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2017 Japanese Grand Prix Blog

It’s that time of year when Formula 1 races come thick and fast. A week after we said goodbye to Malaysia, we moved on to the Land of the Rising Sun for the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka is a favourite for fans and drivers alike. The first sector and ‘S’ bends are arguably the most exciting in Formula 1 and it’s fair to say we were rubbing our hands at the thought of the cars taking to this superb track.

One car stood out this weekend, and that was the Mercedes AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ of Lewis Hamilton. The Brit took pole on Saturday and in the process shattered the track record, setting a 1:27.319. He also controlled the Grand Prix on Sunday, leading from start to finish. The Red Bull of Max Verstappen was gaining during the final laps but there was an air of inevitability that Hamilton was always going to win this race.

Why was it so easy? Well the main reason is that having started in 2nd spot the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel quickly dropped through the field before retiring on lap 4, a spark plug failure enough to end his race. Ferrari will understandably be downbeat. A statement from the team today read:

‘Kimi’s performance proved that the team and the car are capable of getting the job done and until the maths says it’s over, we will keep trying.’

The problem is, sooner rather than later, it may well be mathematically impossible. With 100 points left available, Lewis has a 59-point lead. This is good for British Sport and the thousands of Hamilton fans out there, but if you’re a neutral a DNF for Hamilton would be excellent news for the Championship.

And this is not an impossibility when you look at the remaining races. In 2015 Austin was hit by monsoon like conditions causing eight retirements during the race. Whilst last year appallingly wet conditions at Interlagos resulted in 5 safety cars, two stoppages, 5 retirements and a DNS.

Red Bull are also enjoying somewhat of a resurgence with two double podium finishes in seven days. From Hamilton’s point of view there is surely nobody he would like less than Max Verstappen to be racing against him in the final four races. Mercedes need to remain 100% focussed to get their man over the line.

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