Sunday 9 October 2016

F1: Nico Rosberg wins Japanese Grand Prix

Japanese Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has beaten Lewis Hamilton to his Japanese Grand Prix title.

But when it came to getting off the line in the Japanese Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton was lost for words.

Hamilton's build-up to the race at Suzuka started with him messing about with selfies and bunny rabbit filters during a press conference, before walking out of the next one after losing his rag over the criticism of his behaviour.

But in his final meeting with the media before leaving Japan he was forced to admit his dreadful getaway, which saw him drop from second on the grid to eighth by the end of the first lap, had been all his own fault.

" I made a mistake," he said, refusing to blame a damp patch of track. "And working my way up from there, it was tricky. But I did the best I could. I just got wheelspin."

Much has been made of the engine failures Hamilton has suffered this season aiding Rosberg in his pursuit of a first world title, the most recent coming when he was forced to retire from the lead in Malaysia.

But Hamilton's starts this season have also played right into his team-mate's hands.

From his seven pole positions, Hamilton has only kept the lead into the first corner twice and has lost a total 23 places on the opening lap.

Through strategy calls and speed yesterday, Hamilton managed to work his way past Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.

Not a bad afternoon's work, but when it came to supercharged teenager Max Verstappen, Hamilton could not find a way past.

The Red Bull racer did get heavy handed with his defence into the chicane on the penultimate lap, forcing Hamilton to take evasive action.

Mercedes initially lodged an appeal, before deciding later to withdraw it.

Hamilton even got that wrong as he suffered another social media fail, using Twitter to accuse "one idiot" of incorrectly reporting his team had appealed, before later hinting he had prompted the about turn.

A scrappy weekend all round then for Hamilton, who must make sure everything else this season goes without a hitch.

Rosberg's pole to chequered flag victory was yet more evidence he is in the form of his life.

Afterwards he celebrated his Mercedes teams as they toasted a third successive constructors' championship.

Hamilton hung around as the champagne corks popped before slipping out of the back of the garage, knowing even if he wins the remaining four races he may not be crowned champion.

With a 33-point advantage you sense Rosberg is already dreaming about emulating his father Keke's achievement of winning the drivers' title. But he knows Hamilton will battle him all the way.

"Lewis is my team-mate so he's always going to be fighting, always going to be tough to beat," said Rosberg, who claimed the off–track distractions in the build-up to the race had not affected his team-mate.

"I haven't seen any self-destruction," he insisted, after cruising to his ninth win of the season.

"The Lewis I saw was massively motivated. Anyway, it's about getting the best out of myself and not focusing on what Lewis's state of mind is."



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