Felipe Massa finished ninth and Valtteri Bottas 10th in the Japanese Grand Prix
Both cars began the race on the medium tyre, but lost positions at the start, with Valtteri falling to P13 and Felipe P14
On lap 24 Felipe stopped for a set of hard tyres to push for a one-stop, as did Valtteri on lap 26
After a slightly slower pitstop, Valtteri re-joined behind Felipe on track in P13. Both cars moved up the order as those ahead pitted, and overtook Sainz for P10 and P11 on lap 30. When Grosjean came in for his final stop Felipe and Valtteri moved up to P9 and P10 where they finished the race
Valtteri remains seventh in the Drivers’ Championship, while Felipe reclaimed ninth position
The team remains fifth in the Constructors’ Championship with 124 points, 10 points adrift of Force India
Congratulations to Mercedes on securing their third consecutive FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championship title.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: Quite honestly, with the car and the pace we had this weekend that was pretty much all we could have done as a team. We played a risky strategy in order to get ourselves in the points and we got three points in the end. The team can be reasonably proud. We’ve acquitted ourselves well. It’s a shame for Valtteri because he had that ninth position in hand ahead of Felipe, and so we were keeping him out longer to give him better tyres towards the end of the race. Unfortunately, the stop was slower than our usual and he came out behind Felipe. Apart from that, I think the team has done a good job with no mistakes and we’ve pushed on to where we could be in this race. The overriding point is that the car just wasn’t quick enough and that has been the biggest disappointment of the weekend in both qualifying and the race. However, we’ve got four races left. We need to regroup, and understand how we are going to get some more performance out of the car for the remaining races. We will push forward and will not give up.
Felipe Massa: It was a tough race. We were really fighting from the beginning, to the end. We lost two positions at the start with both cars, maybe due to the tyres we had compared to the others. The pace at the beginning didn’t look very promising compared to the others. We tried to stay out long to do a one-stop, and it worked out. We would love to have finished ahead of Force India, but today they had a better car. We managed to score points with both cars after being just 13th and 14th during the first stint. I think it was a positive race and the strategy worked out very well.
Valtteri Bottas: As a team strategy-wise, we managed to do something different to our competitors so that was good. There definitely wasn’t any more we could have got out of today. In a nutshell, we need to make a quicker car and hope that the rest of the circuits in the calendar are better suited to us. We just didn’t have the pure pace today. From my side, being the lead car in the first stint I was hoping for the better strategy out of the two of us but that didn’t work out today. Looking ahead to Austin, I hope it’s better and more like Malaysia in terms of our pace in comparison to Force India. It’s just so difficult to predict these things nowadays, so we need to learn from today and hopefully we’ll perform better there in two weeks.
Track Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka Weather Warm and dry
Lap Length 5.807 km / 3.608 miles Temperature Air: 21-22°C Track: 25-27°C
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap (Fastest Lap) Grid Pitstops
1. N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:26:43.333 (1:36.049) 1 2 (12, 29)
2. M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing +4.978 (1:36.386) 3 2 (10, 28)
3. L. Hamilton Mercedes +5.776 (1:35.152) 2 2 (13, 33)
9. F. Massa WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING +97.763 (1:37.785) 12 1 (24)
10. V. Bottas WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING +98.323 (1:37.844) 11 1 (26)