Japanese Grand Prix – Race

Following action-packed Qualifying session, including a fire inside a pit garage, and after applying the pre-race penalties, the provisional grid is: WEB, VET, HAM, GRO, MAS, ROS, HUL, ALO, RAI, BUT, PER, DIR, BOT, GUT, MAL, RIC, VER, CHI, VDG, PIC, BIA, SUT. Additionally PIC has to serve his drive-through penalty within the first 5 laps of the race.

My GridBids picks are VET, BUT, PER, HAM, MAL & DIR
Tyre choices are: prime = hard compound (red lettering), option = medium (white)

Radio for WEB confirming everyone starting on the option (medium) tyre except RIC and PIC

WEB ready to lead everyone away on the formation lap
VET quick to set off as soon as the initial lights turn green but they’re not allowed to overtake on the formation lap

01/53: Great start from GRO and HAM
GRO takes P1 before Turn 1
HAM off the pace now – what’s the problem?
VDG and BIA off at T1 – in the tyre wall
radio from VET – front wing damage – did he hit HAM?
radio for VET say front wing looks OK

02: GRO, WEB, VET, ROS, MAS, ALO, HUL, PER, GUT, BUT
PIC serves his drive-through penalty
HAM still limping back with a right-rear puncture – tyres completely gone now
HAM pits – switches to primes

03: GRO fastest lap 1:39.527
WEB f/lap 1:39.512
Replay shows HAM squeeze between WEB and VET as they move off the grid; VET moves left as GRO comes around his right; VET’s front wing cuts HAM right-rear tyre
Incident involving cars 21 and 22 (VDG and BIA) will be investigated after the race – causing a collision

04: DRS not enabled as the marshals are still clearing the cars of VDG and BIA
HAM has floor damage at the rear

05: GRO, WEB, VET, ROS, MAS, ALO, HUL, PER, GUT, BUT; retirements: VDG, BIA; HAM still P20
GRO f/lap 1:38.651

06: DRS enabled
radio for HAM confirming aero damage; HAM says it’s all over the place
RAI attacking BUT for P10
VET runs a little wide, kicks up some dust
radio for VET – drop back to save your tyres

07: GRO f/lap 1:38.548
RAI uses DRS to pass BUT for P10
ALO closing up on his teammate; will Ferrari tell MAS to let ALO pass?
radio for WEB suggesting he back off if he can’t pass GRO

08: VER pits
HAM is ~1.5sec off the lead pace; he’s barely quicker than PIC
HAM pits – he’s pushed into the garage

09: BUT pits, followed by BOT and SUT
BUT switches to primes; looks like a 3-stop strategy
HAM is out of the car – first DNF of the season

10/53: GRO, WEB, VET, ROS, MAS, ALO, HUL, PER, GUT, RAI; retirements: HAM, VDG, BIA
GUT pits, as does MAL
radio for WEB – “engine 21”

11: HUL and DIR pit

12: WEB pits from P2 – primes
MAS pits, as does RAI
BUT f/lap 1:38.459

13: GRO pits from P1 – VET stays out and takes the lead – rejoins well ahead of WEB
ROS and PER pit too
ROS released alongside PER – mechanics jump out the way – that must be an unsafe release by Mercedes
Incident involving car 9 (ROS) under investigation – unsafe release

14: radio from PER – asking about ROS release
ALO pits from P2
WEB f/lap 1:37.913
PER on newer rubber passes his teammate
VET locks up – pushing hard

15/53: VET pits – locks up at the speed limit line – good stop
GRO f/lap 1:37.691
Drive-through penalty for car 9 (ROS) – unsafe release

16: GRO, WEB, VET, RIC, ROS, HUL, MAS, ALO, GUT, RAI
radio for VET – WEB still ahead but you’re creeping up

18: HUL tucked up behind RIC (P4) – RIC only one yet to pit
MAS closing on HUL

19: RIC defending well, holding off HUL and MAS
SUT trying to find a way round MAL – very close to contact
MAS defending from ALO

20/53: GRO, WEB, VET, RIC, HUL, MAS, ALO, GUT, RAI, PER
ALO uses DRS to take P6 from his teammate
Train of 6 cars behind RIC

21: HUL past RIC for P4
GUT inside MAS – pushes the Ferrari wide, onto the dust, but MAS stays ahead

22: Replay shows GUT & MAS made contact, wheel to wheel, through Spoon
RIC pits – another set of primes

24: WEB f/lap 1:37.430
BUT pits – his 2nd stop – problem getting the rear-right off
VER f/lap 1:37.348

25/53: GRO, WEB, VET, HUL, ALO, MAS, RAI, GUT, PER, ROS; retirements: HAM, VDG, BIA
ROS pits
VER f/lap 1:37.134

26: WEB pits – just 14 laps on those tyres – new primes – rejoins P3
(half distance)

27: VET f/lap 1:36.971
radio for VET – “we’re not racing Mark, we’re racing Grosjean”
radio for GRO – “we are on target”

28: WEB f/lap 1:36.012
BOT and SUT pit
RIC around the outside of DIR into 130R – runs wide – he should give the place back but doesn’t

29: VET closing on GRO – gap down from 1.5sec last lap to 1.3s
GRO locks up as he responds to pressure from VET
MAS pits

30/53: GRO pits from P1 – OK stop – WEB is past the pit exit before GRO rejoins
Incident involving cars 14 and 19 (DIR and RIC) under investigation – leaving track and gaining an advantage

31: ALO pits – clean stop
GUT and PER pit too
Another right-rear problem for a McLaren stop

32: Drive-through penalty for car 19 (RIC) – leaving track and gaining an advantage
RAI pits – rejoins P7, ahead of RIC

33: Incident involving car 4 (MAS) under investigation – speeding in the pit lane
RIC serves his drive-through penalty – rejoins P13, ahead of DIR

34: Drive-through penalty for car 4 (MAS) – speeding in the pit lane

35/53: VET, WEB, GRO, HUL, ALO, MAS, RAI, ROS, BUT, VER
MAS serves his drive-through

36: radio for WEB – “it’s not over yet mate”
RAI f/lap 1:35.516

37: VET’s tyres have done 22 laps – he’ll need to pit soon

38: VET pits – good stop – new primes – rejoins behind GRO
radio for VET – “that’s GRO in front of you – go get him!”
GUT passes VER for P9

39: VET setting fastest sector times in S2 and S3 as he reels in GRO

40/53: VET f/lap 1:35.317
radio for VET warning him to look after his tyres as he’ll need them to battle WEB at the end of the race
ROS pits

41: VET under GRO’s rear wing out of 130R and through the chicane
VET takes P2 from GRO
BUT pits – drops to P14

42: VET slightly faster than WEB but WEB will probably need to pit again – a stop is ~22sec but WEB is only 14s ahead

43: WEB pits from P1 – hands the lead to VET – used options – rejoins behind GRO but on better rubber
BUT passes SUT for P13
PER pits – left rear puncture
Replay shows ROS clipped PER’s tyre and caused the puncture

44: radio from ROS complaining PER broke his front wing
Is that a flat spot / blister on VET’s front left tyre?

45/53: VET, GRO, WEB, HUL, ALO, RAI, GUT, MAS, ROS, RIC; retirements: HAM, VDG, BIA
radio from VET saying back markers need to get out of the way
PER slows and lets VET pass without any effort

46: WEB has GRO just a few feet ahead – WEB is a lot faster
ALO finds a way past HUL to take P4

47: GRO defends and holds off WEB
ROS inside MAS into the chicane – takes P8
Close fights throughout the field

48: VET continues to open his lead while GRO and WEB fight over P2

49: GRO still doing a good job of keeping his Lotus ahead of WEB
WEB takes a look around the outside in Spoon

50/53: VET, GRO, WEB, ALO, HUL, RAI, GUT, ROS, MAS, BUT
GRO catching some back markers

51: GRO laps MAL; WEB squeezes through too
WEB alongside GRO but can’t make it stick

52: WEB working very hard to stay on the rear wing of GRO
GRO gives WEB just enough room – WEB takes P2
RAI around the outside of HUL into the chicane – takes P5
BUT has passed MAS for P9

53 = final lap: still lots of close battles
VET takes the chequered flag
MAS attacking BUT through the chicane – contact? MAS comes out ahead!
The Williams drivers get pushy through the chicane too

Provisional result: VET, WEB, GRO, ALO, RAI, HUL, GUT, ROS, BUT, MAS; DIR, VER, RIC, SUT, PER, MAL, BOT, PIC, CHI; DNF: HAM, VDG, BIA.

4 Replies to “Japanese Grand Prix – Race”

  1. My GridBids picks were VET=P1, BUT=P9, PER=P15, HAM=DNF, MAL=P16 & DIR=P11.

    “You scored 27 points for this race and have a total of 771 points this season. You ranked 133 for this race and 27 overall.”

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