2019 Japan Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: At the venues which do not get good attendance (Bahrin, Abu Dhabi), why not just have a one day event? Maybe a little practice on Saturday, and then everything packed into Sunday. Heck, just put everything on Sunday -- practice, qualifying, night race.
EVENT: Remember when there was talk of a Miami race? And it was mentioned it would be held in the Fall? And everyone went ballistic because it's hurricane season? Well, Japan, the country with the third most typhoons, has always held their race during typhoon season. And everyone seems to forget that ... until a typhoon hits.
TRACK: This is a more difficult track to pass on than it originally appears. Yet, there were some spectacular moves during the race.
QUALIFYING: Ferrari comes out of nowhere, Vettel keeps the German streak of taking every pole for a Sunday qualifying session, Red Bull teammates are dead even, Renault is a complete failure, as Ricciardo stunningly fails in Q1.
RACE: Lots of strategy action. Lots of on track action.
START: Bottas blows by everyone, Vettel nearly jumps the start, Leclerc is no better, then does a hip check, and Verstappen gets caught on the dreaded outside.
BOTTAS: Faster than Hamilton in the faux qualifying session. Faster in the actual qualifying session. Faster off the start. Faster in the race. No doubt, Valtteri deserved this victory.
HAMILTON: Lewis may love to drive Suzuka, but he admits it's not his best track, performance wise.
MERCEDES: Six titles in a row. If it wasn't for the great season start, it would have been much more of a struggle.
VETTEL: Done before he started.
LECLERC: Quite frankly, Charles should have been disqualified for him and Ferrari ignoring and lying about coming in, driving an obviously unsafe car.
FERRARI: Found another way to lose a race. This time, the drivers did it at the start.
ALBON: With Verstappen out early, Alexander filled in nicely finishing just off the podium.
VERSTAPPEN: Yes, Max was wronged. But it's hard to feel sorry for him after all he has done to other drivers.
HONDA: Terribly disappointing in their home race.
SAINZ: Grabbed another haul of points for McLaren.
MCLAREN: Pulling away from the best of the rest.
RICCIARDO: Daniel has had an inconsistent season. Some of his making. Some not. He started 16th after a wretched qualifying and finished sixth after a marvelous race. Like we said, inconsistent.
GASLY: Pierre has been outperforming Kvyat lately. Very interesting...
PEREZ: Sergio crashes on the last lap. But it isn't the last lap. Well, it is, but it isn't. So, he winds up ninth. Despite crashing on the last lap which isn't.
FIA 1: Sometimes, technology is not better. Just have a human count the freaking laps. Then, have a human wave the checkered flag. Stop with all this nonsense of light boards, automation, and ending the race a lap early. One of these days, it's going to bite you in the ass.
FIA 2: Earlier in the season, Raikkonen moves before the start, stops, and because of that has a horrible start. He gets penalized anyway. Vettel moves before the start, stops, and because of that has a horrible start. He does not get penalized. Consistency. We love it...
FIA 3: First they say they will not investigate the Leclerc-Verstappen incident. Then, they say they are. Then, they decide to worry about it after the race. Consistency. We love it...
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Typhoon.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 2nd -- The row Bottas started from. The first time at Suzuka that row has ever won a grand prix.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Alexander Albon equaled the best F1 finish for a Thai driver. Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh, aka, Prince Bira, finished fourth in the 1954 French GP driving a Maserati after qualifying sixth. However, in 1949, Bira finished second in the French GP and third in the Italian GP, but that was before the World Championship era.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Daniel Ricciardo on what he was going to do with his time off, "Sake bombs on Friday evening and a sleep in on Saturday. I do not even like sake!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Under the pot-calling-the-kettle-black category, Max Verstappen calls Charles Leclerc, "Irresponsible."
SCHEDULE: Off to North America. Will Ferrari find two more unique ways to throw away a race win?
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