From Singapore, teams moved to Nagoya for the Japanese Grand Prix. The Suzuka racing circuit is known as a dangerous track, especially when wet. Last year season saw the freak accident by French F1 driver Jules Bianchi, who subsequently succumbed to his injuries. Drivers no doubt had Bianchi in their minds as they assembled at Suzuka. Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014, but Sebastian Vettel has won four times at Suzuka in the past. The Japanese Grand Prix was held in difficult driving conditions, but Hamilton managed to take the chequered flag, followed by team mate Nico Rosberg in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place.
Rain was again a problem at Suzuka this year, at least initially. Several drivers refused to race in the qualifying round on Friday, due to rain and danger of aquaplaning – Hamilton still set the fastest lap time in the first round. The second and third sessions luckily saw dry conditions and Rosberg took the fastest lap times in the last two rounds – this gave Rosberg his second pole position of the season. Daniil Kvyat had a terrible crash in the final qualifying round, but luckily was unhurt. Alexander Rossi was unable to qualify within the 107% margin, but was given permission by the stewards to race, starting from the back of the grid. Behind pole position, it was Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Vettel, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.
The Japanese Grand Prix luckily started in clear weather. Rosberg got a bad start off the grid and was overtaken by Hamilton, followed by Bottas –dropping straight to fourth place. By lap 10 positions still remained unchanged, as Rosberg desperately tried to overtake Bottas. in lap 20 Hamilton lead, followed by Vettel, Rosberg and Bottas. By lap 40 there were still no retirements, Hamilton having extended his lead by 10 seconds. However, lap 49 sees the first retirement, as Felipe Nasr was out of the race with mechanical problems. The race ends without further incident, with Hamilton taking the chequered flag, followed by team mate Rosberg and Vettel. IN the end I fairly uneventful and unexciting race.
The top five Drivers’ Championship standings remained unchanged. Hamilton extended his lead over team mate Rosberg by 48 points, with a total of 277 points. Rosberg remained in second place with 229 points. Vettel’s third place finish garnered him 15 points, but he remained in third place with 218 points. Raikkonen remained in fourth place with 119 points and Bottas in fifth place with 111 points. At this point, with just five races remaining in the season, only Hamilton, Rosber and Vettel have a chance to win the Drivers’ Championship title. Three drivers have yet to score points: Roberto Merhi, Will Stevens and new driver Alexander Rossi.
The Constructors’ Championship standings also remained unchanged after the Japanese Grand Prix. Mercedes extends its lead with a one-two finish at Suzuka, with a total of 506 points. Ferrari remained in second place with 337 points, but still has a chance to clinch the title, in terms of the number of points left in the season. Williams-Mercedes remained in third place with 208 points, but is out of the title race. Only one team has yet to score any points, Marussia-Ferrari.
Full Race Results
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:28:06.508s
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +18.964s
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +20.850s
- Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +33.768s
- Valtteri Bottas (Williams-Mercedes) +36.746s
- Nico Hülkenberg (Force India-Mercedes) +55.559s
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus-Mercedes) +1:12.298s
- Pastor Maldonado (Lotus-Mercedes) +1:13.575s
- Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso-Renault) +1:35.315s
- Carlos Sainz Jr. (Toro Rosso-Renault) +1 lap
- Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) +1 lap
- Sergio Perez (Force India-Mercedes) +1 lap
- Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull-Renault) +1 lap
- Marcus Ericsson (Sauber-Ferrari) +1 lap
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull-Renault) +1 lap
- Jenson Button (McLaren-Honda) +1 lap
- Felipe Nasr (Sauber-Ferrari) +2 laps
- Alexander Rossi (Marussia-Ferrari) +2 laps
- Will Stevens (Marussia-Ferrari) +3 laps
- Felipe Massa (Williams-Mercedes) retired, lap 49