Lewis Hamilton took his 61st career victory today – his third at the Suzuka International Racing Circuit in Japan, eighth of the 2017 season and 40th win with the Silver Arrows. Valtteri Bottas finished today’s Japanese Grand Prix in P4, his best ever finish in Japan. Today’s result marks the tenth victory for the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows of the 2017 season. Valtteri scored the fastest lap of the race, making it the 150th fastest lap for Mercedes-Benz power. Lewis (306 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 59 points from Sebastian Vettel (247 points), with Valtteri (234 points) a further 13 points behind in P3 and with 100 points remaining to be scored in the 2017 season. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (540 points) lead Ferrari (395 points) by 145 points in the Constructors’ Championship with 172 points remaining to be scored. James Vowles, Chief Strategist, today accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team.
The start was okay, although the initial getaway was not spectacularly good, I had a bit of wheel spin. But from then on I had a good start and it was pretty much under control from there. I was trying to manage the pace and the tyres; it was a long way to go, it was the hottest the track had been all weekend, so that was really crucial. With the VSC towards the end, I lost a lot of temperatures in the tyres and waking them up was not so easy. I got stuck behind traffic, I was losing so much time and Max’ car was so big in my mirror. It was very close for a couple laps, but I was able to keep it together. It was not an easy walk in the park today, it was a win that I had to work very hard for. Great race by Max, I enjoyed racing him. It’s almost unbelievable to think we are where we are in the championship. I was excited to race Sebastian today, but he was obviously very unfortunate. It’s still a long way to go, there are still a hundred points. I’m just going to keep my head down and hopefully will continue to be in a form like this.
It was a close fight; especially in the end I was getting closer to Daniel, but there just was not enough time anymore and the VSC didn’t help either. The pace seemed to be okay, but coming to this race we always knew that overtaking is tricky. The strategy was good for me today. It created a good opportunity in the end, otherwise it would have been really difficult to even get close. The race was close to our game plan, but it would have been nice to be on the podium. We went through all of the scenarios before the race, so when Lewis caught up to me after his pit stop, of course I tried to help him win. I’ve definitely learned a lot again from this weekend. I now want to focus on the last few races, make the most out of them and see where we end up this year. I’m looking forward to Austin. I enjoy the track very much; it’s where I got my first points in Formula One and I always love going back there.
This was another perfect performance from Lewis. He controlled the race from start to finish, taking nothing more out of the tyres and engine than he needed to at any point. It got close with Max at a few points, especially in the closing laps when they came up on traffic and were struggling for tyre temperature, but he kept cool and brought it home to the flag. As for Valtteri, he recovered well from the gearbox penalty to claim P4 and come within a few tenths of a second of the podium. He had strong pace today and never gave up pushing to the end, it was a real battling drive. One look at the points standings might give us some brief comfort but there are still four races to go, 100 points to win in the drivers’ title and, if the past weeks have shown us anything at all, it’s that anything can happen in motorsport. We take no prisoners in how we claim our points – but we are all conscious that we have benefited from our rivals’ misfortune and reliability woes in recent weeks. So nothing changes in our approach: we must take the next races one at a time, push to better understand the car and keep our humble attitude. That is the approach that has worked for us so far and the way we will continue until the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Source: Merceds-AMG Petronas Motorsport