Hamilton Wins at a Sombre Suzuka

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.


4 thoughts on “Hamilton Wins at a Sombre Suzuka

  1. It has been a long time since there has been an accident in F1 that is of this order of seriousness. The lack of any news in the immediate aftermath was also a bit strange, hinting that this was not just another crash.
    What is also quite odd is that he went off in the same place last year and a near identical (possibly the same) crane-truck lifted his car out that time around.
    I have never warmed to Adrian Sutil however I feel some feelings for him today, he must have some survivor’s guilt to deal with. Regardless of procedures and safety standards, had he not gone off then the crane would not have been there.
    This has been a reminder that no matter how well every eventuality is prepared for there will be scenarios when F1 is revealed to be inherently dangerous. The show goes on though, ultimately, as per any job, nobody is indispensable, even the driver in F1. Yet, was it all worth it, driving round a figure of eight in the rain on a Sunday? For Jules, no, not today.
    A while ago after Kimi’s crash Lauda was wondering whether it was worth delaying the race for the barrier to be fixed. His thinking was that nobody else would go off *there*. Maybe we need more safety first, perhaps yellow flags should mean pit lane speeds.
    As well as wishing that Jules can recover from this incident I hope that F1 can review safety to make sure this does not happen again.


  2. After Singapore and Japan I finally dare say this with 100% certainty where as before I always doubted a little. Rosberg has never been a real challenger to Lewis. Alright he took pole but nobody can drive perfect all the time. To quote MidweekMotorsport ‘It’s Hamiltons to lose now’ and ‘It’s Hamilton only now’. The fact it’s not eight to four wins just says it all. In the end I still don’t rate Hamilton higher than Alonso or Vettel. Surely better than Button and Raikkonen. But Rosberg is, for me, just not in the same class as any of those. I even dare say Grosjean, Webber, Ricciardo, Hülkenberg,… are bigger raw talents than he is.


  3. I disagree. We all knew Hamilton is faster, when he gets his act together. And especially one of the better drivers in the wet. Nothing new there. But on the other hand, saturday showed us why Hamilton might lose out on the championship by slipping up.

    Rosberg is doing all he can to keep the pressure on, and he is doing so very well.


  4. While I can agree that LH, all thngs being equal, has the upper hand, I disagree with the statement that NR has never been a real challenger. They wouldn’t be only 10 points apart with nearly equal unreliability if that were the case. There never would have been the tense moments between the two in this fantastic rivalry if that were the case.

    The last thing LH will be thinking right now is that NR is no real challenger. LH will know that after the next race NR could find himself ahead of him again. One never knows. So LH would not agree with the concept that NR is no real challenger. Many think he is doing a stellar job keeping the pressure on LH and not squandering the great car he has in this his first season of having a WDC capable car. No matter what, he will learn a ton from this year, and he will know that LH and other WDCs have not won it every time they have had the capable car.


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