Update Post: November 30, 2023 5:12 pm
The race in Japan was won by Max Verstappen with a clear advantage: the championship leader separated from the peloton so quickly that he only occasionally appeared on television. But this is not surprising: behind the Dutchman there were many interesting events. Then, at the start of the race, Lewis Hamilton ejected his own teammate from the track and, in the end, Carlos Sainz had to correct Ferrari’s tactical miscalculation.
We summarize the results of the 17th stage of Formula 1.
Hamilton framed Russell…
In Japan, George Russell was the only one who risked racing with a pit stop. Initially, his strategy focused on economical tire management at the expense of a slightly more modest pace than others. And after the start, everything should have gone as it should: although Alonso and Pérez took the lead, Russell was able to stay away from Hamilton by using traditional and more aggressive tactics, driving at his own pace and taking care of the tires.
However, on the restart, Lewis could not separate himself from his teammate: on lap five, Russell was ahead of the former champion at the chicane at the end of the lap, but then failed to counterattack into the first corner. And just before his first pit stop, Hamilton grabbed the gravel, let his teammate back in, and then drove him off the track in the Spoon. These episodes probably cost George a couple of seconds, or even more, given the increased tire wear when he is tailgating another car.
Hamilton squeezes Russell in Spoon
After stopping in the pits about halfway through the race, Russell was just over 13 seconds behind Sainz and 8.6 behind Hamilton. With new tires, George quickly made up time, but by lap 40 the tires began to wear down and his rivals were now faster. 12 laps before the finish, Russell lost to Piastri and fell out of the top 3, three more later Leclerc took the lead and George let Hamilton pass with less than five laps left in the race.
As Russell would later say, Mercedes was counting on the appearance of a safety car or red flags, which would help the driver stay in the top three. However, even without this, George had a chance to finish the race higher than seventh, but was prevented from doing so by Hamilton at the start of the race, when he forced his teammate to give up extra seconds at the start of the race.
Russell was the only one in the one-stop tactic
Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
In the end, Piastri gained a second per lap on Russell and, in theory, this overtaking could have taken place not on lap 41, but on lap 43. Consequently, Leclerc would have managed to take the lead not in 45th place, but in 48, which means that the fight with Hamilton and Sainz would have occurred in the final laps. Furthermore, the tire consumption of George’s pursuers would also be higher and, in theory, the Mercedes drivers could finish fifth and sixth instead of fifth and seventh.
After the finish, Hamilton admitted that he made mistakes in the first segment; He explained them by the fact that due to the lack of downforce, understeer occurred. Lewis, of course, did not deliberately slow down Russell, but he knew that by being behind his teammate, who had a one-stop tactic, he risked losing the entire race and therefore defended himself with all his strength. However, the truth is that the former champion added problems to his partner.
Japanese Grand Prix in detail:
…and Ferrari deprived Sainz of fifth place
If Russell’s tactics are clear, then in the case of Sainz there are certain questions for Ferrari. The Spaniard opted for the same tactic as Charles Leclerc: two segments in the middle and a hard finish. Until lap 34, everything went according to plan: the Ferrari drivers took fourth and fifth place, and Leclerc went to the second pit stop. But for some reason they decided to postpone Carlos’s second pit stop.
Had Sainz stopped on the next lap after Leclerc, he would have returned to the track immediately behind him, with a five-second gap between Charles and Hamilton. In fact, Carlos pitted four laps later than his teammate, as the lead over Lewis was reduced from 23 seconds to 17. This would have been a logical move if the Spaniard had finished on soft tyres, but he finished the race. race with hard tires.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz
Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
The second “medium” section for Sainz ended up being 20 laps, and he went to the “hard” section with 15 laps to go. The strategists had the opportunity to take a risk and give Carlos a “soft” at the last pit stop, but before that he had only used kits, and it seems that this was what tipped the team towards a harder composition.
One way or another, the three extra laps on the worn-out “middle” cost Sainz fifth place. Perhaps on lap 35 Carlos would have left Hamilton behind, but even in this case the difference would have been minimal. Due to Ferrari’s advantage over Mercedes, the Spaniard would almost certainly be ahead of Lewis, and then a lap or two after Leclerc would have passed Russell. But in the end, trapped behind George, Sainz no longer had time to catch up with Hamilton.
In Japan, Sargent caused two more accidents:
And do they really want to keep a pilot like that?! The American rookie overtakes the cars in every second stage
Aston Martin is no longer the same
Aston Martin’s suffering continues. Lawrence Stroll’s team was second fastest at the start of the year and, after six tests, ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari. Now the AMR23 is the fifth or sixth fastest car on the grid. Thus, Fernando Alonso lost more than 17 seconds to George Russell, the last of the Big Four team drivers to reach the finish line.
Alonso fights more and more with the middle peasants, not with the leaders.
Photo: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
In the Constructors’ Championship, Aston Martin has already fallen to fourth place and will almost certainly miss McLaren at the end of the year. At the moment, the difference is 49 points, while in the last two races alone McLaren won 53 points. True, according to the current regulations, this is not so bad: the lower the team is in the constructors’ championship, the more time it will have to work in the wind tunnel.
Stroll now has four races in a row:
Stop being ashamed! It’s time for the Aston Martin owner’s son to leave Formula 1
Red Bull is the champion. Whats Next?
Verstappen’s victory in Japan allowed Red Bull to guarantee first place in the Constructors’ Championship six races before the end of the season. This, by the way, is already Red Bull’s sixth title: in the entire history of Formula 1, only five teams have won more often. As for Max himself, it is almost certain that he will take his third championship in Qatar; Sixth place in the sprint will be enough for him, regardless of Pérez’s result.
Red Bull celebrates the sixth Constructors’ Championship
Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
The main sporting intrigue can now be considered the fight between Mercedes and Ferrari for second place in the Constructors’ Championship. If we talk about the fight in the individual competition, then in theory Alonso still has a chance to overtake Hamilton, but taking into account the context of Aston Martin lagging behind Mercedes, this seems unlikely. But the battle for runners-up may break out: if Sergio Pérez follows the same path in the remaining races as in Japan, Hamilton’s 33 reserve points will not be enough for him.
While everyone runs, Seb saves the planet:
Four-time world champion Vettel has returned to F1. To… build houses for the bees.