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What others are saying

Given the extreme weather conditions that hit the Suzuka circuit on Friday and Saturday, the Japanese Grand Prix looked set to be a classic with the teams and drivers struggling to find the right set-up and choose the right tyres due to the lack of running. Despite all that, Michael Schumacher dominated and made it look very easy. His 13th win of the season was stunning and his drive silenced all those questioning his motivation following his performance in China. Michael led the race from start to finish and had plenty to spare.

A few of the highlights:

  • Michael Schumacher was untouchable. The only driver that was remotely close was Ralf Schumacher but he was lighter and was stuck in traffic after his first pit stop.
    Team-mate Rubens Barrichello had a bad qualifying session and struggled in traffic. Still he made up many places before tangling with David Coulthard and retiring.
  • Ralf Schumacher had a good day. He drove well and finished second helping Williams nearly secure 4th place in the Championship.
    Team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya didn't perform as expected. He still managed to finish 7th after starting 13th but from his superb performance here last year, one expected better than 6th.
  • The BAR pair performed well and so did their Honda engine. 3rd and 4th for Jenson Button and Takuma Sato almost secured 2nd place for BAR in the Championship. From 26 points in 2003 to 116 in 2004 with a race still to go. This is a great achievement. 
  • Fernando Alonso once again showed that he can get the best out of the Renault package. Finishing 5th while team-mate Villeneuve only managed 10th.
    Renault's gamble on Villeneuve hasn't worked not that keeping Trulli would have changed the result.
    Renault still have a very small chance of beating BAR but that is very unlikely as the gap to BAR is now 16 points with 1 race to go.
  • It was surprising to see Kimi Raikkonen struggle!. David Coulthard was ahead of him until he retired. One wonders if Kimi's setup was so bad causing him to only manage 6th!
  • Another fine drive by both Fisichella and Massa. This was the 5th race in a row that a Sauber scores points. Sauber continues to improve which is encouraging for the private teams.
  • Jarno Trulli showed some promise in the Toyota at the start of the race but finishing 11th reminded us of his trend at Renault.
    Olivier Panis ended his Formula 1 racing career on a low finishing 14th with Nick Heidfeld in the Jordan finishing ahead of him. Good luck to Olivier in his role as a test driver for Toyota.   
  • The TV coverage was below standard. So much on-track action was missed. Button letting Sato through, the Coulthard and Barrichello incident and the Raikkonen and Glock incident to name a few weren't even shown on replay. Focusing on Sato struggling with something around his helmet isn't what we want to see for too long! Surely they can do better than that. 

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What others are saying:

Michael was just unbeatable today. No one could come close to him. While it was sad to see BAR lose out of first (hey - I can always hope!) this result proves that BAR is NOT going to be beaten by Renault. Villeneuve is going to need more time and Alonso doesn't seem to be on his game most of the time. I was also hoping that Webber could capitalize on his good position to score some points for Jaguar but it was not to be as once again something went wrong and he had to bow out. 
I agree with the TV coverage - a lot was missed. That plus the constant loss of picture (this happens MUCH too often) plus the shots of things we didn't need to see (Sato's helmet - the following of cars with no one around them while position battles go unshown is something that puzzles me to no end). 
All-in-all a good race that wasn't marred by horrific looking crashes. 
All we need is more shots of the battles for position and we are in good shape! (Besides - whatever happened to listening to the Team Radio's??) - Ed - USA

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