Lewis Hamilton took the ultimate prize of winning the Japanese Grand Prix, extending his championship lead by 48 points. His teammate and rival Nico Rosberg started on pole, however fell back to fourth at the start before finishing second in the race. The German driver suffered a headache just before the race, but it wasn’t his strongest of weekends.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Williams’ Felipe Massa came together at the start of the race. Both drivers had sustained damage to their cars and lost time getting to the pits and doing the pit stop. It was a shame for them as they lost a lot of time and finished lower in the pack.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg had a better weekend from last week. Not only did he qualifying outside the top 10, but he was also hit with a three-place grid drop for coming together with Massa in Singapore. With a strong start and strategy, he was able to finish P6 in Japan and a handful of points.
His teammate Sergio Perez did not have a smooth start with an incident where he went off the track as a knock on effect from other drivers on the track battling for track position. He finished P12, just behind Fernando Alonso.
Both Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean finished in the top 8, the first time for the team since 2013. It was a great achievement after what has been a very tough weekend for the team who were locked out of their own hospitality unit and having severe financial troubles.
Fernando Alonso was one of the standouts in the race, not because of performance, but in fact because of his team radio. He voiced his frustrations calling the situation with Honda and McLaren as “embarrassing” and calling the Honda engine a “GP2 engine.” He later said, “on the track it’s not much joy [to race].” Alonso finished just outside the points at Honda’s home race.
Both young Toro Rosso rookies Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz impressed in the race with a double points finish. Verstappen went from P17 to P9 showing yet again just why age doesn’t matter in Formula 1. Carlos Sainz also had a great race, with a good start into the top 10. However, he lost time when he crashed into a bollard and needed a nose change but managed to get the last available world championship point.
Image via Lotus F1 Team