2018 Japan Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Déjà vu all over again.
TRACK: A lot of overtaking for a track you can't overtake...
EVENT: The fans make this event.
QUALIFYING: Intermittent rain showers makes it wildly entertaining, Vettel and Ferrari screw it up as usual, Toro Rosso excites the home Honda contingent, and McLaren sucks more than Williams.
RACE: The shakeup of the grid and early laps allowed all the overtaking during the race.
START: Mercedes immediately claims this as their race, Vettel immediately gets by the Toro Rosso duo and then pulls a daring, gutsy pass on Grosjean, Magnussen suffers from his own aggression, and Ricciardo starts his march.
HAMILTON: Picture perfect again. The only "blemish" is Lewis lost out on the fastest lap on the final tour.
BOTTAS: Played his role again...
MERCEDES: They just continue to grind Ferrari into dust.
VETTEL: You got to be kidding us. We continue to be more astounded that Sebastian ever won a world championship, never mind four of them. Take away his speed and what race qualities does he have lately?
RAIKKONEN: First lap damage spoiled any hope.
FERRARI: A butt ugly new livery with a "bogus" sponsor seems apropos for the way they are puttering out this season.
VERSTAPPEN: We believe Max did not do it on purpose. But ultimately, the driver is responsible for his car. And the fact is, he did not return to the track safely, regardless of what Raikkonen did.
RICCIARDO: Have you ever seen Daniel as mad as he was after the engine failed in qualifying?
PEREZ: Aggressive race.
GROSJEAN: Back to scoring points.
HAAS: Once again, throwing points away.
SAINZ: Grabbed that last point.
TORO ROSSO: Despite missing out on points, their speed is very encouraging for Honda ... and Red Bull next year.
ALONSO: Did Fernando ever envision his F1 career winding down by fighting for bottom feeder positions with the likes of Lance Stroll?
STROLL: And did Lance ever envision he would one day take it to Alonso?
HULKENBERG: Big crash in practice.
FIA: And once again, inconsistency rules.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Errors.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 8 -- The number of seconds in the difference between the race length of time for the Japanese GP and last week's Russian GP. Oh, and it's also the number of points Hamilton needs to outscore Vettel to clinch the championship.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Hamilton and Mercedes repeated a feat that Michael Schumacher and Ferrari did -- win four out of five Japanese Grands Prix with their teammates winning the other. Hamilton has now won in 2014-15 and 2017-18 with Nico Rosberg taking 2016. Schumacher won in 2000-02 and 2004 with Rubens Barrichello taking 2003. They are the only manufacturers to win the race five years in a row.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen can't help but put a dig on Ferrari after qualifying on whether he would stay out of the way of the championship battle, "Is it still a battle? I'm not sure?" And then he promptly got in the way of the championship battle...
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Nico Rosberg said this at Singapore, but it bears repeating after yet another error filled weekend by Ferrari and Vettel, "You cannot beat Lewis Hamilton to a Championship by making so many mistakes. That's a fact."
SCHEDULE: Hamilton and Mercedes have always done well at COTA. It doesn't bode well for Vettel and Ferrari.
Copyright © 2018 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.