Japanese Grand Prix 2015 Recap

Lewis Hamilton wins the Japanese Grand Prix with a dominating 18.9 second lead over teammate Nico Rosberg. He has now tied Aryton Senna’s record number of 41 career wins. The results of this race are very important for Mercedes because it proved that they’re still the team to beat in F1 today. It also erased all doubts which were cast upon them following their disappointing run in Singapore last week.

Qualifying

It seems that Mercedes is back in business again on the qualifying sessions of the Japanese GP with both of their drivers taking the first and second spots on the grid on Sunday. Nico Rosberg takes the pole after being 0.076 of a second faster than Hamilton in qualifying. This will just be his second start at the pole this year.

Daniil Kyvat of Red Bull got into a terrible crash during one of the qualifying sessions, but was left unharmed. He’ll start the race on 10th place. Max Verstappen of Torro-Rosso finished 15th but will start at 18th place after he was handed down a 3 place penalty after his car stopped during one of the qualifying laps and he parked it in an ‘unsafe’ position.

Racing Conditions

The weather in Suzuka during race day is very sunny with no threats of rain. This is in stark contrast with last year’s conditions when it was stormy and the race was cut short when the weather got worse. With this, we can expect a great race this time.

The Grid

The Race

All the drivers except Jenson Button of McLaren opted to start on medium. The Briton decided it was better for him to begin the race on Pirelli’s hard compound tyres. After the start, Hamilton quickly grabs the lead. The other drivers had problems as Massa and Ricciardo’s cars touched each other on the wheels and both of them sustained damage from the incident. Perez’s car also hit the dirt. All three drivers made a very early trip to the pits to get their cars back into shape.

Hamilton still leads the race on lap 3 while Vettel and Bottas are in second and third place respectively. Hamilton continues to extend his lead over Vettel slowly and on lap 5 he has already established a 3.5 second lead over the German.

On lap 11, Hamilton now leads Vettel by 6 seconds. Vettel is still in second while Rosberg is now on third. On lap 13, Vettel made his first stop to change to hard compound. Vettel’s teammate Raikkonen made his first stop on lap 14. The Mercedes duo made their first stop a lap after and like the Ferrari drivers they also changed to the hard compounds.

On lap 18, Hamilton’s lead has ballooned to 8.1 seconds. Vettel is still on second and Rosberg is still on third. Hamilton continues to pull away as the race progresses and on lap 21 he has extended his lead to 11 seconds.

On lap 26, Fernando Alonso had an outburst about the Honda engine on the radio after he was overtaken by 17 year old Max Verstappen. This race is supposed to be Honda’s home race and the company president was also present in the race. Alonso referred to Honda’s engine as ‘GP2’, which was a very embarrassing remark.

Rosberg and Bottas made their second stop on lap 29. On lap 31, Rosberg claimed the second spot as Vettel went into the pit lane. Hamilton also had his second trip to the pits on lap 32. He came back to the race with a 9.1 second lead over Rosberg who is now in second.

Hamilton continues to lead the race on lap 40. By this time, he now has a 12 second lead over Rosberg. Vettel is still on third, but he also has a big 6.3 second lead over Raikkonen who is in fourth. The podium seems to be already set at this point.

On lap 48, Hamilton’s lead over Rosberg is already 16.4 seconds. He continues to push relentlessly leaving no opportunity for Rosberg to get close to him. After 53 laps, he finishes the race with a 18.9 second lead over Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari came in third. That’s it for the Japanese Grand Prix 2015 recap.

After Thoughts

Hamilton continues to hold a firm grip on the top spot after winning the Japanese Grand Prix. He now leads Rosberg by 48 points and Vettel by 59 points. With five races still remaining on the calendar, it’s still mathematically possible for Rosberg or Vettel to claim the title. However with Hamilton’s present form, achieving that in real life maybe a remote possibility. The next race will be on Russia on October 11.