Sayonara and Game Over for Ferrari

Suzuka Circuit, Japan.
Sunday 08 October 2017.
World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _X4I8963

Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix, and extended his championship lead to 59 points from Sebastian Vettel. The British Samurai, led the race from the pole till the end, without any problem and no pressure. Red Bull was the only team which tried to put some pressure on Hamilton, especially after the second Virtual Safety Car, but still the champion remained first and took the chequered flag at the Japanese Grand Prix.

An engine problem cost the race to Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari’s engineers were working on Vettel’s car just a few minutes before the formation lap, the team thought that they solved the issue but there prays didn’t work out and Vettel retired on the fourth lap. After lights out, the German lost the second position from Max Verstappen and soon dropped down to sixth, the safety car, which deployed due to Sainz’s retirement, allowed him to remain on track for a couple of laps, but at the re-start Ferrari informed Vettel to return to the pits and retire his car.

Suzuka Circuit, Japan.
Sunday 08 October 2017.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W08 EQ Power+, leads at the start of the race.
World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _ONY8649

Vettel said on Sky  “It’s normal you’re critical, especially if things go wrong, so it’s part of our job. I think I need to protect them. We’ve done an incredible job so far. Bitter the past two races with the reliability issues – but you know, it’s like that sometimes. Of course it hurts and we’re all disappointed, but now we need to get back, get some rest and then go flat out for the last four races and see what happens.”

Daniel Ricciardo scored another podium this season and set a new personal-best with nine podiums in one season. The Australian had a quiet evening behind his team-mate compering to Max Verstappen who started fourth but moved up to second place and was trying to stay close to Hamilton during the Japanese Grand Prix. The Dutch, knew that Lewis will not defend his position in case of a battle between them, but Max didn’t have the pace to match and challenge Hamilton.

Suzuka Circuit, Japan.
Sunday 08 October 2017.
World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _X4I8155

An interesting battle for the tenth position took place during the final laps of the race, Felipe Massa was the leader of this battle from the 10th position, challenged by Magnussen and Grosjean. The Brazilian was struggling and didn’t had the pace to stay ahead of the two drivers, both passed him and moved up to the eighth and ninth place respectively. Massa defended his position from Fernando Alonso, who started the race from the back of the gird. The VSC which deployed due to Stroll’s retirement, helped him to keep a distance from the Spaniard and score one point for Williams in Suzuka.

Jolyon Palmer raced for the last time for the Renault and finished 12th, whilst his team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg was unlucky as he forced to retire due to an issue with the DRS.

Next stop is at the Circuit of the Americas, a circuit which suits better to Mercedes and they are expected to be more competitive. Sebastian Vettel was leading by seven points after the Belgian Grand Prix and he was only three points behind Hamilton in Italy, but the next three races were a disaster for him and Ferrari. A start-line crash in Singapore, followed by engine problems in Malaysia and Japan dropped him 59 points behind Lewis. The Brit three-time champion, is on his way for his fourth title which he can celebrate it in COTA.

Japanese Grand Prix Preview, Can Hamilton secure his 4th title?

GP GIAPPONE F1/2016 – SUZUKA 06/10/2016
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

After the Malaysian Grand Prix, drivers and teams are heading to one of the most fascinating places on the Formula One calendar, Japan. Back to back races for the crews with just five races to go and 125 points available for the drivers, Sebastian Vettel has to cover the gap of 34 points between him and Lewis Hamilton, who right now is the favourite for the 2017 world title.

Scuderia Ferrari announced that they will not change Sebastian Vettel’s gearbox for the upcoming Grand Prix, so the German driver will avoid the five place grid penalty.

Max Verstappen with his Red Bull celebrated a victory in Malaysia, first in this season for the young driver, was in full control of the race followed by the Brit champion Lewis Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo was the third man on the podium, whilst Sebastian Vettel finished fourth. Kimi Raikkonen suffered an issue with his Ferrari and forced to retire from the second position before the start of the race.

Only three drivers have won more than three times in Japan, these drivers are Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Vettel took four times the chequered flag in Suzuka, whilst Lewis Hamilton has scored one less victory than the German champion.

The team with the most wins in Japan is McLaren (9), followed by Ferrari who have won seven times in Suzuka and Red Bull four. Two Japanese drivers have finished on the podium in their home race the one was Kamui Kobayashi and the second one was Aguri Suzuki.

Suzuka International Racing Course

Laps: 53

Circuit Length: 5.807 km

Race Distance: 307.471 km

Lap Record: 1:31.540 (Kimi Raikkonen 2005)

Suzuka built by Honda and used as a test facility in 1962, the circuit was designed by John Hugenholz. In 1987, several motorsport races were held in Suzuka, F2 races were among these events.

Suzuka is a demanding circuit for the tyres, has 18 corners and the brake demanding is low. During a lap the drivers are changing their gears around 45 times and the average lap speed is 220 km/h.

Max Verstappen – “After Malaysia we will spend some time in Tokyo before heading to Suzuka. Japan is full of new experiences and it will be great to spend a couple of days exploring before the race weekend starts. Some people say the Japanese fans are crazy, but I think they are just very passionate about Formula 1, which for me is very nice to see. Suzuka will always be a special place for me because I made my Formula 1 debut there during Friday practice and it’s a proper old-school track. My favourite corner is the fast Esses in the first sector, but it’s also the most difficult section of the track and you really have to concentrate on getting the set-up right.”

Felipe Massa believes that Suzuka suits to Williams and they will be very competitive.

“Suzuka is definitely one of the best tracks in the world and one where I really love racing. I think the car we have this year will be amazing there with the high downforce and the high-speed corners, so I am really looking forward to going there. Another great thing about being in Japan is the fans, who are some of the best we come across during the year.”

Victor Archakis