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Japanese Grand Prix: Who was your driver of the day?

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Japanese Grand Prix: Who was your driver of the day?
Oct 6, 2014, 2:41 PM

As we all know, the Japanese Grand Prix sadly concluded with Jules Bianchi's horrific accident.

As we all know, the Japanese Grand Prix sadly concluded with Jules Bianchi's horrific accident. Out of respect for Bianchi's condition we held back on publishing "Driver of the Day" last night, to focus on him.

While wishing the JA on F1 driver columnist and Ferrari protege all the best for his recovery, we should also consider who performed well in Sunday's race, as usual.

In challenging conditions, to say the least, there were a number of impressive performances. So who was your Driver of the Day?

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Result: P1; Grid: P2 - After admitting that he “wasn't feeling it” in qualifying, Hamilton rediscovered his mojo in time for race day and didn't put a wheel wrong on his way to his eighth win of the season. Hounding Nico Rosberg through the first stint on full wets and beyond it on intermediates, Hamilton timed his overtaking moment to perfection, before disappearing up the road to a first win in Suzuka.

From then to the flag he regularly posted times over a second quicker than his title rival and carried off a win perhaps even more psychologically significant than the ten point lead it delivered.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

Result: P3; Grid: P9 - Bested by Daniel Ricciardo in qualifying and subject to the distractions of the surprise announcement of his imminent departure from Red Bull, the world champion gave us a timely reminder of why he is considered one of the very best wet weather drivers in the business.

Both Red Bulls were well hooked up on both sets of tyres and Vettel was soon on the move from ninth on the grid, getting past Ricciardo in the pits before despatching the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas with aplomb.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

Result: P4; Grid: P6 - A characteristic drive from Ricciardo, full of spirited overtaking, especially in the fast curves of the first sector, when he was struggling to get past the more powerful Williams Mercedes package on the straights. He lost track position to Vettel after being encouraged by his engineer to pit for intermediates, while Vettel did an extra lap on wet tyres and it was enough to get ahead when he took the intermediates a lap later. Later on in the race, he was looking at offsetting himself to Vettel, who pitted again and it would have been interesting to see the final laps with Ricciardo on fresher tyres. But the red flag ended that.

Jenson Button

Jenson Button

Result: P5; Grid: P8 - First to pit lane to take on intermediate tyres after the safety car peeled off, the Englishman once again showed why he is so often the trendsetter in wet conditions by jumping to third behind the all conquering Mercedes duo.

Stymied by a slow pit stop necessitating a steering wheel replacement there was little he could do about the pace of Vettel and Ricciardo but another early switch, this time back on to full wets late in the race, might have paid greater dividend had the race run longer.

Jean Eric Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne

Result: P9; Grid: P20 - Another extraordinary performance from the Frenchman without a seat for 2015. After handing over his car for first practice to the teenage rookie lined up to replace him in 2015, he then endured a ten-place grid penalty for a sixth engine change by which time he'd found out that his current 20 year old team-mate has been promoted to the Red Bull first team next year. His reaction? He outqualified Kvyat and then raced up from 20th on the grid to finish ninth.

Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson

Result: P17; Grid: P17 - It's unfortunate for Ericsson that almost his only appearance on TV screens was the spin behind the safety car on lap two that undid all of his good work in leading the Caterham-Marussia battle in qualifying, ahead of Jules Bianchi's Marussia.

But the former Japanese Formula 3 champion soon made amends, passing all of his main rivals to win the back of the grid fight for the second race in succession. In what has been a tough debut season for the Swede, it was a very impressive response.

Japanese Grand Prix: Who was the Driver of the Day?
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