F1: Never in Doubt; Hamilton Wires Field for Eighth Formula One Victory of Season at Suzuka

Jacob Seelman Featured, Formula One, International, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

SUZUKA, Japan — Recap by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Mark Thompson/Getty Images AsiaPac photo —

Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Sunday’s Formula One Japanese Grand Prix was never in doubt.

Hamilton seized the lead away from Mercedes teammate and polesitter Nico Rosberg by the time the field had reached turn two of the Suzuka Circuit and never looked back again, holding the lead through every cycle of pit stops he was faced with and motoring away to a 18.964 second victory over Rosberg at the checkered flag.

In fact, the most dramatic moment of the race was the initial lap, where contact was aplenty and three cars — Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Force India’s Sergio Perez, who went off course through the dirt — suffered tire blowouts before the end of the first trip around.

Two-time World Champion Hamilton was ahead of all the drama, however, and notched his 41st career F1 victory in the caution-free 53-lap affair — tying legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna for fourth on the series’ all-time wins list.

“Really, I’m just so happy to be standing back here [on the podium],” said Hamilton, who made his pit stops at laps 17 and 31 in securing his eighth win of the season. “The team did an awesome job this weekend and I had a good start to get around Nico. That was really the key, and once we got clear of everyone and got a lead the car was fantastic all race long. It was beautiful to drive today.”

“For me though, to come here to a race where I used to love watching Ayrton drive and match his wins total, I can’t really even describe it. It doesn’t feel real at the moment, and I’m sure it won’t for a little while.”

Hamilton said that finishing one-two was a big moment for Mercedes as a team after their disastrous outing a week prior in Singapore.

“It was important for us to strike back. The Ferraris were incredibly quick in the last race and we didn’t bring our A-game. We really had to take a step back and make sure that we brought it here, otherwise things were going to start to tighten up. It’s just remarkable what this team has done and continues to do, and it’s good to be back on course.”

Rosberg could only watch as Hamilton drove away to his second-straight win at Suzuka and third-overall Japanese Grand Prix victory, saying he just didn’t have enough to chase down the Brit over the course of the final stint.

“Lewis just got a better start than I did,” the German admitted. “It was a good battle into turn one, but by the time we got to turn two he had the inside and was able to make it stick. That was the end of it there, but it was great to fight back to second place after dropping to fourth on that first lap. I was happy with the fight back and this is a great result for us as a team.”

The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen crossed third and fourth, ahead of the surviving Williams of Valtteri Bottas, who completed the top five.

Positions six through 10 went to Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, the twin Lotus machines of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, and the Toro Rossos of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Verstappen’s drive was especially impressive, charging from 17th on the grid to his ninth-place finishing position as the hard charger of the race.

The McLaren Honda of Fernando Alonso just missed the points in 11th, while his teammate Jenson Button could only muster 16th. Daniil Kvyat came from pit lane to end up 13th in a backup car after his primary chassis was demolished in a massive qualifying flip on Saturday.

Ricciardo and Massa finished 15th and 17th, respectively, after their issues on the opening lap, while American Alexander Rossi just trailed them in 18th for the Manor Marussia squad.

Felipe Nasr’s Sauber marked the only DNF of the entire race — falling out with just over a lap to go — but as he completed more than 75% of the race distance, there were no official retirements in the 20-car field.

The event marks the first Grand Prix since the 2011 European G.P. with that distinction, and is only the fifth Grand Prix in the sport’s history to feature a field where all drivers were classified at the finish.

The 2015 Formula One World Championship continues Oct. 11 with the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom, round 15 of 19 on the season.

 

RESULTS: Formula One World Championship; Japanese Grand Prix; Suzuka Circuit; September 27, 2015

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Valtteri Bottas
  6. Nico Hulkenberg
  7. Romain Grosjean
  8. Pastor Maldonado
  9. Max Verstappen
  10. Carlos Sainz Jr.
  11. Fernando Alonso
  12. Sergio Perez
  13. Daniil Kvyat
  14. Marcus Ericsson
  15. Daniel Ricciardo
  16. Jenson Button
  17. Felipe Massa
  18. Alexander Rossi
  19. Will Stevens
  20. Felipe Nasr (DNF)

 

About the Writer

Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.

The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: speed77radio@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

Follow Race Chaser Online: @RaceChaserNews

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