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One year ago at Suzuka

Verstappen's attacks on Ferrari drivers, Leclerc’s retirement and Hamilton's almost-won title – let's remember last year's Japanese Grand Prix.

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One year ago at Suzuka
Fuente imagen: Formula1.com

In the current calendar of Formula 1 there is one track that all drivers unreservedly love. Its name is Suzuka.


The track has a difficult configuration, that’s why it’s called the track for the bravest. Several turns at the beginning of the circuit – Degner 1, Degner 2 and 130R – are very difficult, and to drive a perfect circle, unmistakably in every turn, is considered to be the pinnacle of driving skill. Also Suzuka is overtaking track, and that’s why in different years we have watched exciting races here.

Last year the Japanese Grand Prix gave us a lot of memories. During the free practices on Friday and Saturday, Lewis Hamilton kept the leading; also he won a pole position in wet qualifying. Ferrari made a mistake: drivers went to the track on Intermediate and then on Slick tyres.

Hamilton and Bottas started the race from the first row, Verstappen and Raikkonen from the second; Sebastian Vettel started from P9. There were no incidents at the start: Lewis retained the lead and Top 5 drivers kept their positions.


Then Max Verstappen made a mistake on the braking and flew off the track, and returning to it didn’t leave a room for Raikkonen, pushing him out. Kimi was immediately overtaken by Vettel. The stewards punished Max with a five-second penalty for gaining an advantage by cutting the chicane and dangerous actions.

Charles Leclerc attacked Magnussen and made contact by punching the rear left wheel on Kevin's car – Kevin drove slowly to the pits and changed tyres.

Sebastian Vettel attacked Verstappen in the fight for the third position – drivers collided. Max remained in P3, and Vettel after the spin was the penultimate.

Literally at the end of the race, on lap 40 Leclerc flew off the track in Degner 2 and retired from the race. On the last lap, Max tried to attack Valtteri in the fight for P2, but the drivers retained their positions.

Lewis Hamilton won Suzuka 2018, with his 9th victory of the season and 71st of the career. With four stages until the end of the season, Hamilton increased his personal advantage to 67 points, which technically secured Lewis the title, as Sebastian Vettel had no chance to catch him.

This year's Japanese Grand Prix promises to be even more interesting. Firstly, a typhoon, which the media and fans don’t stop talking about. According to the weather forecast, the typhoon will approach the venue of the Grand Prix on Saturday, so qualifying is in danger. However, last year before the start of the weekend, everyone also talked about the threat of disruption of the race, and also because of the typhoon. In fact, the race was held on a dry track. However, there will be wet sessions during the weekend.

Secondly, there is no doubt that Ferrari will again prepare a big surprise for the fans. It remains to guess which it will be – good or bad?  At the last stage, in Sochi, Ferrari showed an impressive performance. For the first time both cars were incredibly fast on a track that obviously doesn't fit them. However, despite a brilliant start of the weekend, Ferrari missed the chance to break Mercedes winning series at Sochi Autodrom. Perhaps it will be able to do it at Suzuka?

The last 5 years Suzuka has been the territory of Mercedes. Since 2014, Lewis has won 4 races here, 1 victory went to his former teammate Nico Rosberg. Moreover, this weekend the Mercedes team can become the world champion for the sixth time. To do this, it needs to win 14 points from Ferrari. As for Hamilton's title, Lewis won’t be able to win the championship early in Japan. But if he wins the upcoming race, all of his rivals, except Valtteri Bottas, will lose mathematical chances of the title.

You also may be interested in: https://www.motorlat.com/notas/f1/13214/pirelli-preview-japanese-grand-prix

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