F1: Hamilton Triumphs in Rainy Japanese Grand Prix; Bianchi Taken to Hospital in Shortened Race

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Formula One, International, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

SUZUKA, Japan — official release — Mercedes photo — Lewis Hamilton triumphed for Mercedes at a wet Suzuka on Sunday, but the race was overshadowed by an accident involving Marussia’s Jules Bianchi.

The Frenchman, who went off at Turn 7 and made contact with a recovery vehicle dealing with a separate incident, has been taken to the hospital.

The accident brought an early end to the race, which was red flagged and finished under the safety car, and the result backdated to lap 44.

Hamilton thus led home team mate Nico Rosberg, Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren’s Jenson Button and the Williams cars of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Force India pair Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished eighth and tenth, sandwiching Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.

Rosberg led in the early stages, although the first attempt to start the race behind the safety car had to be aborted because of the conditions after only two laps. The race was restarted after a 25-minute delay, and the safety car stayed out until lap nine. Once under normal conditions, the race quickly developed into the anticipated duel between Rosberg and Hamilton.

For the next 19 laps the Briton pursued his teammate, increasing the pressure despite a scare at Turn 1 when he ran wide and over the artificial grass when, he admitted, he had left his DRS open.

Going into the same corner two laps later Hamilton’s persistence finally paid off: he got a run on Rosberg down the straight, forcing the German to defend the inside line, which allowed Hamilton to sweep around the outside in spectacular fashion. Once into the lead, he began pulling away immediately.

As Rosberg consolidated second place, attention turned to the battle between Button and the Red Bulls. The McLaren driver was the first driver to pit for intermediate tires, coming in on lap nine, and the decision paid off as he jumped up to third by the time everyone but the Mercedes had followed suit and switched to the green-marked inters.

Vettel and Ricciardo gradually closed in, however, with the Red Bulls the fastest cars on track at the halfway stage. Button eventually claimed a hard-fought fifth place result, his advantage having been lost when his car’s steering wheel had to be changed during his final pit stop. A similar problem also affected his teammate Kevin Magnussen, who finished well down in 14th.

Vettel, meanwhile, dropped to fourth as a result of a late stop for fresh tires, but with the race result being backdated was elevated back into third, ahead of team mate Ricciardo.

Williams’ challenge was blunted early as the FW36s proved a handful in the wet — a trait underlined by the fact Ricciardo was able to pass both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa around the outside in the Esses. The duo hung on for sixth and seventh respectively, moving Williams further ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ stakes.

The Scuderia failed to score a point at Suzuka – the first time they have missed the top 10 in 82 Grands Prix — as Kimi Raikkonen finished 12th and Fernando Alonso retired early on with an electronic malfunction.

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