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After China
Championship Standings:

Drivers' Standings
1 Sebastian Vettel 54
2 Lewis Hamilton 45
3 Valtteri Bottas 40
4 Daniel Ricciardo 37
5 Kimi Raikkonen 30
6 Fernando Alonso 22
7 Nico Hulkenberg 22
8 Max Verstappen 18
9 Pierre Gasly 12
10 Kevin Magnussen 11
11 Stoffel Vandoorne 6
12 Carlos Sainz 3
13 Marcus Ericsson 2
14 Esteban Ocon 1
15 Sergio Perez 0
16 Charles Leclerc 0
17 Brendon Hartley 0
18 Lance Stroll 0
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors' Standings
1 Mercedes 85
2 Ferrari 84
3 Red Bull Racing 55
4 Mclaren Renault 28
5 Renault 25
6 Toro Rosso Honda 12
7 Haas Ferrari 11
8 Sauber Ferrari 2
9 Force India Mercedes 1
10 Williams Mercedes 0

Hamilton wins, Alonso crashes in Japan

Pouring rain at Fuji
Sunday, September 30, 2007


Hamilton celebrates

MT. FUJI, JAPAN - Lewis Hamilton won a rain soaked Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, Japan Sunday, to score his fourth victory of the season in his McLaren-Mercedes. The heavy rain played havoc with the drivers, which caused numerous incidents.

Another rookie, Heikki Kovalainen finished second in his Renault, 8.3 seconds behind the leader.  He fought hard to the flag with his countryman Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) just 1.1 seconds behind in third.

Hamilton’s win in treacherous conditions brings the young Briton one step closer to becoming the first ever rookie to win the Formula One World Championship, on a day that double World Champion Fernando Alonso crashed out of the race. Hamilton now leads his teammate Alonso by 12 points, while Raikkonen is 17 points behind with only two races remaining.

It the first career podium for Kovalainen and the first time ever that two Finns (he and Raikkonen) have finished on the podium.

David Coulthard finished fourth in the Red Bull-Renault, Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault was fifth, Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari was sixth, Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber was seventh and Vitantonio Liuzzi finished in the final points paying position in his Toro Rosso.

The first 19 laps of the race were run behind the safety car due to the fog and heavy rain at Fuji. Despite instructions from race control that the field must start on extreme wet tires, the Ferraris were both fitted with intermediates.  As a result both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen spun while behind the safety car in one of the dumbest moves in Ferrari history.  Both drivers had to stop during the caution and switch to extreme wets.

Hamilton drove a masterful race given the conditions

"A very eventful race and I am so happy to have won here at Fuji," said a happy and relieved Hamilton. "There were moments when I thought it would have been better to stop the race; however, when the rain faded a little, conditions improved a bit. I didn’t feel too much pressure and think I would have been able to push a bit harder if necessary. I was lucky that nothing serious happened to my car when Robert Kubica hit me. I didn’t see him come so the impact caught me by surprise, and I spun. Afterwards I stayed concentrated and focused on keeping the car on the track. I want to say thank you to everybody in the team who have done a great job throughout the weekend. This was an important victory for the championship, but I do not want to think too much about it and will focus hard on the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai next weekend."

"It has been a roller-coaster year for me, and it was like that again this weekend," said Kovalainen.  "We took a risk with the setup yesterday, hoping for better conditions and when we got up this morning and saw the rain falling, we didn’t expect to have a fantastic afternoon. But it just goes to show that no matter how bad you think the situation is, you never give up. The strategy worked perfectly today, and the team deserves at least one podium today! Everybody has asked me about the last few laps with Kimi, but my mirrors had steamed up completely and I couldn’t see him. I was watching the pit-board though, and every lap the gap was coming down, so I knew he would try something. He got past me into turn 6 on the final lap, but I wanted P2 so much that I went back round the outside on the way down to turn 10. The car was aquaplaning all over the place, but I kept my foot in and got back ahead, hoping I wouldn’t lose the car. It is a fantastic feeling to score my first podium. Now, we need to try and maintain the momentum in Shanghai."

For the first 19 laps the field continued behind the Safety Car as conditions seemed to be getting worse.

At the end of lap 19 the Safety Car pulled off and the race went green with Hamilton leading Alonso.  Further back Heidfeld touches Button and spins causing a backup, that resulted in Wurz and Massa colliding. Wurz was done for the day while Massa was assessed a drive-through penalty.

At lap 20 the order was Hamilton and Alonso, followed by Vettel, Webber, Button, Fisichella, Kovalainen, Kubica, Coulthard and Sutil in tenth.

On lap 22 Sato pitted with flames erupting from the car but they went out when he left the pits.

On lap 23 Button pitted for a new nose that he lost in his first lap incident.

On lap 27 Alonso made his first stop from second place, rejoining in seventh.

On lap 28 leader Hamilton pits rejoining ahead of Alonso who slid off a corner while pushing on his out lap but continues.

Sebastian Vettel then took over the lead in the Toro Rosso, and at lap 30 the order was Vettel leading Mark Webber, both yet to stop, followed by Hamilton, Kovalainen, Kubica, Fisichella, Coulthard, Alonso, Heidfeld and Raikkonen in tenth place.

On lap 32 Vettel pits from the lead, rejoining in ninth, handing the lead over to Webber in the Red Bull.

Alonso and Vettel get together
Red Bull

On lap 34 Heidfeld passed Alonso for seventh place into the first corner, while on the same lap Hamilton and Kubica make contact and spin but continue.  On the next lap Alonso made contact with Vettel and spins and rejoins. Alonso’s car showed signs of bodywork damage just in front of his right rear tire.

By lap 37 the order was Kovalainen leading Fisichella by 7 seconds, followed right behind by David Coulthard - all three yet to make their first stops. Hamilton was in fourth followed by Webber, Vettel, Raikkonen, Alonso, Liuzzi and Rosberg in tenth place.

On lap 43 Alonso, pushing hard to catch Hamilton, aquaplaned off the track, the car nosing into the barrier on the side of the track and the car spinning to rest in the middle of the track, bringing out the Safety Car, the McLaren driver walking away from the car unhurt.

At lap 44 the order was Hamilton leading Webber, followed by Vettel, Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Massa, Coulthard, Fisichella, Sutil and Heidfeld in tenth, Raikkonen in 11th.

Mark Webber climbs out of his stricken Red Bull
Red Bull

On lap 46 Vettel in third ran into Webber in second, behind the Safety Car, taking Webber out.  Vettel was given a 10-place penalty on the grid in China for the incident.

On lap 48 the Safety Car pulled in and the race resumed with Hamilton edging away from Kovalainen, followed by Massa, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Barrichello, Kubica, and Liuzzi in tenth.

By lap 60 Hamilton pulled away from Kovalainen by 11.8 seconds who was chased by Raikkonen 1.3 seconds further back.  In the final laps Raikkonen continued to close in on Kovalainen but ran out of time to make a pass.

On the final lap Massa passed Kubica in the final corner, the only bright spot in the Brazilian’s weekend.


Press Conference


1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 67 2h00m34.579
2. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 67 8.377
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 67 9.478
4. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 67 20.297
5. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 67 38.864
6. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 67 49.042
7. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 67 49.285
8. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 67 55.622
9. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 67 1m00.129
10. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 67 1m28.342
11. Jenson Button Britain Honda 66 1 Lap
12. Sakon Yamamoto Japan Spyker-Ferrari 66 1 Lap
13. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 66 1 Lap
14. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 65 2 Laps
15. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 65 2 Laps
R Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 55 Puncture
R Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 54 Throttle Sensor
R Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 49 Electronics
R Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 46 Accident
R Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 45 Accident
R Fernando Alonso Spain McLaren-Mercedes 41 Accident
R Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 19 Accident
FASTEST LAP: Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 27 1:28.193

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