Good afternoon Suzuka!
Rosberg is on pole but not feeling 100% and Kvyat is okay after doing a flip in quali.
Shout out to the Japanese fans for their AMAZING hats, banners and general support of the sport. You legends.
LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!
Lap 1: Hamilton has taken the lead, Ricciardo and Massa touch. Perez is off the track. Vettel and Bottas overtake Rosberg to put him in 4th followed by Raikkonen.
Lap 2: Puncture town! Massa and Ricciardo both with a blown tire after their contact. Limping into the pits. Perez also with a puncture.
Lap 4: Alonso in the points defending 9th from Sainz but loses the scrap.
Lap 6: Rosberg on the hunt for Bottas and 3rd place.
The McLaren drivers are officially over it. They’re being overtaken left, right and centre and Alonso for one has called it “embarrassing” over team radio. We may lose two world champions out of the sport at the end of this year and that would be a travesty.
Lap 9: Verstappen playing the long game against Nasr trying to take 12th.
Lap 11: Lots of pit stops starting to happen. Those who have pitted we assume are on a three stop strategy. Replay of Ericsson going off the track but he rejoins and it’s all good.
Lap 12: Bottas pits and it looks like this might be a strategy by Williams to attempt to undercut Rosberg! Draaama.
Lap 13: Hulkenberg overtakes Ericsson for 7th.
Lap 14: Vettel pits in 2.2 seconds like damn.
Lap 15: Raikkonen pits, rejoins in 5th. Rosberg told to pit this lap.
Lap 16: Hamilton told to pit this lap. Alonso, Kvyat and Verstappen all battling it out for 11th, 12th and 13th respectively. Currently the most interesting thing happening on track.
Lap 18: Well it may have been brutal but it worked and now Rosberg takes 3rd place.
Kvyat can’t use the overtake button due to reliability issues. I wish I had an overtake button when I’m stuck behind slow walking people hogging the sidewalk.
Lap 21: Verstappen looking very close to Kvyat. Kvyat does the work for Verstappen and pits. Raikkonen now on the tail of Bottas. FIN ON FIN ACTION AHOY!
Lap 23: Alonso defends from Verstappen. Button defends from Ericsson.
Lap 24: Perez overtakes Nasr, takes 14th.
Vettel maintains a 2 second gap ahead of Rosberg.
Replay of Kvyat indulging in some off roading which he really needs to stop doing.
Lap 26: The long game pays off for Verstappen as he overtakes Alonso to claim 10th and get in the points.
Lap 27: We just heard Alonso crack over team radio. Claims that his engine is of “GP 2” standard. He mad.
Lap 28: Raikkonen now playing the long game on Bottas. Long ass pitstop for Sainz as he gets his nose changed – debris on the track from whatever Sainz clipped.
Lap 29: Raikkonen pits and rejoins in 8th, probably looking to go to the end of race on these tires.
Lap 30: Bottas pits but the undercut by Ferrari has worked and Raikkonen gets ahead!
Lap 31: Rosberg has undercut Vettel by pitting early. Vettel pits but rejoins behind the Mercedes in 3rd.
Lap 40: Big scrap for 12th going on between Ericsson, Perez, Button and Kvyat. Kvyat moves up into 14th ahead of Button.
Lap 42: Vettel closes in on Rosberg #PrepareForBattle more like #PrayForBattle
Replay of a big old spin by Stevens in his Marussia. 🎶 Smooooke on the traaaaaack 🎶
Lap 45: Verstappen overtakes teammate Sainz to grab 9th place.
Lap 48: Cars continue to drive around the track at high speed. Here’s the race in emoji form: 🚘🔃🏁
Lap 51: Kvyat overtakes Ericsson, takes 13th and sandwiches him between the two Red Bull drivers.
Lap 52: Nasr has retired? Not sure why though.
So we are on to the final lap and unless something catastrophic happens Hamilton is going to win the Japanese Grand Prix followed by
bridesmaid teammate Rosberg then the two Ferarri’s of Vettel and Raikkonen.
Yep, that’s exactly what has happened.
More interestingly Bottas takes 5th, Hulkenberg 6th, the Lotus’ of Grosjean and Maldonado not crashing (there’s a shock) and taking 7th and 8th respectively and the two Toro Rosso’s of Verstappen in 9th and Sainz in 10th.
Well that race was…okay I guess? Not particularly interesting up front but an honorable mention to the midfield for some sweet scraps and a bit of wheel to wheel action.
See you next time in Russia!