Japanese GP 2014 – Bianchi Injured
A very difficult grand prix which started behind the safety car due to heavy rain, after a red flag and was ended short due to a driver injury. More on this in the Drop-Out count segment. The standings are also a bit of a mess since they were reverted to the final completed lap before the safety car.
No grade for the race director this time around.
- Lewis Hamilton – Despite a slip up was able to snag the victory today, bumping up his lead in the championship.
- Nico Rosberg – Drove an otherwise flawless race despite falling behind Hamilton.
- Sebastian Vettel – Vettel admitted that this podium was pure luck since he had already been overtaken by his team-mate before the safety car came on track.
Daniel Ricciardo lost some points to the safety car today, but drove a solid race. The Red Bulls were on really good pace today.
Jenson Button also used his daring tyre strategy again and rose from the back to the front and was even in the Top-3 momentarily. Jense is really giving his all with his driver’s seat at McLaren still uncertain for next season.
The Williams cars didn’t seem to do well on the wet track, but Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas came out alright as 6th and 7th.
Force India had two cars on points with the Hülk as 8th and Perez at 10th, although technically Hülk’s car froze on the pit-lane during the safety car. Still I’m sure the team is happy with this result.
Jean-Eric Vergne made a huge rise from the back-lot (after a 10-grid drop penalty), albeit he might have not done his pit-stop before the safety car. Still, his 9th place finish is good news while the driver seeks a new team for next season.
Golden Pineapple Award: Daniil Kvyat – The Toro Rossos had a hard time in Japan, so Kvyat’s 11th place wasn’t exactly cause for celebration. Let’s see if the Russian rookie will do better next week at his home venue.
Drop-out count: 3 (4)
Like I said, Nico Hülkenberg technically retired due to freezing up on the pit-lane during the second safety car but due to the standings being based on drivers positions before the safety car, he qualified 8th.
Fernando Alonso‘s car froze during the initial safety-car session before the race had properly started.
The rain intensified towards the end of the race which resulted from a spectacular spin, slip and crash from Adrian Sutil. While the track-workers were moving his car Jules Bianchi apparently plowed into the exact same corner and hit the tractor being used to move Sutil’s car. This crash led to the race being red flagged. Bianchi was taken by ambulance to the track medical centre and lifted by helicopter to the nearest hospital during the awards ceremony. Here’s hoping for the best for Bianchi…
Back of the Lot News
Kimi Räikkönen’s race was ruined by a flubbed pit-stop although his pace had been pretty terrible this weekend. Esteban Gutierrez was momentarily on points today but also fell back towards the end of the race.
Kevin Magnussen slipped during the race and came in 14th. Lotus didn’t rise to any new heights with Grosjean and Maldonado finishing back-to-back as 15th and 16th (Maldonado also had a 10-drop penalty of which he will suffer the other half in the Russian Grand Prix).
Marcus Ericsson had a great qualifying but spun during the initial safety car. Again, his position was as good as it was probably due to the safety-car and pit stop frenzy that was going on. Max Chilton also didn’t rise to new heights and was second to last.
Dead last: Kamui Kobayashi – It’s Kobayashi’s first time in the dead last stat. Last time Kamui-san drove in his home race he was on the podium. I’m sure Kobayashi could have overtaken Chilton and Ericsson and again it was simply because of the race getting called off that he got stuck with this terrible standing. I feel bad for Kamui (whose team may not survive until the end of the season) and I really hope him much better luck in future races (and hopefully in better future teams).