Japanese Grand Prix – Race

Qualifying was delayed because of rain, so the grid was decided only 4 hours before the race.
Provisional grid: SV, MW, [LH*] RK, FA, JB, NR, RB, LH, NHu, MS, NHe, FM, VP, KK, AS, JA, VL, SB, JT, HK, LdG, TG, BS, SY
*LH received a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change.

The good news is that it’s dry – track temperature 36°C, 51% humidity, 5.8m/s wind.

In the warm up LdG went off at 130R – big accident under braking and hit the tyre wall really hard. He’s OK but the Virgin car is a mess. He won’t be able to take his place on the grid.

SV leads everyone (except LdG) away on the formation lap.

01/53: VP is into the wall before he crosses the start line!
Safety Car deployed
FM is off in the gravel
VL & NHu are out too

02[SC]: SV, RK, MW, FA, JB, LH, RB, MS, NHe, AS; retirements: NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG
Pit stops for NR, JT, TG, BS
Replay of the start – looks like VP cut across in front of NHu
In turn 1 FM runs wide and takes out VL

03[SC]: SV, RK, MW, FA, JB, LH, RB, MS, NHe, AS
Pit-car for SV reminds him where the safety car line (where they can start racing again) is the exit of the chicane
RK has dropped back … and looks to be struggling
RK has lost his right rear wheel!

04[SC]: RK pulls off track and retires – that’s both Renaults out
Pit-car from JB says there’s vibration on the brakes – he’s told it’ll be OK when the car’s back to racing temperature

05/53[SC]: SV, MW, FA, JB, LH, RB, MS, NHe, AS, JA; retirements: RK, NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG

06[SC]: BBC say RK’s wheel came off in the hairpin
Lights off on the Safety Car – it’ll pit at the end of this lap

07: Green flags for the restart
MS all over the rear of RB into Turn 1
NR takes P12 but runs wide in 130R and loses the place to SB
MS takes P6 from RB

08: SV fastest lap 1:38.001
LH close to his team-mate through Spoon Curve

09: SV, MW, FA, JB, LH, MS, RB, NHe, AS, JA
SV f/lap 1:37.527

10/53: SV, MW, FA, JB, LH, MS, RB, NHe, AS, JA; retirements: RK, NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG
SV f/lap 1:37.045

11: MW f/lap 1:36.926

12: SV f/lap 1:36.765

13: SV f/lap 1:36.674
KK brakes too late and slides through the hairpin, stealing P10 from JA

15/53: SV, MW, FA, JB, LH, MS, RB, NHe, AS, KK; retirements: RK, NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG

17: SV has a 2 sec lead over his team-mate

18: KK closing on AS for P9
KK makes a nice clean move in the Spoon Curve and takes P9
AS is fighting back but KK keeps the place

19: NHe pits, as does AS
Incident involving cars 10 and 12 will be investigated after the race – that’s the VP / NHu accident on the start line, which was VP’s fault
Incident involving cars 7 and 15 will be investigated after the race – FM & VL on lap 1

20/53: SV, MW, FA, JB, LH, MS, RB, KK, JA, SB; retirements: RK, NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG

21: RB pits from P7 – rejoins in P12

22: JA pits from P8

23: LH pits from P5 – rejoins in P7, just behind KK

24: MS pits from P5 – rejoins in P9, behind his team-mate NR

25/53: SV pits from P1 – rejoins in P3
FA pits from P3 – rejoins in P4
KK tries to make it difficult for LH to pass but he takes P5

26: MW pits from P1 – JB now leads but he’s yet to pit – rejoins in P3
LH f/lap 1:35.675

Half distance

27: MS closing on NR for P8
MS right on NR’s tail on the straight but NR defends his position

28: Pit-car for MS say “there are no team orders but Nico knows to be sensible if you decide to make a move”
Hmmm, no team orders eh? Sounds like NR’s been told to let MS through

29: FA f/lap 1:35.452

30/58: JB, SV, MW, FA, LH, KK, SB, NR, MS, NHe

31: MW f/lap 1:35.329
FA f/lap 1:35.214
When JB pits he’s likely to drop to P5, behind LH

32: MW closing on his team-mate

35/53: JB, SV, MW, FA, LH, KK, NR, MS, NHe, RB; retirements: RK, NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG
Pit-car for FA suggesting he picks up the pace

36: LH f/lap 1:35.182
JB & KK still yet to pit

37: HK pits – crazy slow-moving guy runs across the pit lane in from of HK!

38: LH still closing on FA
McLaren mechanics getting ready for a stop

39: JB pits from P1 – rejoins in P5
KK pits too – drops from P6 to P12
Pit-car from LH saying he’s lost 3rd gear

40/53: SV, MW, FA, LH, JB, NR, MS, NHe, RB, AS; retirements: RK, NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG
SV f/lap 1:34.715

41: JB f/lap 1:34.205

43: JB now ~2secs behind LH
Quite a bit of brake dust from LH’s front left too

44: JB almost within striking distance of his team-mate
LH does the sensible thing and doesn’t fight as JB makes a move in Spoon Curve

45/53: SV, MW, FA, JB, LH, NR, MS, NHe, RB, AS
KK makes a move on JA around the outside in Spoon Curve; some clumsy wheel-banging but they’re both still on track
JA’s broken his front wing because he slammed into KK
Smoke from AS’s engine – spins on his own oil
Big cloud of smoke from the Force India but AS doesn’t pull off track
AS heads into the pits, holding up JA as he pits too
AS retires

46: Replay of JA banging into KK in Spoon Curve; damage to KK’s sidepod
Slippery surface flag out in 130R thanks to AS’s oil

47: JB f/lap 1:33.889
(TSN has lost sound)

48: KK closing on RB
KK gets extremely close to RB’s tail in the Spoon Curve
That’s a Sauber into the tyre wall – that’s NR – he’s OK

49: JB f/lap 1:33.841

50/53: SV, MW, FA, JB, LH, MS, KK, NHe, RB, SB; retirements: NR, AS, RK, NHu, FM, VP, VL, LdG

52: SV f/lap 1:33.653
(BBC commentary finally returns)

53/53 = final lap: FA ~1.4secs behind MW but the Red Bulls are clearly coasting
SV takes the chequered flag
His team-mate takes P2 and sets a new fastest lap
P3=FA, 4=JB, 5=LH, 6=MS, 7=KK, 8=NHe, 9=RB, 10=SB
P11=JA (+1 lap), 12=HK, 13=JT (+2 laps), 14=TG, 15=BS, 16=SY (+3 laps), 17=NR (+6 laps)
DNF: AS, RK, NHu, FM, VP VL, LdG

As the driver’s get ready for the podium, MW asks FA why he’s wearing a black armband – it’s for 4 Italian soldiers killed in a peace-keeping mission in Afghanistan.

SV very pleased to be on the top step of the podium.

3 Replies to “Japanese Grand Prix – Race”

  1. Drivers’ Championship:

    1 Aus M Webber 220
    2 Spa F Alonso 206
    3 Ger S Vettel 206
    4 GB L Hamilton 192
    5 GB J Button 189
    6 Brz F Massa 128
    7 Ger N Rosberg 122
    8 Pol R Kubica 114
    9 Ger M Schumacher 54
    10 Ger A Sutil 47

    Constructors’ Championship:

    1 Red Bull-Renault 426
    2 McLaren-Mercedes 381
    3 Ferrari 334
    4 Mercedes GP 176
    5 Renault 133
    6 Force India-Mercedes 60
    7 Williams-Cosworth 58
    8 BMW Sauber-Ferrari 37
    9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11
    10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
    11 Virgin-Cosworth 0
    12 Hispania-Cosworth 0
  2. “Renault’s Vitaly Petrov has been penalised for the start-line incident that saw him and Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg retire on lap one of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.” … “He will drop five grid positions at the next round in Korea as a result.” [Official FIA site]

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