Following last week’s pretty abysmal, and rather unusual, Mercedes showing the Silver Arrows needed to show that the previous race’s disappointment was purely a blip.
The pair were consistently on top throughout qualifying, Nico Rosberg narrowly pipping team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the beginning of Q3 before the session was cancelled following a spectacular crash from the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 26, 2015
With 41 points between the pair Rosberg really needed to pull a fantastic start out of the bag but sadly for the German it was not meant to be.
As the lights went out Hamilton made a strong start and aggressively pushed Rosberg off the track as he overtook into Turn Two, leaving Rosberg floundering down in fourth.
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 27, 2015
All the drama of the race happened at the very start with a clash between Williams’ Felipe Massa and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. The pair suffered with punctures, limping back to the pits and falling right to the back of the pack.
Sergio Perez also lost out in his Force India, having to make a quick pit stop as he drove straight over the gravel.
Gracias a todos los Fans ! Son increíbles, mucho cariño!! Thanks to all the Fans! You are… https://t.co/S05F8TIyfy
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) September 27, 2015
Kvyat was starting from the pit lane following his qualifying disaster but for once some luck was on his side as he managed to avoid the action further ahead.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas capitalised on a great start, moving ahead of Rosberg into second and third.
— Lotus F1 Team (@Lotus_F1Team) September 27, 2015
Lotus have been the topic of much conversation around the paddock of late, not able to even have hospitality in Japan due to financial struggles, the team even facing court on Monday. But both drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado moved up into sixth and seventh after qualifying out of the top ten. It was a solid performance from the pair throughout the race.
It was yet another bad day at the office for McLaren, Japan the home of their Honda engine. Early on in the race Fernando Alonso was taken by the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson, sharing his upset over the team radio: “embarrassing”.
— BBCF1 (@bbcf1) September 27, 2015
Mercedes needed a good pit stop and though Rosberg came out behind Bottas it wasn’t long before the German gained on the Finn and moved up into third.
Meanwhile Hamilton had a massive advantage, coming out of his first pit stop with a 6.7s lead over nearest rival Vettel.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 27, 2015
There was some trouble for Kvyat with brake issues but the young Russian managed to hold on, even overtaking Ericsson by following Raikkonen through, Ericsson having to move over slightly for the blue flags.
Max Verstappen proved once again that he is a fabulous talent for Toro Rosso, overtaking Alonso who cried his disappointment about his “GP2 engine” over the radio. It really did seem that the season is taking its toll on the usually calm and composed Spaniard.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) September 27, 2015
Aside from some great overtakes from Verstappen and a few moments of wheel-to-wheel action further down the field there wasn’t much going on at the Suzuka circuit this year. Carlos Sainz put some pressure on his Toro Rosso team, crashing into a cone on his way into the pits and resulting in a quick decision to change his front wing.
Ferrari tried to push Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Rosberg but their pit stop didn’t add much and the Finn was left in fourth, having managed to pass fellow Finn Bottas.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 27, 2015
We were very near to having a race with no retirements but with only two laps to go Sauber’s Felipe Nasr finished his race, the team stating on social media that they were still investigating what had happened.
As the chequered flag appeared Hamilton took yet another easy win, Rosberg and Vettel rounding off the podium. Raikkonen finished in fourth ahead of Bottas, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Maldonado, Verstappen and Sainz.
— Felipe Nasr (@FelipeNasr) September 26, 2015
There are now 48 points between Hamilton and Rosberg in the championship standings and we seem to be looking ever closer to a third world title for the Brit.
As always the off-track action was the most captivating with McLaren’s Ron Dennis revealing to the BBC that he wants both Button and Alonso to be with the team into 2016, though the Spaniard made hints that if all is not sorted he could be heading away from McLaren, and even Formula 1 itself.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 27, 2015
It was a sad weekend for the Marussia team as the race marked the year anniversary since Jules Bianchi’s crash, which lead to his death earlier this year.
Formula 1 takes to Russia in a fortnight where a repeat of 2014, a Hamilton and Rosberg 1-2, will be the likely result.
What did you make of the Japanese Grand Prix? Leave your comments below.