What’s The Points – Japan Update

Previous entries:

    What’s The Points
    What’s The Points – China Update
    What’s The Points – Spain Update
    What’s The Points – Monaco Update
    What’s The Points – Turkey Update
    What’s The Points – Canada Update
    What’s The Points – Valencia Update
    What’s The Points – Great Britain Update
    What’s The Points – Germany Update
    What’s The Points – Hungary Update
    What’s The Points – Belgium Update
    What’s The Points – Italy Update
    What’s The Points – Singapore Update

Below is a comparison of the World Championship positions for this year’s points (left), last year’s points-system (middle) and the older 10-6-4-3-2-1 approach (right). Ties are decided by countback.

1   Webber   220   Webber   88   Webber   70
2   Alonso   206   Vettel   84   Alonso   67
3   Vettel   206   Alonso   83   Vettel   64
4      Hamilton   192      Hamilton   79      Hamilton   61
5   Button   189   Button   77   Button   55
6   Massa   128   Massa   51   Massa   30
7   Rosberg   122   Rosberg   47   Rosberg   24
8   Kubica   114   Kubica   44   Kubica   22
9   Schumacher   54   Schumacher   18   Schumacher   8
10   Sutil   47   Sutil   15   Barrichello   6

The top-five in the ‘Championship standings all finished top-five in the race. Webber increases his lead, but sees his team-mate make up ground to join Alonso on 206 points. Hamilton falls behind Vettel, and to more than a win from the front. Button is creeping up on his team-mate, but both McLaren drivers needed a better weekend. Massa, Rosberg, and Kubica failed to score points in Japan, with before these retirements Massa looking fragile against the other two.

Vettel in real points is only behind Alonso on count-back, this only being the German’s third win to Alonso’s four this season. Sebastian has a slim advantage over Fernando under last year’s points, but, with more emphasis on outright results, the Spaniard has the edge under 10-6-4-3-2-1. Webber’s lead is about 60% of a win under this and last year’s points, but things are closer under 10-6-4-3-2-1, with Mark only leading by 30% of a win (both he and Alonso on four wins), and the top-four all covered by less than the ten points for a win. Under 10-6-4-3-2-1, the Australian’s two eighth-places and a ninth early in the season give his total no help, with the five real points they provide perhaps will prove to be critical at the end of the season. When this new scoring system was devised, the plan was to help smaller teams get the chance to score, but probably not that such minor positions decide who wins the title.

Nick Heidfeld’s eighth-place at Suzuka increased to nineteen those that have scored points this season (only excluding the new-team drivers), and made up to eighteen those that would have scored under last year’s points (Alguersuari is yet to finish top-eight). Fourteen drivers have finished top-six, not including the STR drivers, de la Rosa, quick Nick, or Liuzzi.

This is the order purely on count-back.

    Wins Seconds Thirds Podiums
1   Webber   4 3 2 9
2   Alonso   4 2 2 8
3   Hamilton   3 3 1 7
4   Vettel   3 2 3 8
5   Button   2 3 1 6
6   Massa   2 2 4
7   Kubica   1 2 3
8   Rosberg   3 3

Pure count-back promotes Hamilton over Vettel, and Kubica over Rosberg to seventh. This is the table in the order of the real points-standings.

    Wins Seconds Thirds Podiums
1   Webber   4 2 2 8
2   Alonso   4 2 1 7
3   Vettel   2 2 3 7
4   Hamilton   3 3 1 7
5   Button   2 3 1 6
6   Massa   2 2 4
7   Rosberg   3 3
8   Kubica   1 2 3

As after the last race, and suggested by Alonso as the likeliest Championship decider, the number of podiums seems to have the greatest influence. Webber’s points race-average is 13·75, behind 15 points for third-place, ahead of 12 for fourth.

The next table shows the points scored by the World Championship contenders over the last five events.

   Driver Score    Average
1   Webber    84      16·8   
2   Alonso   83   16·6   
3   Vettel   70   14·4   
4   Button   46   9·2   
5   Hamilton   35   7·4   

If these mean averages of recent performances are multiplied by the three remaining races, added to the points the drivers currently have, and rounded to the nearest point, it gives this projection of the final tally.

1   Webber   270
2   Alonso   256
3   Vettel   248
4   Button   217
5   Hamilton   213

McLaren had both drivers score points for the first time in five races, but with only three rounds left, both of their drivers’ title-chances look very tentative. Mark Webber looks strong as long as he does not drop the ball. The Red Bulls have a reputation for being fragile, but Mark has had 100% race-reliability, scoring in every GP except for his crash at Valencia, and Vettel has had very good reliability this season, except for three separate issues early in the season, all of which were those sort of strange one-offs, such as a spark-plug or brake-disk failing, that a driver usually expects one or less of a season. Post-race in Suzuka, Webber said he needed to win again to win the title. I question if that is true. If Mark gets a second and two thirds in the last three races, that would put him on 268 points. Vettel or Alonso, on 206 currently, would need 62 to match that. Two wins and a third would give 65, but that is something neither Alonso or Vettel have achieved in any three consecutive races this season. Obviously, if Mark has a bad race, he might need a win, but conversely if a McLaren wins in Korea, it will make life much harder for Mark’s title rivals. (I have this sneaking feeling that the title might just be decided by Brazil, denying us a last-round decider.)

These are the points if given to engines:

   Engine Score    Average
per Team
1   Mercedes    617      205·6   
2   Renault   559   279·5   
3   Ferrari   382   127·3   
4   Cosworth   58   14·5   

With first and second, Renault led the scoring with 43, but might have done even greater damage to Mercedes’s lead had Kubica not had his calamity. Mercedes had Button, Hamilton, and Schumacher behind the Red Bulls and Alonso for 30. Ferrari received contributions from Alonso, Kobayashi, Heidfeld, and Buemi, for 26. Barrichello’s Williams gave Cosworth two points.

The scores by nationality of drivers are:

   Nation Points   Scoring
Drivers
1   Germany   450     6
2   Britain   381     2
3   Australia   220     1
4   Spain   215     3
5   Brazil   169     2
6   Poland   114     1
7   Japan   27     1
8   Russia   19     1
9   Italy   13     1
10   Switzerland   8     1

Cripes, yet another German driver adds to the pot with Nick Heidfeld scoring four points, with Vettel’s win plus Schumacher’s sixth making 37. Lewis and Jenson added 22 for Britain. Webber took 18 for Australia, Alonso 15 for Spain, Kobayashi 6 for Japan, Barrichello 2 for Brazil, and Buemi 1 for Switzerland. No changes in position with the top-five gaps all widening.

This is the Nations’ Cup only counting the score of the highest driver in a race for each country. I have also decided to use 10-6-4-3-2-1, partly because I think it a better scoring regime, partly because it meant less work. Thus, for example, the McLaren 1-2 in China would give Britain 10 points for the win, nothing for second, and Rosberg’s third place would give Germany 4 points, with nothing for Vettel’s sixth place.

   Nation Points  
1   Britain   88    
2   Germany   77    
3   Australia   70    
4   Spain   67    
5   Brazil   38    
6   Poland   22    
7   Russia   2    
8   Japan   1    

Germany gain on Britain, but no changes in position. Only the top-four nations in the table scored.

This next table shows the standings based on qualification using current points.

1   Vettel   316
2   Webber   293
3   Alonso   192
4   Hamilton   180
5   Button   128
6   Massa   124
7   Kubica   112
8   Rosberg   109
9   Schumacher   46
10   Barrichello   43
11   Hülkenberg   24
12   Sutil   21
13   Liuzzi   10
14   Petrov   9
15   Kobayashi   5
16   de la Rosa   4

Massa fails to make Q3 for the second consecutive race, and the third time this season, losing a place to Button. Kubica, qualifying third after Hamilton’s penalty, moves up one place over Rosberg. The Red Bull drivers remain the only two to qualify top-ten (indeed top-six) every race. Despite optimism for Suzuka, neither STR driver has yet to score in this category, with the new-team drivers and Heidi also pointless.

These are the fastest-lap points with the number of outright fastest laps in brackets.

1   Webber   247   (3)
2   Alonso   199   (4)
3   Vettel   198   (3)
4   Hamilton   166   (3)
5   Button   124   (1)
6   Kubica   122   (1)
7   Massa   110  
8   Rosberg   95  
9   Schumacher   68  
10   Petrov   59   (1)
11   Barrichello   46  
12   Sutil   44  
13   Buemi   42  
14   Alguersuari   37  
15   Kobayashi   19  
16   Liuzzi   16  
17   Hülkenberg   14  
18   de la Rosa   9  
19   Heidfeld   1  

Many will be aware that on the very last lap, Webber pipped team-mate Vettel for the fastest-lap, denying Sebastian the win-pole-FL triple. On the last lap, Button also beat Vettel’s best lap-time, enabling Jenson to move up two places at the expense of retirees, Kubica and Massa. Kobayashi managed the sixth-best lap-time, moving up two places to fifteenth.

Click here to see my Google documents laps-and-distance-completed spreadsheet. Before the Japanese GP, Massa had only failed to complete one race-distance, finishing one lap down in Canada, but his early bath at Suzuka drops him several places for laps completed.

See also RG’s Japan update for his championship for new teams.

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