Oct 13 (Reuters) - Team by team analysis of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, round 17 of the 21 race championship (listed in championship order):
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MERCEDES (Valtteri Bottas 1, Lewis Hamilton 3)
Mercedes secured a sixth successive constructors’ title and are now also sure of the drivers’ crown. They are the first team to win both championships six years in a row. Hamilton’s 73-point lead over Bottas was trimmed to 64, with the Briton reducing the damage by taking a bonus point for fastest lap. The win was Bottas’s third of the season, sixth of his career, and the team’s 12th. The race was also the Finn’s 100th points finish. Mercedes have won the last six Japanese Grands Prix. Bottas started third, Hamilton fourth.
FERRARI (Sebastian Vettel 2, Charles Leclerc 7)
Vettel made a faltering start from pole position, secured three hours earlier after the session was postponed from Saturday due to Typhoon Hagibis, and lost out immediately to Bottas. Leclerc collided with Verstappen, damaging the Ferrari’s front wing. He collected two post-race penalties totalling 15 seconds for the clash and continuing with a damaged car. That demoted him from sixth at the end to seventh. Ferrari are 177 points behind Mercedes with a maximum 176 to be won.
RED BULL (Alexander Albon 4, Max Verstappen retired)
Verstappen retired with a damaged car after the collision with Leclerc. Albon produced the highest finish of his rookie season so far, giving his team’s engine partner Honda some reward in their home race. The two Red Bulls qualified with exactly the same time, with Verstappen fifth and Albon sixth.
MCLAREN (Carlos Sainz 5, Lando Norris 13)
Sainz, starting seventh, stretched McLaren’s advantage over Renault by another point. The Spaniard did a long first stint, battling with Hamilton, and then kept Leclerc behind at the finish. Norris started eighth, collected debris in the brakes which overheated and meant an early pitstop.
RENAULT (Daniel Ricciardo 6, Nico Hulkenberg 10)
Renault ended the race with their points in doubt after a protest by Racing Point about their brake bias adjustment system, to be heard out later. Ricciardo had a nightmare in qualifying, starting 16th with Hulkenberg 15th, but made good ground with a one stop strategy. Hulkenberg, who made up five places on lap one, finished the race ninth but lost a place after the digital chequered flag was shown a lap early.
TORO ROSSO (Pierre Gasly 8, Daniil Kvyat 12)
Gasly qualified ninth and gained a place, putting more ground between Toro Rosso and Racing Point, despite a rear suspension problem mid-race that affected tyre wear and then a late tangle as he defended against Perez. Kvyat qualified 14th.
RACING POINT (Sergio Perez 9, Lance Stroll 11)
Perez was classified as ninth, despite crashing on the last lap, after the chequered flag glitch. He pitted twice. “I was ahead of him and left enough room so there was no need for the contact,” he said of the coming together with Gasly in a battle for eighth. Stroll did one stop and ran inside the top 10 for much of the race, losing out to Hulkenberg.
ALFA ROMEO (Kimi Raikkonen 14, Antonio Giovinazzi 16)
Giovinazzi started 11th, Raikkonen 15th. The Finn struggled with balance in the first two stints. Giovinazzi said the pace was better in qualifying than the race.
HAAS (Romain Grosjean 15, Kevin Magnussen 17)
Magnussen’s race was compromised by a crash in qualifying, with the Dane starting 19th on the grid. Grosjean lined up 10th but made a poor start and was behind his team mate after the first corner. Magnussen got up to 12th but lacked pace.
WILLIAMS (George Russell 18, Robert Kubica 19)
Kubica started in the pit lane in a newly-built car after crashing in qualifying, with Russell 18th and on a one-stop strategy compared to the Pole’s two. The British rookie suffered some brake issues. (Compiled by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)