Formula 1 fans were waiting for the return of the Japanese Grand Prix, and the 2022 edition did not disappoint. First lap shenanigans, battles of strategy, final lap duels, and a championship being decided at the end, this race had it all. Join us as we take a look at what happened in the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.
After the sun being out all day, the weather around Suzuka took a turn for the worst as the race was set to begin. Up front, Charles Leclerc got off to a blistering start from P2, leaving pole sitter Verstappen behind. However, the Dutchman was back at the front by turn 1.
Behind them, the carnage had already started. Yellow flags were called immediately when the sister Ferrari of Carlos Sainz aquaplaned off the road and hit the barrier. Elsewhere, Zhou Guanyu spun off, while Alex Albon came to a stop due to a mechanical failure.
Sebastian Vettel was another victim of aquaplaning, as he got his Aston beached on the gravel as well. Pierre Gasly also faced a bizarre issue as an advertising board got stuck on his front wing. The Frenchman later got a time penalty for speeding under the red flag, further adding to his misery.
As a result of all these incidents, and the visibility at the track being poor, the stewards decided to red-flag the race. The racers followed the safety car back into the pits, where they had to wait for a while until race control decided whether the conditions were suitable to restart the race. Ultimately, the race got underway behind the safety car with just 50 minutes remaining on the race clock.
With the conditions being so marginal, the race would ultimately come down to a battle of strategy. Initially, all drivers were forced to restart the race on wet weather tires. However, as conditions improved, some took a gamble and immediately switched to intermediate tires.
Several former champions and winners around Suzuka were eager to get a good result this evening. Lewis Hamilton almost pulled out a gutsy overtake on Esteban Ocon around the 130R corner. Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel had a battle for the ages and were side by side as they crossed the finish line.
A race victory along with the fastest lap is all Max Verstappen needed to secure his second World Championship. The Red Bull driver drove a fantastic race and scored that exact result. Behind him, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez were fighting it out for P2. An error caused Leclerc to cut the final chicane, handing him a 5-second time penalty which demoted him to P3. The Monegasque would have to pray for better luck next year if he hopes to capture the F1 World Championship for himself.
Although the driver’s championship is secured, the battle for the constructor’s title is still ongoing. Join us next weekend as we get closer and closer to the end of the 2022 F1 season.
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