JAPANESE GRAND PRIX 9.10.16
The only figure-of-eight circuit in Formula One and designed to share its space with a theme park; the Suzuka track is known for its challenging corners – including the famous Spoon Curve and the high speed 130R. It is very popular with fans and drivers alike.
Japan GP Race Results 2016
1st: Nico Rosberg
2nd: Max Verstappen
3rd: Lewis Hamilton
4th: Sebastian Vettel
5th: Kimi Raikkonen
6th: Daniel Ricciardo
7th: Sergio Perez
8th: Nico Hulkenberg
9th: Felipe Massa
10th: Valtteri Bottas
Rosberg extends his Lead!
This weekend in Suzuka saw Rosberg win again to extending his lead to 33 points, Mercedes win the constructors’ championship for the third year in a row, Force India get the better of rivals Williams and Verstappen court controversy once again. It also helped promote the ‘bunny rabbit filter’ on Snapchat; as Lewis Hamilton was seen to use it to ‘update’ other drivers’ photos during the FIA’s official press conference.
Without a win since July and his title hopes now relying on others failing, plus him winning the remaining 4 races – the reigning World Champion is struggling to maintain his calm. Angry tweets, hints at a Mercedes conspiracy and leaving press conferences without a word are just some of the ways that he has expressed his disappointment.
Rosberg controlled the race again after starting in pole; this swan-like calm can only increase the frustration felt by Hamilton – who had yet another nightmare start. Verstappen took an early 2nd and Vettel 3rd.
Poor Start Again for Hamilton!
By Turn 1 Hamilton had been passed by both Force India cars, both Red Bull and both Ferrari cars. An apparent mistake with clutch control was to blame, “sorry guys” Hamilton was heard to say over the radio. Following overnight rain, his side of the track was damper than Rosberg’s – but Hamilton refused to make excuses saying that it was his mistake and one that required all of his energies to get him onto the podium.
Hamilton had recovered himself enough by Lap 7 to overtake Hulkenberg. At his 1st pit stop on Lap 13 he managed to pass Raikkonen and Perez and by the 2nd pit on Lap 33 he had reduced the gap between himself and Vettel from 12.9 seconds (on Lap 26) to 4.2 seconds. The following lap saw Vettel make a pit stop and Hamilton take 3rd position.
At Lap 52 Hamilton’s attempt to overtake 2nd place Verstappen was met with a strong defensive move that caused Hamilton to swerve and veer down the escape road. Mercedes made an official complaint about the move – saying that the Dutchman had driven in an ‘erratically and dangerous manner.’ This complaint was later withdrawn, apparently at Hamilton’s insistence; reversing a move that could potentially have seen him promoted to 2nd place and improving his position in the drivers’ championship. “Max drove well, end of. We move on.”
Verstappen is on Form!
Verstappen was voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by fans; finishing 2nd in the race 4.9 seconds behind Rosberg and 0.7 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Vettel drove well to take 4th place. During the latter part of the race he was heard to vent his frustrations about back markers ignoring blue flags – over the radio – after losing ground to Hamilton. Team mate Raikkonen came in 5th.
Following his win in Malaysia last weekend Daniel Ricciardo came a quiet 6th.
Perez and Hulkenberg came in 7th and 8th for Force India. With Williams’ Massa (9th) and Bottas (10th) completing the top ten.
McLaren didn’t have a good day, with Fernando Alonso coming 16th and Jenson Button coming a disappointing 18th. The race had no retirements.
Nico Rosberg now has 313 points compared to Hamilton’s 280. This means that even if Hamilton wins the next 4 races – a seemingly tall order considering his current form – all Rosberg needs is three 2nd places and one 3rd to win the World Championship. In the face of this momentous task Hamilton has stated that he “will give it everything that I have got.”
Rosberg has (at least publicly) refused to acknowledge that the title is all but his, perhaps this caution is because it has all gone wrong for him before.
“Lewis is always going to be fighting and tough to beat.”
USA Here We Come!
On to America… can Hamilton really do the impossible? Or will Formula One get a new champion? The latter is currently looking more likely. Either way it promises to be interesting…
If you would be interested in going to the Grand Prix in Austin, USA then please see our hospitality packages for this Grand Prix.