2010-15 Japanese Grand Prix Form Book and a tribute to Jules Bianchi

2010

Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault)

Torrential conditions on Saturday postponed qualifying to Sunday morning amidst a titanic scrap for the drivers’ championship between five drivers. When qualifying finally happened, it saw a routine order to the grid Tas the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber locked out the front row. Lewis Hamilton qualified third, but a gearbox changed saw him dropped five places. The early laps saw six drivers eliminated in accidents; Lucas di Grassi comically crashed at 130R on the parade lap, whilst the race start saw Nico Hulkenberg & Vitaly Petrov colliding, creating a concertina effort where Felipe Massa & Vitantonio Liuzzi attempted to avoid them, only to collect each other too. Robert Kubica’s early retirement with wheel failure saw the five championship contenders of Vettel, Webber, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button bunched up in the top five. The race order remained intact throughout except for the Mclarens, as Hamilton’s gearbox would malfunction later in the race, so the loss of third gear allowed his team-mate Button to claim P4.

2011

Winner: Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes)

The start saw controversy as Vettel staunchly blocked off Button, which left the Briton pleading for his German rival to penalised. Jenson Button would profit from an optimal strategy, allowing him to lead the race comfortably from lap 23. Unfortunately his team-mate Hamilton would suffer his fourth collision of the season with 2008 title rival Felipe Massa, leaving many pundits to scold the 26 year old for his pugnacious driving style. Alonso finished P2, whilst Vettel secured his second consecutive title with P3 in front of his bewildered team-mate Mark Webber. Hamilton stumbled home in P5, with elder statesman Michael Schumacher enjoying his renaissance in P6. Massa, Perez, Petrov and Nico Rosberg rounded off the top ten finishers.

2012

Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

2012 saw yet another dramatic start, but this time it would leave huge implications on the outcome of the drivers’ championship. Championship contender Alonso attempted to makes amends for his poor qualifying position of P7 by squeezing Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus onto the grass, causing the Finn’s front wing to clip the Spaniard’s rear-left tyre. The resultant puncture forced Alonso into retirement at turn 1, paving the way for title rival Vettel to score a grand chelem, after having scored his fourth consecutive pole position at Suzuka on Saturday. Team-mate Massa finished P2, albeit twenty seconds adrift, whilst local hero Kamui Kobayashi scored the only podium of his career for Sauber in P3. Button, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado, Webber & Daniel Ricciardo were the other top ten finishers.

2013

Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault)

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red BullRenault 53 1:26:49.301 2 25
2 2 Australia Mark Webber Red BullRenault 53 +7.129 1 18
3 8 France Romain Grosjean LotusRenault 53 +9.910 4 15
4 3 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 53 +45.605 8 12
5 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen LotusRenault 53 +47.325 9 10
6 11 Germany Nico Hülkenberg SauberFerrari 53 +51.615 7 8
7 12 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez SauberFerrari 53 +1:11.630 14 6
8 9 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 53 +1:12.023 6 4
9 5 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLarenMercedes 53 +1:20.821 10 2
10 4 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 53 +1:29.263 5 1

2014

Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Pole: Nico Rosberg (MercedesFastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Rest in peace Jules Bianchi.

2015

Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Pole: Nico Rosberg (MercedesFastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Nico Rosberg his second consecutive pole position at Suzuka, with team-mate Hamilton starting alongside on the front row. The start saw the Briton squeezed his embittered rival to outside of turn 1, paving the way for a dominant lights-to-flag finish. Rosberg and the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen predictably finished in P2, P3 & P4. Bottas and Hulkenberg secured P5 and P6 for Williams and Force India respectively,  whilst Lotus’s Grosjean & Maldonado sealed P7 & P8 and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten on a day when the senior Red Bulls languished. Despite finishing ahead of team-mate Button by five places, P11 occupant Alonso hurled angry radio rants to his McLaren engineers during the race, slamming Honda’s power unit as a “GP2 engine”.


Form Book (2010-2015)

———-Pole (bold) Fastest lap (italics)————

DRIVER ( ’10 / ’11 / ’12 / ’13 / ’14 / ’15 )

Hamilton ( 5th / 5th / 5th / Ret / 1st / 1st )

Rosberg ( 17th / 10th / Ret / 8th / 2nd / 2nd )

Vettel ( 1st / 3rd / 1st / 1st / 3rd / 3rd )

Raikkonen ( — / — / 6th / 5th / 12th / 4th )

Bottas ( — / — / TD / 17th / 6th / 5th )

Massa ( Ret / 7th / 2nd / 10th / 7th / 17th )

Ricciardo ( — / 22nd / 10th / 13th / 4th / 15th )

Verstappen ( — / — / — / — / TD / 9th )

Perez ( — / 8th / Ret / 15th / 10th / 12th )

Hulkenberg ( Ret / TD / 7th / 6th / 8th / 6th )

Magnussen ( — / — / — / — / 14th / — )

Palmer ( — / — / — / — / — / TD )

Kvyat ( — / — / — / — / 11th / 13th )

Sainz ( — / — / — / — / — / 10th )

Nasr ( — / — / — / — / — / 20th )

Ericsson ( — / — / — / — / 17th / 14th )

Alonso ( 3rd / 2nd / Ret / 4th / Ret / 11th )

Button ( 4th / 1st / 4th / 9th / 5th / 16th )

Wehrlein (N/A)

Ocon (N/A)

Grosjean ( — / — / 19th / 3rd / 15th / 7th )

Gutierrez ( — / — / — / 7th / 13th / — )

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