Formula One going Japanese
The Formula One World Championship moves to Japan for the fifteenth round of the series this weekend. The stunning and super-fast Suzuka circuit is the venue for a race that is always highly anticipated by a fanatical Japanese crowd.
The Suzuka circuit is no stranger to motor racing controversies between leading rivals and this year’s event is widely expected to see a great race with Lewis Hamilton looking to extend the margin over his World Championship rival and team mate Nico Rosberg. Hamilton made the most of Rosberg’s failure to finish in Singapore ten days ago and will be looking to press home the advantage; meanwhile the German will be desperate to rein-in Hamilton and reduce or reverse the margin between the two of them once again. Currently the race between the two Mercedes drivers is finely poised with just three points separating (Hamilton on 241 and Rosberg with 238) them in one of the closest fought championships for many years.
Day Two - Musical chairs in Japan as Rosberg goes quickest
Nico Rosberg out-qualified his championship rival Lewis Hamilton by just over .2 seconds to take pole position for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Hamilton has never started on pole in Japan and an accident in the morning’s final practice will not have helped his cause. All to play for therefore at the start tomorrow.
As Typhoon Phanfone looms ever closer to the Japanese coast with the possibility of having a major impact on race conditions on Sunday, the media dived for cover to spread the news that reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel will leave Red Bull to join the ‘Prancing Horse’ Ferrari next season. The news was confirmed by Red Bull boss Christian Horner earlier today and with it comes intense speculation that Fernando Alonso, released from his Ferrari contract, will join McLaren for the 2015 season.
Alonso has been the centre of much interest in recent weeks. His dissatisfaction with Ferrari’s performance has been the motivating factor for a move prior to the completion of his contract. The chance to re-join McLaren (with whom he enjoyed a stormy relationship in 2007) as they start afresh with new engine supplier Honda in 2015, is too good an opportunity to miss for the Spaniard.
On the track Williams had a strong qualifying with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa third and fourth with a strong advantage over the first of the non-Mercedes runners Ferrari. Alonso was fifth. Ricciardo out-qualified Vettel again for sixth (his team mate in ninth), Magnussen in seventh, Jenson Button (who is most likely to lose his seat to Alonso in 2015 as a result of the morning’s news) eighth and Raikkonen tenth.
DAY 3 - Hamilton wins as sombre mood engulfs Suzuka after Bianchi accident
Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix in appalling weather conditions from his team mate Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel to extend his lead at the head of the Drivers’ World Championship to ten points.
The race was marred by a serious accident to Marussia driver Jules Bianchi in the closing laps and the event was red-flagged with some seven laps left to run. Bianchi appeared to heavily strike the tractor recovering the crashed Sauber of Adrian Sutil. The unconscious driver was taken to hospital amid sombre scenes around the Suzuka circuit.
The sad end masked what had been an extraordinary spectacle of racing in rain sodden conditions with the race having two starts both of which were made under the safety car. Hamilton took his time but once past Rosberg he was able to build a commanding lead while behind him there was plenty of action and overtaking throughout the field. Jenson Button chose to pit very early and with intermediate tyres looked like playing a master card that would have got him on to the podium. However, the pace of the Red Bulls was too much and he finished fifth behind Daniel Ricciardo.