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Valtteri Bottas wins the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix

14 October 2019 - Autoblog

Valtteri Bottas wins the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix

Mercedes wrapped up its sixth-consecutive Formula One constructors championship

A blistering start from Valtteri Bottas from third on the grid helped the Finnish driver win the typhoon-hit Japanese Grand Prix as Mercedes wrapped up a sixth-consecutive Formula One constructors championship on Sunday.

Bottas surged into the lead almost immediately, passing the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole, and Charles Leclerc to take the early lead at the Suzuka Circuit.

Seeking his third win of the season and first since Azerbaijan in April, Bottas managed a two-stop pit strategy to perfection to finish 11.376 seconds ahead of Vettel with Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton taking third place.

"Starting third is never easy here but there's no point giving up," Bottas said. "I had a really nice car and Sebastian had an issue, so it was good to get the lead. Really proud of the team, sixth title in a row is so impressive."

With Bottas holding a comfortable lead over the closing laps, there was a fierce battle for second place between Vettel and Hamilton.

Hamilton made a desperate attempt to pass Vettel over the final two laps but was unable to pull ahead. But the podium finishes for Bottas and Hamilton ensured Mercedes won their sixth-consecutive constructors' championship.

Vettel started from pole position but got off to a bad start. Race stewards investigated the German driver over a potential jump-start but ruled that he didn't.

"The lights were on but it was my mistake," Vettel said. "The Mercedes were difficult, they had more pace than us and Valtteri was flying."

There was contact between Leclerc and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at Turn 2 and Verstappen was sent into a spin before being forced to retire early in the race.

Bottas made his first pit stop from the lead on the 18th lap to switch to medium tires as Hamilton took the lead for the first time.

With Hamilton on soft tires, Bottas had better pace on fresher rubber when he returned. Hamilton made his first pit stop on lap 22 and Bottas retook the lead.

When he came back out, Hamilton was 20 seconds behind Bottas and questioned his team's tire strategy over the radio.

Bottas went in for his final pit stop on lap 37 and emerged into some traffic in second place behind Hamilton, who pitted with 10 laps remaining.

Bottas then held on for his first victory in Japan to slightly narrow Hamilton's commanding championship lead to 64 points with four races left.

Organizers canceled Saturday's qualifying session with Typhoon Hagibis set to hit Japan's main island. Vettel led Ferrari teammate Leclerc in morning qualifying to secure the front row for Ferrari.

Qualifying at Suzuka was also moved to Sunday morning as a result of bad weather in 2004 and 2010.

Red Bull driver Alexander Albon, who has impressed since his promotion from Toro Rosso to the senior team in August, finished a season-high fourth while McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr. was fifth ahead of Leclerc.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was a lowly 16th in the morning qualifying but the Australian converted that to an impressive seventh-place finish ahead of Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly. Sergio Perez of Racing Point was ninth while the second Renault of Nike Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten.

FORMULA 1 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX 2019 - RACE RESULT

11-13 Oct 2019 Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka

177Valtteri BottasMERCEDES521:21:46.75525
25Sebastian VettelFERRARI52+13.343s18
344Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES52+13.858s16
423Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA52+59.537s12
555Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT52+69.101s10
63Daniel RicciardoRENAULT51+1 lap8
716Charles LeclercFERRARI51+1 lap6
810Pierre GaslySCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA51+1 lap4
911Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES51+1 lap2
1027Nico HulkenbergRENAULT51+1 lap1
1118Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES51+1 lap0
1226Daniil KvyatSCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA51+1 lap0
134Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT51+1 lap0
147Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI51+1 lap0
158Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI51+1 lap0
1699Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI51+1 lap0
1720Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI51+1 lap0
1863George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES50+2 laps0
1988Robert KubicaWILLIAMS MERCEDES50+2 laps0
NC33Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA14DNF0

Note - The classifications of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg are provisional subject to the outcome of a protest initiated by Racing Point. Leclerc received a 5-second and a 10-second post-race penalty for causing a collision and then driving his car in an unsafe condition. Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

2019 Driver Standings

1Lewis HamiltonGBRMERCEDES338
2Valtteri BottasFINMERCEDES274
3Charles LeclercMONFERRARI221
4Max VerstappenNEDRED BULL RACING HONDA212
5Sebastian VettelGERFERRARI212
6Carlos SainzESPMCLAREN RENAULT76
7Pierre GaslyFRASCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA73
8Alexander AlbonTHARED BULL RACING HONDA64
9Daniel RicciardoAUSRENAULT42
10Nico HulkenbergGERRENAULT35
11Sergio PerezMEXRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES35
12Lando NorrisGBRMCLAREN RENAULT35
13Daniil KvyatRUSSCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA33
14Kimi RäikkönenFINALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI31
15Kevin MagnussenDENHAAS FERRARI20
16Lance StrollCANRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES19
17Romain GrosjeanFRAHAAS FERRARI8
18Antonio GiovinazziITAALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI4
19Robert KubicaPOLWILLIAMS MERCEDES1
20George RussellGBRWILLIAMS MERCEDES0

2019 Constructor Standings

1MERCEDES612
2FERRARI433
3RED BULL RACING HONDA323
4MCLAREN RENAULT111
5RENAULT77
6SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA59
7RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES54
8ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI35
9HAAS FERRARI28
10WILLIAMS MERCEDES1

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