By Hillary Chinyere
Durban, 5 October 2014.
The champagne-free podium was a bit subdued due to the circumstances surrounding the end of the race.
In July, Lewis Hamilton passed his Mercedes team-mateNico Rosberg for the lead on lap 29 during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. He made another brave overtake on the German on lap 29 during the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit. This morning he made a similar manoeuvre into lap 29 during the Japanese edition of the 2014 season on a wet Suzuka, using DRS, to eventually win the race under a red flag.
The media attention during this weekend was barely on the race itself. In the run up to the race, everyone was warming up to the surprise announcement made by the reigning four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel that he will be ending his 15-year marriage with Red Bull Racing at the end of this season.
The race was red-flagged on the 44th lap following a spin by Adrian Sutil at Turn 7 after he lost control of his Sauber due to a damaged rear-wing. Even though race marshals double-waved yellow flags at the corner to warn drivers after the incident, deteriorating conditions induced by a further downpour led to a similar but more serious crash by Marussia’s Jules Bianchi.Bianchi hit the crane which was sent to recover Sutil’s car, head first.After looking at the pictures, it seems more than understood that the Marussia made a very heavy contact with the crane, continued rolling underneath, and settled below the crane.
The unconscious Bianchi was ferried to the nearby hospital by a road ambulance as the weather was too dangerous to air-lift him.
Adrian Sutil said afterwards, “I was standing right next to it. Out of respect for Jules I don’t want to say any more.”
His father confirmed that his son was currently receiving surgery and was reported to have suffered severe head damage.
The race was started under a safety car as a result of the wet conditions and it stayed on until the race was red-flagged temporarily on lap 8, before resuming later.
sebastian Vettel wrapped up the podium fro the second time in as many races, ahead of Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo who came fourth. The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa took sixth and seventh respectively, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez’s Force India’s both in the points – either side of ninth placed Jean-Eric Vergne, who had started from 19th after an engine change.
Our thoughts are with Jules Bianchi and his family.