Tag: Suzuka

Nico Rosberg wins in Japan as Mercedes clinch constructors championship

Following Red Bull’s 1-2 in Malaysia, it was Mercedes who returned to the top step of the podium in Japan with Nico Rosberg taking his ninth win of the season. He now leads team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 33 points going into the last four races.

Rosberg started the race from pole position and made the perfect start while Hamilton dropped down the order to eighth. He faced a fight back and eventually finished third behind Max Verstappen with the pair going wheel to wheel in the closing stages. Sebastian Vettel finished in fourth for Ferrari ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Malaysia winner Daniel Ricciardo, and Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the points finishers.

There were close battles up and down the field including the aforementioned Verstappen Hamilton fight. Mercedes believed that Verstappen had driven somewhat aggressively when Hamilton was forced to take avoiding action at the chicane but a protest was later withdrawn. The Williams duo in ninth and tenth finished just tenths of a second apart and were in turn just a few tenths clear of Romain Grosjean who finished in 11th.

Jolyon Palmer was 12th ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen, and Marcus Ericsson. McLaren had a weekend to forget with Fernando Alonso languishing in 16th just ahead of Carlos Sainz. There were 22 race starters and all 22 finished with Jenson Button 18th, Felipe Nasr 19th, and Esteban Gutierrez 20th. Esteban Ocon was the lead Manor car home in 21st with Pascal Wehrlein finishing 22nd.

Mercedes outscored Red Bull by the amount of points they needed confirming their third constructors world championship in as many years.


F1 2016: Japanese GP – FP1 Times & Laps

Free Practice 1



  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:32.431
  2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:32.646 – +0.215
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:33.525 – +1.094
  4. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:33.817 – +1.386
  5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:34.112 – +1.681
  6. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:34.379 – +1.948
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:34.530 – +2.099
  8. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:34.767 – +2.336
  9. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:35.003 – +2.572
  10. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:35.381 – +2.950
  11. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:35.446 – +3.015
  12. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:35.672 – +3.241
  13. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:35.677 – +3.246
  14. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:35.688 – +3.257
  15. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:35.967 – +3.546
  16. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:36.169 – +3.738
  17. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:36.219 – +3.788
  18. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:36.294 – +3.863
  19. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:36.822 – +4.391
  20. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 1:37.797 – +5.366
  21. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:37.966 – +5.535
  22. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:37.992 – +5.561


  1. Mercedes – 1:32.431
  2. Ferrari – 1:33.525 – +1.094
  3. Red Bull – 1:34.112 – +1.681
  4. Force India – 1:34.530 – +2.099
  5. McLaren – 1:35.003 – +2.572
  6. Williams – 1:35.381 – +2.950
  7. Toro Rosso – 1:35.446 – +3.015
  8. Haas – 1:35.688 – +3.257
  9. Sauber – 1:35.967 – +3.536
  10. Renault – 1:36.822 – +4.391
  11. Manor – 1:37.797 – +5.366



  1. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 31
  2. Sergio Perez – Force India – 30
  3. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 30
  4. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 29
  5. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 28
  6. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 27
  7. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 26
  8. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 24
  9. Jenson Button – McLaren – 24
  10. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 24
  11. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 23
  12. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 23
  13. Felipe Massa – Williams – 23
  14. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 21
  15. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 21
  16. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 19
  17. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 19
  18. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 17
  19. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 17
  20. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 15
  21. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 13
  22. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 10


  1. Force India – 58
  2. Williams – 54
  3. Manor – 53
  4. Toro Rosso – 50
  5. Red Bull – 49
  6. Mercedes – 45
  7. Renault – 43
  8. Haas – 38
  9. Ferrari – 36
  10. McLaren – 34
  11. Sauber – 34

F1 2016: Japanese Grand Prix Preview

Following the Malaysia Grand Prix, which saw the championship swing very firmly in Nico Rosberg’s favour, it is time for the Japanese Grand Prix – a firm favourite race amongst drivers and fans alike.

Daniel Ricciardo led home a Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia when Lewis Hamilton’s engine blew, causing him to retire from the lead. Rosberg now leads the championship by 23 points having finished in third place.

Circuit: Suzuka
Number of Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.807km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: 1:31.540 – Kimi Raikkonen (2005)
Previous Japanese Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: McLaren (9 wins)
DRS Zones: 1   
Pirelli Tyres: Hard, Medium and Soft

The Suzuka track is a unique figure of 8 configuration and features a number of high speed corners. Drivers spend about 65% of the lap at full throttle with 42 gear changes. There is a mix of fast, medium and slow corners with the only significant braking event happening at the chicane at the end of the lap. The track is narrow and features little run-off.  Like Malaysia, track temperatures and the threat of rain are something to consider over the weekend. As it’s an older established track, grip is high but with high levels of degradation.

McLaren are the most successful team at the Japanese Grand Prix but it is Hamilton and Mercedes who have won the last two races. Before that it was Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull who won two in a row. Red Bull were the best of the rest in Malaysia behind Mercedes, and took a 1-2 in the race when Hamilton retired. This is a track they have gone well at in the past so could be ones to watch this weekend.

Hamilton will be wanting to overcome his difficult weekend at the Malaysia Grand Prix and he is the form man at Suzuka. He had dominated qualifying and much of the race before his engine gave up on the 40th lap in Malaysia. Rosberg now leads the championship by 23 points – nearly a race victory – and with only five races in the year left, Hamilton will be wanting to start eating into that lead as soon as possible.

F1 2016: Japanese GP Tyre Choices

Driver tyre choices for the Japanese Grand Prix are as follows:

DRIVER Hard Medium Soft
Lewis Hamilton 3 2 8
Nico Rosberg 2 3 8
Sebastian Vettel 3 1 9
Kimi Raikkonen 2 2 9
Valtteri Bottas 3 3 7
Felipe Massa 2 4 7
Daniel Ricciardo 4 3 6
Max Verstappen 4 3 6
Kevin Magnussen 4 2 7
Jolyon Palmer 3 3 7
Nico Hulkenberg 4 2 7
Sergio Perez 4 2 7
Daniil Kvyat 4 2 7
Carlos Sainz 3 3 7
Fernando Alonso 3 3 7
Jenson Button 3 3 7
Marcus Ericsson 2 3 8
Felipe Nasr 2 3 8
Pascal Wehrlein 3 4 6
Esteban Ocon 3 4 6
Romain Grosjean 3 3 7
Esteban Gutierrez 2 4 7

Daniel Ricciardo leads home Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia

This year’s Malaysia Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo score his first F1 victory since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

The Australian driver led home a Red Bull 1-2 with Nico Rosberg rounding out the podium finishers. It was an eventful race which saw Rosberg extend his championship lead to 23 points. Championship contender Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying and started the race from pole but his Mercedes engine gave up on lap 40, leading to his second retirement of the year.

At the start of the race it was Hamilton who made the best start, maintaining his lead. Rosberg was sent into a spin following contact with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and dropped right down the order. Vettel pulled off at the side of the track with broken suspension and was subsequently handed a three place grid drop for Japan.

Rosberg faced a fight back through the field and eventually finished in third behind the hard – but fair – fighting Red Bull duo. Rosberg picked up a ten second penalty for making contact with Kimi Raikkonen as he passed but was able to finish more than ten seconds clear of the Finn. The Ferrari suffered floor damage and lost what it reported to be about three tenths per lap.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams just ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso drove a fine race to finish seventh having started last and he finished ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Jenson Button celebrated his 300th Grand Prix with a ninth place finish and points while Jolyon Palmer picked up his first ever F1 point.

The Toro Rosso duo struggled with brake issues with Carlos Sainz 11th and Daniil Kvyat 14th. Marcus Ericsson was 12th with Felipe Massa recovering to 13th having started from the pit-lane when he failed to get away on the warm-up lap.  Pascal Wehrlein was 15th ahead of Esteban Ocon – who picked up two separate 5 second penalties for speeding in the pit-lane.

Felipe Nasr joined Vettel and Hamilton on the sidelines along with Kevin Magnussen. Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas lost a wheel on one of the straights causing his retirement while Romain Grosjean suffered brake failure and spun into the gravel, bringing his race to an end.

Ricciardo dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi following the race, after making Max Verstappen and Rosberg take part in celebratory ‘shoeys’ on the podium.

The next race is this weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan.

2014: Russian Grand Prix Preview

From the familiarity of Suzuka, teams have travelled to Russia for a new race at the Sochi Autodrom track, another designed by Hermann Tilke.

With 18 corners, Sochi is a step into the unknown – as is the case with any new circuit – and has been likened to a mix between the Valencia street circuit and Korean International Circuit. Its key statistics are very similar to those of Suzuka visited not even a week ago – 18 turns, a 5.8km track and 53 laps to be completed on Sunday. Last time out Lewis Hamilton beat team-mate Nico Rosberg to extend his championship lead to ten points. Of course the race was won under very difficult circumstances and 21 drivers have travelled from Japan to Russia with their thoughts preoccupied by Jules Bianchi who remains in hospital after a very serious accident. They will all race with stickers dedicated to the French driver on their helmets.

Circuit: Sochi Autodrom
Number of Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.848km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: N/A
Previous Russian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: N/A
Most Successful Team: N/A
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Soft

The track features long straights and low to medium speed corners, meaning it will require downforce in the higher regions of the scale. Pirelli have brought their medium and soft tyres for the weekend. For Mercedes there is an opportunity to wrap up the constructors championship if they score 25 points.

Racing has taken place before in Russia – pre-F1 back in the early 1900s – and this year the weekend will feature not one but two Russian drivers. Daniil Kvyat – who is set to step up to Red Bull for 2015 – drives for Toro Rosso while Sergey Sirotkin will be driving in FP1 for Sauber. Elsewhere, Catherham have confirmed that Kamui Kobayashi will once again race for them while Roberto Mehri will take part in FP1 again. For Marussia, it is a very difficult weekend and Alexander Rossi has been registered to drive for the team for the weekend, should they decide they will run both cars.

Bittersweet victory for Lewis Hamilton in Japan

Lewis Hamilton has won the Japanese Grand Prix and in doing so has stretched his championship advantage to 10 points.

The race was overshadowed, however, by a serious accident involving Marussia’s Jules Bianchi. In the closing stages of the race, after the rain started to become heavier, Bianchi lost control of his car in the difficult conditions and hit a recovery vehicle that was in the process of removing Adrian Sutil’s stricken Sauber following the German’s own aquaplaning moment. The safety car and medical car were quickly deployed and it soon transpired that Bianchi was very seriously injured. The FIA released the following statement:

On lap 42, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car, spun and hit the tyre barrier on the outside of Turn 7. The marshals displayed double waved yellow flags before the corner to warn drivers of the incident. A recovery vehicle was dispatched in order to lift the car and take it to a place of safety behind the guard rail. While this was being done the driver of car 17, Jules Bianchi, lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor.

Once the marshals reported that the driver was injured, medical teams were dispatched and the safety car was deployed. These were followed by an extrication team and an ambulance. The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital.

The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored.

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

It has since been revealed that he is currently breathing by himself following his surgery and has been placed in intensive care. These are incredibly difficult times for all involved in the sport – in particular Bianchi’s family, friends and team – and the main concern is that Bianchi makes a recovery, rather than the results of the race.

It was understandably a sombre mood following the conclusion of the race when it was red flagged on lap 46 of 53. The race had started behind the safety car and was red flagged after two laps due to the very wet conditions. The delay was not a lengthy one and when the race got started again Fernando Alonso became an early retirement when his car completely lost power. The safety car returned to the pits on the ninth lap and Jenson Button – regarded as one of the best wet weather/mixed conditions drivers – was the first to move onto the intermediate tyres. He was joined by Pastor Maldonado who, having started down the order, had nothing to lose. While initially dropping down to 20th, Button moved up to eighth after everyone else pitted. The Mercedes duo at the front of the pack stayed out a couple of laps longer than everyone else before taking on the inters. The Williams pairing of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa seemed to be struggling in the wet conditions and lost track position to both the Red Bull drivers who in stark contrast were enjoying the wet track.

Button’s McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen struggled with electrical problems throughout the race and had to change his steering wheel at one of his stops. Button had to do the same later and it cost him track position to Vettel at the time. As the track continued to dry DRS – which is not activated in very wet conditions – was enabled. On the 35th lap of the race – with just five laps to go until full points would be awarded should the race be red flagged – more rain started to fall and Magnussen spun as he ran wide at Turn One, something that became a bit of a common occurrence for many drivers. Some drivers chose to pit for full wets – such as Button and Vettel – but the safety car deployment and subsequent red flag due to the aforementioned accidents meant that they were not necessary. Up at the lead of the pack, Rosberg had surrendered the lead to team-mate Hamilton admitting that “Lewis just did a better job today” and deserved the win. Ricciardo crossed the line in third place but it was team-mate Sebastian Vettel – who yesterday announced that he is leaving Red Bull at the end of the year – on the podium due to the positions being counted back to the last full racing lap. This also saw Nico Hulkenberg benefit after he stopped at the end of the pit-lane but was classified in eighth place ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez.

Racing continues next weekend in Russia.