Radio Sandwell Sport

Hamilton's Japan victory overshadowed by Bianchi crash

2014-10-05 12:18:28

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton took one of his greatest victories to win the Japanese Grand Prix in wet conditions and extend his world championship lead.

But there is concern for Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who has been taken to hospital unconscious after a crash that caused the race to be stopped.

Hamilton passed team-mate Nico Roberg for the lead with an overtaking move that will be remembered for years to come before driving off into the distance.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was third ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren's Jenson Button.

Hamilton extends his lead in the drivers' championship to 10 points with four races to go and 125 available.

And whatever happens over that period to decide the championship, this win - Hamilton's eighth this season to Rosberg's four - will be remembered as a highlight of his career.

After a stuttering attempt to get the race under way, including a safety car start, a red flag after two laps and a further eight laps under the safety car, it devolved into what will be remembered as another classic event on arguably Formula 1's greatest track.

Hamilton started the race in second, with Rosberg on pole, and once the race finally got under way, the Mercedes drivers were soon into the pits for intermediate tyres.

Rosberg stopped after three laps, Hamilton four, and the duel between them then began for real.

Hamilton was 2.2 seconds behind after their first stops, but began inching closer to Rosberg, piling on the pressure, and was within a second by lap 24, when conditions had improved enough for the DRS overtaking aid to be enabled.

Hamilton pressured Rosberg hard for five laps before making the decisive move at the start of lap 29.

He was close behind his team-mate as they exited the chicane, closed in with the help of the DRS and, as Rosberg defended to the inside, Hamilton dived around the outside of the fast kink of Turn One to take the lead.

"That was bravery in the extreme," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard. "That is an overtake other drivers will remember."

He pulled away at an impressive rate, sometimes extending his lead by more than two seconds a lap, until he was 16 seconds ahead when the race was red flagged again, and then declared over, after 44 laps.

That was because of a crash involving Frenchman Bianchi and the Sauber of Adrian Sutil.

Sutil went off at Dunlop and Bianchi spun later at the same spot. Sutil said Bianchi had hit one of the recovery vehicles, while the FIA said he was unconscious as he was taken to hospital.

Behind the Mercedes pair, Vettel took third on countback. The German lost the position after a late stop for fresh tyres just before the red flag, but was promoted back ahead of Ricciardo as a result of a rule that dictates the result is taken from the end the lap on before the race was stopped.

Button was in the fight with the Red Bulls for a podium finish thanks to an inspired call to make an early stop for intermediate tyres just after the safety car pulled in on lap 10.

Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh, ahead of the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso and Hulkenberg's team-mate Sergio Perez.

Alonso, who qualified fifth and is always strong in the wet, did not even get a chance to race on the weekend it emerged that he will leave Ferrari.

The double world champion's car ground to a halt with what appeared to be an electrical failure while the race was still under the safety car on lap five.


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