Rossi ended the 53 lap race in 18th position, ahead of his team-mate Will Stevens in 19th place, and in a reversal of their starting positions.
Alexander Rossi completed another strong race weekend with the Manor Marussia F1 Team, contributing to help notch up the team's tenth two-car finish of the season today in the 2015 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. On a relatively attrition-free day, in which all 20 cars were classified, Rossi ended the 53 lap race in 18th position, ahead of his team-mate Will Stevens in 19th place, and in a reversal of their starting positions.
Friday’s initial session in Japan proved challenging. Rain fell throughout the day, with conditions varying from damp to standing water, meaning that Full Wet tyres were the order for much of the two sessions. As a result, the team elected to complete just a handful of laps with each driver, to assess the baseline set-up of the MR03B at this circuit. The day ended with Alexander in P19, although lap times were largely unrepresentative.
I will return to Manor Marussia F1 Team for the US Grand Prix.
After the initial two rain-affected Free Practice sessions, the team had made good headway during Saturday morning’s FP3 with a dry programme and was expecting this progress to translate into a good qualifying performance. As it turned out, Q1 saw two yellow flag periods, for Ericsson and Verstappen respectively, which defined the session. The first was unlucky for the American driver, and meant that Alexander had to abandon his opening timed lap. The second yellow flag compromised both cars and neither driver was able to complete a push lap. With Alexander achieving lap times within 107% during free practice, it was unfortunate that he was unable to show his pace in qualifying.
Sunday’s race was met with dry conditions, and plenty of potential for the Grand Prix ahead. Despite the strong performance, it was not an entirely straightforward race for the team. Will was having to push hard to keep the advancing American behind and at his second pit stop was found to have exceeded the pit lane speed limit. A short time later, on lap 42, he spun in dramatic fashion, then pulled off an impressive save, but he ended up at a 180 degree angle across the track. Alex was only tenths of a second in his wake but took equally impressive evasive action, narrowly avoiding a collision. The combination of events handed Alex the advantage for a second successive race.
Alexander will now return to his GP2 Series team, Racing Engineering, for Sochi, Russia, where he will look to continue his strong driver ranking battle. Alexander will then rejoin the Manor Marussia F1 Team for the 2015 US Grand Prix, as the only American in Formula 1 representing his country on home soil in Austin, Texas.
John Booth, Team Principal: “Today’s race was progressing in a fairly straightforward fashion for us, largely defined by a continuation of the developing intra-team battle between Will and Alex that has kept us very much on the edge of our seats over the last two races. In the closing stages, we experienced a brief heart-stopping moment when Will lost the back of the car at 130R and spun into the path of his team-mate.
Credit to them both for their impressive reactions; Will did well to collect the car without leaving the asphalt, while Alex’s lightning response ensured there was no contact. There were sharp intakes of breath all round up on the pit wall, but all’s well that ends well and we are pleased to achieve our tenth two-car finish of the season. A good job all round today, and indeed all weekend, after an emotional return to Suzuka for our team.”
Alexander Rossi #53: “This was a good race and I’m very happy with the outcome. I struggled a bit on the first stint with the option tyre, but after the first stop everything turned around and my pace was good; I had stronger pace than my team-mate after the first stop. I was pushing Will when he spun and thankfully he didn’t cross my path; I’m sure it looked every bit as dramatic from outside the cockpit as it did from where I was sitting! I’m pleased with how things are going after my first two F1 races.
“My next race will be in Sochi with my GP2 Series Team Racing Engineering, where I’ll be looking forward to continuing the battle for 1st and 2nd in the rankings. I’m extremely passionate about finishing what we started there, and I will be looking to achieve another strong result. Then I will return to Manor Marussia F1 Team for the US Grand Prix. I’m incredibly happy I’ll be able to drive in front of my home crowd with this very special team."