2014 Japanese Grand Prix

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Japan  2014 Japanese Grand Prix
Race details
Race 15 of 19 in the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship
Track layout of the Suzuka Circuit. The track as 18 corners that vary in sharpness from sweeping to tight hairpins. The pit lane splits off from the circuit at the entry of turn eight and rejoins before the entry of the first corner.
Suzuka Circuit
Date 5 October 2014
Official name 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix[1]
Location Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Japan
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.807 km (3.608 mi)
Distance 44 laps, 255.508 km (158.752 mi)
Scheduled distance 53 laps, 307.771 km (191.224 mi)
Weather Rain. Air: 20 °C (68 °F) Track: 24 °C (75 °F)
Attendance 142,000
Pole position
Driver Mercedes
Time 1:32.506
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
Time 1:51.600 on lap 39
Podium
First Mercedes
Second Mercedes
Third Red Bull Racing-Renault

The 2014 Japanese Grand Prix (formally the 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on 5 October at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Mie. It was the fifteenth round of the 2014 Formula One season and the 30th Japanese Grand Prix held as part of the Formula One World Championship. The 44-lap race was won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who started from second position. His teammate, Nico Rosberg, finished second and Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel came in third. It was Hamilton's eighth victory of the season, his first at Suzuka and the 30th of his Formula One career.

Heavy rain from Typhoon Phanfone made the track surface wet and reduced visibility. Starting from behind the safety car, the race was stopped after two laps and resumed 20 minutes later. Rosberg immediately fended off a passing manoeuvre by Hamilton heading into the first corner. His car then experienced oversteer, and Hamilton reduced the time deficit between them. Hamilton challenged Rosberg for the lead over the next four laps, overtook him on the 29th lap and pulled away. Jules Bianchi made contact with the rear of a tractor crane at Dunlop Curve on the 43rd lap that was tending to Adrian Sutil's car (which had crashed one lap earlier) and the race was prematurely ended three laps later. The race result was counted back two laps, and Hamilton was declared the winner.

Bianchi was transported to hospital with severe head injuries, and was moved to his native France in November. He remained there until his death more than nine months later on 17 July 2015, when he was mourned by the motor sport community. Bianchi's accident prompted Formula One's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), to investigate the incident with a ten-person panel in which it was determined there was no single cause that prompted the crash. The victory allowed Hamilton to increase his lead in the World Drivers' Championship to ten points over Rosberg, who was 63 points in front of Daniel Ricciardo. Mercedes extended their advantage over Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship, and Williams remained ahead of Ferrari in the battle for third place with four races left in the season.

Report

Background

Photograph of the start/finish straight of the Suzuka Circuit in 2010
Suzuka Circuit, where the race was held

The 2014 Japanese Grand Prix was the 15th of 19 scheduled rounds of the 2014 Formula One season, and the 30th running of the event as part of the Formula One World Championship. It was held on 5 October at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Mie.[2] The Grand Prix was contested by eleven teams of two drivers each. The teams (also known as constructors) were Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus, McLaren, Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams, Marussia and Caterham.[3] Suzuka Circuit is 5.807 kilometres (3.608 mi) long and consists of 18 turns.[2] The event's official name was the 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix,[1] and it was scheduled to run for 53 laps.[2]

Tyre supplier Pirelli brought four types of tyre to the race: two dry compounds (medium "options" and hard "primes") and two wet-weather compounds (intermediate and full wet). The medium tyres were identified by a white stripe on their side-walls, and the hard tyres were similarly identified in red.[4] The drag reduction system (DRS) had one activation zone for the race, on the straight linking the final and first corners.[2] The circuit underwent changes following the previous year's race; parts of the track between the 14th and 15th turns were resurfaced, TecPro barriers were installed on the inside after the exit of turn 15 and lamp posts near debris fences outside turns 13 and 14 were moved back.[2]

Before the race Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton led the Drivers' Championship with 241 points, ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in second and Daniel Ricciardo in third place. Fernando Alonso was fourth with 133 points, nine ahead of Sebastian Vettel in fifth.[5] Mercedes were leading the Constructors' Championship with 479 points, and Red Bull were second with 305 points. Williams (187 points) and Ferrari (178) contended for third place, and Force India were fifth with 117 points.[5] Mercedes had dominated the season, with Ricciardo winning the Canadian, Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix. Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Alonso had finished second, and Jenson Button, Sergio Pérez and Felipe Massa had finished third at least once.[5] Mercedes had to outscore Red Bull by 41 points to clinch the Constructors' title in Japan.[6]

Man in his late fifties wearing sunglasses and a blue T-shirt
Charlie Whiting (pictured in 2010) suggested to race organisers that the start time be moved to avoid heavy rain from Typhoon Phanfone.

Despite reclaiming the Drivers' Championship lead at the preceding Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton said that he was not relieved because of the closeness of the race. He said that he would take Rosberg's race-by-race approach and was happy to be performing well.[7] Hamilton, who had yet to win the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, set his sights on a victory at the circuit.[8] Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the championship was out of their reach, although he hoped further reliability problems with the Mercedes cars would prolong the battle. Horner ruled out team orders favouring one driver over the other.[9] Rosberg said he was looking forward to the race, and his car's speed gave him hope for a good result.[10]

Typhoon Phanfone, classified as a category-four storm, was forecast to make landfall over the eastern Japanese coast on race day with heavy rain and winds of up to 240 kilometres per hour (150 mph). Although the storm was predicted to miss Suzuka, heavy rain from its northern edge was expected to drench the circuit.[11] The Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for the following week, made it impossible for the Japanese Grand Prix to be postponed until Monday due to freight schedules to Russia for the teams' equipment. Bernie Ecclestone (owner of Formula One's commercial rights) raised the possibility of moving up the start time[12] but later said that the event would proceed as planned.[13] The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) race director Charlie Whiting suggested to race organisers that the start time be moved and warned them that the race would not take place unless it was declared safe, but they refused.[14] Honda, the owners of the track, reportedly rejected the start time change to allow spectators to arrive at the circuit in time for the start of the race.[15] Whiting was also overruled by senior officials from the sport's governing body who opposed the disruption of the event's worldwide television coverage.[16]

There were driver changes for the race's first free practice session. Max Verstappen replaced Jean-Éric Vergne as part of his preparation for a full-time seat at Toro Rosso in 2015.[17] Aged 17 years and three days, Verstappen was the youngest person in the history of the series to participate in a Formula One race weekend.[18] Caterham confirmed that Roberto Merhi would replace Marcus Ericsson, and Kamui Kobayashi would drive in the race.[19] Formula Renault 3.5 Series driver Will Stevens was announced as participating in the first practice session in Max Chilton's car,[20] but a problem with paperwork sent to the FIA Contract Recognition Board due to an industrial action in Germany prevented him from driving.[21]

Practice and qualifying sessions

Picture of a damaged silver Formula One car being removed from the track
Lewis Hamilton after damaging his car in an accident during the third practice session

Three practice sessions—two on Friday and a third on Saturday—were held before the Sunday race. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions lasted ninety minutes each; the third, one-hour session was held on Saturday morning.[22] Mercedes conducted race simulations to see how the cars would behave with a heavy fuel load.[23] Rosberg was fastest in the first practice session with a lap time of one minute and 35.461 seconds, ahead of teammate Hamilton in second. Alonso was third-fastest, ahead of Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen. Magnussen, Ricciardo, Button and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the session's top ten drivers.[24] Verstappen's run ended early when he pulled over to the side of the track at the S curves with smoke billowing from his engine because of a broken exhaust valve,[23][25] and Merhi spun at turn 13 (causing Bottas to swerve to avoid him).[23]

In the second practice session, Hamilton set the fastest lap of the day at one minute and 35.078 seconds; Rosberg was second, and Bottas third. Button was fourth-fastest, ahead of Vettel and Räikkönen. Alonso, Magnussen, Kvyat and Ricciardo followed in the top ten.[26] Some cars went off the track; Ricciardo disrupted the session for eight minutes when an oversteer sent him into the turn-18 barrier.[27][28] Kobayashi lost control of the rear end of his Caterham at turn three, damaging his rear suspension and front wing,[28][29] and Vergne stopped his car on the back straight after exiting the Spoon Curve with a fuel pump problem.[25][30] Esteban Gutiérrez later lost control of his Sauber entering the Spoon Curve and crashed into the tyre barrier.[28] Vergne stopped a second time with an electrical problem after exiting turn 14, which brought out a second red flag; the session ended early, due to limited time available.[27] Rosberg recorded the fastest lap time of the third practice session at one minute and 33.228 seconds, ahead of Hamilton and Alonso. Massa was fourth-fastest; Bottas was fifth and Ricciardo sixth. Magnussen was seventh, Vergne eighth, Kvyat ninth and Button completed the top ten. Hamilton drove quickly into the first turn but ran wide onto the run-off area and collided with the tyre barrier, damaging the left front quarter of his car. Although Gutiérrez lost control of his car's rear end leaving turn 15, he avoided crashing into the wall.[31]

Man in his late twenties with a head full of hair and wearing a silver jacket. He is holding a microphone in his right hand.
Nico Rosberg had the twelfth pole position of his career.

Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was divided into three parts. The first part ran for 18 minutes, eliminating cars that finished the session 17th or below. The 107% rule was in effect, requiring drivers to reach a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify. The second part of the qualifying session lasted 15 minutes, eliminating cars that finished 11th to 16th. The final part of the qualifying session determined the positions from first to tenth, deciding the pole position. Cars in the final qualifying session were not allowed to change tyres, using the tyres with which they set their quickest lap times.[22] Rosberg set the fastest time in the second and third sessions to clinch his eighth pole position of the season, the twelfth of his career and his first at Suzuka with a lap time of one minute and 32.506 seconds.[32][33] He was joined on the grid's front row by Hamilton, who recorded a lap time nearly two-tenths of a second slower than his teammate.[32] Hamilton's car was launched into the air by hitting the chicane kerbing before accelerating too fast entering the final corner, preventing him from achieving the pole position.[34] Williams teammates Bottas and Massa qualified third and fourth, and Alonso and Ricciardo took fifth and sixth.[32] Mangnussen, whose mistakes on his quickest timed lap cost him time, took seventh. His McLaren teammate, Button, secured eighth and locked one of his tyres—flat-spotting it and slowing his times. Vettel, struggling on corners due partially to Red Bull's use of wet tyres, finished ninth. Räikkönen rounded out the top ten qualifiers, encountering problems with his car's balance which prevented him from pushing hard.[35]

Vergne was the fastest driver not to advance into the final session; his best lap time of one minute and 34.984 seconds was two seconds off Rosberg's pace in the second session.[33] He received a ten-place grid penalty, his sixth of the season, because his team had changed his engine.[36] As a result, Perez inherited eleventh position. He encountered slower cars entering the final chicane, which forced him to reduce his speed and lose brake and tyre temperature. Kvyat's final timed lap was disrupted by slower cars; when he entered the first corner his tyres had not reached their optimum temperature, compromising his run and giving him twelfth position. Nico Hülkenberg qualified 13th after he locked his tyres at the final chicane. Adrian Sutil progressed to the second qualifying session after making balance set-up changes, and took 14th in its closing seconds. His Sauber teammate, Gutiérrez, struggled with tyre temperature and was caught in traffic on his out-lap; he took 15th.[33] Pastor Maldonado failed to advance beyond the first qualifying session,[33] but Lotus installed a new engine (his sixth of the year) in his E22 chassis on Friday morning. Like Vergne, he incurred a ten-place grid penalty (carried over to the next race because he qualified within the top-ten bottom positions).[37] His teammate, Romain Grosjean, took over 16th position and aimed to qualify higher; however, a change in wind direction prevented him from recording a faster lap time.[35] Ericsson and Jules Bianchi started from 17th and 18th, with Kobayashi beginning the race in 19th position.[33] Chilton lost control of his Marussia's rear end, which caused him to start 21st.[35]

Race

The race began at 15:00 Japan Standard Time (UTC+09:00).[38] The track had a large amount of standing water on its surface, since Typhoon Phanfone had brought heavy rain to the area.[39] The air temperature was 20 °C (68 °F), and the track temperature was 24 °C (75 °F).[4] About 142,000 people attended the race.[40] The standing water caused heavy spray and impaired visibility, and all cars used full wet tyres.[41] The race began behind the safety car, with no formation lap; despite the slow speed, drivers struggled for grip on the wet surface.[42] Ericsson lost control of his car after accelerating out of the final turn, and spun into the gravel trap at the corner.[41] Marshals pushed his car out of the gravel, enabling him to keep driving. Following complaints from Hamilton about poor visibility, the race was suspended after two laps. The cars drove back into the pit lane, lined up in grid formation and their engines were shut off.[42] Several cars had their ride heights raised to make them less prone to aquaplaning on their underbody planks.[34] The race was restarted 20 minutes later behind the safety car,[41] after the rain let up. Alonso stopped his car with an electrical issue (possibly a short circuit from the wet conditions),[43] and was the race's first retirement on lap three. His departure promoted Ricciardo into fifth place, Magnussen sixth and Button seventh.[39]

Silver Formula One car in the rain; standing water on the track's surface is lifted by its tyres.
Lewis Hamilton, who won the shortened Grand Prix

Although Hamilton became concerned about his Mercedes' brakes, he was told that it was a relatively minor sensor problem. He and Vergne reported that conditions had improved, but Vettel and Massa said that visibility remained poor. The safety car drove into the pit lane at the end of the ninth lap, and the cars were allowed to overtake.[41] Button immediately made a pit stop to fit intermediate tyres.[42] Hamilton attempted to pass Rosberg heading into the first corner, but could not overtake him.[39][41] Rosberg began to pull away from him; Vettel tried to pass Magnussen going into the hairpin, but was unable to complete the manoeuvre. He ran wide at the Spoon Curve, remaining on the track by running onto the kerb.[41] Pérez overtook Kvyat to claim ninth position on the lap.[42] At the end of the first racing lap, Rosberg led Hamilton by 1.3 seconds;[39] Hamilton was followed by Bottas, Massa, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Vettel, Räikkönen, Pérez and Kvyat.[38]

Bottas, Ricciardo, Magnussen and Räikkönen made pit stops to change to intermediate tyres on lap 12. After his early pit stop, Button moved up to eighth place on the lap. Massa and Vettel made their pit stops the following lap, with Vettel moving in front of Massa and rejoining ahead of teammate Ricciardo. Rosberg made his pit stop on the 14th lap and rejoined in second position, 22 seconds behind Hamilton[39] (who recorded fast sector times in an attempt to move ahead of Rosberg after the latter's pit stop). Hamilton went off the track at the Spoon Curve, rejoining the race at the run-off area.[41] The mistake reduced the time deficit by one second. Rosberg reclaimed first position when Hamilton approached the exit of the pit lane after the latter's stop.[39] He reported that his car was oversteering, and Button held a 6.5-second advantage over both Williams cars. The Red Bull cars reduced the gap to Massa in sixth by lap 16, and began a challenge for the position.[41] Vettel moved to the inside lane and passed Massa with a narrow margin at the hairpin on the lap. Although Ricciardo attempted a similar manoeuvre on the outside at the Spoon Curve, Massa accelerated clear heading into 130R corner.[39][41]

Magnussen made a second pit stop at the end of lap 16 for a steering-wheel change.[41] On lap 17 Ricciardo went to the outside of Massa on the S-curves and moved inside, passing Massa to move into sixth. Rosberg was informed by team radio that more rain was expected within eight minutes.[42] Vettel overtook Bottas around the outside for fourth place on the next lap.[39][41] Bottas fell to fifth on the 19th lap, when Ricciardo passed him around the outside on the S-curves. Vettel began to reduce the time deficit to third-place Button, and Ricciardo was driving at a speed similar to his teammate. Bottas was caught by his Williams teammate Massa, who pulled away from Hülkenberg (who went off the track at the second turn).[41] Both Red Bull drivers were the fastest by lap 21, but were 13 seconds behind Button and a further five seconds behind Rosberg (who, despite running off the track at 130R corner, had a shrinking one-second advantage over Hamilton).[42] A dry line began to emerge by this time as some drivers drove through standing water to keep their tyre temperatures down.[44]

White, black and orange Formula One car turning left
Nico Hülkenberg finished in eighth position.

DRS was enabled on the 24th lap. Although Hamilton had closed Rosberg's lead to half a second and used the system, he could not pass his teammate.[41] Räikkönen made a problematic pit stop that lap,[42] as his mechanics struggled to install a right-front wheel nut correctly. Hamilton tried to pass Rosberg again the following lap by running in his slipstream, but Rosberg held the line and had enough acceleration to defend first place. Hamilton held a tighter line, while Rosberg complained of more oversteer on lap 26.[39][41] On the 27th lap, Hamilton forgot to deactivate his DRS system and lost control of his rear end; his brakes locked, and he went into the turn one run-off area.[42][45] However, he caught up to Rosberg and ran closely behind his teammate into the hairpin without trying to pass.[41] Hamilton moved across the track during the lap in an attempt to pass;[42] Rosberg's car shuddered, and Hamilton got a better run onto the pit-lane straight. He was in Rosberg's slipstream before passing him on the outside heading into the first turn to take the lead on lap 29.[39][41][42] Hamilton pushed hard and pulled away from Rosberg, who lost control heading into the pit-lane straight.[41]

Gutiérrez lost ninth position on lap 30 when he was passed by Kvyat, who drove through standing water on the inside of the pit lane straight and used DRS. Vettel made his second pit stop for intermediate tyres that lap, rejoining in fifth behind Ricciardo but ahead of both Williams cars. Button recorded faster lap times than Rosberg, closing the gap to 12.8 seconds by the beginning of lap 31. Pérez overtook Gutiérrez to take over tenth position on the lap.[41] Button made a second pit stop for new intermediate tyres at the end of lap 31; it took longer than expected because his pit crew changed his steering wheel, and he came out behind both Red Bull drivers.[39][42] Vettel recorded a new fastest lap of the race at one minute and 51.915 seconds, 2.3 seconds quicker than Hamilton; Rosberg made his second pit stop (for new intermediate tyres) on lap 33, and came out behind Ricciardo.[42] Magnussen experienced understeer and spun 360 degrees after running onto the run-off area. Hamilton made a pit stop at the end of lap 35 for new intermediate tyres.[41] Heavy rain began to fall on lap 36. Ricciardo took the lead until his pit stop during that lap and came out behind the two Mercedes drivers, Vettel and Button.[39]

Magnussen ran wide onto the first-turn run-off area on lap 38 but rejoined without spinning, and Vergne went off the track at the second corner. Vettel ran wide off the circuit and into the gravel trap at the S-turns during that lap, allowing Button to close in on him.[41] Ricciardo closed the gap to Button that lap and attempted to pass him around the inside at the hairpin; Button defended his position, and Ricciardo ran wide.[39][41] Hamilton recorded the fastest overall lap time of the race during the 39th lap, completing a circuit of one minute and 51.600 seconds.[46] DRS was disabled on lap 41 because weather conditions continued to deteriorate.[39] Visibility was reduced due to fading light and low cloud cover;[15] drivers were dazzled by lights on their steering wheels.[47] Ricciardo attempted to pass Button again that lap by taking the inside lane into the hairpin, but Button took a wide line.[41][42] He passed Button at the hairpin to move into fourth position on the 42nd lap,[41] and Button made a pit stop for full wet tyres. Sutil lost control of his car due to aquaplaning, spun and collided with the outside tyre barrier at the top of the hill at Dunlop Curve on the lap.[42][47][48] Double yellow flags were waved at the corner to warn drivers about the incident,[49] and Whiting did not use the safety car.[14] Sutil's car was extracted from the track by a tractor crane that lap and turned backwards toward a gap in the barrier.[49] Bianchi lost control of his Marussia at 213 kilometres per hour (132 mph) on lap 43, veering right towards the run-off area outside the Dunlop Curve.[50][51] Although he applied his throttle and brake pedals simultaneously, his fail-safe system did not work because the settings of his brake-by-wire system were incompatible.[52]

Two silver cars with amber and headlights on, driving in wet conditions
Safety and medical cars were deployed after an accident involving Jules Bianchi on the race's 43rd lap.

Bianchi collided with the rear of the tractor crane, which caused extensive damage to his car; its roll bar was destroyed as it slid underneath.[53] The impact jolted the tractor crane off the ground, causing Sutil's car (suspended in the air by the crane) to fall to the ground.[54] Marshals moved away from the scene to avoid being struck by Bianchi's Marussia.[55] Calculations in July 2015 indicated a peak of 254 g0 (2,490 m/s2), and data from the FIA's World Accident Database—which sources information from racing accidents worldwide—indicate that Bianchi's impact occurred 2.61 seconds after loss of control, at a speed of 123 km/h (76 mph) and an angle of 55 degrees.[50] Bianchi was reported unconscious after not responding to a team radio call or marshals.[56] Marshals reported the accident, and safety and medical cars were dispatched. Bianchi was extracted from his car and treated at the crash site before being taken by ambulance to the circuit's medical centre.[48] Transport by helicopter was impossible due to the weather; Bianchi was taken by ambulance with a police escort to Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, about 15 km (9.3 mi, a 32-minute drive) from the track.[14]

The race ended early when a second red flag was waved on lap 46, and its results were taken from the running order at the end of lap 44. This gave Hamilton the victory, with teammate Rosberg in second. Vettel took third, ahead of his Red Bull teammate Ricciardo. Button finished fifth, ahead of Massa and Bottas in sixth and seventh. Hülkenberg, Vergne and Pérez rounded out the points-scoring positions. Kvyat, Räikkönen and Gutiérrez filled the next three positions (one lap behind the race winner), with Magnussen, Grosjean, Maldonado, Ericcson, Chilton and Kobayashi the last of the classified finishers who were not involved in any incident. Bianchi and Sutil were classified in 20th and 21st, despite their accidents.[4] There were three lead changes in the race; two drivers reached the front of the field. Rosberg's total of 26 laps led was the highest of any competitor. Hamilton led two different times, for a total of 18 laps.[3] Hamilton's victory was his eighth of the season, his first at Suzuka, and the 30th of his Formula One career.[57][n 1]

After the race

Out of respect for the seriously-injured Bianchi, the top three finishers did not spray champagne.[42] At the podium interviews, conducted by the 1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell, Hamilton said that it had been a difficult race weekend and his speed near the end of the race was reminiscent of the 2008 British Grand Prix. Rosberg called it a good weekend for his team, and congratulated Hamilton on the victory. Vettel said that he was lucky that the safety car came out, and was happy with his performance.[45] At a later press conference, Hamilton said that he was confident in his car's balance when he passed Rosberg on lap 28, and saw no difference in the amount of standing water on the track when more heavy rain fell. Although Rosberg's car was set up similar to Hamilton's, he was unhappy with its balance and tried to adjust it during his pit stop. According to Vettel, the weather was borderline and his team decided to make a pit stop when it deteriorated.[45]

Bianchi's crash overshadowed the race.[57] His father, Philippe, initially reported to L'Équipe that Bianchi was in critical condition with a head injury and was undergoing an operation to reduce severe cranial bleeding.[59] The FIA then said that CT scans indicated that Bianchi sustained a "severe head injury" in the crash, and would be admitted to the intensive care unit after surgery.[48] His family later reported that he had a diffuse axonal injury, a traumatic brain injury common in vehicle accidents involving quick deceleration.[60] The first family update after Bianchi's emergency surgery was made by his father during the week of 13 October; the driver was reportedly in a "desperate" condition, with doctors saying that his survival would be a miracle. His father said that he drew hope from the emergence of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher from his coma.[61] Marussia also issued regular updates on Bianchi's condition, denying initial speculation about their role in the accident.[62] Former FIA president Max Mosley described it as a "freak accident".[63]

Man in his early twenties with a head full of hair and smiling. He is wearing white racing overalls.
Jules Bianchi (pictured in 2012) was the first driver since Ayrton Senna to die in a Formula One accident, nine months after the race.

Controversy arose after an amateur video clip of Bianchi's crash, showing a marshal waving a green flag at the crash site, was uploaded to social media.[n 2] Four-time world champion Alain Prost said that the marshal should have moved away from the crash scene, but five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro said that it was normal practice and anyone who said otherwise was "mistaken".[63] According to several commentators, the marshal committed no infraction.[49] Former driver and Sky Sports F1 announcer Martin Brundle called for recovery vehicles to be barred from driving on the track.[56] Driver steward Mika Salo defended Whiting's decision not to deploy the safety car after Sutil's crash, and minimised claims that the race was stopped for intensifying rain. Rede Globo lead commentator Galvão Bueno, however, was vocal in his criticism of Whiting's decision, describing it as "the biggest mistake I've seen in 40 years in Formula One".[63]

The FIA announced a ten-person review panel, composed of former drivers and team principals, to investigate the cause of the accident and published its findings four weeks later in Doha.[n 3][65] According to the report, there was no single cause of Bianchi's accident; contributing factors included track conditions, car speed and the presence of a recovery vehicle on the track. The report made several suggestions to improve safety when recovering disabled vehicles (which were introduced for 2015), and concluded that it would have been impossible to mitigate Bianchi's injuries with changes to cockpit design.[52] Since 2015, for safety reasons, the FIA has required that the start time of certain Grands Prix be at least four hours before sunset or dusk (except for designated night races).[66] FIA safety commission chairman Peter Wright was quoted in July 2015 as saying that a closed cockpit would not have prevented Bianchi's head injuries, and vice-president Andy Mellow confirmed that attaching impact protection to recovery vehicles was unfeasible.[50]

Hospitalised in Yokkaichi, Bianchi remained in a critical but stable condition on a medical ventilator.[67] He was removed from his induced coma in November and began breathing unaided, enabling him to be transferred to the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU) in Nice.[68] Bianchi remained unconscious in critical condition there, but his family were better able to visit.[69] On 13 July 2015, Bianchi's father said that he was "less optimistic" about his son's chances because of the lack of significant progress and the length of time since the accident.[70] The driver died four days later, aged 25. He was the first Formula One driver to be killed by injuries sustained during a Grand Prix since Ayrton Senna in 1994.[71][n 4] Bianchi's funeral, on 21 July at Nice Cathedral, was attended by members of the Formula One community.[73]

The race result increased Hamilton's lead over Rosberg in the World Drivers' Championship to ten points. Ricciardo and Vettel maintained third and fourth place, and Alonso remained in fifth despite his retirement.[5] Mercedes moved further ahead of Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship, with a 180-point lead over the Austrian team. Williams increased their advantage over Ferrari in the battle for third, and Force India retained fifth place with four races left in the season.[5]

Classification

Qualifying

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
1 6 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.671 1:32.950 1:32.506 1
2 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.611 1:32.982 1:32.703 2
3 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:34.301 1:33.443 1:33.128 3
4 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:34.483 1:33.551 1:33.527 4
5 14 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:34.497 1:33.675 1:33.740 5
6 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:35.593 1:34.466 1:34.075 6
7 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.930 1:34.229 1:34.242 7
8 22 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.150 1:34.648 1:34.317 8
9 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:35.517 1:34.784 1:34.432 9
10 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:34.984 1:34.771 1:34.548 10
11 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1:35.155 1:34.984 201
12 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez Force India-Mercedes 1:35.439 1:35.089 11
13 26 Russia Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1:35.210 1:35.092 12
14 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:35.000 1:35.099 13
15 99 Germany Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:35.736 1:35.364 14
16 21 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:35.308 1:35.681 15
17 13 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:35.917 221
18 8 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:35.984 16
19 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:36.813 17
20 17 France Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:36.943 18
21 10 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:37.015 19
22 4 United Kingdom Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:37.481 21
107% time: 1:40.163
Source:[33]

Notes:

Race

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 44 1:51:43.021 2 25
2 6 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 44 +9.180 1 18
3 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 44 +29.122 9 15
4 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 44 +38.818 6 12
5 22 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 44 +1:07.550 8 10
6 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 44 +1:53.773 3 8
7 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 44 +1:55.126 4 6
8 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes 44 +1:55.948 13 4
9 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 44 +2:07.638 20 2
10 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez Force India-Mercedes 43 +1 Lap 11 1
11 26 Russia Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 43 +1 Lap 12
12 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 43 +1 Lap 10
13 21 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber-Ferrari 43 +1 Lap 15
14 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 43 +1 Lap 7
15 8 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 43 +1 Lap 16
161 13 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 43 +1 Lap 22
17 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 43 +1 Lap 17
18 4 United Kingdom Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 43 +1 Lap 21
19 10 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 43 +1 Lap 19
20 17 France Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 41 Fatal accident2 18
21 99 Germany Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 40 Accident/Spun off 14
Ret 14 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2 Electronics 5
Source:[4]

Notes:

  • ^1 — Pastor Maldonado had 20 seconds added to his race time for pit-lane speeding.[4]
  • ^2Jules Bianchi died on 17 July 2015 from injuries sustained during the accident.[71]

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • Bold text indicates competitors who still had a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.

Notes and references

Notes

  1. ^ Hamilton had previously won in Japan at the Fuji Speedway in 2007 while driving for McLaren.[58]
  2. ^ The video, recorded by a spectator in a nearby grandstand, was removed from social media sites upon the orders of Formula One Management officials. As of 2017, the company has not released any official video footage of the accident.[63]
  3. ^ The panel was led by the FIA's safety commission president Peter Wright and included former team principals Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali, chief stewards' representative Gerd Ennser, FIA drivers' commission president Emerson Fittipaldi, World Endurance Championship race director Eduardo Freitas, the circuits commission president, Roger Peart, Antonio Rigozzi, judge at the FIA's International Court of Appeal, the FIA institute and medical commission president, Gérard Saillant, and the Grand Prix Drivers' Association president, Alexander Wurz.[64]
  4. ^ Bianchi's granduncle, Lucien, was killed in a crash during a test session at the Circuit de la Sarthe in 1969.[72]

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External links

  • Media related to 2014 Japanese Grand Prix at Wikimedia Commons


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