NOTEBOOK – Japanese Grand Prix – Review

Features This Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has extended his lead at the top of the world championship after taking victory at the Japanese Grand Prix, a race where it could be the defining moment of his career.

Mercedes v Verstappen

Mercedes had filed a protest against the defence driving Max Verstappen when he was fighting with Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes claim that the Red Bull drive was driving in a “erratically and in a dangerous manner” in contravention of rules in the move on the penultimate lap.

Hamilton said over the radio after the move: “Verstappen moved under braking.” The drivers have a gentleman’s agreement to not change direction in a braking zone, but it is not outlawed.

The rule which is key to the dispute is 27.5 of the sporting regulations which says “At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he felt the move was “hard but fair”.

However, the appeal has been dropped by Mercedes after Hamilton asked the team to drop the case.

Rosberg rolling

Nico Rosberg may have put a hand on the world championship because it currently looks very difficult for Hamilton to take his fourth championship. Watching Hamilton’s driving in the latter part of 2014/15 he had that champions drive and I can see the same mark with Rosberg.

However, Hamilton will give it all and Rosberg knows, in is own words “no one had the a team-mate like Lewis Hamilton.” Hamilton is the world class driver and he knows he can come back. I feel this championship could if in America and Mexico go Hamilton’s way and Rosberg is out of the points it could throw the title open.

“I really try not to as it’s working quite well as it is, so I’m going to keep on going like that. There’s no point getting into any of that stuff. I just want to keep on trying to win the races, I don’t want to start calculating or bringing home second places.” Rosberg told sky Sports.

Mercedes triple champions

Mercedes are going down in history as the kings of the hybred era we have not seen another team win during the current era. We know it could all end with the regulation change next year it could change but Mercedes have now gained that tile.

We hope now we can see clean and free racing between the two drivers and they both know in one of them will be champion as it looks mathmaticly impossible for another driver to win appart from them. If there had been 1954/55 contructors championship and based on rounds that maded up the official championship they would of won it

“It feels great. Third time we did it. After drama in Malaysia where we tried really hard to do it, it feels very special. Doing a third time in a row, it is very special also.” Toto Wolff Mercedes boss told BBC News.

The start

Nico Rosberg gets way well but Lewis Hamilton appered to bbe slightly bogged down at the start which allowed Daniel Ricciardo to come throught. Followed by the force India, while one of the ferrari’s pushes Hamilton onto the pit exit allowing them both to pass.

Hamilton just didn’t hock it up ending up eighth by the end of the first lap. He didn’t move and he had to restart the cluth progress it appears from the on board.

Hamilton told Autosport “The damp patch didn’t really have anything to do with it, I made a mistake. I was just working my way up from there – it was tricky but I did the best I could. The car felt great throughout the race, I had a good run and fought hard but in the end just didn’t make it [back to second].”

Hamilton was unable to elaborate on his poor start, adding: “I just got wheelspin.

Ferrari good but not enough

Sebastian Vettel made a good start which could have put him in contention this weekend for the podium. But the German fell away from the start and then got caught up in traffic in the race trying to get back pass slower cars. Vettel has complained all season long about blue flags (warning slower lapped cars of leaders coming / youre being lapped) but he needs to take responiblity for his actions at attitude to racing.

In my option you can be a good world champion he has proved that, but to be a great champion you need to be able to handle when things aren’t going you’re way. Vettel has disappointed me this year with his attuide towards racing.

“We had a very good start and made good progress in the first two laps, passing Ricciardo and Perez, then we were faster than Verstappen. I think today we had the second fastest car.” Vettel said

“So it was a question of time, but obviously Max came in as soon as he could to maintain track position, which worked well for him. We tried to go on the softer tire in the end, which initially we thought would work well, but then we had too much degradation and we were falling off this group.”

Honda homes

It has been a difficult weekend for McLaren and Honda when they wanted to do well at Honda’s home race. They knew this weekend would be tough for the team but not even getting near or in the points following some great races is difficult for McLaren.

Fernando Alonso “Our race today reflected the whole weekend: it was just anonymous. To finish 16th and 18th today is a rather nasty surprise, especially after finishing seventh in Singapore, and seventh and ninth in Malaysia, just last weekend.”

“I hope this was an exceptional and unique event, and that we’ll return to business as usual at the next race, in Austin. It was clear that the layout of the track didn’t suit our package – we lacked downforce through the faster corners.”

Stat Wrap

  P1 Fastest P2 Fastest P3 Fastest Q1 Fastest Q2 Fastest Q3 Fastest Race Time Fastest Lap
2016 01:32.431 01:32.250 01:32.092 01:31.674 01:30.714 01:30.647 01:26:43.333  
  -17.003 -16.027 -1.903 -0.910 -1.918 -1.937 -02:43.235  
2015 01:49.434 01:48.277 01:33.995 01:32.584 01:32:632 01:32.584 01:28:06.508 01:36.145
  +13.973 +13.199 +0.767 +7.643 +9.322 +0.078 -23:36.513 -15:45.500
2014 01:35.461 01:35.078 01:33.228 01:24.941 01:23.310 01:32.506 01:51:43.021 01:51.600



Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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