Hi folks...

Well there aren't many races left now with just the three flyaway events in Japan, China and Brazil and it is all getting very, very exciting now the season is coming to a close.

Lately the pendulum has been swinging backwards and forwards between McLaren and Ferrari, as we saw in Italy and Belgian, but I think in Fuji the advantage will remain with the Scuderia.

Fuji has some big long straights and it is very much a power circuit and that should suit the F2007. I think McLaren may have to wait until Brazil until things go back in their favour, as Interlagos should be more favourable for the MP4-22. I could be proved wrong of course, but that's the way I see things shaping up.

The last race was pretty dull and that was a shame as everyone was really looking forward to returning to Spa after Formula 1 didn't go there in 2006.

One man that clearly won't have cared about the race being less than thrilling though was Kimi Raikkonen.

Kimi put in a flawless performance to take the victory and he looked very pleased with his day's work. It is probably the happiest I have seen him on the podium for a while and he had ever right to be content because his drive was just outstanding.

It was interesting to see Felipe Massa end up having to play a bit of a supportive role and I don't think he was at all happy about that. He did try and make some inroads at the end but clearly he had to drop back and settle for the runners-up spot.

Throughout the weekend Ferrari seemed to have the legs on McLaren and as it went on, Ron Dennis' team seemed to drop further and further behind. McLaren just weren't in contention.

Indeed I was surprised at just how big the gap was between them. I really thought it would be smaller and we might have been in for a great race and a bit of a dog-fight, but it didn't happen.

Of course events in Belgium were all overshadowed by the spy row and what happened with that on the Thursday prior to the race weekend. Maybe a few people at McLaren had there minds elsewhere and were not quite as focused as they should have been.

It will definitely have had an effect on them - but whether that effect has come all the way through to on-track performance I'm not so sure.

Whatever I think, that will get rectified very quickly and by Japan I don't think it will be an issue, especially as they have now accepted the judgement and won't appeal against the ruling passed by the World Motor Sport Council.

McLaren do need to improve though and Lewis Hamilton in particular has got to pick his game up and try and compete with Fernando Alonso on a more even-keel.

Fernando has definitely been on his game in the last few races and it has been detrimental to Lewis' world championship lead, which has been shrinking and is now just two points.

Lewis needs a podium in Japan and if the Ferraris are battling it out for first and second, then he needs to be third to pick up as many points as possible and get that lead re-adjusted in his favour.

It has not been going to plan lately for him. He has been off the podium for a couple of races and he has not had the same sparkle that he had at the beginning of the season.

Having said that though we are getting towards the end of the season and he is still leading the world championship. Obviously the pressure is building and he has never been in this position before. In that sense then he is still doing a fantastic job.

Fuji will be new territory too and that should be advantageous to Lewis. Everybody will be on a bit of an even-keel for the start of the weekend as Formula 1 hasn't been there since 1977.

No one knows the circuit really and while some guys may have competed there in previous formulas, overall it will be a clean sheet and that should make things a bit more unpredictable.

Away from the top two, BMW Sauber will be very competitive and maybe when we get to Fuji it will go their way and they will be able to compete for the overall win. I don't think it is likely as they are still a step away from Ferrari and McLaren and they just can't seem to make any real inroads into them. However, stranger things have happened.

They are definitely doing a great job though and are knocking in consistent points finishes. Both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica are pushing each other along too, which is what you want.

As for the other points' contenders, Renault should be up there. They have made a bit of progress although they are still not strong enough to make a big impression and challenge BMW.

Williams have also been doing well, thanks to Nico Rosberg. He is maturing and maturing very quickly. Nico has been outperforming his team-mate, Alex Wurz and is making him look a bit shabby at the moment.

But I think where Williams are, is where they will remain until the end of the season. I don't think they have got enough resources to go further forward and maybe we will have to wait until 2008 to see if they can develop further and go to a different level. It is encouraging though to see a youngster like Nico performing so well and taking the lead role.

Of the others you may see Honda get into a points scoring position because it looks like the circuit will be predominantly lower downforce levels and that seems to suit them more than anything else.

They might surprise us and Toyota will be keen to do well too, as like Honda, it will be there home race.

That same thing will apply to Super Aguri and they will have a lot to live up to, especially as Takuma Sato is a Japanese driver and will surely be the crowd favourite.

The battle between Aguri, Toro Rosso and Spyker has closed up a bit lately and the latter has definitely made progress since introducing its B-spec car at Monza.

We saw a Spyker all the way up in 12th position at Spa and Adrian Sutil was doing a very good job.

He is a little bit inconsistent and when he is on his form he is superb and when he is off it, he is off the circuit, but again it is a learning curve. It won't be the easiest of cars to drive either, but I think Spyker have made some changes which are helping them to progress.

All-in-all it is good to see the battle at the back is as competitive as it is at the top of the grid.

So finally I come to my prediction and back to the front runners and I am going to go for Kimi again to win, as he is just on a roll at the moment. I believe he will head home another Ferrari 1-2, with Massa second and Lewis third.

Fernando will have to make do with fourth, with Nico and Jenson Button fifth and sixth respectively.

Enjoy the grand prix...

MB

 

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