29 March 2013

Following an F1 2011 (game) season


This is a four (and, latterly, three) player dramatic online season with AI.


The season started in Australia. Tomjakes (Tom) and Mikes168 (Mikes) had a close battle for pole position.

Off the start, though, Tom had a better start and pulled away. Third-placed Chuggy got the better of Mikes after a few laps and started to persue Tom. In the pit stop phase (of a 20% race), Chuggy managed to leapfrog Tom and Tom had no answer on the hard tyres. However, Chuggy's blistering pace was too good to be true, and he cranked his engine down to save fuel. With 3 laps to go, Tom was on the back of him (as MattJacobs (Matt)'s Ferrari redefined the course). Stuck behind him, Tom looked to be heading for second place, but, on the final lap, Chuggy's fuel gave up and he was forced to relinquish the lead inches from the line.

Tom leads from Chuggy in second.
McLaren lead the constructors.
The second race in Malaysia was another qualifying battle between Tom and Mikes. Matt was more of a force in round two, starting ninth, and had another quiet race.

The race itself was a drab affair, the one moment of drama between Chuggy and Mikes. As Chuggy exited the pit lane in front of Tom, he understeered in the first corner into a yet-to-pit Mikes. Chuggy managed to get away with it. This time, there were no fuel dramas and he took an excellent win.

Tom and Chuggy lead with Heidfeld in third.
McLaren lead from Red Bull.
On to China, and qualifying was yet again dominated by Mikes, Tom, and Chuggy.

Down into the first corner, though, Webber took second, and Tom was down to fifth as Rosberg pushed past him. On his outlap, Tom T-Boned Mikes at the hairpin, giving him a penalty and pushing him down to twelfth. However, the AI decided to pit twice, giving Tom fifth at the finish as Chuggy took a second win. Matt had another non-eventful race to eighth.

Chuggy takes the lead from Tom and Vettel.
McLaren still lead, Red Bull are still second.
Mikes took an early lead in Turkey as Chuggy crashed on lap one. Matt had qualified poorly and was also spun on the first lap. Second-placed Tom lost out to both Red Bulls on the first lap (with some force) and Rosberg on the second lap. A crash between the two Red Bulls, Rosberg, and Mikes sent Mikes spinning and Rosberg right down the pack. Webber won with Tom second. A poor race for the two Ferraris saw neither Ferrari within the top four, and Chuggy could only muster up seventh.

Four races and Chuggy's lead is reigned in to just three.
McLaren continue to build on their advantage.
A collision in Spanish qualifying between Tom and Kovalainen hindered Mikes' first run but it didn't stop him from taking first to start with. Chuggy received a penalty and Tom switched to the prime tyres, but could only muster 15th on his first lap and 6th on his second lap. The two Ferraris were qualifying higher than the two McLarens. With Tom's lack of first-lap pace, it was left to Chuggy to challenge Mikes for pole, but Mikes out-gunned him, and Chuggy had a penalty.

A great start from all four players online saw them occupy first, fifth, sixth, and seventh, but Chuggy spun twice on the first lap. Tom finally managed to get some heat into his primes and was going forwards as opposed to a backwards first lap. However, Tom spun on lap two, putting him down in twelfth. Tom couldn't make the strategy work and he engaged in combat with Chuggy. Chuggy was able to overcome him for fourth, but it ended in tears within sight of the flag. Chuggy attempted to lap Kovalainen, but Tom was on his inside and couldn't avoid him. Chuggy received a penalty, Tom spun, the Ferraris took a one-two, Tom finished fifth with Chuggy 13th, and the championship came alive again!

Tom retakes the lead, Mikes moves up to fourth.
McLaren and Red Bull still atop of the constructors.
On to Monaco, and with qualifying even more crucial than usual, there was a big scrap for track position. Tom hit the barriers twice on his outlap, and was cut up by Liuzzi on his first qualifying lap, as Schumacher took an early advantage, only to be beaten by Mikes. Tom then proceeded to completely mess up the swimming pool, leading to a front wing change and shattered tyres. Chuggy took pole with a 1:12.859, but Tom was still to submit a lap. He got caught up in traffic and sandwiched himself between the two Red Bulls in third. Mikes' lap had pushed him out of the top four. Kobayashi set a blistering lap to take second as Tom improved to third. Tom was able to go second on his third flying lap, but Chuggy finally surrendered pole position to Tom on Tom's fourth lap. Mikes couldn't string a lap together and finished sixth. With another all-McLaren front row, was dominance in Monaco imminent?

Maybe not, as Tom had taken 23% out of his tyres and had to start on that set. Matt was carved up by Maldonado even before turn one, but Tom and Chuggy were through the first corner unscathed, but not the first lap. Chuggy obtained a penalty for a collision at the hairpin with Tom on lap one, and then lost parts of his front wing. He took the penalty as soon as he could (on the first lap), but things were worse for Matt, who lost his front wing on the first lap and pitted. A great first lap from Mikes put him third, behind only Vettel and Tom, as Vettel and Mikes closed onto the back of Tom. Mikes was able to overcome Vettel on lap two and the hunt was on. However, Matt lost his front wing again and was forced to pit. This crash brought out the safety car, which played into the McLarens' hands, as Chuggy had just pitted and Tom dived in the pits straight away, however, Mikes strangely stayed out to take track position. Tom came out in ninth, with Mikes first. The AI streamed in during the safety car, playing further into the hands of Tom and, to a lesser extent, Chuggy. Mikes pitted one lap too late, putting him behind Tom and just in front of Chuggy. Tom spun on lap six trying to overtake Heidfeld, giving Mikes 11th. Glock then hit the wall, giving Chuggy 13th, as Mikes overtook Maldonado for 10th. Chuggy then overtook Tom and Tom hit the wall. However, the pit stops for the AI put them up to 6th and 7th. Tom then spun coming out of the final corner. Tom managed to do successfully to Webber what he couldn't do to Heidfeld on lap eight, and now was in 6th behind Rosberg. A second safety car on lap nine enabled Chuggy to come in for front end repairs and to fill in the accident claim form, as the one-stopping Tom took fourth behind Mikes, Alguersuari, and Petrov, but Alguersuari pitted during the safety car. Petrov dived in with the safety car and Tom started to chase after Mikes. Chuggy overcame Pérez and was in third. The race was on. Chuggy's fresh rubber enabled him to ease past Tom, who struggled for wear rate and tyre heat. Tom hit the barrier on lap 13 whilst defending against Pérez, just managing to keep him at bay. Chuggy closed up to the back of Mikes, but debris from yet another Matt accident gives Mikes a puncture with two laps to go, and Tom spun twice on the last lap as his tyres finally gave up. Tom came home minus a front wing and only fifth, and Chuggy won. Both Ferraris were pointless.

Chuggy wins in Monaco and leads the championship.
McLaren almost on 200 points.
Canada. Chuggy dominated qualifying (at the expense of his tyres) and Matt took sixth on primes on his first lap, but Chuggy then obtained a penalty for colliding with Alguersuari, throwing the race open. Mikes took eventual pole after Chuggy's penalty, Tom started second, Matt started sixth, and Chuggy eleventh. Tom and Matt started on the hard tyres.

Lights out and Mikes blitzed it off the line and Tom had no answer. A great start for Matt saw him ram the slow-starting Tom off the road, putting him side-by-side with Webber. Webber spun coming out of turn four, collecting Tom, who was T-Boned by the fast-starting Chuggy. Tom and Webber were facing the wrong way, and Chuggy was now in second but faced with a penalty. The safety car came out, meaning Tom was able to pit for front end repairs. He fed out into 21st and Matt was last having lost his nose. Those two had to do 13 laps on one set of option tyres. Webber stopped as the safety car came in and Tom overtook Trulli as soon as the car went in. He quickly passed Karthikeyan and Kovalainen. Chuggy took the lead at the restart but had yet to serve his penalty. As others pitted, Tom was up to 12th and Matt 13th. Tom overcame Alguersuari and Kobayashi to move up to 10th. Tom was up to sixth after he dispatched Sutil and fifth after Maldonado. However, Maldonado crashed into Tom, allowing Sutil back past, whilst Chuggy served his drive-through. Chuggy's blistering pace meant he was still in the lead post-penalty, but Mikes had come in whilst Chuggy had done his drive-through. Chuggy still needed to stop again. Mikes was second, and Tom had recovered to third. Mikes and Tom didn't have to stop again, but could Tom make his tyres last? Matt was back up to fourth and he also didn't have to stop again but would also suffer from tyre issues. Chuggy was unable to leapfrog Mikes despite his complete and utter raw pace. Tom did make a second stop on lap nine, but could only emerge in seventh. Dispatching Rosberg quickly, Tom started to make progress as Matt was forced into a second stop. Tom came up to fifth with four laps to go, as Chuggy overhauled Mikes for the lead. Mikes was given a time penalty for a collision with another car - could he get the 20 second gap over Tom to maintain second? Matt's second stop put him towards the back, a lap down on Chuggy. As Chuggy won, Mikes was disqualified for once collision too many, meaning Tom took second place. Matt finished 18th.

Chuggy 15 points ahead of Tom.
Mercedes closing down on Ferrari for third.
Race 8 of 19: Valencia. The European Grand Prix. Chuggy and Tom had a spin in qualifying as Mikes did a very quick lap to start with. Mikes dominated qualifying, until Tom took pole right at the death whilst Matt crashed out. Tom started on pole, Mikes second, Chuggy third, Matt... fifth, although Chuggy was on hard tyres.

Matt took third in the first corner from Chuggy. Mikes overcame Tom on the first lap but Tom retook the lead seconds later, only to be re-passed into turn two. Tom spun at the end of lap three and pitted on lap four. Mikes pitted on lap five and Chuggy on lap six. A horrible pit stop sequence for Matt dropped him outside the top four, and, to make matters worse, he received a time penalty, as did Chuggy. However, Matt  got another penalty, leaving him with 40 seconds worth of penalties. It looked to be down and out... then Chuggy received a second penalty! Matt was forced into a second pit stop. Chuggy closed up and had a  close battle with Tom, but Matt was disqualified and Chuggy held on to third (as Pérez was 57 seconds behind race winner Mikes).

Mikes up to third, Tom closing in on Chuggy.
Ferrari closing in on Red Bull.
Home to Britain. The first wet session of the year happened in qualifying, where the intermediates became the preferred tyre. In addition, the weather forecast showed a 99% chance of rain for the race. Tom was the first one to drop it, losing it out of The Loop. Chuggy lost it seconds later, as a dry line started to appear. Mikes took pole and Tom went up to second, only to get a puncture and to be displaced by Matt and Chuggy (who even displaced Mikes). Soon Mikes retook pole as the track got drier and drier, and Tom could only manage second, which became third after Chuggy retook second. Chuggy finally got pole in the dying seconds, Mikes second, Tom third, and Matt fourth.

More wet weather and inter tyres for the race. Both Ferraris leaped off the line, as ever, and Mikes was alongside Chuggy into turn one. Contact was made and Chuggy spun into Tom as Matt managed to avoid the chaos and was up to second. That disqualified Chuggy and Tom spun again. Matt played second fiddle to Mikes as Tom started to scythe his way through the field. He got stuck behind Barrichello whilst Matt was defending hard against Vettel. Tom came into trouble with Maldonado, who came back at him. Eventually Tom cruised up to the back of the Renaults. With two laps to go, Tom was in seventh, behind Kobayashi, Webber, Rosberg, Vettel, Matt, and Mikes. He dispatched the Sauber and the Red Bull, but the Ferraris took another one-two - with Tom only fifth, is the championship still open?

We now pause to take a mid-season review. The McLarens appear to be struggling whilst Ferrari are pouring all their efforts into Mikes. The two Red Bulls are fourth and fifth, Rosberg is just three points behind Vettel in sixth, and Matt is seventh. Schumacher, Kobayashi, and Heidfeld round out the top 10. Then comes the second Sauber of Pérez and the two Williams cars. The two Force Indias follow, followed by Buemi. Petrov hasn't scored since Turkey, and there's a solitary two
points for Alguersuari.

McLaren dominating the constructors' championship at the moment. Ferrari are in second place, Red Bull are third but only 12 points behind Ferrari. Mercedes are fourth, followed by Sauber, Williams, Renault (who had a strong start but can't maintain it), Force India, who follow them by just four points, and a flailing Toro Rosso. Lotus, HRT, and Virgin yet to score.

Tom just two points behind, with Mikes closing.
Ferrari now into second in front of Red Bull.
Into the second half of the season which kicks off in Germany. After the first runs, Chuggy lead Mikes and Tom (whilst Matt was busy swearing his way into 22nd), but Mikes was able to take pole away and Tom was able to improve into second.

No change off the line between Mikes, Tom, and Chuggy, whilst Matt spun twice. On lap two Chuggy powered past Tom and pressured Mikes into a mistake but couldn't capitalise. But, on lap three, Chuggy powered past with DRS but Mikes pushed him off the road, handing second place to Tom, but Chuggy was able to get back past Tom. On lap five, Tom had DRS but was T-Boned by Chuggy, sending Tom into a spin and Chuggy in for a penalty. Chuggy took his penalty on lap six as Tom pitted. Second-placed Vettel pitted on lap 10, allowing Tom to retake second place and Chuggy to retake third, but on the final lap Tom spun, and Chuggy took second, and that was the order maintained.

Chuggy still leads. Just.
McLaren pulling away.
Hungarian qualifying started with Mikes T-boning Tom at turn one and Chuggy being T-boned by Matt. To make matters worse for Chuggy, he then spun again. Mikes then T-Boned Tom again and went fastest. Mikes was given a 10-place grid penalty. Tom lead from Mikes and Chuggy, as Matt went seventh. Tom started first, Chuggy second, Matt sixth, and Mikes 12th.

Both Ferraris leapt off the line. Matt was up to third by turn one. Chuggy out-braked himself down into turn one, as did Matt (to a lesser extent) and Tom was into first, Matt second, Chuggy third. Matt then had a collision with the fast-starting Petrov as Mikes then took third having started twelfth. Matt needed a new front wing, as Mikes overpowered Chuggy for second place, only to be re-passed, then to pass Chuggy again as Chuggy out-braked himself on lap four. Mikes then closed up on Tom and Tom tried to fight him off, as the two cars went side-by-side on lap six. Tom stopped on lap six as Chuggy crashed out. Mikes pitted two laps later and remained behind Tom. Mikes set off on another hot pursuit, but at the start of lap 12 Glock came out of the pits. Tom went around the outside but there was no room for Mikes and he collided with Glock. Mikes set off on another spirited chase but it was too little too late and Tom won, with Mikes second. Matt never recovered from his collision and finished 14th.

Tom now leads, Mikes only 6 points behind Chuggy.
Red Bull looking to regain second place.
On to one of the best tracks of the calendar, Spa. Chuggy crashed out of qualifying immediately as Tom spun off. Tom took pole from Petrov in second and Mikes in third, but Mikes was on a fast lap, but could only manage second place. Matt qualified 14th.

Lights out and Mikes blitzed it into turn one but Tom collided with him and retook the lead. Matt was up to fifth and Chuggy sixth, as Tom and Mikes went toe-to-toe. Tom made a mistake in Stavelot but Mikes couldn't capitalise. At the start of lap three, Petrov spun at La Source, bringing out the safety car. Chuggy then overtook two people under the safety car, giving him two penalties. Tom pitted as soon as the safety car was deployed on lap three, and also received a penalty. Mikes now lead, the two Red Bulls were second and third, Schumacher was fourth, Tom was fifth, and Chuggy was sixth. Mikes, Vettel, and Schumacher pitted. Webber now lead, Tom was second, and Matt was third. Webber, Tom, and Matt followed the safety car in as Rosberg now lead. Mikes was second and Heidfeld now third with four laps to go. Tom was in fifth, behind Maldonado and ahead of Vettel. Rosberg and Maldonado came in at the end of lap six, as Chuggy and Matt came to blows, putting both of them in the wall. Tom then overpowered Heidfeld and was second, behind Mikes. The drive-through had worked out badly for Tom. However, the race was still to throw up one more surprise: Matt crashed out. Tom set a new fastest lap and started to chase down Mikes. A fortuitous Glock was now third, until Rosberg overtook him, but Tom couldn't catch Mikes and that's the way it stayed: Mikes first, Tom second. Chuggy was only ninth but he received a penalty and came 19th. The championship was wide open.

Chuggy's misdemeanours cost him dear.
Virgin finally get on the board.
Another classic track now: Monza. With the race in mind, the players checked the forecast: 100% rain. Chuggy received a penalty for a collision with Alguersuari as Tom powerslid his way to first., from Mikes, Petrov, and Matt. Chuggy then popped into second, and first after an extra lap. Matt went 11th but there was more bad news for Matt as he was bumped down to 14th. Chuggy took pole, but would start 11th after a penalty, so Mikes was on pole, Tom was second, Chuggy was 11th, and Matt was 14th.

The race was in heavy rain, but all the cars started on the intermediate tyres. Lights out and Mikes blasted off the line. Tom locked up into turn one as Matt had a collision with Sutil. A great start from Chuggy put him up to fourth as Webber took second place. Matt had another collision with Maldonado, putting Matt out of the race. Chuggy raced Webber for a good few moments as Tom got it all wrong in the first sector. Chuggy was finally back past Webber and started to chase down Mikes, as Tom stayed in fourth. On lap two, Tom made a complete mess of the first chicane and Chuggy went wide. Webber was into second and Tom third. Tom got past Webber at the start of lap three and was in to second. Chuggy then overcame Webber on lap four. On lap six, Chuggy received a penalty for corner cutting. Chuggy spun on lap eight but elected not to come in for new tyres, getting stuck behind Vettel and hitting him at one point. On the final lap, he managed to overtake him but could not get past Webber. Mikes pleased the tifosi by winning, with Tom second, and Chuggy fourth.

A dramatic moment came after Monza as Matt quit Ferrari on grounds of "unfair conduct". He was unable to find a drive elsewhere and Alonso took his place.

Chuggy dropping back as Mikes closes the gap.
Red Bull still looking to eclipse Ferrari.
Three online players went to Singapore. Tom clipped the wall on his outlap and spun, necessitating a stop for a new nose. He elected to continue and set a lap time of 1:39.879, two seconds behind Mikes, as Chuggy obtained a puncture. Not good news for his championship aspirations. Tom spun again after contact with Alguersuari, and lost his front wing. Chuggy also lost it in the final corner. Tom could only manage eighth in his first run, and Chuggy hadn't set a lap with two minutes to go, however, he managed to take second. Chuggy and Tom now had one lap left each, as Tom's first of two laps was ruined by di Resta and Petrov. Chuggy's last lap was invalidated for corner cutting, and Tom could only stay third.

Lights out and Mikes and Chuggy got away cleanly, but Tom got bugged down. He braked too early for the first corner and was hit by Alonso. He tagged Vettel on his way round, who spun into fifth-placed Maldonado. Alguersuari was the main benefactor, taking third place, and Tom was in fourth. Alguersuari spun at turn 13 and Tom was in to third position. Mikes' grip was not getting any better in front and Chuggy was all over him. Tom really struggled for grip as Chuggy finally got past Mikes. However, Chuggy out-braked himself at the very next corner, necessitating a stop for a new front wing. He queued behind Tom and, bizarrely, put on a new set of soft tyres. Chuggy then lost his front wing again and had to pit at the end of lap four as well. Mikes pitted at the end of lap five for one scheduled stop and rejoined in front of Tom. Mikes now lead, Rosberg was second, Pérez was third, and Tom was fourth. Rosberg pitted on lap six, as Chuggy lost yet another front wing. Tom lost parts of his front wing on lap seven and Chuggy was lapped by Mikes. Pérez finally came in on lap seven and Mikes was now miles ahead of second-placed Tom. Alonso spun on lap 10 and Tom on lap 11, allowing Vettel past. Chuggy received a puncture on lap 11. Tom's tyres finally gave up on the last lap and got a puncture, dropping him to fifth place. Mikes won, with Vettel second, Alguersuari third, Tom fifth, and Chuggy 23rd.

Mikes now leads, just three points ahead of Tom.
McLaren still dominate.
Suzuka, Japan. The scene of many world championship deciders in the past. Tom could only take second on his first run, but took pole away from Mikes on his final lap. Chuggy could only manage third.

Lights out and Mikes blitzed Tom off the line. Chuggy took second from Tom in turn one but dipped his tyres in the gravel, went for a spin, and hit Vettel. Chuggy then collided with Maldonado on lap two, bringing out the safety car. Mikes hit the safety car and was disqualified. On the restart, Tom lead from Vettel and Webber. Buemi crashed on lap five. Tom pitted on the end of lap five but got caught up in traffic, losing out to Vettel, but was able to get back past him. Tom dispatched the two Lotuses and Sutil with ease. He had a little bit of trouble with Petrov, but was able to dispatch him quickly. Chuggy now lead, Webber was second, and Tom was third. Chuggy pitted under the safety car so leapfrogged a lot of people, but did not have a buffer to Tom, as Webber pitted on lap eight. However, Chuggy was starting to suffer from extreme tyre wear: could he keep in front of Tom? Yes! Chuggy won, with Tom second.

Tom regains the lead of the championship.
Both Ferraris fail to score but retain second place.
Just four races to go. The first stop for the F1 circus is Korea. Tom spun on his second flying lap but still took pole... until Mikes took it away from him. Chuggy could only manage third as he crashed with Trulli, but in the dying moments, snatched pole and reignited his championship hopes.

Mikes had a fantastic start and got to turn one ahead of Chuggy in second and Tom in third. Tom used the slipstream into turn three but Mikes was able to go round the outside and Chuggy had a better exit. Chuggy then proceeded to overtake Mikes in turn 10. Mikes then went side-by-side with Chuggy for the next few laps, as Tom watched on. Chuggy and Tom did a "double shuffle" pit stop on lap four. It worked as there was no change in the pit stop phase. The order was maintained to the flag, meaning McLaren Mercedes are the inaugural winners of the F1 online Constructors' Championship.

The championship will go down to the wire.
McLaren have now won the constructors.
Three races to go. India, the new track in 2011, will now be visited. Qualifying was wet and was run on the intermediate tyres. Chuggy hit Alguersuari on his outlap and Tom spun on his outlap. Mikes went fastest on the first runs, Tom second, and Chuggy third. Tom spun on his third lap, and Chuggy spun on his outlap on his second run, as Rosberg hit Alonso. Chuggy went fastest, as Tom was held up by Rosberg and Glock. Eventually, Tom was able to go fastest. Mikes was held up by Pérez but still managed second. The times were as follows (yes, more cheap graphics):

Lights out, away we go! Tom, for once, got a good start from pole position but Chuggy went up the inside into turn one and took the lead. He clipped Tom, causing Tom to lose momentum and drop down to third, behind Mikes. Mikes then hit Chuggy under braking for turn three, causing Chuggy to go wide and Tom to capitalise, abusing Chuggy's slipstream down the next long straight. He had a run at first-placed Mikes, but even Carol Vorderman couldn't get two into one into turn four and Tom clipped Mikes, causing him to spin, giving Tom a penalty. Worse still, in the mêlée that followed, Tom also punted Schumacher into a spin, giving him two drive-throughs to serve. Tom's first penalty dropped him to 23rd and he started to make progress. Mikes was up to seventh by lap two, and Tom was up to 18th by the time he came in for his second penalty. Mikes was up to second already, and Tom was down to 22nd after his penalty. Tom started a fightback but became stuck behind Kovalainen on lap four. He was 20th after lap four, 11th by lap five (due to pit stops),  and 5th by lap six, but was still to make a mandatory pit stop for the harder tyres. He did so on lap seven, after disposing of Webber, but Chuggy received a penalty for corner cutting. Tom's race went from bad to worse as he spun in the pit lane entry. His pit stop dropped him to 18th, as Chuggy's race fell apart in front of him: he had yet to make his mandatory stop, and he received another corner cutting penalty (although this was a time penalty worth 20 seconds). Once he had made his pit stop, Chuggy came out in a respectable position, but Mikes then set the fastest lap, laying down a marker for the rest of the championship. Tom progressed to 14th when several cars pitted on lap nine, but became stuck behind Maldonado. Chuggy sent a message to Mikes by laying down the fastest lap, but received another time penalty for corner cutting. Tom finally got past Maldonado and Barrichello, giving him one crucial point. Mikes won an exciting race, as Kobayashi made a mistake and gifted Tom ninth. Chuggy finished eighth, Tom ninth, but Mikes won the race and Alonso finished third. A bad race for the McLarens.

The championship is still a three-horse race.
Sauber closing on Mercedes for fourth.
Abu Dhabi. Mikes was able to win the championship here so he needed a good qualifying. Tom didn't bother the apex of turn 18 on his outlap and spun at turn three on his flying lap. He then messed up his braking for turn eight and went wide at turn 17. On his second flying lap, Tom was quicker than Mikes in sector one, but failed to bother the apex of turn seven so was slower in the second sector, and Mikes' second flying lap had yielded Tom only second place. Vettel and Trulli came to blows as Tom started to lose time on Mikes, especially as he overcooked turns 16 and 17. Chuggy then went fastest, indicating that his championship charge wasn't quite over yet. Tom and Mikes then went line astern to try to regain pole position, but they were both slower than Chuggy in sectors one and two. Not to be deterred, however, Mikes took pole, whilst Tom could only get third. Tom then spun on his next lap, forcing him to pit alongside Mikes. Excitement mounted in the garage, though, as Chuggy set the fastest middle sector of anybody, but he cut a corner, invalidating his lap time. Mikes was first, followed by the two McLarens.

In pictures:


Tom spins on his first flying lap.

Tom goes wide at turn eight.

Tom goes wide in turn 17.

Tom's first lap gives him sixth.

Tom is on course to beat Mikes in sector one.

Tom is slower than Mikes in sector two.

Tom's second lap gives him second.


Tom goes wide in turn 16.

Tom goes wide in turn 17 again.

Chuggy goes fastest.

Tom and Mikes start their laps.

Tom and Mikes are slower than Chuggy in sector one.

Tom and Mikes are slower than Chuggy in sector two.


Tom goes third, Mikes goes first.

Tom spins on his next lap.
Chuggy sets the fastest middle sector of anybody.

Lights out, away we go, and Tom got a very bad start and lost third place to Rosberg before turn one. He was able to get back past him as Chuggy and Mikes stormed away at the front, looking for space. Chuggy was all over Mikes as Webber was up to fourth ahead of Rosberg. Chuggy went up the inside of Mikes at turn eight and took the lead. Mikes couldn't make a move stick in to turn 11 and had to surrender first. Mikes then had a bad entry into turn 17 and Tom was now all over the Ferrari. Mikes' third sector performance in qualifying meant he closed right up to the back of Chuggy. Mikes and Chuggy went side-by-side on lap two and Chuggy retained the lead! Chuggy, however, went wide in turn 18, and Mikes was able to get past. Tom was on the back of them, but as DRS kicked in, Chuggy engulfed the Ferrari. He slightly overcooked it at turn eight, but it gave him the inside for turn nine. Mikes, though, went round the outside of the McLaren and took the lead of the race. Mikes went wide at turn 17 and Chuggy did the same in sympathy, but Tom couldn't capitalise. Desperate, Tom pushed too hard and spun on lap four. He was down to fourth, but couldn't find a way past Webber, as the McLarens successfully pulled off the double shuffle pit stop again. Heidfeld spun on lap five, and the McLarens had come out in 13th and 14th. Tom went wide on lap five as well. Tom hadn't managed to undercut Webber for third. He got past him eventually, but the other McLaren hadn't undercut Mikes. Webber hit Tom on lap eight, pushing Tom down to fourth. Webber then pitted and Tom regained third, and that is how it stayed to the flag.

In pictures:

Tom spins on lap four.

It's a two-horse race.
No change in the constructors.
For the championship decider, Brazil, the race distance will be increased to 50%, which means 36 laps. Qualifying will still run to 15 minutes. Here's the mathematics: Mikes must finish ninth or lower with Tom winning for Tom to win the championship. Mikes only needs eighth place. Chuggy is out. The weather forecast showed a 58% chance of rain. The actual forecast showed heavy rain. Tom went fastest on his first attempt and then set a purple first sector. Will qualifying be dominated by the outsider? Maybe not, as Tom spun on his second flying lap, and Mikes went fastest, only for Chuggy to eclipse him. Tom then went back out, determined to re-take first, but overcooked it in turn four and spun at Ferradura again. He pounded round again but could only manage third, and lost it in a very strange place on his next lap, but on the lap after that, Tom finally took pole away from Chuggy.

In pictures:
Tom's first effort puts him fastest.
Tom goes purple in the first sector on his second lap.
Tom spins at Ferradura.
Tom overcooks it.
Tom goes backwards round the Curva do Laranjinha.
Tom improves but only to third place.
Tom loses it again.
Right at the death, Tom gets pole.

So, then, 36 laps. And wet tyres were the order of the day. Lights out, and all three online players got off the line well, but contact between the two McLarens in turn one gifted Mikes second place, and Chuggy went very, very, VERY wide in turn nine, gifting the lead to Mikes and second place to Tom. As it stood, Mikes would be champion. On lap two, Chuggy shouted "Leeroy Jenkins!" and charged down the pair of them into turn one, and made the move stick. Chuggy now lead, Mikes was second, and Tom was third. Chuggy went wide on lap two, gifting the lead back to Mikes. He then went off again, gifting second place to Tom. Chuggy then span Tom on lap three, dropping him to fourth temporarily, before getting back past Vettel. Chuggy spun on lap five, giving second place back to Tom. Tom then spun on lap six but retained second place. Chuggy tried to regain second place on lap eight, only to lose it to a fishtail. On lap 10 Chuggy went round the outside down in to the Senna S, but Tom went off the track to overtake him, giving Tom a penalty for an illegal overtake. Tom took his drive-through on lap 10 and stayed in third. Tom had a collision with Alguersuari on lap 21 as cars started to stop for intermediate tyres. Tom spun on lap 27 but did not pit for intermediate tyres. Chuggy made a stop for intermediate tyres on lap 29. Tom almost spun on lap 29 so came in for intermediate tyres as well, nearly 35 seconds down on Chuggy but still in third place. Mikes came in a couple of laps later as well. Tom, though, spun on his intermediates. It was quite a processional race, though, and Mikes won, with Chuggy second, and Tom third.

In pictures:

Chuggy's first-lap misdemeanours won't give Tom the championship yet.


Chuggy's Kobayashi-esque move won't give Tom the championship either/
# Chuggy spins Tom right round, baby, right round, like a record, baby... #
Tom goes off on lap six.
Mikes sets a new fastest lap.
Mikes leads on lap 12.
Mikes leads with just nine laps to go.
Mikes looks set for the championship.
And so, Mikes wins the first season of this fascinating championship. The full results tables for the championship are below.

Drivers' Championship:
Constructors' Championship:

Coming soon to Benjamin's Blog: season two...

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