Japanese Grand Prix preview: time to make history

One point. That’s all he needs. The man who’s won nine races so far this season, started on pole for 11 of them and finished no lower than fourth since October last year needs to take just a single point from this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix to claim his second consecutive Formula One world championship. He’ll also become the youngest double champ in the sport’s history. Oh, and he also topped the Top Gear leaderboard this year. Not a bad 2011, all told.

Only Jenson Button has the power to stop Sebastian Vettel now (if Jenson wins on Sunday and Seb fails to score, the fight goes to Korea), but even he’s admitted the season ‘is all but over’. We’d say that stranger things have happened – after all, the German did crash in P1 this morning – but they really haven’t.

And for that reason, if there’s not a booze-soaked German thrusting his right index finger into our faces from the back page of the Monday papers, we’ll eat our trousers. And these aren’t special trousers made out of liquorice and chocolate – we’re talking bog-standard Levi 501s here (we’re going to hold you to that – Ed).

For starters, there’s no way Seb’ll be willing to settle for 10th place. Not in his special season. He’s won at Suzuka for the last two years in a row – both times from pole – and we reckon it’ll take an impromptu cameo from Godzilla (or, as the case may be, another kamikaze lunge from Lewis Hamilton) to stop him getting his hat-trick.

‘Yes, there would be reason to celebrate, even if we finish 10th, but it wouldn’t be the same,’ he told the press yesterday, putting to bed any suggestions that he might aim to roll it home in the mid-field and give someone else a go on the podium for a change.

He’s also refused to talk about victory celebrations ahead of the race. ‘The moment you decide to fly,’ he said, sounding a bit like Eric Cantona, ‘sooner or later there’s a moment when you will come down as well.’ A frustratingly sensible way of looking at things, but in an era where the sport’s cool-headed men of precision seem to have the upper hand on the media-whoring rockstars, you’d have to admit that taking nothing for granted is the way to go.

We can’t see Jenson doing the job, either. While he’s undoubtedly in the form of his life, Suzuka has always been a bit of a stumbling block for JB – even in his championship year he could only manage a limp 8th place finish. He’s also got Lewis Hamilton to worry about – a man so eager to reclaim his number one driver status that we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him taking another chunk out of his teammate, a la Canada.

It barely seems necessary, but we’ll open it up to the floor anyway. Can you see any other outcome than a second world championship for Vettel this weekend? Say yes, by the way, and you’re an idiot.

Here’s our prediction for Sunday’s starting grid:

1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Jenson Button
4. Mark Webber
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Felipe Massa
8. Michael Schumacher
9. Kamui Kobayashi
10. Paul Di Resta

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yeah,he’ll retire because he will be trying an overtaking move and the person who he’s trying to overtake will block him and you lot of losers will blame HIM!!!!!!!!!!!,even though its obvious as anything that the person being overtaken blocked him because they werent watching and have no common sense.

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speaking of kobayashi,guy who finished his comment before me,why do they have to talk about the earthquake.yes,it was a very bad thing,but cant we leave that to the news

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Blubb, Hamilton went around the TG Track ages ago… not in the state he’s in now. There’s something wrong in his head. Now, I admire him for being the champion, and as a driver, and I’m not ‘bashing him mindlessly’. Maybe he just needs some time away from the sport to get over it (whatever it is), and then he could return. He can be a great driver and I’m sure any of the top teams would be happy to sign him up if he did that.

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Oh, and another thing, Blubb. You can’t just walk into an F1 team’s HQ and ask for a drive. You have to be one hell of a great driver, even to be considered. So, Liuzzi is a good driver. At least try and post some positive comments. You also stike me as a pretty rude person.

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formuladude could you explain to me how a guy can be the youngest dude to win a f1 championship, the next year he wins 9 races out of 14 (for now) and still be overrated? He may not become a legend like Senna, Villeneuve, Prost, Hill or Schumacher. The same way you can’t compare them with each other. He will become a legend, and better then that he won’t be the “second Senna” he will be just Sebastian Vettel.

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Button is pretty much the most overrated driver I’ve ever seen (even though I’m only 21). Introduced as “one hell of a talent” in 2000, the guy had to wait for 6 seasons just to score his first win. The only reason he became world champion in 2009 was because of the diffuser Brawn had at the time.
Though Hamilton should back down a bit, he’s a far better driver than Button has ever been (or will be).
Button might be a strategic driver, but the sport needs guys like Hamilton, Vettel, Kobayashi, Rosberg etc to keep the passion in it.

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do you want entertainment or boredom?thermitelsfun,wha t the hell would hamilton have going on his private life that would make him have this kind of poor performance.i heard one of the bbc(soon to be sky) presenters say that hamilton and the press might be the problem and i agree,with the press talking about noone but him

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You CAN walk into an F1 teams HQ and get a drive. The lower teams have real money troubles and if you proved that you were either not going to trash the car or pay if you did while offering a suitably large amount of cash, you would get a seat. That’s obviously not what happened with Liuzzi, but it could screw him out of a drive. Do none of you remember that Red Bull paid for Ricciardo to drive the HRT?

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and the car.btw,the question in the last comment was aimed at satsujinkyou

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i wouldnt use google maps though to find the HQ like,coz the suggestions are rubbish

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lol

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I never said he wasn’t a good driver. I was saying he isn’t as good as Vettel and just because someone beats another person that doesn’t make them a better driver, the car plays a massive part so there’s a lot more than just the results to consider. I also never said or hinted you were bashing him mindlessly (take a look at the comments, you’ll see people who are). I am not being rude, just telling it like it is.

People who state their opinions as facts are blithering idiots and those bashing a world class driver because of incidents this year are more than likely not even close to his talent. Yes, Vettel got pole by 0.009 seconds but a coat of paint adds 0.002 seconds to the average lap time (or it did a few years ago). That’s how small the gap was.

As for positive comments – Kobayashi did very well and should hopefully do very well in the race. Rosberg should carve up the field too, so I’m looking forward to that.

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Hamilton better than Button?! – Give me a break for God’s sake. Hamilton is like kid with a new bicycle, just because he overtakes a lot (for 4th 5th, position) it doesn’t mean he’s a legend. Button is smart, he can show his teeth when it’s time to show, he settles when he needs to settle, classic driver.

To those guys who say Jensen’s rubbish, I can only say to you: Remember Montreal (2011).

Peace and have fun, I can’t wait for the race tomorrow. Oh, and by the way, has anybody tried the new Codemaster F1 2011 Game yet? – I’d be glad to see some true f1 enthusiast’s reviews.

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vettel went off at montreal,so what the hell.on f1 2001 vid game,i have,and its bloody awesome,dont read anything on ign,there biased d***s.but for me at least 9/10(cant play it like(steering wheel gone kaput)),and before you say controller,im useless with them,but my sister wont believe it even though she saw me fail miserably on tdu2,never played that since.

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that was menna be a f1 2011

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Tell you what, i think his car is going to stop. Why? Because then me and my buddy can’t go finshing but instead have to wait for after the next race. With the luck I am having in the past month or so this would fit right in. Mark my words: engine failure within the last 10 laps…

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Hey formuladude, thanks for the review. I’m ordering this: http://www.playseat.com/s hop/eu/uk/playseat-f1.htm l (Play Seat + Wheel Logitech G 27). It’s gonna be legen… wait for it…… dary! LEGENDARY!

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Can I just say, sorry for any offence caused – the F1 gets me hyped up.

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i dont have a g27 wheel gicaeric,so mines awful

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Vindicated. Button wins the race in fine style – perhaps TopGear and others who don’t seem to respect Button’s talent and consistency will begin to take notice. He is McLaren’s #1 driver.

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