As the dust settles, the embossed Silver Arrows are taken apart and shipped to Japan, the gap between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton standing at twenty-three points and social media going into hyper-driver about conspiracy theories and mythical thoughts of treason it is time to turn our thoughts to Suzuka.
It is as a racing fan that you can’t think of Suzuka without the painful memories of two years ago surfacing in all their emotion but as with life, racing moves on. As with the 2016 season, Mercedes move on. As with the theories and opinions surrounding Hamilton’s retirement in Malaysia, well, they still linger.
Whether you are a Hamilton fan or a Rosberg fan, the fact remains that this has been and is going to be a titanic battle until the last race of the season. Forget about the dramas, the soap opera coverage or who has said what in a certain interview. This is the time for a driver and a team as a whole to stand-up and be counted.
Mercedes are surely retaining the Constructor’s Championship but it is this run-in to the end of the season which decides where the Driver’s Championship finally lands. Both Rosberg and Hamilton have had their highs and lows for this season, both have shown humility at times that has been shadowed but forms of petulance and arrogance. Whether that is to the taste of a particular fan is for that fan to form their own opinion of and as with any opinion that is the personal thought of a person. What matters is that from here-on in we have a titanic battle brewing for the Silver Arrows team.
Suzuka, from the 150mph first corner, through 130R to the final chicane, this is a track made for drama and as we have all seen over the last couple of years, Mercedes don’t mind a bit of that.
Of course the battle between the two team-mates will naturally be overshadowed by the thoughts of Jules, this is something that all teams, all drivers and all fans will be thinking of, but once the lights go out the attention turns back to racing and who will get the upper hand.
There has always been the confident and steely resolve in Lewis when racing that has possibly smothered the smooth and intelligent driving of Rosberg. Together they are and should be talked about as probably one of the best pairings in Formula One, yet the talk is always about their rivalry, like that has never existed among team-mates in the past. The one thing that has the pendulum swinging more in favour of Hamilton is world titles. Nico Rosberg, out-shone by the Red Bull’s at the Malaysian Grand Prix, will be wanting to strike back and increase his points lead even more. Hamilton, heartbroken and emotional from the previous race will be looking to bounce back and prove his worth as a champion.
One thing is for sure, this is going to be a ‘battle-royale’ and as we have seen in years gone-by, anything can happen in Japan.
I can’t see a back-to-back Red Bull win, I believe that Mercedes, like the wounded and proud animal they are will bounce back and rip the heart of this race but nothing is guaranteed in motor racing, not even an engine these days.
Who will win in Suzuka? That fun-fest will be decided this weekend. Don’t miss it,.