Japanese GP 2019
OCTOBER 13, 2019
Race Notes - Bottas wins Japanese GP
By Mark Karp
Valtteri Bottas won the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka in his Mercedes GP.
Sebastian Vettel was second in his Ferrari, 11.376 seconds behind the winner, with Lewis Hamilton just behind in third, 11.7 86 seconds behind the winner.
Mercedes GP clinches the Constructors title - for the sixth straight year.
Alex Albon (1m01.152s) in the Red Bull-Honda finished in fourth, followed by Carlos Sainz (1m09.081s) in the McLaren-Renault was fifth, Charles Leclerc (1 lap) in the second Ferrari was sixth, Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault was seventh, Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso-Honda was eighth, Sergio Perez in the Racing Point-Mercedes was ninth and Nico Hulkenberg in the second Renault took the final point in tenth place.
On a sunny but gusty Sunday, qualifying for the Japanese GP was held in the morning before the race, with the Ferrari's of Vettel and Leclerc on the front row, the Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton held row two, the Red Bull's of Verstappen and Albon were on row three, the McLaren's of Sainz and Norris held row four, and Gasly and Grosjean rounded out the top ten qualifiers. The top ten starting on soft tyres - Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Russell, Magnussen and Kubica starting on medium tyres.
On a busy day for the teams, the cars were prepared, and at the appointed time the cars came to the grid for the start, the lights went out and the race began with the two Ferrari's getting slow start, Bottas taking to the lead. In turn 1 Leclerc and Verstappen touch, Verstappen spins and Leclerc has front wing damage.
At the end of lap 1 Bottas leads Vettel, Leclerc, Hamilton, Sainz, Norris, Albon, Gasly Stroll and Hulkenberg in tenth.
Ferrari wants Leclerc to pit, but Leclerc reports that his car isn't slow. Leclerc says "I know it probably looks bad but the car feels okay."
On lap 3 Leclerc pits for a new front wing.
Verstappen is upset when he hears that there is no investigation for Leclerc after his first corner incident.
Albon and Norris bump in the chicane. Norris pits.
Verstappen tells the team, "my car is massively moving under braking."
Leclerc tells Ferrari that his car doesn't feel right.
The stewards now say they will investigate the first corner incident/
On lap 9 Leclerc passes Verstappen into turn 1 for 16th place.
At lap 10 Bottas leads Vettel by 3.0 seconds, followed by Hamilton (5.0s), Sainz (17.3s), Albon (18.3s), Gasly (24.0s), Stroll (25.3s), Hulkenberg (27.1s), Perez (28.0s) and Ricciardo (29.8s) in tenth place.
Verstappen tells the team that his "tyres are massively flat-spotted".
Leclerc passes Kvyat for 15th place.
Bottas locks up his tyres into the hairpin.
On lap 13, Leclerc passes Raikkonen for 14th place and then Grosjean for 13th the next lap.
Hamilton closes to under one second behind Vettel.
On lap 15 Verstappen retires in the pits with damage.
Albon pits and switches to medium tyres and rejoins in 11th.
On lap 16 Vettel pits from second place for another sets of soft tyres (which means he will still need to pit a second time).
The next lap Bottas pits from the lead for medium tyres and rejoins in second behind Hamilton.
On lap 16 Albon sets fast lap at 1m33.959s.
On lap 18 Vettel passes Sainz for third place.
On lap 19 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m32.137s.
Hulkenberg pits from sixth for medium tyres and rejoins in 12th.
Albon passes Ricciardo for fifth.
On lap 22 Hamilton pits from the lead for medium tyres and rejoins in third place.
At lap 22 Bottas leads once again over Vettel by 11.4 seconds, followed by Hamilton (21.4s), Sainz (28.2s), Albon (35.6s), Ricciardo (42.1s), Leclerc (46.7s), Kvyat (56.7s), Norris (57.8s) and Gasly (58.6s) in tenth place.
Hamilton asks the team how he got so far behind Bottas.
On lap 24 Gasly passes Norris for ninth place.
Stroll passes Norris for tenth place.
On lap 25 Leclerc pits for soft tyres and rejoins in 12th. Norris pits and rejoins in 17th.
Sainz pits for medium tyres and rejoins in sixth place.
Hulkenberg and Perez pass Kvyat for ninth and tenth.
Kvyat pits.for medium tyres.
Ricciardo pits for soft tyres and rejoins in 11th place.
Leclerc passes Perez for ninth.
At lap 30 Bottas leads Vettel by 10.6 seconds, followed by Hamilton (14.8s), Albon (41.9s), Sainz (66.0s), Gasly (71.7s), Stroll (74.3s), Hulkenberg (76.8s), Leclerc (77.7s) and Perez (78.8s) in tenth.
On lap 32 Vettel pits for medium tyres and rejoins in third.
Leclerc passes Hulkenberg for eighth place.
On lap 34 Leclerc passes Stroll for seventh place.
Magnussen complains to the team that his seat is moving.
On lap 34 Albon pits from fourth place for soft tyres and rejoins still in fourth.
Leclerc passes Gasly for sixth place.
On lap 36 Bottas pits from the lead and changes to soft tyres and rejoins in second behind Hamilton, 9.0 seconds behind.
Hamilton asks the team, "tell me what I have to do to try to win this race?"
On lap 38 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m32.122s.
At lap 40 Hamilton leads Bottas by 9.2 seconds, followed by Vettel (18.0s), Albon (56.7s), Sainz (62.5s), Leclerc (69.5s), Gasly (82.5s), Stroll (84.6s), Hulkenberg (85.7s) and Perez (87.1s) in tenth place.
On lap 41 Ricciardo passes Perez for tenth place.
Mercedes tells Hamilton to push, and he replies, "what do you think I've been doing?"
On lap 42 Hamilton pits from the lead and switches to soft tyres and rejoins in third place - Bottas retakes the lead.
Ferrari tells Leclerc that they will pit, and he replies, "why should we stop actually? I'm happy."
On lap 44 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m31.538s.
Ricciardo passes Hulkenberg, and then passes Stroll for eighth place.
Hamilton is closing on Vettel in second place.
On lap 47 Leclerc pits for soft tyres, and will try to take fast lap.
At lap 50 Bottas leads Vettel by 13,6 seconds, followed by Hamilton (14.6s), Albon (58.3s), Sainz (67.4s), Leclerc (1 lap), Ricciardo, Gasly, Hulkenberg and Perez in tenth place.
Hamilton is all over the back of Vettel in second place.
On the final lap Perez goes off when he and Gasly touch in the esses and is out.
Across the line Bottas wins ahead of Vettel and Hamilton.