By Lara Seychell
SUZUKA, JAPAN – What an eventful Japanese Grand Prix that saw Nico Rosberg win ahead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. So what were the five main talking points of this Grand Prix?
Coming into this Grand Prix
Since Mercedes failed to win the Constructors’ Championship in Malaysia, their aim was to get their third title at the Japanese Grand Prix. This race also needed to see a return to glory for Hamilton, after having suffered a retirement in Japan. Let’s see how it all rolled out.
1) The Start
Rosberg started from pole position but statistics at this GP showed that less than 50% of those who started from pole ended up winning the race. So did he defy the odds? Well, he had a great start, but this could not be said for his team mate Hamilton, who found himself in eighth position by the end of the first lap. Hamilton later stated that the bad start was all his fault.
As reported in Formula1.com, in the post-race press conference he said: “I don’t think the damp patch had really anything to do with it. I just had… I made a mistake and then just working my way up from there was tricky but, y’know, I did the best I could.”
2) Early on in the race
Hamilton’s bad start meant that he had to recover and make his way up the pack. On the other hand, Rosberg had a good gap at the front, and was already leading by 2.8s by the fifth lap. Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel were in second and third by the 13th lap and after the first pit stops were taking place.
Strategies always play a crucial role, especially in Formula One nowadays, and on a track like Suzuka, where overtakes are quite difficult. However, Hamilton’s team managed to pit him at a perfect time and on his way out, he managed to get in front of both Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez.
The strategy didn’t however work in favour of Ferrari driver Vettel who pitted for soft tyres and then suffered degradation by the end of the race so he had to settle for 4th place.
4) Blue flags
This race also saw a significant number of drivers complain about the blue flags not being observed, with Vettel in particular shouting on the radio for slower drivers to let him though. He was also joined by his teammate Raikkonen who saw himself being slowed down because of this issue. This will definitely be the point of discussion in the following weeks.
(Via F1 Twitter)
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 9, 2016
Despite a very hectic race at the back, Rosberg crossed the finish line in first to now increase the gap in the Championships ahead of Hamilton by 33 points. This was also his ninth win this season. This comes as a blow to Hamilton, who now sees his chances of winning his third title with the team fade away.
The Mercedes team however had an occasion to celebrate as Rosberg’s P1 and Hamilton’s P3 meant that they won the Constructors’ Championship for the third year running.
United States Grand Prix
With only four races to go, the United States Grand Prix is next on the calendar on October 23rd. This race needs to definitely see a comeback from Hamilton if he wants to set his eyes on the championship and start gaining points on Rosberg.
It’s all to play for in the next few races which will surely be worth watching!
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