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2014 Japanese F1 GP: Hamilton Victorious, Bianchi Critically Injured Photo:
2014_japan_f1_gp_04_force_india_01 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_04_mclaren_02 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_01_mercedes_f1_03 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_04_force_india_03 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_02_red_bull_01 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_03_williams_02 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_04_force_india_02 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_01_mercedes_f1_04 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_02_red_bull_02 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_04_mclaren_03 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_02_red_bull_03 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_01_mercedes_f1_02 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_04_mclaren_01 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_01_mercedes_f1_01 Photo: tmr
2014_japan_f1_gp_03_williams_01 Photo: tmr
 
 
Peter Anderson | Oct, 05 2014 | 2 Comments

First published Sunday October 5, 10:30pm AEDT

Update: Monday, 8:30am AEDT

Jules Bianchi underwent emergency surgery overnight after a disastrous crash toward the end of the incident-filled Japan race.

The 25 year-old French driver is now in intensive care. His condition remains serious.

Update: Tuesday, 10:30am AEDT

Fan footage has emerged of Jules Bianchi's horror crash on lap 44 of the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. Questions must be asked of the FIA's decision to stage the race. Details here.


Lewis Hamilton took victory ahead of Nico Rosberg after a shortened race finished in pitlane after a bad accident brought the dreaded sight of an ambulance to the sodden Suzuka track.

Under darkening skies, the race red-flagged after Jules Bianchi hit a recovery tractor in his Marussia.

Daniel Ricciardo took fourth on a day when results meant nothing to worried drivers.

 

PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING

Suzuka served up the usual dose of drama, both on and off the track.

Sebastian Vettel announced he was pulling the trigger on a performance clause allowing him to leave Red Bull - without an official destination. Which is most likely Fernando Alonso's seat at Ferrari.

Hamilton and Ricciardo both crashed in the practice sessions while high-schooler Max Verstappen continued the 2014 tradition of debuting in FP1 and having car trouble. Nevertheless, he managed P12 in Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

Qualifying saw a battle for the front row between the Mercedes pair, with Rosberg prevailing.

The second row was locked up by a confident Williams team with Bottas going faster than Massa, and Alonso and Ricciardo shared the third row. Vettel managed P7.

Pastor Maldonado and Jean-Eric Vergne both copped ten place penalties for using their sixth engine for the year, putting them on the last row.

 

RACE

The race started under safety car conditions because even the extremely well-maintained track couldn't cope with the lashing rain from Typhoon Phanfone.

Even behind the Safety Car, Caterham's Marcus Ericsson fell off the track and into the gravel, pushed out by some obliging marshals.

At the end of the third lap, the field was brought into the pit lane and parked for about twenty minutes. The race was rescheduled to resume at 3:25pm local time.

On the restart, the field rumbled out of the pits behind the SLS AMG driven by Bernd Maylander.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso only made it half a lap, his car juddering to a halt and gifting Ricciardo a place. They droned around for yet more laps with everyone staying out of trouble.

All drivers were on full wets but were talking about moving to intermediates by lap seven, Lewis Hamilton pleading with race director Charlie Whiting to get things moving.

Button agreed with his compatriot but Vettel was more circumspect.

The crowd roared on lap nine as Whiting finally gave the go-ahead for the Safety Car to return to the pits.

Rosberg pulled the field almost to a stop at the final chicane but was unable to fool Hamilton the way he had hoped. The Briton fired into turn one right behind Rosberg and they pulled away from third placed Bottas.

Maldonado and Button came into the pits for intermediates, rolling the dice.

Vettel had a go at Magnussen but had to abort to avoid an accident.

Felipe Massa complained loudly over the radio about the conditions, but was told to press on.

Maldonado fell off soon after leaving the pits while Button matched the pace of the wet-shod Mercedes who had a huge lead over Valtteri Bottas.

One lap 12, Bottas and Ricciardo led a line of cars into the pits, to switch to intermediates. As Bottas led Ricciardo out of the pitlane, Jenson Button shot past to take fourth, which would become third when Massa pitted.

Vettel and Massa pitted on lap 13, Massa holding position ahead of the reigning world champion. Ricciardo's first choice suddenly didn't look great as Vettel got out ahead of him, by a matter of a few metres.

Rosberg pitted at the end of lap 13, leaving Hamilton in the lead. Rosberg dropped to second but would regain the lead next time around as Hamilton ran wide at Spoon on his in-lap.

Over a couple of laps, the Red Bull and Williams drivers put on a spectacular show as Vettel scored excellent passes of Massa and Bottas at the hairpin while Ricciardo passed both Williams around the outside through the Esses.

Button held third almost twenty seconds behind the Mercedes and about 15 seconds ahead of Vettel, whose times he was able to match for a lap or two.

As further laps unfolded, the Red Bulls began to go faster and faster, beginning to reel in Button's McLaren and go much faster than the leading Mercedes.

Hamilton was the faster of those two, closing right in on Rosberg.

Raikkonen and Kvyat pitted at the end of lap 23 but Raikkonen had trouble with his right front wheel, leaving him stranded for well over ten seconds. The Finn just can't get a clean weekend from his Ferrari team.

The Mercedes battle got even juicier as news came through that DRS has been enabled by the race director. On lap 26, Hamilton had a go down the inside of turn one but wisely wound it back.

Rosberg was complaining of excessive oversteer which explained his lack of pace compared to Hamilton and his pursuers.

Hamilton had another go at turn one but he went wide and ended up off track after he nearly lost the rear-end under braking. He resumed without further pain and was back behind Rosberg's gearbox by Spoon curve.

On lap 29, Hamilton made a mighty pass into turn one. Rosberg appeared confused as to where Hamilton was lurking in the spray along the main straight - the German went right and Hamilton hid in the spray before jinking left to pass and take the lead. He was two seconds down the road by the time the lap was finished.

Vettel pitted on lap 30 for another set of intermediates. Button's great work was undone on lap 32 when he stopped and had to change steering wheels, letting Vettel out in front.

Magnussen had a moment at turn one, with the car performing a full pirouette after understeering into the astro-turf.

Ricciardo stayed out when Rosberg came in at the end of lap 33. The stop was a little long to allow for front wing adjustments to deal with the oversteer. Hamilton pitted two laps later.

Ricciardo got stuck behind backmarkers and got some unwelcome news about heavy rain in the pitlane, just in time for his stop at the end of lap 36.

As he exited the pits, Kevin Magnussen went around the outside of Ricciardo to unlap himself.

Vettel went off into the gravel on lap 39 as he went through the Esses. This brought Button right into contact with the Red Bull, which in turn saw Ricciardo draw much nearer.

The Australian took an opportunity at the hairpin but slightly overcooked it. Button was able to get ahead again by the Degner Curves.

Sadly for those pursuing, DRS was disabled on lap 41, meaning the rain had returned to Suzuka. Ricciardo had another go at the hairpin but it was a little half-hearted and didn't trouble either driver.

Magnussen stopped again on lap 42 to take on full wets as the rain intensified. Once more Ricciardo made the move at the hairpin stick to take fourth place.

Button pitted for wets as Sutil slid off the track at the Dunlop Curves, his Sauber arriving on the scene backwards.

Soon after, Jules Bianchi's Marussia arrived at speed, sideways, crashing into the tractor removing Sutil's car.

Bianchi was put in the ambulance and taken to the medical centre and then on to a local hospital where he underwent surgery.

The red flag was soon thrown, leaving the race to finish in pitlane. Celebrations were restrained after Bianchi's incident as it dawned on the paddock the incident was serious.

Hamilton has extended his lead over his teammate to ten points. Formula 1 returns in a week for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.

Australian driver Ricciardo said: "The race was tricky, it wasn't going too badly and the set-up we had for yesterday paid off. We tried a few different things with the strategy, but Bianchi is my main concern at the moment."

 

2014 Japanese F1 GP Results

  1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1h51m43.021s -
  2. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes +9.180s
  3. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull/Renault +29.122s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault +38.818s
  5. Jenson Button - McLaren/Mercedes +1m07.550s
  6. Valtteri Bottas - Williams/Mercedes +1m53.773s
  7. Felipe Massa - Williams/Mercedes +1m55.126s
  8. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India/Mercedes +1m55.948s
  9. Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso/Renault +2m07.638s
  10. Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes +1 Lap
  11. Daniil Kvyat - Toro Rosso/Renault +1 Lap
  12. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari +1 Lap
  13. Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber/Ferrari +1 Lap
  14. Kevin Magnussen - McLaren/Mercedes +1 Lap
  15. Romain Grosjean - Lotus/Renault - +1 Lap
  16. Pastor Maldonado - Lotus/Renault +1 Lap
  17. Marcus Ericsson Caterham/Renault - +1 Lap
  18. Max Chilton - Marussia/Ferrari - +1 Lap
  19. Kamui Kobayashi - Caterham/Renault - +1 Lap

DNF

Jules Bianchi - Marussia/Ferrari - Spun off
Adrian Sutil - Sauber/Ferrari - Spun off
Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - Retirement

 
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