With Super Typhoon Hagibis in sight, the Japanese Grand Prix 2019 was sure to have surprises. It is safe to say people weren’t disappointed with what they saw. From crashes, pit stop drama, and last-minute chases, Shizuka had everything for the viewers.
No race is complete without a qualifying round. It was postponed to Sunday. Even the third practice session was abandoned due to bad weather. Robert Kubica and Kevin Magnussen retired in Q1. Q2 was predictable as usual. However, Q1 shocked a lot of people as Ferrari took the front row with Vettel at the pole. This happened after Mercedes looked to be the quickest in practice. So, the race was beautifully set, which was just a few hours later.
As always, Ferrari found a way to mess up the situation, both their cars had a slow start. Valtteri took charge while Vettel remained second. Leclerc slipped to fifth before crashing with Max Verstappen. Shortly after which Verstappen had to retire, and Leclerc had to go for a pit stop. Luckily nothing major happened at the start for the rest.
The missed opportunity in the middle
Leclerc falls back after his pit stop; however, he became hunting in the middle of the race. He did pull some great move, but it wasn’t his best. As he could only finish 7th at the end. Even Mercedes made a big mistake. They had the fastest car on the track. Vettel was clearly struggling. With Bottas upfront comfortably, Mercedes decided to play safe and didn’t pit Hamilton sooner, which cause them later in the race.
Albon and Sainz struck gold!
With Verstappen out, Leclerc down the order. Places were up for grab in 4th and 5th. Albon had a tough start when he slowed down due to Mercedes and later was affected by the Leclerc Max collision. However, the red bull driver drove exceptionally well. He and Sainz took full advantage of the situation to finish fourth and fifth in the Japanese Grand Prix 2019.
Ricciardo had an average race and somehow came in at 6th place in this mess. Leclerc did manage to recover with some slick overtake but couldn’t finish higher than 7th. While Gasly, Perez, and Hulkenberg completed the top 10.
Another bad week for Williams!
It looks like Williams doesn’t want to finish any higher this season. Both of their drivers finished 18th and 19th. Both Kubica and Russell were the only drivers who were two laps behind. Williams has scored just one point in the constructors’ Championship all season. The team above them is Haas, with 28 points. Things are not looking good for Williams, who is definitely in a crisis.
Hamilton became the Joke of the race
Usually, it is Bottas who gets this tag, but it was his partner who was honored with it in the race. Ferrari was far behind Mercedes. With Bottas stretching his lead at the front, it was only evitable that Vettel slipped. This was the case when Vettel pitted at lap 16 for a two-pit strategy. Two laps after which Bottas came in. Hamilton was told he was on a one-lap strategy.
However, the green Japanese grand Prix track was washed clean on Saturday by Typhoon Hagibis. High tyre degradation took place, and Hamilton was forced to pit at lap 21. With 10 laps to go, Hamilton had a new set of fresh tyres to chase Vettel, which he did in three laps. But the Ferrari’s straight-line speed advantage was too much for him. The Japanese Grand Prix 2018 winner only managed to finish 3rd this time around.
Mercedes won 6th consecutive Constructors Championship
Mercedes has equaled Ferrari’s record of winning 6th Championship on a trot. This is a huge achievement, considering they don’t have the fastest car for the last two years. Tito Wolff is to be congratulated for this. However, things are not looking so good behind the scenes for Mercedes.
Is it too late for Bottas?
Bottas is the Japanese Grand Prix 2019 winner, this is his third win of the season, but the question on everyone’s mind is it too late. Hamilton is 64 points ahead of him, and with just four races to go, it looks very unlikely that he will give any trouble to the current champion. But it was a good race for the guy from Finland.
A final word on the race
The Japanese Grand Prix always has something for the audience, and this year was no exception. The race was filled with tons of mistakes, but some excellent racing from Bottas and Vettel lead them to finish 1st and 2nd in the Japanese Grand Prix 2019. Even Albon and Sainz should be appreciated for their effort. Hamilton has to wait more for his championship medal.
Photo by SUZUKA CIRCUIT