Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix 2019

F1 Japanese Grand Prix 2019

Mercedes took victory once again at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, but it was Valtteri Bottas who took the chequered flag as the winner, his first victory since Azerbaijan back in April 2019. This victory combined with Lewis Hamilton taking third place, secured Mercedes’ sixth successive constructors World Championship title, which shows their dominance since the introduction of the V6 turbo hybrid era of F1.

Qualifying was canceled on Saturday due to Typhoon Hagibis, pushing qualifying to just four hours before the start of the race on Sunday, which was gusty, but bright and sunny after the Typhoon had passed through the area. The result of the delayed qualifying was a front-row lockout for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel outpacing his young teammate Charles Leclerc, then the two Mercedes, Bottas in third, Hamilton fourth, followed by Max Verstappen and Alex Albon of Red Bull in fifth and sixth respectively.

It immediately unraveled for Ferrari with Vettel clearly jumping the start, however, the German avoided a penalty, as he was again stationary when the five lights went out, and suffered a terrible start, losing the lead to Bottas, dropping back to second, having to defend from teammate, Leclerc, Hamilton, and Max Verstappen. The other Ferrari of Leclerc drifted wide into Verstappen on the outside of turn 2, causing significant damage to his Red Bull, tipping the Dutchman into a spin. The Red Bull driver eventually retired from the race on lap 15, suffering a distinct lack of pace, and to save the power unit miles.

Leclerc and Ferrari elected to continue on instead of pitting to replace his damaged front wing, ignoring the requests of the FIA. Which came back to bite Ferrari on the ass with a 10 second time penalty for Leclerc and a €25,000 fine for Ferrari. Initially, the stewards came back with ‘no further action necessary’, before Leclerc and Ferrari ignored the stewards instruction. Leclerc got an additional five-second time penalty for his part in the lap 1, turn 2 incident with Verstappen, dropping him back behind the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who charged through the pack, from 16th to finish 7th on the road.

If Ferrari had followed instructions to pit Leclerc for repairs at the end of lap 1, it’s likely that no penalties would have been applied. It was clearly dangerous, with the Ferrari’s front wing endplate flying off and hitting Hamilton’s car, breaking the Mercedes right-wing mirror clean off. In my opinion, Ferrari was lucky to get off so lightly, Leclerc could have been disqualified, and/or Ferrari a much more significant fine.

Honestly, after the first couple of laps, it was static for the podium places, pit stops happened, no overtakes on and off track. Hamilton did get close to Vettel for second place, but could not pass despite having fresher softer tires fitted on his Mercedes towards the conclusion of the race.

Outside of the top 3 runners, Leclerc was carving his way through the field, making several passes into the Spoon Curve, to fight back from last place to sixth place on the track. Daniel Ricciardo, who started on the yellow marked medium tire, stayed out for 31 laps, making it up to sixth place, before pitting and changing to the red marked soft tires and dropping back to 11th place. From where the Aussie battled back to seventh place on the track, later being promoted to 6th place because of Leclerc’s time penalties.

Special mentions for Alex Albon and Carlos Sainz in the Red Bull and McLaren for finishing in fourth and fifth places respectively, kinda a quiet race from both drivers, but very solid results. It’s nice to see McLaren challenging for more than minor points, it’s a shame that Lando Norris was taken out of the equation on lap 4 when he and Albon tangled, costing the British driver dear, finishing in 13th place.

Finally, there was the FIA screwup with the showing of the chequered flag on the digital boards around the track. Which meant, due to rigid rules, the race result was rolled back one lap, meaning that Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who crashed out on the final lap, ended up being classified in 9th place. Clearly, it was an error by someone behind the scenes, and all drivers continued on like it hadn’t happened, so the FIA need to ignore it and classify the race on lap 53 as scheduled. What if Hamilton had passed Vettel on the final lap? that would have surely caused a massive stink, causing F1 even more embarrassment.

Japanese Grand Prix 2019 Results

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:21:46.755
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +13.343s
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +13.858s
4. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) +59.537s
5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +69.101s
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1 LAP
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +1 LAP
8. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) +1 LAP
9. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) +1 LAP
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +1 LAP

Have Something To Say About This Post? Please Comment Below!