The other drivers involved in the incident were, Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Tonio Liuzzi. All of which basically crashed out and couldn’t continue but this wasn’t the end of it. During the safety car period post-crash, Robert Kubica’s Renault decided to lose a right rear wheel forcing him to park it, and I suppose slightly extending the safety car period. Bad news for Renault then, with both cars failing to finish the race.
At the restart, ol’ pro Michael Schumacher made a great move, overtaking from the outside of Rubens Barrichello into the final chicane of Suzuka thereby gaining a position (7th). At the same time Nico Rosberg was forced out wide (but luckily did not crash) onto the run-off at really high speeds as he also tried to overtake some cars.
This was a race of accidents and also bad luck for some too. Lewis Hamilton was in a close battle with Fernando Alonso and though Hamilton closed down the gap to Alonso midway through the race, he had lost third gear and was limited to using fourth-to-seventh gear as going lower in the McLaren’s sequential gearbox would be a risk as he may not be able to work it up through the gears again. This hampered any banzai charges, making slow corners even slower for Hamilton (but luciky finishing the race). It looks like his championship chances are getting slimmer by the race while race winner Vettel keeps a tiny hope up by winning. Jenson Button on the other hand made bad pitting choices. He chose to pit either too early at one stage and stayed out too long in another. This basically ruined his race.
Lots of overtaking and drama on the final 10 or so laps. On laps 45-46 Adrian Sutil, spun in the middle of Suzuka’s famed130R corner, 360 degrees but still managing to keep it all in check. Great save, but unfortunately by then the engine of the Force India he was driving was already acting up and he then retired shortly after this. On lap 48 Nico Rosberg, who was running ahead of old maestro Schumacher crashed out after “something broke at the end of the car”. All we know is that a rear wheel was bouncing up and down the track and it was a yellow flag incident thereafter.
A good entertaining action packed race, well worth the 2 hours spent watching it on telly.
Oh yes, on a slightly humorous note Team Lotus had something to celebrate about (even with that rights to using its name challenge with Proton and Lotus Group). Richard Branson may need to serve drinks in an air hostess uniform as he may lost his bet with Team Lotus’ boss Tony Fernandez on which of their teams would finish in the rankings higher. Lotus had scored a 12th position in this race and had therefore finished in the rankings higher than Virgin.
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:27.323
02. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 0.905
03. Alonso Ferrari + 2.721
04. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 13.522
05. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 39.595
06. Schumacher Mercedes + 59.933
07. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:04:038
08. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari + 1:09.648
09. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:10.846
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:12.806
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth + 2 laps
14. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
15. Senna HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
16. Yamamoto + 3 laps
17. Rosberg Mercedes + 5 laps
Sutil Force India-Mercedes 45
Kubica Renault 4
Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 3
Massa Ferrari 3
Petrov Renault 3
Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 3
Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 0