Marussia’s Jules Bianchi is fighting for his life after sustaining a severe head injury after colliding with the back of a tractor which was retrieving Adrian Sutil’s Sauber during the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.
The race was red flagged after 44 laps due to the collision and results were counted back a lap giving Hamilton the win, Rosberg second and Vettel third.
Questions over the start time of the race circulated the paddock all weekend as there was knowledge of the bad weather coming in since Friday but the race promoters refused to bring the race forward four hours.
A safety car was decided on for the start of the grand prix with only two laps being completed before the red flag came out to stop the race after drivers complained of poor visibility and a high level of standing water.
Under the safety car Marcus Ericcson’s Caterham had spun onto the gravel trap with marshals helping to push his car so he could rejoin the race. Shortly after Lewis Hamilton stated that he could not see his teammate Rosberg in the lead due to the conditions.
The teams run out into the pit lane as work on the car was allowed under these conditions and after fifteen minutes the race was restarted under the safety car.
Four corners into the restart Fernando Alonso became the first car to retire from the Japanese grand prix after suffering from a suspected electronics problem.
When the race had been restarted the rain had sufficiently eased causing many drivers to call for the safety car to release them and allow the race to resume well before it eventually did after 9 laps.
Jenson Button, a well known master of changeable conditions, was the first to jump for intermediate tyres coming in just after the safety car’s release on lap 10, a move that proved to be highly successful as he matched the pace of the leaders triggering the rest of the field to come in soon after.
The Williams cars quickly became detached from the Mercedes as they proved the car was not best suited to wet conditions. The Red bull of Ricciardo, which was set up for wet weather conditions, soon closed up on the back of Felipe Massa.
Quickly intermediate tyres proved to be the best tyre with most of the field coming into the pits placing Button in third from eighth. However, the Mercedes duo stayed out longer choosing to pit five laps later with Hamilton unable to jump his teammate for the lead.
Their wet weather set up proved handy for both Red Bull drivers as Vettel passed Massa around the outside on lap 16 quickly followed by his teammate Riccardo around the outside before the Dunlop curve. A few laps later both Red Bulls made their way past Bottas in the other Williams for fourth and fifth places respectively.
The pace of the Red Bull’s began to trouble the Mercedes in front as they began to lap considerably slower with leader Nico Rosberg suffering from oversteer as his teammate Hamilton clung to his rear wing. When DRS was enabled on lap twenty five Hamilton was obviously faster and a move for both the lead of the race and the championship soon appeared inevitable.
That move finally came on lap 29 as Hamilton pulled off a beautifully daring move around the outside of turn one as his teammate heavily defended his line around the previous corner. Hamilton quickly proved that he did in fact have vastly superior speed as he pulled out a two second gap by the end of the lap.
A slow pit stop for Jenson Button on lap thirty two caused him to lose third place to Sebastian Vettel, the issue being an electronics problem which affected both McLaren cars causing the steering wheel to have to be changed during the stop.
The rain started falling fairly heavily again around lap thirty eight with some, such as Kevin Magnussen coming in for extreme wet tyres. As the rain fell a few incidents occurred throughout the grid, with Sebastian Vettel aquaplaning off the track allowing Jenson Button to close in on him for third place.
An almighty fight occurred between Button and Riccardo for fourth place over the next few laps with the Australian managing to pass several times but unable to make the move stick.
Then on lap forty three Adrian Sutil of Sauber suffered an accident on the Dunlop curve colliding with the tyre barrier, Sutil walked away unharmed and a tractor was brought out to clear his car under double waved yellows.
On the next lap Jules Bianchi’s Marussia suffered a similar accident to Sutil, unfortunately however his car made contact with the back of the recovery tractor causing a severe head injury and for him to lose consciousness.
The podium was a sombre affair with Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel refraining from spraying the champagne as it was clear their thoughts, and the rest of the paddock’s, were with their colleague.
As of Thursday afternoon Jules Bianchi had received one operation at a local Japanese hospital for diffuse axonal injury, a severe head injury, and was claimed to be in a critical but stable condition requiring aid to breathe.
Going into the next race this Sunday at Sochi in Russia Hamilton leads Rosberg in the championship by ten points with four races to go.