Lewis Hamilton Wins Rain-Interrupted Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton won todays Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, in what was a treacherous race from start to finish in wet conditions. The Mercedes driver finished first ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg, and four time world champion Sebastien Vettel.

Suzuka_race_2014_F1WeekendsContrary to the reports that a typhoon would stop the race from going ahead, the Formula 1 circus pressed on with matters and started the race under Safety Car conditions. After two laps however, the track was deemed too wet to allow the drivers to go ahead at race pace, so Race Control decided to Red Flag the session for twenty minutes, before we resumed under what was looking like increasingly better conditions. As we did so, the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso packed in with what looked like yet another electronics issue with his F14T, making it his second retirement in the last three races.

By the time the Safety Car had done six laps, drivers were already over the team radio saying that the race can be restarted, and within two laps their wish was granted. Jenson Button managed to make use of the drying conditions early on by pitting for Inters on the first ‘racing’ lap. That then allowed him to leapfrog everyone from 9th downwards after they saw his lap times and decided to switch as well.

Riccardo_Bottas_Suzuka_2014_F1WeekendsThings soon got better for Button as well, as he was able to get the undercut on the leaders as well, including both Red Bulls who had made use of their wet setup early on, in order to get past both Williams drivers after the first pitstops. Riccardo in particular pulled off two great overtaking manures around the outside of Dunlop on both Massa and Bottas, whilst Vettel was able to make moves stick heading into the hairpin after the Degners.

From that point on it was a fairly stagnant race, with the battle at the front between the two Mercedes drivers heating up. Rosberg had been the first driver to pit out of the pair, with Hamilton second, and by the second stint was on fresher rubber and challenging for second. By lap 24 Hamilton was on the gearbox of Rosberg for most of the lap, nearly throwing it away the following lap at the first corner after he failed to deactivate DRS in time for the first corner.

But he managed to regain it as Rosberg hit the back markers, and by lap 28 managed to get past his teammate by making an impressive move around the outside of turn one. Whilst all that went on, we cut to a battle in the backend of the field between Lotus, Sauber, and Caterham for P13. Grosjean was fighting with the yet-to-stop Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham, and the Lotus driver managed to make a rather ballsy move into the first Degner stick for the position.

Button_Suzuka_2014_F1WeekendsAt that point the leaders were making their third stops, with Vettel being the first to pounce and come out behind both Riccardo and Button. That undercut managed to work for him, as he managed to jump both the aforementioned drivers, as they battled for position and lost time against Vettel in the closing stages of that stint. Riccardo attempted to go longer in this stint in order to make up for the lost time, but by then it was already gone and he ended up back behind Button for the final couple of laps.

Before we were able to complete the final laps however, both Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi were involved in nasty shunts at the top of the Dunlop Curve. First the Sauber driver aquaplaned off into the barrier, then according to eye witness reports the Marussia had an identical shunt but hit a recovery vehicle instead of the barrier.

At that stage the race was Red Flagged and declared over by Race Control to allow the medical cars to attend to Bianchi, and because were were at more than 75 per-cent race distance it meant that full points could be awarded to all the finishers. But of course a sombre attitude towards celebrations was adopted, due to the serious nature of the incident Bianchi was caught up in.

Further updates on his condition can be seen at our twitter page as well as our lead story right here.

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