2017 Japan Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: With the title all but wrapped up, we'll have to look at other stories to entertain us the rest of the way.
TRACK: Wow, these new cars are fast on this track. Suzuka allows a true display of F1.
EVENT: The Japanese fans sure love their F1 ... but there were a lot of empty seats...
QUALIFYING: Surprising Hamilton never won a pole at Suzuka. Well, cross that one off the list. And once again, grid penalties make qualifying moot.
START: Verstappen muscles past Ricciardo and then passes an ailing Vettel, Ocon shocks Red Bull, Hulkenberg says excuse me to Raikkonen, and Sainz says sayonara to Toro Rosso in the worst way.
RACE: Once again, a potential three-way battle is taken away because of Ferrari's lack of reliability, so Verstappen saves the day by adding excitement at the end.
HAMILTON: Math be damned, give Lewis the crown.
BOTTAS: If Valtteri performed like this in the first half of the season, he might not have been signed for next year. He needs to up his game.
VERSTAPPEN: We're quickly forgetting Max's bad luck this season as he's arguably the hottest driver right now.
RED BULL: And Red Bull is arguably the hottest team right now.
RICCIARDO: Daniel is driving well. Very well. But his teammate is driving better.
RAIKKONEN: The first lap jinx continues.
VETTEL: Now you can definitely kiss goodbye Sebastian's championship hopes.
FERRARI: Totally and utterly choking down the stretch.
OCON: Best race of his career.
PEREZ: Sergio may be back. Ditto for a potentially faster teammate.
FORCE INDIA: Finally avoided an intra-team fight by laying down the law.
MAGNUSSEN: His aggressiveness paid off, not only for Kevin, but his teammate as well.
GROSJEAN: Great comeback for the team from a terribly wrecked car in qualifying to a points finish.
HAAS: Back into seventh place. The fight for sixth, seventh, and eighth is a fun subplot to 2017.
HULKENBERG: The better Nico does in a race, the higher the chances some dumb reason puts him out...
HONDA: Well, they now have to hope that Toro Rosso can give the home fans something to cheer next year.
PALMER: Originally, we weren't as critical as those who said Jolyon took too long to win a GP2 championship. But, maybe there is something to be said for how long it takes to succeed at the top rung of the junior ladder and how that translates to the skill needed to succeed in F1.
RENAULT: How much did they pay to finally get rid of Palmer?
KVYAT: We knew Daniil would be back at some point. It still feels like his return is like a Russian rash.
SAINZ: Crank up the conspiracy theories. Toro Rosso was 10 points ahead of Renault entering the race. Sainz goes off on the first lap not allowing Toro Rosso to score any points ... as he heads off to Renault to begin pursuing Toro Rosso. Just saying...
GASLY: Super Formula or Formula 1 in two weeks? Nobody seems to know for sure.
TORO ROSSO: And if not Gasly, then who could possibly be taking that seat at Austin?
SATO: Takuma Sato finally makes it to his home country's podium. Well, okay, not really. But it does give us an opportunity to once again say ... SATO-MANIA!
ESPN: So many aspects of this "deal" taking over the American TV rights to F1 in 2018 has us very, very worried. Very, very worried.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Sayonara.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 4 -- The maximum number of laps at least one Ferrari has completed in the past three races.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Ferrari is still looking for their first win in Japan since 2004 which ended a five-year win streak. Four of them won by Michael Schumacher with Rubens Barrichello taking the win in 2003.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Classic Kimi strikes again. When told to start pushing it, Raikkonen said, "I'm pushing all the time."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Credit to Sebastian Vettel. Despite the massive disappointment, he remains a team player: "I need to protect (the team) -- they've done an incredible job."
SCHEDULE: Let's see. Toro Rosso may need a driver for one race. Alexander Rossi is not doing anything right now and he still has a super license. It's the United States Grand Prix. Hey, why not...?
Copyright © 2017 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.