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Old 10-02-2012, 12:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Formula 1 2012 - Round 15: Japanese Grand Prix

After dominating the three races prior to round 14 in Singapore, and then locking out pole position, Mclaren looked poised to score a fourth win on the trot. Lewis Hamilton's gearbox failed while he was leading, though, and Jenson Button will be taking a 5-place grid penalty in Suzuka for a nearly identical problem which required his gearbox to be replaced prior to this race. lewis Hamilton suffered a gearbox failure here last year, but managed to finish the race.

Michael Schumacher's future hangs in limbo after Mercedes announced Lewis Hamilton will be replacing him there next year. Schumi has also earned a 10-spot grid penalty for running into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne during the last race.

Fernando Alonso continues to lead the driver's championship over his nearest rival Sebastian Vettel, who remains 29 points adrift. His teammate for next year has yet to be announced, with some rumors suggesting Michael Schumacher could be in line to replace Felipe Massa. Is there anyone on the market who could even compete with Fernando?

RBR extended their lead slightly in the constructor's championship after Vettel's Singapore win. Mark Webber's sole earned point was taken away after a 20-second time penalty was added for overtaking outside the track limits. Look for RBR to be strong here.

Sauber's Sergio Perez has emphatically outshone his Japanese teammate this season and is moving to the vacated Mclaren seat next year. He'll be looking to continue his strong form, while Kamui Kobayashi will want to put on a good show for the home crowd.

Driver Standings:

01 Fernando Alonso 194
02 Sebastian Vettel 165
03 Kimi Räikkönen 149
04 Lewis Hamilton 142
05 Mark Webber 132
06 Jenson Button 119
07 Nico Rosberg 93
08 Romain Grosjean 82

Constructor Standings:

01 Red Bull Racing-Renault 297
02 McLaren-Mercedes 261
03 Ferrari 245
04 Lotus-Renault 231
05 Mercedes 136
06 Sauber-Ferrari 101
07 Force India-Mercedes 75
08 Williams-Renault 54

Side note: Kimi Raikkonen's record lap here was set the year he charged from 17th to first place during the race.

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