Valtteri Bottas‘ victory on the Suzuka racetrack at noon on 13 October helped Mercedes to win the race team category for the sixth consecutive year.
Bottas finished first with a record of 1 hour 21 minutes 46 seconds, though coming after the Ferrari duo. The Finnish driver had an excellent race by taking advantage of Sebastian Vettel’s mistake at the start. Vettel came in second, 13.3 seconds behind Bottas. The Ferrari driver was under intense pressure from Lewis Hamilton – who finished third with only 0.5 seconds worse performance, in the last six rounds.
Bottas took advantage of Vettel’s mistake to take the lead after the convoy started
All the most important events of the Japanese GP stage are encapsulated in the first round. In addition to Bottas taking the lead, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc collided, causing Red Bull riders to fall to T18 and then give up. The Leclerc car broke its front spoiler and had to enter the pit in round 4. The Monaco driver continued to race and finished sixth.
This collision was initially ignored by the referees. However, Verstappen complained that the fault belongs to Leclerc. After the race, the referees vowed to investigate further. If found guilty, Leclerc will be punished. Verstappen’s departure gave Honda – Red Bull’s engine supplier – a sad race at home, though Alexander Albon finished fourth.
The organizers announced that the result of the last lap was not counted due to the black and white checkered flag. This makes a rare occurrence. Sergio Perez’s car lost control and crashed into the barrier in the final round, but the Racing Point team driver was still counted as ninth because the result counted in 52 rounds. Nico Hulkenberg fell to 10th and Perez’s teammate Lance Stroll lost points by dropping to 11.
Bottas’ victory means that Mercedes has won the F1 title for the sixth consecutive year. The German racing team was more or less struggling after the summer break, when Ferrari came up. However, Mercedes won the last two races. One of their two drivers will be crowned in the individual race, and that person is most likely Hamilton, because he is leading teammate Bottas 64 points when the season is 4 stages.