Lewis Hamilton made it four wins from five since the Summer break by taking out the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix in a great race with a fantastic finish at one of the F1 calendar’s best tracks in Suzuka.
The rare figure of eight track is a real driver’s track and it is no surprise that the Mercedes driver came out on top given his form since the break, which also includes four Pole Positions in five races, but he was pushed reasonably hard by the resurgent Max Verstappen who is enjoying a good run of reliability in the Red Bull.
Another driver who could have given him a hard time was Sebastian Vettel, but his race ended in a broken down Ferrari, and has now most likely lost the Championship.
The end result from the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix is that Hamilton now has a 59 point lead in the Drivers Championship, and with four races to go he looks a certainty grab a fourth World title.Lewis Hamilton certainly had a good day out, but was he the only one? And who didn’t get any luck? The Good, Bad and Ugly from the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix is here.
Lewis Hamilton has one hand on the 2017 Drivers Championship trophy after the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix, as he won his fourth race in the five races since the Summer break ended.
He has had plenty of things go his way since the Summer break, his upturn in results has coincided with some Ferrari mechanical issues and the start line crash in Singapore which wiped out both Ferraris on a track that was not meant to suit the Mercedes. Indeed Hamilton has outscored Vettel by 73 points since his win in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was pushed very hard by Verstappen, but still had just enough in the end and did well to win his 8th race of the season.
His Mercedes has not necessarily been the fastest car since the Summer break at every track, but Lewis Hamilton has riden his luck and extracted the maximum out of it each week. His reward is a 59 point gap over nearest rival Vettel with 4 races to go.
Suffered a rare Saturday afternoon blip by being beaten on the grid by team mate Daniel Ricciardo but followed up his win in last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix with a fantastic Japanese Grand Prix where he pushed Lewis Hamilton all the way and ultimately finished second by race end.
After a season littered with broken down Red Bulls, and a few cases of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he has made the most of staying out of trouble and having a reliable car with a win in Malaysia and second place in Japan.
He can thank his team for getting him just in front of Kimi Raikkonen after his first tyre stop, but given his form it wouldn’t have taken long to get in front anyway.
Started off well by out qualifying his team mate for just the fifth time this season, but lost a few places at the start which killed his chances of a win.
For the second weekend he did well to fend off a faster car in the second half of the race, and secured yet another podium. He has actually outscored everyone except Lewis Hamilton since the Summer break.
Every now and again you get a glimpse of Kimi Raikkonen’s speed and why he is so popular, and Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix provided another window on the Finn’s ability.
His charge through the field in the early stages of the race was great to watch and Kimi at his best at a track her has previously excelled at. Commentators during the race referred to his great win at Suzuka in 2005, one of F1’s best ever races, and whilst he ultimately didn’t hit those heights with a win he showed he still has something to offer to Ferrari. A good thing considering they re-signed him for 2018.
He’ll need a few more of those drives to secure a Ferrari seat beyond 2018.
Just missed out on a podium, but showed a little more in Japan than Malaysia.
Win the best of the rest prize for his sixth place finish, and ran amongst the front runners early.
He has yet to retire this season, and has only finished outside of the points once. He could overtake his team mate for Best of the Rest for the 2017 season with four races to go. He is now just 17 points behind Sergio Perez.
Proving this year they don’t need to always be the fastest at every chance. They have taken full advantage of Ferrari woes lately, and could even wrap up the drivers Championship next race.
Seemed to have turned the corner with some strong performances of late, and good sings heading into 2018.
As bad as it gets for the German as he retired his Ferrari on Lap 5 after dropping from 2nd to 7th with a spark plug problem.
His DNF means that Lewis Hamilton takes a commanding 59 point lead in the Championship, and with 4 races to go it looks as if the title is heading back to the Mercedes driver.
Recent car problems have hurt Vettel’s title ambitions, but he may also look back on some of the avoidable clashes in some of the previous races (Azerbaijan, Singapore) as events which have likely cost him a lot of Championship points.
Although the Englishman hasn’t had the most wonderful 2017 F1 season, you still have to feel for Palmer as he found out this weekend that his Renault career is over after the race. The team announced that Carlos Sainz will take over from the next Grand Prix. In all likelihood, he has also probably driven his last F1 race.
The former GP2 Champion never quite lived up to the hype of being the Champion of the official Junior category in his almost 2 seasons with Renault, having scored 9 points in his 30 races in two point scoring drives.
He has looked thoroughly miserable at times during the 2017 season, with a combination of bad luck with reliability and some crucial errors, and will now look to Indycars in the United States.
He signed off his F1 career in 12th place.
The Sauber driver caused a Virtual Safety Car on Lap 9 after falling off the track at the second of the Degner curves in an incident that was not very flattering for the Swedish driver. It was his fifth retirement of a currently pointless season.
He hasn’t scored a World Championship point since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, and given the backlog of F2 Champions and other great drivers, his time at Sauber must be close to an end. Ferrari’s newly crowned F2 Champion Charles Leclerc is one candidate, as is part time 2017 Sauber Antonio Giovinazzi.
It was announced that the Spaniard was heading to Renault from the next race, meaning he jumps into his car for 2018 four races early.
He didn’t sign off from Toro Rosso in style though, spinning off very early. A shame after scoring 112 points in 56 races, and a highest finish of 4th in the Singapore Grand Prix recently for the Italian based team.
MARTINI-CHAVES MEDAL FOR GURGLER BEST/WORST OF THE YEAR
Here is where we tally up all the good, bad and ugly for the season.
- 1 Point for Good
- 1 Point for Bad
-0.5 for Ugly
There are bonus points as below. Drivers/Teams listed below have received a good and/or bad-ugly. Those with an overall score of 0 have had good and bad. Those not listed have been mediocre and been neither good or bad all season.
ULTIMATE WINNERS AND LOSERS
Here’s where an extra bonus point is added and subtracted for the very best and very worst.
WINNER – Lewis Hamilton. Wins, extends lead in Championship. Job done.
LOSER – Sebastian Vettel for another 0 point weekend.
2017 MARTINI-CHAVES MEDAL FOR GURGLER BEST/WORST OF THE YEAR
MARTINI MEDAL FOR BEST
CHAVES MEDAL FOR WORST
12.5 Points – Lewis Hamilton
7.5 Points – Valtteri Bottas
6.5 Points – Dan Ricciardo
4 Points – Sergio Perez
3.5 Points – Fernando Alonso
1 Points – Sebastian Vettel
3 Points – Felipe Massa
2.5 Point – Carlos Sainz
2.5 Point – Lance Stroll
1.5 Points – Nico Hulkenberg
1 Points – Kevin Magnusson
2 Point – Esteban Ocon
1 Point – Pascal Wehrlein
1 Point – Jenson Button
1 Point – Stoffel Vandoorne
1 Point – Pierre Gasly
1 Point – Max Verstappen
0 Points Romain Grosjean
-1 Point – Antonio Giovanazzi
-3 Points – Marcus Ericsson
-4 Points – Dani Kvyat
-4 Points – Kimi Raikkonen
-6.5 Points – Jolyon Palmer
5 Points – Mercedes
2 Points – Force India
0 Points – Haas
0 Points – Red Bull
-1 Point – Toro Rosso
-1.5 Points – FIA
-2 Point – Ferrari
-2 Points – Renault
-3.5 Points – Sauber
-5 Points – Williams
-6 Points – McLaren