Hamilton wins shortened Suzuka race

Hamilton Japan 2014

Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the Formula 1 world championship by defeating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory in a Japanese Grand Prix shortened by an accident for Jules Bianchi.

After losing out to pole position to his title rival, Hamilton turned the tables in the wet Suzuka weather with a brilliant round-the-outside passing move at Turn 1.

Rosberg had led for the first 28 laps of a race that began behind the Safety Car, thanks to appalling conditions.

When the race got going properly after nine laps behind the Safety Car – interrupted by a red flag following the first two because of rain – the Mercedes driver held a small advantage over his British team-mate as the Silver Arrows streaked clear in the spray.

Rosberg looked comfortable on extreme wet weather tyres, but complained of oversteer after switching to intermediate tyres when circuit conditions improved.

He held Hamilton off until lap 29 when, having suffered a twitch accelerating onto the start-finish straight at the end of the previous lap, he lost enough momentum to allow Hamilton to attack.

Rosberg went defensive, but Hamilton – assisted by extra speed from the DRS – swept around the outside of his team-mate to take the lead through Turn 1.

Once released from following Rosberg’s gearbox, Hamilton pulled away to take his third consecutive grand prix victory in a race that was red-flagged for a second time under the safety car, after Jules Bianchi’s Marussia went off at Dunlop Curve where marshals were craning away Adrian Sutil’s Sauber following an earlier crash.

Bianchi was taken to the circuit medical centre. His Marussia reportedly struck the crane at the crash site.

Red Bull deliberately compromised its dry qualifying pace by setting the RB10 up for the wet conditions, and its drivers used this to good effect to finish third and fourth.

Ferrari-bound reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel completed the podium, despite a trip through the gravel at the Esses, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo overcame Jenson Button’s McLaren to finish in fourth.

Button held third position for most of the first half of the race, after being the first driver to pit for inters, but he lost time to a steering wheel change at his second pit stop, which dropped him behind Vettel, before Ricciardo further demoted the McLaren driver with a firm pass on the inside of the hairpin on lap 43 – a lap before the result was taken.

The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa started third and fourth, but both struggled badly in wet conditions and trailed home sixth and seventh.

Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India stopped at the end of the pitlane as the race was red-flagged for the final time, but he finished eighth on count back, while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne charged from the back of the grid to claim two points for ninth.

Hulkenberg’s Force India team-mate Sergio Perez rounded out the points scorers in tenth.

Ferrari scored no points from the Japanese Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen finished P12, while Fernando Alonso retired with a mechanical problem under the Safety Car before the race began properly.

Japanese Grand Prix, race results after 44 laps:

1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h51m43.021s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    9.180s
3 Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault    29.122s
4 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    38.818s
5 Jenson Button    McLaren-Mercedes    1m07.550s
6 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m53.773s
7 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m55.126s
8 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes     1m55.948s
9 Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Renault      2m07.638s
10 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
11 Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
12 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1 Lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes    1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault    1 Lap
16 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Renault    1 Lap
17 Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault    1 Lap
18 Max Chilton    Marussia-Ferrari    1 Lap
19 Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault    1 Lap
20 Jules Bianchi    Marussia-Ferrari    Spun off
21 Adrian Sutil    Sauber-Ferrari    Spun off
– Fernando Alonso    Ferrari    –    Retirement

Drivers’ championship:

1 Lewis Hamilton    266
2 Nico Rosberg    256
3 Daniel Ricciardo    193
4 Sebastian Vettel    139
5 Fernando Alonso    133
6 Valtteri Bottas    130
7 Jenson Button    82
8 Nico Hulkenberg    76
9 Felipe Massa    71
10 Sergio Perez    46
11 Kimi Raikkonen    45
12 Kevin Magnussen    39
13 Jean-Eric Vergne    21
14 Romain Grosjean    8
15 Daniil Kvyat    8
16 Jules Bianchi    2
17 Adrian Sutil    0
18 Marcus Ericsson    0
19 Pastor Maldonado    0
20 Esteban Gutierrez    0
21 Max Chilton    0
22 Kamui Kobayashi    0

Constructors’ championship:

1 Mercedes    522
2 Red Bull/Renault    332
3 Williams/Mercedes    201
4 Ferrari    178
5 Force India/Mercedes    122
6 McLaren/Mercedes    121
7 Toro Rosso/Renault    29
8 Lotus/Renault    8
9 Marussia/Ferrari    2
10 Sauber/Ferrari    0
11 Caterham/Renault    0

Next race: Russian Grand Prix, Sochi. October 10-12.

6 thoughts to “Hamilton wins shortened Suzuka race”

  1. Marussia driver Jules Bianchi has been taken to hospital unconscious after a serious incident that saw the Japanese GP red-flagged nine laps early.

    Lewis Hamilton won the race, but his victory in a rain-soaked Suzuka – which had begun behind a safety car, and had initially been red-flagged after two laps due to poor visibility – was overshadowed by concern for Bianchi.

    The Frenchman’s accident occurred at the same point of the track, the Dunlop Curve, where Sutil had aquaplaned off a lap earlier and involved a recovery vehicle that was recovering the Sauber.

    Sutil, who was not hurt in his accident, said Bianchi’s accident was very similar to his.

    “It was more or less the same crash, just the outcome was a bit different,” he told Sky television.

    “The (vehicle) came out to rescue my car and then it all happened.”

    FIA head of communications Matteo Bonciani said: “The driver is not conscious and has been sent to the hospital by the ambulance because the helicopter cannot fly in these conditions. Further updates will follow but for the moment we cannot say anything. I will keep you updated as fast as I can.”

    The other drivers were visibly shocked and upset after the end of the race, with the trio on the podium – Hamilton, team-mate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel – not celebrating their points.

    Rosberg said: “My thoughts are with my colleague. They have given us some information and it seems very, very serious.” Hamilton echoed his sentiments.

    “It’s an accident,” said McLaren’s Jenson Button. “Our thoughts are obviously with Jules right now.”

    When asked about the race itself, he replied: “I don’t really think that matters right now. We can talk about that later.”

    Williams driver Felipe Massa criticised race organisers, saying: “In my opinion they started the race too early because it was not driveable at the beginning and they finished the race too late. I was screaming on the radio five laps before the safety car that there was too much water on the track but they just took a little bit too long. It was dangerous.”

    However Hamilton said he thought the conditions were “not that bad”.

    The win was Hamilton’s third in a row, and saw him extend his championship lead to 10 points over Rosberg, whom he passed halfway through the race after the German had qualified on pole.

    Source: Eurosport

  2. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg concedes that Lewis Hamilton was much quicker in the race. Autosport.com has the news story.

    Nico Rosberg said his Japanese Grand Prix was a matter of minimising the points loss to Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton, who he conceded was faster in the wet.

    The Suzuka F1 race was red-flagged early when Jules Bianchi’s Marussia crashed at the scene of an accident involving Adrian Sutil’s Sauber. Bianchi has been taken to hospital unconscious.

    The Mercedes drivers and fellow podium finisher Sebastian Vettel were muted after the race, with Rosberg saying his main focus was on Bianchi.

    “All in all, Lewis did a better job today and deserves to win. Second place is damage limitation,” he said.

    “Taking everything into consideration, tricky conditions, seven points lost to Lewis, there is worse than that.”

    Rosberg said he was simply not as comfortable with the Mercedes’ handling as Hamilton.

    “I was definitely not happy with the balance but we had pretty much the same set-up,” he said.

    “Lewis must have had the same oversteer. I tried to tweak the balance, but we need to look into it.

    “I guess I struggled a bit more with it. Oversteer, I didn’t like it.”

    Hamilton overtook Rosberg around the outside into Turn 1 on lap 29 of the scheduled 53 and then dominated until the red flag.

    “I had a lot more pace than Nico and it is not a very easy circuit to follow but fortunately I was able to get quite close particularly in the last corner,” said Hamilton.

    “He had a small oversteer moment out of the last corner and with the DRS it enabled me to get alongside.

    “I was confident with the balance of the car and stuck it out.

    “After that it was the whole approach changed, I was attacking, attacking, then I could take different lines and manage it differently.

    “Obviously it didn’t finish the way I would have hopes. My prayers are with [Bianchi] and his family.”

  3. Niki Lauda believes the FIA did nothing wrong in terms of running the Japanese Grand Prix, following the accident that resulted in Jules Bianchi being sent to hospital.

    The former world champion thinks that in hindsight, race organisers could have brought the start of the GP forward from 3pm, as the FIA had been pushing for over the weekend.

    But he is also well aware that the accident involving Bianchi, who was rushed to hospital unconscious after hitting a track safety vehicle, was the result of tricky wet conditions rather than the time of the race.

    When asked if it was the right decision to race, Lauda said: “Yes. Because they started with the safety car, there was nothing wrong.

    “You cannot say anything was done wrong. It was started in the most sensible way and this is what they did.

    “But they could have started earlier. There is no question about it. It was foreseeable, we could have started the race at 1pm.

    “But I don’t take these decisions. In the end it would have been better.”

    Lauda believes, however, there was a case for the safety car to have been called out as soon as Sutil crashed.

    “The Sutil accident was way off the line and under normal circumstances we would not discuss it as the car was picked up right away,” he said.

    “Where you park the car was very close, so from this point of view the decision was right. But in the end, it was wrong.”

    McLaren driver Jenson Button feels, however, that the FIA handled the approach to racing in the wet correctly.

    “I think the FIA did a really good job of controlling the situation,” he said.

    “It’s so difficult. They are listening to us the whole time.

    “We want to go racing, but we want do it in a safe way. By the time the spray is not too much you are almost ready for intermediate tyres already.

    “I think they did a very good job to control the situation because it’s not easy for them.”

    Lauda said that the Bianchi crash was a reminder that F1 remains a dangerous sport.

    “Motor racing is dangerous,” he said. “We get used to it when nothing happens and then suddenly we are all surprised.

    “But we always have to be aware that motor racing is always dangerous – and this accident today is a coming together of various different things.

    “One car goes off, the truck comes out and the next car comes off and this was very unfortunate.”

    However, he is adamant that lessons should be learned by F1 bosses about how to handle grands prix in wet conditions.

    “There could be a lesson learned that in the difficult conditions of today, in the race, that it could have been acted differently and the chance to go off is certainly bigger,” he said.

    Source: Autosport

  4. The latest on Jules Bianchi’s conditions courtesy from Autosport.com.

    Jules Bianchi has suffered a severe head injury and is undergoing surgery following his crash in the Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA has confirmed.

    Marussia Formula 1 driver Bianchi crashed on lap 43 of the Suzuka F1 race, going off the track at Turn 7 shortly after Adrian Sutil had spun into the barriers at the same place.

    Bianchi’s Marussia hit the rear of a recovery vehicle that was being used to recover the stranded Sauber.

    After being removed from the car, he was taken to the Suzuka circuit’s medical centre before being transported to the Mie General hospital in an ambulance. He was unconscious throughout.

    A statement issued by motor racing’s governing body on Sunday night said: “The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and is currently undergoing surgery.

    “Following this, he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.

    “Mie General Hospital will issued an update as soon as further information becomes available.”

    The FIA confirmed that double waved yellow flags had been displayed after Sutil’s accident to act as a warning for drivers.

  5. Drivers say the wet conditions weren’t too bad at Suzuka. Autosport.com has the details.

    Formula 1 drivers reckon conditions in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix were not particularly bad, and that Jules Bianchi was simply unlucky to have a serious crash.

    The Suzuka F1 race was stopped with nine laps to run after Bianchi’s Marussia struck a vehicle that was recovering Adrian Sutil’s crashed Sauber before the Degner turns.

    The French driver was taken unconscious to hospital following the accident, which occurred as rain intensified and light faded.

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas said the conditions were “on the limit” for stopping the race, but not particularly bad compared to previous wet races.

    “I’m not the one to judge if it was good to go anymore or not – the whole race was tough, especially the beginning and end of the race,” Bottas said.

    “I think there have been more difficult track conditions than this. It’s just a difficult track in the wet.

    “Until then, there was nothing special happening. I think it was just a really, really unlucky situation.”

    Fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen agreed conditions were “tricky”, but not unusually so.

    “Was it safe? Is it safe ever? You cannot say,” Raikkonen said. “Sometimes it doesn’t matter.

    “At the beginning of the race behind the safety car we drive 100kph and you could aquaplane, so even if you slow down you might get into trouble.

    “If there’s too much water you can go off – simple as that.”

    Race winner Lewis Hamilton also reckoned he had raced in worse conditions than those seen in the closing stages of Sunday’s race.

    “They weren’t really that bad – I’ve had much worse races in terms of aquaplaning,” Hamilton said.

    “It started really bad and got quite intense, and then when we went back out [after the first red flag early in the race] it was good.

    “Towards the end it started to rain a bit more, [but] it wasn’t causing me any problems particularly.

    “It’s so easy to lose temperature in these tyres if you slow down a bit, and then it’s really difficult.”

    World champion Sebastian Vettel said Bianchi had been unfortunate to go off at one of the most difficult places on the circuit in the wet.

    “It was very unlucky timing and an unlucky position to lose the car,” he said.

    “It’s one of the most tricky places; you are still cornering and you pick up speed.

    “In these conditions with more water the car is very nervous and it’s very easy to do a mistake.”

  6. Sauber Formula 1 driver Adrian Sutil has suggested worsening visibility may have contributed to Jules Bianchi’s accident in the Japanese Grand Prix.

    Bianchi suffered a severe head injury after crashing into a crane while it retrieved Sutil’s Sauber, which had already gone off at Turn 7 and hit the barriers in the closing stages of Sunday’s Suzuka F1 race.

    Sutil, who was standing at the scene when Bianchi went off, said the fading light made it difficult to spot patches of standing water on the track as the rain worsened late in the race.

    “It was quite difficult. In the end we got more rain and it was dark, so visibility was getting less and less and this corner was a tricky one the whole way through,” Sutil said.

    “In the end, when it got dark, you couldn’t see where the wet patches were and that is why I lost the car and it really surprised me.

    “It [Bianchi’s crash] was the same as what happened to me – he had aquaplaning but just one lap later.”

    Williams performance chief Rob Smedley said the light at the end of the race was worse than at any grand prix he could recall.

    “It was certainly very dark at the end,” Smedley said.

    “I would say in the 15 years I’ve been involved in Formula 1 races that was the darkest I’ve ever seen a race event.

    “I have to say I was happy when the safety car came out.

    “I didn’t quite understand what the reason was at that point with what was going on, but I was happy that it came out so everybody could slow down.”

    Source: Autosport

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