Grand Prix of Japan – Race

Mercedes dominated Qualifying again; the provisional grid was: ROS, HAM, BOT, VET, MAS, RAI, RIC, GRO, PER, KVY; HUL*, SAI, MAL, ALO, VES; BUT, NAS, STE, ERI, RSI
*HUL will drop 3 places due to penalty from Singapore

“Max Verstappen has been handed a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s 2015 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix after the stewards deemed he ‘endangered oncoming drivers’ when coming to a halt with technical problems in qualifying.” [FIA]

Track temperature 40°C; it’s dry and sunny

Grid: ROS, HAM, BOT, VET, MAS, RAI, RIC, GRO, PER, SAI, MAL, ALO, HUL, BUT, ERI, NAS, VES, STE, RSI, KVY*
*KVY will start from the pit lane

Tyre compounds: prime=hard (orange side wall); option=medium (white)
Looks like BUT is the only one starting on prime tyres

ROS leads everyone (except KVY) away on the formation lap

01/53: HAM challenging ROS into Turn 1
Contact in Turn 1 – PER, RIC, MAS
ROS runs wide; drops to P4

02: HAM, VET, BOT, ROS, RAI, GRO, MAL, HUL, ALO, SAI
PER pits; he has a puncture, as do RIC and MAS
RIC into the pits; MAS is still limping around

03: MAS finally makes it to the pits; new front wing

04: Replay shows the contact between RIC and MAS was coming off the grid, well before Turn 1
HAM fastest lap 1:39.630
SAI looking for a way round ALO

05/53: Radio from ROS asking to turn up the engine
VES easily blasts pass BUT
SAI takes P9 from ALO
HAM f/lap 1:39.140

06: ERI past ALO too
Radio from ALO – “embarrassing”

07: HAM, VET, BOT, ROS, RAI, GRO, MAL, HUL, SAI, ERI
Radio for ROS – engines temps high, causing damage

08: HAM has a 4.2sec lead over VET

09: Radio from VES – “I can’t get past” (NAS)
KVY pits; switch to primes

10/53: HAM, VET, BOT, ROS, RAI, GRO, MAL, HUL, SAI, ERI, ALO, NAS, VES, BUT, PER, STE, RSI, KVY, RIC, MAS
ALO pits; another set of options

11: NAS passes teammate ERI after ERI spins in Spoon
BUT pits

12: Radio for ROS – push hard now and overtake BOT
BOT pits

13: GRO steals P8 from ERI

14: VET pits; primes
KVY closing on ALO

15/53: HAM, ROS, RAI, SAI, VET, BOT, HUL, GRO, MAL, PER, ALO, KVY, VES, BUT, NAS, ERI, STE, RSI, RIC, MAS
Radio for RIC – urgent setting changes
RAI pits; rejoins P5

16: VES all over the rear of KVY
ROS pits from P2; primes; rejoins P4

17: HAM pits; more options; rejoins still well ahead of VET
SAI f/lap 1:38.686

18: ROS attacks into the final chicane – fortunately BOT doesn’t close the door; ROS takes P3
Radio for KVY – reliability issue, do not use overtake button

20/53: HAM, VET, ROS, BOT, RAI, HUL, GRO, MAL, SAI, ALO, KVY, VES, BUT, ERI, NAS, PER, RIC, STE, RSI, MAS

21: HAM f/lap 1:37.961
KVY pits from P11; options and front wing adjustment

22: RAI closing on BOT
VES on ALO’s rear wing

23: ERI catching BUT

24: ALO slow out of spoon
PER takes P14 from NAS

25/53: HAM, VET, ROS, BOT, RAI, HUL, GRO, MAL, SAI, ALO
VES harrying ALO hard for P10
KVY runs wide in Spoon

26: Radio for VET – good phase, keep it there

Half-distance

28: SAI pits; late decision to change his front wing
Replay shows SAI hit a plastic cone at pit entrance

29: HAM is 13.1sec ahead of VET; ROS just 1.7sec behind VET
RAI pits

30/53: ROS pits from P3; used set of primes
BOT pits too
Radio from HAM complaining of vibration
BOT attacking MAL; inside into the hairpin

31: VET pits; rejoins as ROS comes down the main straight; ROS ahead into Turn 1
BOT past GRO for P6

32: HAM pits; rejoins still P1
ROS f/lap 1:37.147

33: SAI all over PER; pushing for P9
Radio for PER – use everything from the tyre

34: HAM f/lap 1:36.145
Big lock up for GRO in the final chicane

35/53: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, MAL, HUL, GRO, PER, SAI; KVY, VES, ALO, ERI, BUT, RIC, NAS, MAS, STE, RSI; no retirements so far

36: Radio for HAM – everything under control, watch out for flat spots

37: PER pits, releasing SAI; rejoins just behind HAM so a lap down

39: PER past BUT for P13

40/53: KVY past BUT too

41: HAM 11.9sec ahead of ROS, who in turn has VET closing on him, about 1.5sec behind
PER under the rear wing of ERI

42: PER gets very close; locks up

43: Radio from PER complaining ERI is moving under braking

44: PER around the outside of ERI into Turn 1; ERI holds his line; PER backs off
Radio from KVY – losing the brakes

45/53: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, HUL, GRO, MAL, SAI, VES, ALO, ERI, PER, KVY, RIC, BUT, NAS
STE spins out of 130R – big incident!
VES attacks his teammate; SAI locks up and VES takes P9

46: HAM 15.3sec ahead of ROS

50/53: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, HUL, GRO, MAL, VES, SAI, ALO, ERI, PER, KVY, RIC, BUT, NAS, MAS, RSI, STE
PER sneaks past ERI for P12
KVY pushing hard to find a space to get around ERI
Radio for ERI – fight the Red Bulls

51: KVY follows RAI past ERI

52: MAS trying to pass ERI but he’s a lap down
NAS pits & retires

53 = final lap: HAM takes the chequered flag
That’s Mercedes’ 40th F1 victory.

Provisional result: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, HUL, GRO, MAL, VES, SAI; ALO, PER, KVY, ERI, RIC, BUT, MAS, RSI, STE, NAS

One Reply to “Grand Prix of Japan – Race”

  1. “Lewis Hamilton had hoped to equal his hero Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 race victories in Singapore, but in the end he did it at Suzuka – an altogether more appropriate venue given that the great Brazilian sealed all three of his world championship crowns there.” [FIA]

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