Japanese Grand Prix Preview, 07-09 Oct
A dramatic, chaotic, emotional and unexpected race took place in Malaysia. The race was full of surprises for Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and the two Red Bulls.
The British champion was in control of the race, until lap 43, where we witnessed Lewis to saying “Oh, no, no, no” through his radio to his mechanics. The Mercedes engine was on fire and the three times world champion forced to retire and lose the race.
Daniel Ricciardo was under heavy pressure from his team-mate Max Verstappen at that time. The VSC was deployed and Red Bull called both drivers into the pits for fresher tires. At the re-start, Ricciardo had a 2.3 seconds advantage from Max. That allowed him to control the race for the remaining 13 laps and win his first Grand Prix of the season and fourth in total.
Max Verstappen finished, behind his team-mate and both completed Red Bull’s first one-two since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Australian deserved this victory, his top-form in the last races gave many points to Red Bull and kept them ahead of Scuderia Ferrari.
“It made total sense, after Lewis had blown up, there was a free stop for both of them – give them both fresh tyres and then flat-out to the finish. They have great respect for each other. They are young, they were racing hard and it was right to let them race today.” Said Red Bull’s team boss Christian Horner after the race.
Nico Rosberg had a great recovery in Malaysia. The German had a collision at Turn 1 with Sebastian Vettel and dropped at the last places of the grid. Rosberg managed to recover and even with a 10 seconds penalty he finished, third, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and extend his championship lead from Lewis Hamilton to 23 points with five races to go.
Next stop for teams and drivers is Japan, the sushi country.
Length: 5.807 km
Race Length: 307.471 km
Fastest Lap: 1:31:540s (Kimi Raikkonen, 2005)
2015 Winner: Lewis Hamilton
Honda built Suzuka’s track as a test facility in 1962, the designer of the circuit was the famous Dutchman John Hugenholz. Suzuka is a track which many drivers like to race, it has some of the most demanding corners a famous one is the “Spoon Curve”.
Last season Lewis Hamilton was out qualified by Nico Rosberg, but at the end, he won the Japanese Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel finished third, behind the two Mercedes.
This year, Lewis Hamilton has to win if he wants to challenge Rosberg for the title. Only five races remained until the end of the season, Lewis must dominate and hope that Nico will lose points from Red Bull or from a mechanical failure.Red Bull will play a key factor in the championship. The bulls are on top form and they can cut points from Hamilton or Rosberg.
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Victor Archakis Twitter: @FP_Passion
(Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)