Rate the race and driver of the weekend – Suzuka , Japan 2018
Mean reader score: 6.34 Rated 8/17 races so far this season.
This year’s score was higher than last year’s score of 6.20, but lower than 2016’s 6.97, which was the highest scoring race of the previous five years: way higher than 2015 (5.11), considerably higher than 2014 (5.42) and a bit higher than 2013 (6.01).
Last year we had Ferrari with masses of engineers trying to fix a spark plug on Vettel’s car a few minutes before lights out; Sainz said farewell to Toro Rosso by destroying his car; Hulkenberg retired due to a rear wing failure; Stroll had a puncture, cut a corner and nearly took out a Red Bull who had just lapped him; Alonso got in Verstappen’s way when he was trying to take the lead from Hamilton and of course there was the massive elephant in the room of Vettel retiring, scoring zero points, dropping 59 points behind Hamilton in the WDC standings, all due to the aforementioned spark plug.
Not so this year, although again Vettel may have waved bye-bye to any hope of winning WDC5. First, Vercrashen hit Raikkonen and received a five second penalty for it. As if that wasn’t enough, he then tangled with Vettel, in what the stewards called a ‘racing incident.’ Vettel spun off track and rejoined at the back, having to make his way not once, but twice through the field (echoes of his Red Bull days in Brazil but without the glorious ending).
We had some creative interpretation of VSC rules by Perez, who DID slow down by 40% at the detection points during the VSC period, but speeded up again between them, making up considerable amounts of time on Grosjean, who he subsequently overtook once the VSC period ended. A creative manoeuvre or just plain cheating?
We had a lot of overtaking on this track which is supposedly difficult to do so, before Hamilton took yet another win and Bottas and Verstappen ended up on the podium.
Driver of the Weekend: Daniel Ricciardo 50.00% of reader vote
Meanwhile, our driver of the weekend, Dan The Man, cut a swathe through the field and made his way to the front of the pack, just short of a podium place. Not bad, having started (due to engine problems and not setting a time in Q2) from P15. Yes, Red Bull came in best of the rest, with both cars finishing ahead of both Ferraris. Red Bull were delighted, Ferrari, on the other hand were not. This is the fourth time this season Daniel has won our Driver of the Weekend, (China, Monaco, Hungary) more than any other driver…..Well done Daniel!!
A little surprising too, as often TJ13 is swamped with Dutch visitors voting for the other Red Bull lad.
Of course, we can’t mention Suzuka without fondly remembering Jules Bianchi, who sadly lost his life as a result of a tragic accident at this track three years ago. Gone, but never forgotten: Forza Jules.
Was Danny deserved for driver of the weekend? Let us know in the comments below.