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2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Japanese Grand Prix

Sunday, October 5, 2014
Round:
15
Weather:
Heavy rain
Laps:
44
Fastest Lap:
Hamilton, 1m51.600
Country:
Japan
Circuit:
2014 season:
Report

Jules Bianchi was a victim of a horrible confluence of circumstances. There are lessons to be learned from his horrific accident at Dunlop Curve that brought the race to an end nine laps short of its allocated distance. But we should be careful about blame. The fact that the race was held despite doubts the previous day about whether it could go ahead is irrelevant. Conditions were nowhere near as bad as feared, the rain associated with the approaching Typhoon Phanfone was heavy but acceptable for a safety car start – and by the time the race proper got underway the track was ready for intermediate tyres and the rain had pretty much stopped. Thirty-odd laps later as, first, Adrian Sutil and – a lap later – Bianchi lost control, the rain had returned and the Marussia’s intermediate tyres were 17 laps old. The piece of track where they each went off, the crest of an uphill curve, is notoriously treacherous in the wet. Both were downforce-light cars on worn inters in increasing rain cresting the rise. “It was very marginal there,” said Valtteri Bottas, “because just outside the groove there was a lot of water, visibility wasn’t good because it was getting dark and if you got just a little bit off line you could suddenly find no grip; you have to lift and even lifting off could cause you problems.”

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