Hamilton

Japanese GP power rankings

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Although the frontrunners didn’t deliver anything like the head-to-head between Vettel and Hamilton that we’ve been waiting all year for, there was plenty of action up and down the rest of the field, with plenty of activity and lots to consider in this week’s power rankings.

Moving on up

Daniel Ricciardo gave his fans something to cheer about after a maddening technical issue hampered his qualifying. Starting P15 he finished P4, and although he was never within striking distance of his teammate, but to be one mechanical failure away from finishing on the podium redeemed the weekend for the Australian.

Sergio Perez negotiated a hectic midfield that, thanks to a mix of strategies and safety cars early in the race, was a hive of activity throughout the race. Now equal with Hulkenberg and Magnussen on points, the sins of Singapore were erased with another best of the rest performance.

Lewis Hamilton now needs only to win in the United States, and should Vettel finish P3 or lower, Lewis will claim his 5th World Championship. If Verstappen’s declaration post-qualifying that there wasn’t really any competition left in the title battle wasn’t confirmation enough, the effortless victory this week certainly was.

Backsliding

Sebastian Vettel backed up his team’s regrettable error in qualifying with a sterling assault on the top 6, making short work of the gap between himself and the top 3. In the run up to Spoon, Vettel carried a huge pace advantage and with more patience should have passed Verstappen with ease later on the lap. It’s not that he wasn’t patient enough to wait until Max stopped to serve his 5-second penalty (the win would have been well off-the-cards by then), it’s that after a year of continual unforced errors, Sebastian again got himself into a position where his competitiveness was sacrificed unnecessarily.

Stewards had a busy one ruling on a number of incidents, none more curious than the opening lap contact between Alonso and Stroll. Despite agreeing that Stroll had unreasonably forced Alonso off the track, they also deemed that Alonso had gained an unfair advantage by leaving the track and cutting across the chicane. Both drivers were penalised, including receiving penalty points.

Suzuka’s trophy design…. I mean, I thought the Gorilla one in Italy was bad, but this takes the cake.

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Tell us your Driver of the Day from the Japanese GP


French GP power rankings

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Circuit Paul Ricard might be back on the calendar, but it brought with it mixed feelings. While not really the racetrack of old, most expected a processional affair, and although we saw plenty of unexpected overtaking, it came at the cost of an easy, untroubled victory to Lewis Hamilton.

Here's how the power rankings shook out this week.

Moving on up

▲ Lewis Hamilton reclaims the championship lead that he held a few races ago. There's not much more to say, besides the fact that Hamilton has won at every track on the calendar, and on his day, in a competitive car, could beat almost anyone. It's strange that he has so many off days, and that they come and go without too much explanation, but he's clearly back in charge of the drivers' championship and peaking at the right time of the season.

▲ Max Verstappen backed up his "haven't changed his style, but also he clearly has" performance in Canada with another podium. What makes his race such an achievement, is that it embodies why Red Bull signed him, comfortably controlling his race ahead of his teammate (even before Ricciardo's problem).

▲ Kevin Magnussen slipped into the top six, and although you need some luck to go your way to squeeze between any of the Mercedes/Ferraris/Red Bulls these days, to do so meant leading the midfield which Magnussen did with ease. Haas have been disappointing all year, and haven't come even close to their top potential, K-Mag is giving them something to celebrate.

Back-sliding

▼ Sergey Sirotkin finished as the last of the classified drivers, and copped a 5 sec penalty for driving unnecessarily slowly behind the safety car. As the man who Williams decided offered the best chances this year over the statesman-like Felipe Massa, it's hard to understand what he brings to the table.

▼ Marcus Ericsson also disappointed compared to his teammate. After looking the better of the pair in the early races, Leclerc has found his groove and is delivering the goods for his team scoring another 10th place. With rumors that Leclerc is replacing Kimi at Ferrari next year, Marcus might be feeling just a little despondent right now. 

▼ French GP organizers disappointed from the get go. Starting on the first day of practice, fans were complaining about six hour waits to get into or out of the track. Add to that the nonsense that is those Gorilla trophies and there are some serious questions that need to be asked and answered.  

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Our thanks to the entire population of the Netherlands for their contribution ;)

 

 

Hello, Qually! Italian GP qualifying recap

Here's your five-ish minute recap of qualifying for the Italian GP.

Just look how happy #RicciardoWow is there? Well, it's too bad he's starting from the arse end of the grid for today's Italian GP - but that's not where the excitement ends, in fact it's not even close and if you missed it Superlicense has got you covered.

See you guys on Twitter during the race, I can't wait to see what happens going in to turn 1!!!!