Who would have predicted last weekend’s shock result? With Sebastian dominating both qualifying and the race, his third win of the season. Even Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo comfortable fended off Nico Rosberg to take second place, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in third. To see neither of the silver-arrows drivers on podium was probably more of a shock to Mercedes than anyone else.
Nicky Lauda and Totto Wolf looked baffled as both Mercedes cars struggled to keep-up with the front running Ferrari. To make matters worse Lewis had to retire his car due to a sudden loss of power. [quote_right]Nico Rosberg spared Mercedes blushes by finishing in fourth place and ending a miserable weekend for the team.[/quote_right] Was this just a bad day at the office for Mercedes or have Ferrari and Red Bull found some pace? Either way it makes the final chapter of this season championship a promising prospect!
So this weekend we come to Suzuka for what Sebastian himself described as “one of the best tracks in the world” for the Japanese GP. Suzuka is certainly one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar and has decided many a championships. From Prost and Senna’s duels in 89′ and 90′ to Mika Hakkinen’s sensational drive in 98′.
Suzuka has it all, with its challenging first sector (corners 3-7) which snake at high speed and heavy sweeping bends of Spoon Curve, to the iconic 130R which really separates the men from the boys!
It’s safe to say that teams will be opting for either a 2 or 3 stop strategy as tyre wear will be more hard-wearing than other tracks.
Up until last weekend it would have been safe to predict at least one Mercedes on the front row. I think last weekend was just a blip and a bad setup of both cars, this weekend should be Mercedes back to form.
Venue: Suzuka, Japan (1962-present)
Length: 5.807km (3.608 miles)
Lap record: 1’31.540 (228.372 kph), Kimi Raikkonen, 2005
2014 Winner: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
DRS Zone: Start/ Finish straight
Saturday – Cloudy with some clear periods (20% chance of rain)
Sunday – Mainly Cloudy with a greater chance of rain (40% precipitation)