Suzuka – From the very start of Sunday’s Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, the race was bound to be eventful. After having been delayed due to the extreme weather conditions, the race began behind the safety car, which stayed on track for the first 5 laps.
Thereafter, the Japanese Grand Prix was a bit of a free-for-all, leaving the two Mercedes in front, and Jenson Button and the Red Bulls floating between 3rd and 5th. Williams fared poorly Sunday, falling dramatically back behind the Red Bulls, and for the most part staying out of the picture for this year’s visit to Suzuka.
The race began with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson both retiring very early on, Alonso early enough to not be classified with a final position.
The impact of Typhoon Phanfone on Sunday’s race cannot be understated. Not only did it leave the event starting later than scheduled, but it also initiated the chain of events which led to the race’s premature conclusion at Lap 47.
At Lap 43, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil went off the track, crashing into the barriers at Dunlop, making this his seventh retirement this season. As the recovery crews rushed into position, things became quite chaotic on track. The safety and medical cars were deployed, the former escorting Jenson Button rather than race-leader Lewis Hamilton, the latter rushing to Dunlop, initially it seemed to tend to either Sutil or a Marshal that might have been injured.
By Lap 46, the television pylon began to show Marussia’s Jules Bianchi had retired, however it seemed as though that hadn’t yet been noticed by much of the field, save the worried Marussia pit team. Twitter was the first to make known what had actually happened. Bianchi’s car had gone off, perhaps by hydroplaning as Sutil had previously done at the same corner. The difference with the Frenchman was that the recovery crane was in place. According to what information I have thus far gathered, Bianchi seems to have hit the recovery crane, which seemingly shaved off the top part of the back half of his car.
Bianchi was pulled from his car unconscious, and taken by ambulance to hospital, where he underwent surgery. As of 14.00 Chicago (20.00 London, 04.00 Monday in Tokyo), Bianchi is out of surgery but still in critical condition.
As Bianchi recovers there is still the matter of Typhoon Phanfone to attend to. The F1 circus is due to race in Sochi, Russia next weekend, with the possibility of flights out of Tokyo on Monday appearing to be far from likely.
At the end of the race, Lewis Hamilton was in the lead, thus taking the win, followed by Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.