Bianchi Accident Mars Shortened Hamilton Win

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An accident which has left Jules Bianchi in hospital a serious condition overshadowed a win for Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix. Jules Bianchi’s crash caused the race officials to red flag the wet race on lap 44 – past two thirds of the total race distance which had been due to be completed. Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel completed a podium on which no champagne was sprayed out of respect for Bianchi.

Jules Bianchi’s Marussia spun off the track at turn 7, going underneath and then hitting a recovery crane which had been collecting the Sauber pf Adrian Sutil who had also spun off the track on the previous lap. The Marussia team said there had been no reply from Bianchi on the pit radio following the accident. Having been taken unconscious to the local Medical Centre, he was then brought to the Mie General Hospital where he is currently. An operation was performed on Monday morning to relieve pressure on his brain and the driver is in intensive care having suffered a diffuse axonal injury.

The race had started in very wet conditions behind the Safety Car and was stopped on lap 2 as conditions were deemed unsafe to race. The race restarted shortly after, with Rosberg leading a close-following Hamilton. The order of the front two remained the same until lap 29 when Hamilton completed the overtaking move he had threatened to do for a number of laps. After passing his team-mate on the outside of turn 1 Hamilton went on to win.

Hamilton said his thoughts were with the family of Jules Bianchi in the press conference after the race.

“I had a lot more pace than Nico and it is not a very easy circuit to follow, but fortunately I was able to get quite close, particularly in the last corner,” said Hamilton.

“He had a small oversteer moment out of the last corner and with the DRS it enabled me to get alongside.

“I was confident with the balance of the car and stuck it out.

“After that the whole approach changed. I was attacking, attacking [before the pass], then I could take different lines and manage it differently.

“Obviously it didn’t finish the way I would have hoped. My prayers are with [Bianchi] and his family.”

The battle was lost by Nico Rosberg for the win on the 29th lap

The battle was lost by Nico Rosberg for the win on the 29th lap

Nico Rosberg conceded that his team-mate had done the better job and he would need to work on improving his car’s balance.

“All in all, Lewis did a better job today and deserves to win. Second place is damage limitation,” he said.

“Taking everything into consideration, tricky conditions, seven points lost to Lewis, there is worse than that.”

Rosberg said he was simply not as comfortable with the Mercedes’ handling as Hamilton.

“I was definitely not happy with the balance but we had pretty much the same set-up,” he said.

“Lewis must have had the same oversteer. I tried to tweak the balance, but we need to look into it.

“I guess I struggled a bit more with it. Oversteer, I didn’t like it.

“My thoughts are with our colleague Jules and his family and team-mates, and we are hoping for some positive news.”

Vettel was muted in light of Bianchi's accident after the race

Vettel was muted in light of Bianchi’s accident after the race

Sebastian Vettel concentrated on his injured colleague.

“Everything that happened with the racing on track is secondary today, one of us is in a bad shape and we don’t yet know how he is. Jules had a bad accident and we hope to have some very good news, very soon. Not knowing what’s going on feels terrible, I think all the drivers really feel with him, as we know how difficult and slippery it was today; we hope for the very best.”

Alonso retired early on an afternoon where drivers thoughts turned away from racing

Alonso retired early on an afternoon where drivers thoughts turned away from racing

Fernando Alonso had an early retirement from the race in the opening laps. The Ferrari driver was disappointed with a lost opportunity to aim for a podium position.

“It was a real shame losing the opportunity to take part in this race because, with nothing to lose in terms of the championship, I could have taken a few more risks and maybe aimed for the podium. I still don’t know what caused the unfortunate technical problem, only that suddenly, the car lost all its electrics, maybe down to a short circuit caused by the rain.

However, the only good news we want right now relates to Jules Bianchi. I hope that we hear very soon that he’s alright.”

 

Japanese Grand Prix Result

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h51m43.021s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h51m52.201s 9.180s
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1h52m12.143s 29.122s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1h52m21.839s 38.818s
5 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1h52m50.571s 1m07.550s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1h53m36.794s 1m53.773s
7 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1h53m38.147s 1m55.126s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1h53m38.969s 1m55.948s
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1h53m50.659s 2m07.638s
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1h51m22.646s 1 Lap
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1h51m48.409s 1 Lap
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1h51m49.838s 1 Lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1h52m14.678s 1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1h52m22.070s 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1h52m22.780s 1 Lap
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1h52m42.898s 1 Lap
17 Marcus Ericsson Caterham/Renault 1h52m50.427s 1 Lap
18 Max Chilton Marussia/Ferrari 1h53m36.282s 1 Lap
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault 1h53m59.121s 1 Lap
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia/Ferrari 1h48m14.109s Spun off
21 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1h46m17.524s Spun off
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 6m19.243s Electrical
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