Hamilton Wins On Wet And Tragic Day In Japan

SUZUKA, Japan- A difficult, wet day because of the threat of Typhoon Phanfone did not stop Lewis Hamilton from passing his teammate Nico Rosberg on lap 29 to give the Briton his first win at this circuit Sunday Afternoon by 9.2 seconds. Sadly the race, which almost did not begin, lasted until lap 46, when Marussia driver Jules Bianchi crashed into a crane when it was serving Adrian Sutil who earlier spun his Sauber off the track and retired. Sebastian Vettel took third in an impressive drive after starting ninth.

Hamilton was pleased with his win, which puts him ten points ahead of Rosberg in the championship, but at this moment, his thoughts were about Bianchi.

“Our first thoughts go to Jules” stated Hamilton. “It overshadows everything else when one of our colleagues is injured and we are praying for him. Next to this, the race result doesn’t seem significant at all. Nico (Rosberg) and I had a tough battle, we were pushing really hard. I had a big moment at Turn One when I was too late getting off the DRS as I was just pushing so hard but fortunately I was able to get back on track. The conditions were difficult throughout but I had more pace than Nico today and could follow him quite comfortably in the early stages.”

The race started with every driver participating with full wets. But the course had too much retaining water, so the safety car was deployed for the first two laps until it was too wet to continue. All drivers came into the pits and waited for 15 minutes before the rains subsided.

The safety car returned for another eight laps, but one driver that did not see the start was Fernando Alonso who encountered electrical problems while following in this cautionary period, pulling over his Ferrari and retiring from the race.

But the course was about as good as it could get, and with the safety car off the course, most drivers began to realize that a possible change to intermediate tires was the best solution. But both Rosberg and Hamilton remained on wets, and despite this both cars went out in front quick, they both established a gap of five seconds between the top two and the third place driver Valterri Bottas, by five seconds. As all drivers changed to intermediates, Rosberg and Hamilton finally did the same, with Rosberg continuing to lead. But by lap 29, Hamilton came down the straight and passed Rosberg on the outside, taking the lead for the rest of the race. Rosberg, who had been complaining of over steer slowed down, giving Hamilton the chance to increase his lead by four seconds.

However, by the 43rd lap, the rain began to intensify, and with the visibility becoming worse, Adrian Sutil was the first driver who lost control and struck the wall on turn seven. As the German was escorted off the track by marshalls, the circuit’s crane was in the process of towing away the Sauber when Marussia’s Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia and struck the crane. Immediately, because of Sutil’s shunt the safety car came out again and on lap 47, because of the severity of Bianchi’s accident, the race was stopped. Bianchi was taken to the nearest hospital unconscious with a severe head injury.

Daniel Ricciardo was in fourth, while Jenson Button, who always does well here, took fifth. The Williams pair of Bottas and Felipe Massa, were next in sixth and seventh, respectively. Jean-Eric Vergne was ninth, and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished eighth and tenth.

Although the race was tough all day long, Hamilton knew that there was only one move that caused him to win the race.

“This is not an easy circuit for following another car or for overtaking, but he made a mistake out of the last corner and I was able to pass.” He said. “The whole approach then needed to change to look after the tires and make sure I stayed in the lead until the end of the race. But like I said, that’s not what matters today; our thoughts are with Jules.”

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