Just like the sun, a fourth Lewis Hamilton championship title rises in Japan after a broken spark plug sends Vettel out of the race. Lewis could take the championship as soon as the next race in Austin, Texas.
Kimi had a crash in Free Practice, which resulted in a gearbox change and a 5-place grid penalty. Raïkkönen qualified P6 so he had to start in P10 behind the Mclaren of Stoffel Vandoorne. Vettel however had a great saturday, qualifying P3 and being promoted to P2 because of a penalty for Bottas. The title rivals were side by side for the race and fans worldwide were looking forward to a great battle on the magnificent Suzuka circuit.
The Ferrari team notices a problem in Vettel’s car on the way to the grid and they try to fix it in a few minutes. Vettel takes the start and feels a lack of power, he gets overtaken by Verstappen in the hairpin and on the straight by Ricciardo, Ocon and Bottas. During the safety car caused by Sainz the team tries to reset the car but it doesn’t work. Seb retires from the race.
Kimi starting from P10 immediately passes Vandoorne and later tries to overtake Hulkenberg but he runs wide and drops back to P15. A nightmare situation once again, after only 5 laps there is no Ferrari in the points.
Kimi however shows the Ferrari is very fast when it’s working and he fights his way back to the front. He ends up in P5, the best possible result today.
Maurizio Arrivabene said the team will push until the final corner of the final race, let’s see next time in Austin, Texas.