OVERTAKE OF THE DAY
HE: Magnussen (vs Massa) - a pretty inventive move. He saw Massa repeatedly leave a gap in Turn 2 and dived into it. Pretty forceful but it got the job done and saw a double points score for the Haas boys.
BH: Magnussen (vs Massa) – Was it forceful? Absolutely, but it was a clinical move that Magnussen made. The majority of overtaking maneuvers we saw were down at turn 1, but all of the others were much simpler than this.
SS: Verstappen (vs Vettel) Was he struggling with engine issues this early into the race? We aren’t entirely certain, but once again the Flying Dutchman with the utmost confidence through the car down the inside of the four-time world champion and galloped down the road after Lewis. Top Stuff.
OVERACHIEVER OF THE DAY
HE: Esteban Ocon - Another cracking race from the future star. He was in 3rd for quite a considerable time, holding off the much faster Ricciardo. Top stuff from Ocon. He won the intra team battle this time.
BH: Kevin Magnussen – K Mag has had some difficult weekends throughout the season and is trailing his teammate quite comfortably, but he seemed to be very focused in Japan. As previously mentioned, I was impressed with the overtake he pulled off and P8 was the absolute maximum he could’ve got out of that race.
SS: Kevin Magnussen – Ben says it all here. As much as K Mag can be dull and a little nonexistent he certainly turned up for Japan. Haas often go under the radar but this weekend was strong for them, good to see from the American team.
UNDERACHIEVER OF THE DAY
HE: Stoffel Vandoorne - Unless I missed something, Vandoorne started ahead of Alonso but finished behind him? It was a rather lacklustre race from Stoff who had been pretty close to Fernando during the weekend.
BH: Lance Stroll – First of all, his retirement was not his fault and I don’t blame him at all for that, but the race up until that point was far from a success. He was a long way off his teammate and he seemed to be making some unnecessary mistakes. He’s had some good races so far this year but is still too inconsistent.
SS: Valtteri Bottas – One team mate takes his 61st win. One team mate almost solidifies the world title. One team mate is overtaken before even making his first pitstop by the other team mate who is a whole stop ahead of him. Bottas is poor and he needs to step up or he’s out.
DRIVER OF THE DAY
HE: Lewis Hamilton - He has pretty much sealed up the championship now. He smashed quail and held off a feisty Verstappen on race day. A pretty perfect weekend for the British driver.
BH: Max Verstappen – The resurgence of Verstappen continues! Whilst Vettel was struggling at the beginning of the race, the move at the hairpin was very well executed. From there he was able to kick on and didn’t allow Hamilton to race away into the distance. He was very nearly rewarded for his persistence but just lost out.
SS: Esteban Ocon – I know a little left field but Ocon in a much slower car is consistently performing way above expectation in what is his first full rookie season. Fighting in an aggressive but well-mannered sensible way, I look forward to seeing this youngster drive every single weekend.
THOUGHTS ON THE RACE
HE: It was dull really, and made even more disappointing by the loss of Vettel at the start. The championship is effectively over which is a shame considering where we were 4 races ago. Hamilton was mighty, the two Red Bulls proved that they have better pace than previously seen. It was the end of the road for Jo P and Sainz says goodbye to Toro Rosso. I hope Austin impresses more.
BH: A dull race with a thrilling finale, fantastic news for everyone who slugged out the first portion of the race at 6:00. Some more bad luck for Ferrari cost us what could have been a fascinating battle for the win and even more importantly, it looks as if the championship is well and truly over. Hamilton continues his fine form as he picks up his 4th win in 5 races and Verstappen continues to make up for lost time as he’s now picked up 43 points in 2 races (compared with 68 from the previous 14). Could he have snatched the victory without Massa and Alonso’s battle? Probably not, but it was a great end to the race nonetheless.
SS: A lot more overtaking than people are crediting the race for and many teams having real car issues. We see the end of the Sainz/Toro Rosso partnership and now ofc ourse, we bid fair well to my close and personal friend: Jolyon Palmer. Keep your eyes peeled on the tribe this week as I was invited to an undisclosed location to speak to Jolyon about his real passion in life… (It involved Llamas, obviously. You must know what I’m like by now).
(P.S for legal reasons, no he wasn't) HE