Hamilton Wins Chaotic Japan GP

Hamilton Wins Chaotic Japan GP
 

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton won a wet Japanese Grand Prix from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg on Sunday in a chaotic finish, but his victory was overshadowed by a serious crash involving Frenchman Jules Bianchi. Bianchi was rushed to hospital unconscious after a shunt which brought the rain-hit race to premature halt to undergo emergency surgery for a serious head injury.

“Jules is seriously injured,” Bianchi’s father Philippe told France 3 television. “He is undergoing surgery for a head injury and we will need to wait 24 hours to know any more on his condition.” Formula One’s governing FIA said in a statement that Bianchi had “suffered a severe head injury” and would be monitored from the intensive care unit following his operation.

Japan Formula One Grand Prix

Hamilton ducked superbly inside fierce rival Rosberg on the 29th lap and stormed away to win at Suzuka for the first time and increase his advantage over the German to 10 points with four rounds left this season. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel finished third for Red Bull. “I had a lot more pace that Nico and it’s not a very easy circuit to follow on,” Hamilton told reporters. “But fortunately I was able to get quite close, particularly in the last corner. I was confident with the balance of the car and stuck it out. “After that I was attacking, attacking and then I could take different lines and manage it differently. Obviously it didn’t finish the way I would have hoped and my prayers are with Jules and his family.”

Japan Formula One Grand Prix

Typhoon rains had been forecast for Sunday’s race and it began behind the safety car, only for the drivers to be called back to the pits minutes later. The safety car came out again after 44 laps following Bianchi’s accident — the Frenchman’s Marussia colliding with a recovery vehicle after German Adrian Sutil smashed his Sauber into a wall — and the race was suspended two laps later with the rain getting heavier and the light rapidly deteriorating. Celebrations were muted on the podium with news having filtered through of Bianchi’s crash, none of the top three indulging in the traditional champagne spraying. Sutil witnessed Bianchi’s crash at close quarters after sliding out at the same bend.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan

“I had aquaplaning at that corner,” he said. “The rain got worse and worse, the visibility got less and less. One lap later, Jules came around and had the same spin there, and that was it. It was more or less the same crash, but the outcome was different.” Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, produced one of the overtaking moves of the season when he daringly passed Rosberg on the outside of turn one and stormed away to claim his eighth victory of 2014 and the 30th victory of his career. “All in all, Lewis did a better job today and deserves to win,” said Rosberg, who struggled with over-steer throughout the race. “Second place is damage limitation for me. Taking everything into consideration — tricky conditions, seven points lost to Lewis, there is worse than that.”

“My thoughts at the moment are with our colleagues Jules, because it seems quite serious,” he added. “I really wish him all the best.” Vettel, the four-time defending title holder, who announced on Saturday he will leave Red Bull at the end of the season, made the podium for the second race in a row — but only his fourth of the year — ahead of Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Driver and constructor standings:

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes: 266
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes: 256
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull: 193
4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull: 139
5. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari: 133
6. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams: 130
7. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren: 82
8. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India: 76
9. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams: 71
10. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India: 46
11. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari: 45
12. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren: 39
13. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso: 21
14. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus: 8
15. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso: 8
16. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia: 2
17. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber: 0
18. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham: 0
19. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus: 0
20. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber: 0
21. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia: 0
22. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham: 0

Constructors points

1. Mercedes: 522
2. RedBull — Renault: 332
3. Williams-Mercedes: 201
4. Ferrari: 178
5. Force India — Mercedes: 122
6. McLaren: 121
7. Toro Rosso — Renault: 29
8. Lotus — Renault: 8
9. Marussia — Ferrari: 2
10. Sauber — Ferrari: 0
11. Caterham — Renault: 0

Reuters/AFP