. Sort your car reliability out. Renualt - Vastly improve your engine. Underpowered and unreliable.

  • Comment number 13.

    If Alonso wins the championship by 7 points or less, then Ferrari would have effectively bought the championship title for $100k.
    He should have had the points taken off him.
    Personally I hope Webber gets the title.

  • Comment number 14.

    Alonso is driving the best i have ever seen him. Massa cannot get anywhere near him. He deserves the title if he wins it.

  • Comment number 15.

    REF 9 and any further comments on Massa and the 7 points...

    The 7 points conceded to Alonso in Germany has been the one and ONLY time (so far) Alonso has benefited from his team-mate...and thank the heavens he's acquired them, for as far as helping out the team or his team-mate, Massa has contributed NOTHING before (Australia) or since Germany.
    He has been ineffective in fighting Ferrari's cause in challenging for the constructors title and ineffective in taking points away from Alonso's rivals.
    He should be grateful Ferrari have been magnanimous enough to extend his contract. The so-called 7 point favour Massa gave to Alonso is equivalent of him breaking wind in a Hurricane compared to HOW MANY MORE POINTS he could have assertained at the expense of Alonso's (nay - FERRARI's) rival challengers since Germany.
    Whatever happens between now and the end, Ferrari have been totally vindicated in bringing Alonso to Ferrari - This man is the real deal. He has single-handedly given Ferrari the opportunity to win the WDC. Massa has been found lacking and basking in the shadow of Alonso's glory.

    Massa - you really have disappointed this season I'm afraid and you should count your lucky stars that your keeping the Ferrari seat warm for a little while longer for Kubica....;-)

  • Comment number 16.

    What a race, I've never watched so much racing in one day. 5.5 hours of viewing (including the Forum)!

    It was also great to see behind the scenes at McLaren. I'm a member of the McLaren fan club and am still waiting for my guided tour of their Technology Centre.

    As the for race, it was awesome once it started but have to question why the safety was out for such a long time and also why the race stopped after 4 laps.

    I've seen worse conditions at Malaysia in 2009 and also Silverstone in 2008.

    The race for Lewis was briliant and I feel its a race he could have won had he not gone wide into turn 1.

    I keep saying this and shall say it again its a shame Alonso won, especially after the German race. Really hoping he doesn't win the Championship.

    Simple as it sounds, all Lewis needs to do is won the final 2 races so McLaren need to plough all resources into his car and hope Button can help him.

    The last 2 races of the 2010 season are going to be breath taking!

    Worth getting up early for and roll on Brazil.

    Who's going to win it...STILL cannot say!

  • Comment number 17.

    8. At 1:05pm on 24 Oct 2010, itsonlyagame wrote:

    F12008, the ch'ship has been such a helter-skelter ride that it could just as easily be turned on its head again in Brazil and Alonso could go into the last race sitting 4th in the title race. However, I think the fact that he could take the ch'ship without the circumstances having to be all that crazy is worth a mention on the blog.

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Actually Alonso can't be in 4th place entering into the last race, as both Hamilton and Vettel need a win to overtake or move equal with him - and then Alonso would still be ahead of Vettel due to having more race wins.

  • Comment number 18.

    Is it right that Alonso should keep the points illegally gained by overtaking Massa during the Ferrari team orders fiasco?
    If the powers that be thought Ferrari were in the wrong to fine them then Alonso should have had the points illegally gained taken away from him.

  • Comment number 19.

    The Wettest Race Ever:

    Fuji 2007

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't see how inheriting a victory is the hallmark of a champion. Vettel was faster than Alonso and just like Bahrain an engine failure stole a victory away from Vettel and gave it to Alonso.

    It's understandable that Red Bull aren't favouring Webber after today. Webber let himself down whereas the car let Vettel down and they can hardly rub salt in the wounds by saying "by the way, you're our number two driver now". If they did Seb would most probably be straight on the phone to Norbert Haug asking for a drive for next year.

  • Comment number 21.

    PIT: "LEWIS WE THINK OTHER DRIVERS DON'T HAVE THE SAME ENTHUSIASM FOR STARTING THE RACE AT THE MOMENT."
    HAM:"WELL IT'S A WET RACE? WHAT DO THEY EXPECT?"
    HAM:"I'M ON THE MAIN STRAIGHT AND I CAN SEE GOOD ENOUGH. I'M SURE FOR GUYS AT THE BACK IT'S A BIT MORE DIFFICULT BUT THAT'S HOW WET RACES ARE."

  • Comment number 22.

    Massa is no 2 because Alonso has completely out raced him this year..

    Im a Ferrari fan and to be honest the car has not been the best this year.. its been very reliable and has managed to be quick in a few races but over the year it has been pretty much on par with the McLaren but not as quick as the RedBull but due to his experience he has done a great job.

    If he does not win this year he has still showed that he is rightfully regarded as one of the best drivers on the grid. If next year Ferrari improve the car a little more then he is going to take some beating.

  • Comment number 23.

    Colin:

    Should Hamilton also loose the points he gained by over taking the safety car and gaining points over Alonso?

    The punishment in that case also still permitted Hamilton the point advantage, which was larger than the 7 points Alonso gained in Germany.

    Also if the FIA found they were unable to inflict punishment due to the rule being flawed then it is the rule its self which needs to be amended and not Alonso's points.

    If there was a way to monitor all team actions then you would find all kinds of team orders that favour one driver over the other as it has gone on and does go on all the time. But unless you have someone come forward to the FIA and say, "The team ordered me to do this" then you have nothing to go by as how do you tell an order to a decision? and how can you tell if a team gives another driver a slower strategy in order to favour another driver (which happens), you cant.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    With regards to who would/wouldn't be a deserving champion, you have to remember that there are still two races left.

    If the season had finished now (i.e Alonso is the world champion) then I think Alonso deserves it. He has been by far the best driver in the second part of the season. Personally, I like the drivers champion to be the one wins the title rather than staggering over the line (I suppose everyone does).

    I'm not an Alonso fan. He plays the percentages (he even admitted that when he said that he aims to be on the podium in the remaining races). Fortunately for him, his rivals have been making mistakes (and the odd moment of misfortune e.g. Vettel today, Hamilton in Singapore) and he has capitalised. His personality is not likeable although I respect his focused, single-minded approach to win world championships.

    Anyway, we still have 2 races left and I hope the world champion is the one who wins at least one of the following races. Shame the finale is in Abu Dhabi :(

  • Comment number 26.

    12:51pm on 24 Oct 2010, F12008 wrote:

    "Great drive from Lewis today he really showed all his crtics what he was made of eg.EJ..."

    Eddie Jordan tipped Alonso for pole this weekend

  • Comment number 27.

    All round it was a good first race in Korea! How interesting that after Hamilton wasnt punished for the safety car incident when Alonso was upset, his mistake at the restart today has cost him more points. It's evened itself out! Recently, in the debates on these forums, people have been highlighting various mistakes that drivers have made, but today perhaps the most crucial one, imho, was Lewis overshooting that restart. The difference between Alonso and Lewis, had he gone on to win, would now be 7 points! Im gutted for him cos 7 points gap and everyone would be tipping him not Alonso, well the Brits at least! But 21 points is a big gap especially considering the from Fernando is in! I think that with Massa's help, Ferrari will have a good result in Brazil, and tbh, I kinda expect Alonso to even take the title there! Webber seems a little more nervous at each race to me.

  • Comment number 28.

    Eddie Jordan tipped Hamilton*

  • Comment number 29.

    Alonso is like an Undertaker - profiting constantly from the misfortune of others !

    He hasn't been the best driver or been in the best car, yet it looks like the fates may conspire to give him the title.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thats it for Button and probably Vettel. Hamilton blew a few points today running off the track at a restart. If Alonso beats him to the title by
    less than seven points he will remember gifting his friend Alonso.
    The likelihood is that Hamilton and Alonso will finish high up in the last two races so they need to be beaten and only the Red Bulls will do that.
    Ferrari is due some bad luck. Its been that kind of season.

    Sutil looked like a maniac today and has been rightly fined and penalised.
    Kobihashi continues to impress and lets hope Petrov keeps his drive.
    He looks the goods and its excellent to have a Russian driver.

  • Comment number 31.

    Korea was the first race where I had the dubious pleasure of listening to a Leggard commentary. Now I know what everyone's talking about. The man was awful. Poor Martin (who, it seemed to me, was biting his tongue in frustration in a remarkable effort of diplomacy).

  • Comment number 32.

    ' Hamilton's second place moves him up to third, 21 points behind his arch-rival'. Alonso is not Hamilton's arch rival. Webber and Vettel don't get on, Massa and Alonso don't like each other, Barichello and Schumacher hate each other. It's not 2007 anymore, move with the times, this Alonso v Hamilton stuff is boring now.

  • Comment number 33.

    Am I correct in thinking that both Vettel and Alonso are on their last engine, whilst Webber and Hamilton still have a fresh unit available? If so, that could make a crucial difference over the last two races.

  • Comment number 34.

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  • Comment number 43.

    "Alonso drove another fantastic race in Korea. He was the only man anywhere near the Red Bulls on qualifying pace and in the race he buried an undeserved reputation for not being particularly good in the wet".

    Of course undeserved! Do you remember Hungary 2006?

    Alonso is THE MAN. I totally agree with Martin Brundle.

  • Comment number 44.

    F12008, Lay off spamming the forum man!

    Great action today in Korea, will talk about it more later, as I currently am sat here with MASSIVE MAN-FLU and am thus not in a fit state to debate.

  • Comment number 45.

    Bahrain - Vettel has spark plug problem.
    Australia - Vettel has brake problem.
    Turkey - Vettel is forced off by Webber.
    Britain - Punctured tyre by Hamilton.
    Hungary - Unjustly punished by Stewards.
    Korea - Engine blowout.

    Vettel has deserved this championship as he has shown he is the fastest. Shame he has had the aforementioned injustices.

    Alonso - If you win, I hope you enjoy your Hockenheim antics.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    45. At 4:31pm on 24 Oct 2010, VettelManUtd90 wrote:
    Bahrain - Vettel has spark plug problem.
    Australia - Vettel has brake problem.
    Turkey - Vettel is forced off by Webber.
    Britain - Punctured tyre by Hamilton.
    Hungary - Unjustly punished by Stewards.
    Korea - Engine blowout.

    Vettel has deserved this championship as he has shown he is the fastest. Shame he has had the aforementioned injustices.

    Alonso - If you win, I hope you enjoy your Hockenheim antics.

    ________________________________________________________________--


    UNJUSTLY PUNISHED BY STEWARDS RULES ARE RULES STAY WITHIN 10 CAR LENGTHS OF SAFETY CAR

  • Comment number 48.

    I note that when Vettel got out of the car, he didnt wag his finger.Ha.
    Even though i cant stand him because of the the obvious bias towards him, i think it would be a travesty if a red bull driver doesnt win the title. If alonso inherits, and i stress inherits this title which is looking increasingly likely, it will be a shame because he has not at any point been the fastest driver and has been so massively fortunate with the amount of points he has received due to the misfortune of others, misfortune that seems always to benefit him and noone else.
    I can see Alonso winning by about 7 points, in classic Ferrari style.
    I hope he doesnt because yes he has won more gp's than the others, five to be precise, but two of those were inherited, one was manipulated, and a complete disgrace it has to be said. For the good of F1 i hope that Webber can do it, failing that, Hamilton.

  • Comment number 49.

    "Even though i cant stand him because of the the obvious bias towards him, i think it would be a travesty if a red bull driver doesnt win the title. If alonso inherits, and i stress inherits this title which is looking increasingly likely, it will be a shame because he has not at any point been the fastest driver and has been so massively fortunate with the amount of points he has received due to the misfortune of others, misfortune that seems always to benefit him and noone else."

    But to inherit something you've got to be at the right place in the right time, don't you?

  • Comment number 50.

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  • Comment number 51.

    Soooo, can anyone tell me why it was ok for McLaren to swap Heikki with Lewis in 2008 but it wasn't ok to swap Felipe with Fernando in 2010?

    If my memory serves me right, Hamilton got an extra 2 points that day, then won in Brazil by 1 point, oh after his old friend, Timo Glock, let him by on the last lap, but that's another story...

  • Comment number 52.

    VettelManUtd90

    You have lots of excuses- are you really Jenson Button?

    How about this Vettel stat: 9 poles, 2 wins


    good night

  • Comment number 53.

    Perhaps it is because he is a link to the greats of the past, and has gone wheel to wheel with Alonso, Hamilton, Raikonnen, Vettel, Webber, Hill, Villenueve, Mansell, Prost, Piquet, and of course the man, Ayrton.
    Oh, and Brundle. Wink wink.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am tired of Legards complete obsession with Frustration.

  • Comment number 55.


    AB: "But, until just before Vettel retired, the race still looked to me like a proper, flat-out fight between the German, Alonso and Hamilton."

    With all due respect, I didn't see that. To me it looked like Vettel was in complete control of the race up until his engine failure on L46. And I didn't see a significant error on his part at T3 on L43. If you recall (and isn't videotape wonderful lol) Vettel came up on the back end of the slow moving Yamamoto at T1, was blocked to T2 and had to accelerate hard off the slow T2 corner through the long straight to pass the somewhat non-cooperative Yamamoto and then brake hard to make T3. He did that about as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Alonso was able to catch up to Vettel and Yamamoto at T3 and passed the now more cooperative Hispania on the T3 to T4 stretch (which I am now naming in my own mind as the Yamamoto Straight) to close the pre-Yamamoto 2.5 second gap between himself and Vettel to approximately 1.3/1.4 seconds. From that point on up to the time when Vettel's engine gave out, Vettel wasn't having any problems keeping Alonso in check. They both seemed to take turns setting personal bests as the Vettel-Alonso-Hamilton procession continued to wind its way around Yeongam to what looked like an inevitable 1-2-3 finish. But, that didn't happen. The Vettel jinx didn't allow for it.

  • Comment number 56.

    We have 3 top teams, 2 of which who have backed both drivers, one of which have backed just one driver and asked the other to do a job. Now at the end this policy could very well show in the tables. Alonso as champion but Red Bull and McLaren in front of Ferrari in constructors.

    It's bad news for McLaren's drivers. Although Lewis did well to narrow the gap today and not get ruled out altogether, he's going to have to win the last 2 to secure the title, and that is very unlikely. McLaren should be aiming for front row at Interlagos for Lewis. Red Bull won't pick Webber, and I don't think they should because they're strong enough to get both drivers earning points. However come the last race and they're still in the same situation, they should do it.

    Finally, Alonso has been very fortunate this season the way the team have treated him. He's been outstanding at times, but if any team from Red Bull or McLaren had backed just one driver from the first race, they'd be well ahead of the game right now I think.

    Shame for Lewis but those 3 retirements in 4 races will cost him. Just a couple of 4th place finishes in Monza and Singapore would have held him in excellent stead right now.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    I wish the Hamilton fans would stop complaining about Hockenheim, team orders exist whether you like it or not. As pointed out earlier Hamilton won his championship by one point having had Kovalainen move over and letting him by for second at the same circuit. Hamilton doesn't deserve his championship by your definition. You can't pick and choose when it applies.

    Ferrari have always gone well at Brazil and I can't see it changing, a 1-2 is a real possibility. If that happens and Webber comes third that's a 21 point gap going into the final race, an 18 point gap if Alonso wins and Webber second. Speculative but as Webber said, he has to win, podiums won't do it without a Ferrari problem which seems unlikely as they have the most reliable car this season. It's Alonso's to lose now and I can't think why anyone would question his ability to deal with the pressure, he's been there and done it twice, once against Schumacher.

    On the subject of Schumacher, the wet weather magic seemed to return today. Still as wily as ever outbraking Kubica into the first corner. He passed Button and kept pace with Massa through much of the race, I was willing him to get that podium place. Best of the rest once again, I hope he can keep this going to Brazil.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think Alonso will be the champion. we all know that how good he is and he has all ferrari team behind him. it would be very hard for red bull or mcleran to catch ferrari in Brazil. ferrari has good record in Brazil and Massa would do every thing he can to help hi team mate to get result.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Wow what a race !
    only let down by Legards most awfull race day ever and typicly the comms change was not working!
    Sorry but if the BBC does not remove Jonothan from the team you will gave lost this lifetime watcher and i will use 5 live till he goes, disgracefull !!

    Other than that, it certainly made for an exciting race with positins swapped and people off on ni-on every lap (shame legard missed 90% of them)
    sorry i am just so angry at todays performance even Martin sounded like he wanted out, i kbow i did, dam that yellow button not working and speaking of Buttons not working, was Jenson on strike or did he leave the hand brake on ?

  • Comment number 62.

    Alonso should now win the championship title with only two races left!


  • Comment number 63.

    Bravo Alonso!! ...Doctor Honoris Causa in F1 racing!!!!

    No current driver comes close to Alonso ...just loved the way he overtook Hamilton ...yiiihaaa!! ...and how he kept at Vettel's pace, with an inferior downforce (on a rainy day!!!) ...if Vettel's car wouldn't have broken down, I am convindced that Alonso would have overtaken.

    Hamilton's two recent DNFs (his own fault there, no excuses), and today's mistake, breaking wide, allowing Alonso through, shows that this guy isn't up to Alonso's task ...he is very good and very fast, but in my book he is the world's second best (and watch out for Rosberg next year).

    Since I am an Alonso & Webber (and Rosberg) fan, I am obviously sorry for Webber's misfortune (but he only has himself to blame this time).

    Either way, looks like Alonso and Webber are now uniquely positioned to win this ...and, by the way, love the way Rosberg thrashes Schumacher race after race ...If Mercedes get their act together, Rosberg will be a contender (to me, the best German racer, not Vettel).

  • Comment number 64.

    @61

    Spot on, mate.

    I pick one of many:

    JL: "OOOH!! (why emphasis?) Liuzzi is in front of Barrichello!! We have not seen it!!"

    Brundle thinks: "Yes we did, it was shown on a replay 10 mins ago..." but opts for a good silence that speaks for a thousand words...

    Great race and full kudos to all those who managed to see the chequered flag. Tremendous skills on display today, sometimes you had to wornder how on Earth they managed to keep those rockets on the track.

    And a word of praise, after tons of flak, for Schumacher. Impressive, very wily stuff by the oldie. His trials behind the safety cars worked a treat, small lesson for the young lions.

  • Comment number 65.

    I set my alarm morning to make sure I'd be up in time and was treated an hour of boredom. After that, it was quite an enjoyable race, but I agree with Martin Brundle's comments during that pathetic first hour: either the drivers use the wet tyres and go racing, or they throw them away and only race in the dry.

    Looks like Alonso's going to be Champion. I thought he was mad when he said he was going to be World Champion after Silverstone, but it just goes to show you never can tell what's going to happen.

    Well, not exactly never - I think it's almost guaranteed that Alonso, who has shown that he is a true great this second half of the season, will win the championship by 7 points or less. As someone posted earlier, Ferrari will have essentially bought the title for $100k; money well spent.

  • Comment number 66.

    To #58 (Kubica_for_ a_pracing_horse) ....100% spot on!!

    ....in any case, I find it pointless to objectively try to explain, clarify or argue vs radical fanatics' points of views ...because they are simply that: Fanatics (ie will never be objective).

  • Comment number 67.

    Andrew, no mention of Schumacher's drive? Really?

    I know the BBC are pretty anti-Schumacher - hence the total lack of acknowledgment on the show post-race or on the website - but his arguably was arguably drive of the day.

    He may not be the force he was (as you keep reminding us), but a little bit of credit wouldn't go amiss.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 58. At 5:51pm on 24 Oct 2010, Kubica_for_a_prancing_horse
    Well said!

    Alonso fan, and yes I agree, he might not had the luxury to drive the fastest car this year, but being in the hunt cannot be solely on having luck... And of course he had some luck today, as well as in Bahrain, but for sure he suffered at least a similar amount of misfortune this year (as one cannot be lucky all the time).

    Great drive, nice pressure on Red Bull and McLaren. I assume that putting pressure on RedBull caused their engine problems... which I assume is not solely related to the Engine supplier, but also has something to do with the downforce level they can create... Once under pressure, RedBull (and especially Vettel) tends to overuse their candy...

    By the way, not favouring Webber now, equals favouring Vettel, as they favoured Vettel (wing and Turkey incident) with less advantage over his teammate...

    Although I am not a fan, Hamilton drove a good race today (yes he overcooked at the restart, but I think this has to do with the difference in car-performance and tyre management), but this comeback after three offday races will pay off later!

    Remarkable:
    Rosbergs'drive was again outstanding (this guy deserves a championship winning car! Yes Schumacher has been improving, but Rosberg managed to extract even more from this car.

    And Kubica, this guy is championship material... someone, if possible Renault, give him a championship challenging car...

    Webber offday, but honestly admitting it... He is still in the hunt... This years title favourites exchanging positions (1 and 2)...

    Hardly can't wait for next race... roll it on!

  • Comment number 69.

    Hi all,

    Thanks for all the comments so far. Re comments about Schumacher's performance, this is covered in Ted Kravitz's post-race analysis. This is embedded in this blog, or you can watch it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9122188.stm

  • Comment number 70.

    Alonso has been so opportunistic lately, it's quite horrendous, his opponents have always had misfortunes to deal with lately, Hamilton three times, Vettel and Webber today, Button in Monza, but I suppose it helps him to know that he doesn't have to deal with his team-mate since Ferrari are probably bound by contract to make Massa number 2. And we know he can't handle team parity, 2007 showed that well enough.

    Hamilton would have probably been overtaken by the end of the race even if he hadn't over-cooked his restart because his tyres were shot long before the chequered flag, which explains why he couldn't chase Alonso (it's not his mindset to let go if he can chase an opponent). Button is effectively out, but he can't be fast enough to be of any useful help to McLaren, let alone Hamilton. Vettel and Webber might just continue fighting each-other but I hope Horner and (especially) Marko see the light and realize Webber is the safe bet to chase the DWC.

    It could make a fun end of championship if Alonso's engine decides to go away. I really hope Mark takes the championship, it's his one shot for glory, hopefully he will make it count, despite his team's clear bias towards the German cry-baby.

  • Comment number 71.

    #61- Sorry but if the BBC does not remove Jonothan from the team you will gave lost this lifetime watcher and i will use 5 live till he goes, disgracefull !!

    ------------------

    So you are going to boycott BBC tv in favour of....BBC radio? Easy there Citizen Smith.

    I am reminded by all these comments of a similar outcry about Jenson Button somehow not deserving the title. I can only repeat the sentiment that I expressed then, which is that the title is decided over the whole season and who gets the most points. Whoever does that deserves the title, simple as that.

    I sincerely hope that if the title does go to Alonso, then he gets it by more than 7 points so that the whole debate can be put to rest.

  • Comment number 72.

    ┬┐Vettel the best driver?
    I would say he did even worst than Kimi and Massa long ago in Ferrari.
    That "kid" (Vettel) should learn he is nothing yet, and he always acts like a 5 times champion. Now with the best car and the full support from his team he sucked: 9 poles, 2 win. Please, dont telll me that is bad luck.

    Best german driver atm: Nico Rosberg.
    Best drivers of the season: Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica.
    Best driver: Hamilton, but his agressive moves have a prize. When he learn to think instead of giving that "spectacle", he will be the best, no doubt!


    I dont want to be so hard with Vettel, lets say he is the most good looking driver, maybe he could consider go into the pink news (with Button ofc).

    lol

  • Comment number 73.

    As a Lewis and Jenson fan(F12008 - please don't tar all Jenson fans with the same brush) the bottom line is, both my guys are still in the title race, though only just in Jenson's case.

    Having the safety car out as long as it was was annoying, I'm just glad they were able to get some racing in. The very first Korean Grand Prix could have been a lot worse - best performance from Lewis for a while! :)

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    As usual Andrew bigging up Alonso a bit here. I don't think Vettel was anyway in danger of being overtaken by Alonso -- it is not that easy. If it were a McLAren, maybe in the straights but not a ferrari that does not havbe big advantage neither in straights and defnitely not on curves. Vettel was in full control until the engine blew-up. How foten have you seen a Red Bull that too of Vettel being overtaken?
    Alonso is in championship form because he got "gifted" by three victories -- two from Vettel due to mechanical failure and the other the ifamous one from Massa. Even if WDC comes to Alonso, he is deserving, but in no way he is "championship" form. But he is of course a very good driver not as much as Andrew always portrays him to be.

  • Comment number 76.

    Only watched the BBC web highlights because I've been out today, but even in those 10 minutes Legard managed to have me shouting at the screen. He's constantly interrupting Brundle, who does indeed sound like he's losing interest.

    The combination of Jake, DC and EJ is one of the best in TV sports coverage, but I'm sorry - Legard lets the whole thing down.

    Incidentally, I was surprised how wet it looked on TV at the original start. On Five Live, Gary Paffett seemed a bit surprised they started behind the safety car, so I wasn't expecting it to be THAT bad!

  • Comment number 77.

    Hello Andrew hello everyone. I agree with Martin Brundle comments on situation about the race starting. I couldn't see why the safety car had to drive round the track for so many laps. The race should of started early. If that race was in the 1980's. It would of started early with out the safety car. The culture of F1 has certainly changed.

  • Comment number 78.

    @downforce post 11;

    You really think Alonso went to Ferrari without being guaranteed a weak number 2 team mate? You are naive in the extreme.

    Team orders are banned, Ferrari were fined $100K for breaking the team orders rule. They were not acquitted. They were acquitted of any further punishment. Ergo Alonso has 7 points he shouldn't have. Got it now?????

  • Comment number 79.

    To all those comments trying to re-fight battles from earlier in the year - Massa giving way to Alonso, Hamilton overtaking the safety car, etc. - GET OVER IT!!!!

    We are where we are, and nothing is going to be changed, so just revel in the fact that we have yet another exciting finish to an F1 season.

    Other than a DNF for Fernando Alonso in either of the remaining races (and remember his engines are more 'tired' than his rivals), I think he will be in the top two in the final table: if Mark Webber and Red Bull get their acts together, he could be second to the Spaniard, but the only driver likely to trounce the Iberian Stallion is Lewis Hamilton.

  • Comment number 80.

    Red Bull really need to favour Webber because, although they won't be admitting it, McLaren will be favouring Lewis and Ferrari are already behind Alonso. If Webber gets pole at Brazil then I think that will force Red Bull's hand. I have a feeling RB will be gutted about today and not because both cars crashed out, but because they aren't in a position to fully support Vettel over Webber.

  • Comment number 81.

    Ben Edwards should be the BBC F1 Commentator, a true Pro!

  • Comment number 82.

    waiting for the race to actually start was so tiring-but definitely worth the watch once it got started-i seem to love the carnage.
    also, im inclined to agree with martin brundle-f1 drivers today need to earn their salt-drivers of the past raced in these conditions, and now that cars are even safer, as long as drivers are responsible, there shouldnt be too many accidents, and about half the racers would still finish in a race.
    finally, would like to give a shout out to schumu-great, consistent and solid drive today-set fairly competitive times, and overtook kubica and button.shame he couldnt pick up a podium, but he should be looking good for brazil

  • Comment number 83.

    gotta laugh at all the lewis fans saying he drove brilliantly etc. Reality is, first restart, he mader an error, Rosberg got passed easily (like taking candy from a baby, it was that easy for rosberg); then got lucky with alonso's pit stop; next restart another mistake, drove wide, letting alonso past and nearly massa. Rest of the race was a clar mile behind alonso/vettel on pace, only being on a par for 2 laps whilst alonso was backing off. Really the vettel and alonso were clearly better than anyone else, lewis was the best of the rest, but not byt much really, and thats not saying much. Alonso in pole position, but Webber only needs a win in the next race and it comes down to who finishes higher in the last race. LEwis probably a little too far behind, ditto Vettel - even in Lewis/Vettel wins the last 2 races, they need alonso to finish 4th or lower in each race, and (in vettels case) not getting 2nds. Button absolutely no realistic chance - 2 wins would rely on *none* of lewis/seb/webber/alonso getting a podium in either the races - and button is just not good ebnough at the moment (it was fairly typical of him today getting passed by schumi easily early on, then falling behind alguesari et al and not even *looking* like he could get past him *at any stage*

  • Comment number 84.

    #21: With all the talk about how good Lewis is on the wet and how much eager he was to start racing during the difficult wet condition, he did loose his place to Rosberg after the race start. And if it was not for Webber's accident, he would have spent considerable time behind Nico. And if he did not run wide, he would have been ahead of Alonso after Ferarri's pit lane screw up. So, may be it time you give a second thought on how superior Hamilton is on wet over the other so-called not so good wet drivers. In fact I thought Alonso had a good drive on the wet chasing Vettel for most of the race and so did Shchumacher having overtaken few drivers.

  • Comment number 85.

    I think the worse race for rain was 91 at Adelaide made today's race look like a drizzle. I'm a Hamilton fan but due to his own errors and mclarens car performance I'm afraid IRS between webber and Alonso. Personally in that case I'd want to see webber win.

  • Comment number 86.

    All the stuff about 'how good *insert driver name* is in the rain' gets a bit blown out of proportion. Let's be honest, at the peak of their powers ALL title contenders are gonna be pretty damn good. Hamilton, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Button have all had imperious wins in the wet....yet every time it rains every one goes 'LH loves the wet', or 'Schumi is the rain master' or 'Vettel is so quick in these conditions'. They are all really good!! Who does well on the day depends massively on a multitude of factors- car balance and confidence, strategy, how far round the circuit you are when the rain comes, and sheer luck!

    by the way- thought LH was below par today- but nice for him to get a bit of luck! Button was slow, and whilst my favourite driver he was never really gonna do it this season. Might have been a different story if Vettel hadn't smashed him in Spa though!

  • Comment number 87.

    The problem is if Vettel didn't get the engine faliure you would be writing your article about how fantastic Vettel drove but now you write about how Alonso was the best. Vettel drove every bit as good, if not better, Alonso took responsibility for the rubbish pit-stop and Vettel drove his restarts to perfection. Just sensational watching how he hung the tail out in the fast corners his car control is just great, reminds me of a certain Gilles Villneuve and the maturity he showed when his engine went for a guy of such a young age was really impressive. And then his speed. Wow. What a prospect for now and the future.

  • Comment number 88.

    If he learns how to overtake he'll be a genius.

  • Comment number 89.

    Would Fernando Alonso be a worthy Champion? Last year people asked the same of Jenson Button, calling him the most unworthy Champion ever. The year before it was Lewis Hamilton who was "the most unworthy Champion ever".

    I would have thought that 4 wins in the last 7 races and a string of podium finishes to end the season would make him a very worthy Champion in anyone's book if he can finish the job. The one thing that may worry him is that superiority has never lasted long for anyone this season and runs of good fortune have always ended soon enough. Lewis Hamilton has had a dire run of luck and today, finally, it turned. There may be more twists to come but, I suspect, that it while Fernando Alonso is the likely winner, his closest challenge more likely to come from Lewis Hamilton than from Mark Webber. Fernando Alonso could make sure of the title with two, conservative, place finishes, but that is not his style and it gives the chasing pack a small glint of hope.

  • Comment number 90.

    Mclaren and Red Bull have to back Hamilton and Webber or Alonso will win the title.
    Alonso has been very good, he will be the shock winner and it feels like he's done a Raikkonen who we though in 2007 was out of the title race until he sneaked it in Brazil.
    Hamilton and Webber are sitll in it and they need Button and Vettel to help them in their title chances even if they done feel that they should.
    Also well done to Korea, just like Canada it wrecked the tyres and gave us a thrilling race, can it rain their every year??

  • Comment number 91.

    Personally I think it's great that today's race panned out as it did (with the disgusting exception of Jenson seeming to forget which pedal makes a car go faster) as it has significantly altered championship look-out AGAIN! I feel sorry for Webber, and even a little bit for Schu-Vettel, but this makes it all so much more exciting going into the final two races!

    To those Alonso/Ferarri bashing: Alonso has won 3 of the last 4 races...um...not bad that REALLY...so does he "deserve" to be where he is? You can bet your left one he does. If he wins by less than 7 points then I suppose some people are bound to find it contentious...but then...there are those who begrudged Button his title last year because he dared maximise the potential of his car better than his teammate for 6 of 7 races last year...you can't please everyone huh? If he wins due to having MORE POINTS than anyone else, then he deserves to win the Championship. The same goes for Webber, Hammy or Vettel. To be honest, if it wasn't for some shocking reliability then Vettel would have an extra 63 points and the drivers around him significantly less so he would have already won the WDC this season...I'm glad he hasn't, due, in part, to his childish petulance (which I'm glad to see has rapidly diminished after the debacle of Turkey), and his still evident lack of overtaking ability: again shown today when he lost an entire second trying to pass someone who was moving out of his way! He has lost 7 races from pole this year...due in part to car troubles, but more to his own lack of racecraft!

    Trying to make excuses for any driver at this point is simply pointless. Today JB was awful, whether due to the car or an off day, it doesn't matter, he was atrocious. Webber publicly admitted within minutes that he stuffed up, Vettel was very mature about the way his race ended, and Lewis about his relative lack of pace due to tyre degradation...these drivers aren't making excuses anymore (maybe except JB and Vettel, possibly for just causes this time!) why are we?

  • Comment number 92.

    A much better article than the one at the previous race, Concentrating on the winner, rather than McLaren.

    Well Done to Alonso, a bit of luck today, but well taken, will his luck hold, if it does, he will be World Champion.

  • Comment number 93.

    Even if McLaren back Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull back Mark Webber it is still Fernando Alonso's title to lose. Even if Alonso has a DNF next time out, Hamilton would need at least a 2nd place to put him under pressure: that's how strong his position is.

    As I said, two 4th place finishes are likely to win him the title unless either Hamilton or Webber can do something very special. He doesn't even need to take risks.

  • Comment number 94.

    I wish the Hamilton fans would stop complaining about Hockenheim, team orders exist whether you like it or not. As pointed out earlier Hamilton won his championship by one point having had Kovalainen move over and letting him by for second at the same circuit. Hamilton doesn't deserve his championship by your definition. You can't pick and choose when it applies.

    Ferrari have always gone well at Brazil and I can't see it changing, a 1-2 is a real possibility. If that happens and Webber comes third that's a 21 point gap going into the final race, an 18 point gap if Alonso wins and Webber second. Speculative but as Webber said, he has to win, podiums won't do it without a Ferrari problem which seems unlikely as they have the most reliable car this season. It's Alonso's to lose now and I can't think why anyone would question his ability to deal with the pressure, he's been there and done it twice, once against Schumacher.

    On the subject of Schumacher, the wet weather magic seemed to return today. Still as wily as ever outbraking Kubica into the first corner. He passed Button and kept pace with Massa through much of the race, I was willing him to get that podium place. Best of the rest once again, I hope he can keep this going to Brazil.

    -------

    In 2007, Hamilton would have won if it wasn't for Massa moving aside for Raikkonen. In 2008, not withstanding Spa, Hamilton overtake Piquet at the same corner as Kovalainen and with the same ease, so not the same situation at all.

  • Comment number 95.

    I hope Andrew Benson can pass on concerns about Legards commentary to somebody, I would listen to Five Live myself but for some reason the online radio option seems to cut out more. A quick google of Legards name or a search on Youtube shows how many F1 fans are unhappy with his style of commentating, which spoils the BBC's otherwise wonderful coverage.

  • Comment number 96.

    Are F1 Drivers turning into Premier league footballers? I can't believe the wait before the race started today. The drivers have raced in conditions like that this and last year. if it was too wet then they may as well not bother making wet tyres for next year as they won't be needed as we will not be racing if it rains past a mild spit. Is this one way F1 is intending on saving money?

  • Comment number 97.

    Bag, the track was green and would not drain. The water had nowhere to go. That was the problem, not the amount of rain. The asphalt was so new that it couldn't absorb water.

  • Comment number 98.

    Lots of whining from the drivers about how wet it was, when I've seen FAR WORSE. But what of that? The rest of the race was terrific!

    Mark Webber's Twitter update shows he's keeping his chin up after a critical mistake. Vettel did a good job, but an engine failure brought to a close a heartbreaking race for the Red Bull team.

    Jenson Button had a terrible race, which left just two of the championship contenders able to score. Both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton did a terrific job, but it was Ferrari's day. They scored more points than McLaren and Red Bull put together, which has brought the constructors' championship quite close as well...

    Shame for Nico Rosberg whose race ended in a smash for the second time running, the incident again being totally not his fault. Similarly, Michael Schumacher had another strong drive en route to forth.

    Also a special mention must be made of Vitantonio Liuzzi, who drove brilliantly for Force India.

    The new Korean circuit gave us a tremendous race on its debut. The rain, of course, helped mix things up and provide lots of thrills and spills, but let's hope we can have much much more high quality entertainment from this venue in the future.

    McLaren MUST pin their hopes on Lewis Hamilton now, and Red Bull should be doing the same with Mark Webber, but alas, they refuse to do so. This still proves how much they adore their golden boy Vettel, and it may be the nail in the coffin of their title bid in 2010.

  • Comment number 99.

    After a poor first half to the season, Alonso said "I will win the title". Obviously, this was his hubris and arrogance talking, and was said more in hope than expectation. I bet he wishes he hadn't said that now, because by making that claim, and having clawed his way back to a winning position it means it actually won't happen. If he'd kept his gob shut it may have come true. That's the way karma works. At least that's what I am hoping - please, anyone but Alonso. I am a Lewis fan, but I want Mark to win this year, as this is probably going to be his last chance. Lewis is still young and is going to bag at least another couple of WDCs before he hangs up his steering wheel.

  • Comment number 100.

    I don't see any reason why RB will not provide full support to Webber in the next 2 races (except an emotional one of course). If Webber wins the next 2 races, he will be champion. If Vettel wins, he will have to count on Alonso's result (which I think he will deliver when needed).

    I think Vettel is definitely going win the championship within the next 2-3 years, but he should have accepted his fate (or his inability to convert his poles into more wins) for this year.

 

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