Hamilton wins, Bianchi to hospital at Japanese GP.
Mercedes’ driver, Lewis Hamilton took the top step on the podium today, as he became the winner of the FIA Formula One 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton’s key opportunity to steal the lead from his team mate and pole sitter, Nico Rosberg was on lap 29 of the race. A pit stop period followed this, which allowed Hamilton to resume his position at the front of the field to the end of the race.
Hamilton and the rest of the pack had torrential rain to contend with in the race, which began and finished under the safety car. Hamilton’s victory celebrations were slightly different than usual, given the circumstances of entering the pit lane with the rest of the field. The race was red flagged at this point and it did not go the complete 53 lap distance due to the conditions.
Rosberg had to settle for a second place finish as he failed to catch Hamilton ahead of him in the remaining laps of the race.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel ended the action in third place to complete the top three on the podium.
Prior to the race finale, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil slid off the track in his car at the Dunlop corner. The medical car appeared on track to attend to Sutil. It also emerged that Marussia’s Jules Bianchi reportedly crashed into a JCB that was in place to remove Sutil’s car to safety. It has been announced that Sutil was ok following his incident, but Bianchi was taken to the medical centre at the circuit and no further update has been given regarding his condition at this stage.
Vettel’s team mate, Daniel Ricciardo missed out on a podium finish to the reigning World Champion and the Australian driver picked up fourth place for himself.
McLaren’s Jenson Button demonstrated a strong performance during the race and he held third place for quite some time. Due to the race ending early, the Englishman did not have the opportunity to get back into third place and he finished the proceedings in fifth place.
The Williams’ duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa followed behind Button as they completed the race in sixth and seventh place respectively.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg came to a standstill on the track in his car just before the race was red flagged. The German driver managed to make the final classification list though and he ended the race in eighth place.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne had to climb his way through the field from the back, as the French man was issued with a 10 place grid penalty for an engine change prior to the race start. Vergne managed to pick up some points with his ninth place finish. He found himself in a Force India sandwich though as Hulkenberg’s team mate, Sergio Perez ended the race the other side of him in the 10th and final point scoring position.
Beyond the top 10, the rest of the field were left to battle over 11th to 21st place, to make up the remaining positions of those who made the full race distance.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was the only driver who failed to appear on the final classification list, as the Spaniard stopped on the track when the race was restarted on lap three after a short red flag period. The former double World Champion reportedly retired from the race due to an electrical problem on his car.
Following an usual end to what was a dramatic Grand Prix at the spectacle of the Suzuka circuit, it was certain that the top three drivers’ thoughts were particularly with Bianchi given their subdued celebrations on the podium.
The Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship standings are not likely to have been the drivers’ most immediate thoughts with Bianchi at the forefront. As a result of Hamilton’s victory today, he has extended his lead at the top of the battle for the Drivers’ title by 10 points from Rosberg who is currently trailing him in second place.
As a team, Hamilton and Rosberg have placed Mercedes at the top of the Constructors’ Championship at present with 522 points on the board and Red Bull are in second place with 332 points to their name so far.
The drivers and teams now have just one week to prepare until they face unfamiliar territory when the inaugural Russian Grand Prix takes place in Sochi.