Grand Prix of Japan – Race

HAM is the only one to start the race in his Qualifying position: BOT was P2 but drops 5 places for a gearbox change; RAI P6 +5 places; ALO 10 +35 places; PAL P14 +20 places; SAI P15 +20 places.

So the revised grid is: HAM, VET, RIC, VER, OCO, BOT, PER, MAS, VAN, RAI, HUL, MAG, GRO, GAS, STR, ERI, WEH, PAL, SAI, ALO

Air temperature 26°C; track 43°C; it’s dry and barely a cloud in the sky

Looks like a problem with VET’s car on the dummy grid – apparently it’s a spark plug, which they appear to have resolved just in time
Lots of smoke from GAS’ Toro Rosso as they fire it up
HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap

01/53: HAM defends P1 into Turn 1
VAN runs wide
RIC falls back to P5 behind OCO
SAI off across the gravel – he’s stuck in the gravel trap
VER dives inside VET to steal P2
RAI runs wide as HUL holds the racing line

02: HAM, VER, VET, OCO, RIC, BOT, PER
OCO, RIC and BOT all make it mast VET before Turn 1
Safety Car deployed
Replay shows SAI tagged the tyre wall

03[SC]: HAM, VER, OCO, RIC, BOT, VET, PER, MAS, HUL, MAG, STR, GRO, GAS, RAI, PAL, ERI, ALO, VAN, WEH; retirements: SAI
SC in at the end of this lap

04: PER takes P6 from VET
WEH pits
STR runs wide in Spoon curve
Radio for VET – “box, we retire the car”

05/53: VET pits, as does STR

06: RAI past MAG for P9
VET is still in car as the mechanics take the engine cover off

07: HAM has 1.3sec lead over VER
OCO is falling back from VER, which is holding up RIC

08: HAM fastest lap 1:34.917
ERI in the tyre wall – long time before a marshal checks on him

09: RAI takes P8 from HUL
Virtual Safety Car deployed

10/53[VSC]: HAM, VER, OCO, RIC, BOT, PER, MAS, RAI, HUL, MAG, GRO, GAS, PAL, ALO, VAN, STR, WEH; retirements: ERI, VET, SAI

11: RIC reclaims P3 from OCO

12: BOT past OCO too

13: HAM’s lead now 3.5sec over VER
RAI closing on MAS

14: RAI takes P7 from MAS

15/53: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, OCO, PER, RAI, MAS, HUL, MAG, GRO, GAS, PAL, ALO, STR, VAN, WEH

16: Piece of fake grass is thrown up – hopefully no-one else runs over it

17: HUL closing on MAS

18: MAS pits, releasing HUL; soft tyres going on; rejoins P14

19: RAI catching up to PER

20/53: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, OCO, PER, RAI, HUL, MAG, GRO, GAS, PAL, ALO, MAS, STR, VAN, WEH
PER defends but RAI goes around the outside to take P6
MAG pits; rejoins P14

21: HAM’s lead just over 5secs; VER has about 8secs over his teammate
OCO pits; slow right rear change; rejoins alongside ALO but the McLaren goes ahead, bumping OCO to P12
Radio for VER – “pit; please confirm”

22: VER pits from P2; soft tyres; rejoins as RAI rushes down the main straight; VER stays just ahead into Turn 1 and holds P4
Radio for HAM – “box, box; pit confirm”

23: HAM pits; softs; rejoins P3, ahead of VER

24: VER f/lap 1:33.813
GRO pits
OCO makes use of DRS to take P7 from PAL
PER now attacking PAL

25/53: RIC, BOT, HAM, VER, RAI, HUL, OCO, PAL, PER, ALO, MAS, MAG, GRO, GAS, STR, VAN, WEH; retirements: ERI, VET, SAI
Radio for VER: “HAM is looking to go to the end”
PER takes P8 from PAL
HAM closing on his teammate, who has yet to pit

26: RIC pits; softs; rejoins P5
ALO pits; drops him from P10 to P16

Half distance

27: VER is about 2sec behind HAM

28: HAM takes P1 from BOT

29: RAI pits; rejoins P6, just ahead of OCO
VER closing on BOT

30/53: HAM, BOT, VER, RIC, HUL, RAI, OCO, PER, PAL, MAS, MAG, GRO, GAS, STR, ALO, VAN, WEH
BOT locks up in the hairpin but VER wasn’t quite close enough to make a pass

31: BOT pits, releasing VER; supersofts go on; rejoins P4
Only BOT and RAI on supersofts at the moment – they both started on softs, whereas most started on supersofts and are now on softs

32: HAM’s lead now 3sec over VER, who in turn is 10sec ahead of RIC
Radio from HAM – “struggling with my rears”

33: BOT f/lap 1:33.688

35/53: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, RAI, HUL, OCO, PER, PAL, MAS

39: HUL pits

40/53: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, RAI, OCO, PER, PAL, MAS, MAG, GRO, GAS, HUL, ALO, STR, VAN, WEH
GAS locks up; HUL steals P12

41: PAL pits, followed by GAS
GAS locked up coming into his pit box – the mechanics had to step back, so that makes for a longer stop
Radio from HUL – “DRS is stuck open”

42: HUL pits; mechanic thumps the rear wing – it’s not properly connected
HUL’s pushed into the garage and jumps out of the Renault

43: MAS runs wide; MAG steals P8
BOT f/lap 1:33.424

44: BOT closing on RIC

45/53: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, RAI, OCO, PER, MAG, GRO, MAS, ALO, PAL, GAS, STR, VAN, WEH; retirements: HUL, ERI, VET, SAI
Marshal on the main straight picking up some debris – looks like it’s from a Williams

46: Radio for RAI – “you’re clear to push now”; “I’ve been pushing all the time”

47: STR cuts across the gravel, almost collects RIC as he rejoins the track, but then pulls off onto the grass again
Virtual Safety Car deployed

48[VSC]: Replay shows a right front tyre failure for STR – was it a puncture or a broken wheel?
A marshal escorts STR away as a crane arrives to remove his car

49[VSC]: Marshals clearing STR’s Williams
VSC ending

50/53: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, RAI, OCO, PER, MAG, GRO, MAS, ALO, PAL, GAS, VAN, WEH; retirements: STR, HUL, ERI, VET, SAI
PER on the radio again to complain that OCO should let him pass
ALO closing on MAS

51 = 3 laps remaining: BOT 1.2sec behing VER
BOT f/lap 1:33.144
Radio from HAM complaining about vibration from the tyres

52: HAM just 1.5sec ahead of VER
HAM closing on ALO but VER is closing right up to the Mercedes
ALO lets HAM lap him but closes the door on VER
VER now laps ALO
HAM now closing to lap MAS
ALO under investigation for ignoring blue flags

53/53 = final lap: HAM laps MAS
Again VER held up as he laps tail-enders
ALO all over the rear wing of MAS

HAM takes the chequered flag, with VER right behind him
RIC holds off BOT for P3
Radio from HAM reporting more vibrations from the power unit

Provisional result: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, RAI, OCO, PER, MAG, GRO, MAS, ALO, PAL, GAS, VAN, WEH
DNF: STR, HUL, ERI, VET, SAI

In the pre-podium room, HAM & VER talk about “crazy traffic” in the last couple of laps; they’re told ALO is under investigation

RIC bows to the crowd as he heads to the podium

5 Replies to “Grand Prix of Japan – Race”

  1. “McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has been reprimanded by Suzuka stewards and given two penalty points on his Super License for not adhering to blue-flag rules correctly whilst being lapped during Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.” [FIA]

  2. I missed this: “The FIA has told Formula 1 teams that rules banning them from grid drying before races will be enforced at the Japanese Grand Prix, after confusion in Malaysia.” [autosport]

  3. “F1 drivers will wear a biometric sensor in their gloves from 2018. Austria’s Osterreich newspaper said the FIA wants to be able to monitor life saving data thanks to a three millimetre sensor sewn into a glove.” [grandprix]

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