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Motor racing-Team by team analysis of the Japanese Grand Prix
October 8, 2017 / 1:08 PM / in 10 days

Motor racing-Team by team analysis of the Japanese Grand Prix

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Team by team analysis of Sunday’s Japanese Formula One Grand Prix (listed in championship order):

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MERCEDES (Lewis Hamilton 1, Valtteri Bottas 4)

Hamilton’s 71st career pole was his first at Suzuka, but 10th of the season. The victory was his eighth in 2017, 61st of his career, 40th for Mercedes and fourth in Japan. He has a 59 point lead in the championship and has finished the last 21 races in the points. Bottas started sixth and set the fastest lap. Mercedes have won 10 of 16 races this year and are 145 points clear of Ferrari with 172 to be won.

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FERRARI (Kimi Raikkonen 5, Sebastian Vettel retired)

Vettel started on the front row but his race was scuppered by a spark plug problem that the team discovered before the start. He retired after four laps. Raikkonen started 10th after a five place grid penalty for a replacement gearbox. Vettel was also reprimanded for not attending the pre-race anthem on time.

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RED BULL (Max Verstappen 2, Daniel Ricciardo 3)

Verstappen, winner in Malaysia, took his second successive podium. He also finished second last year in Suzuka. Ricciardo has been in the top three for the last three races and nine times in total this year. Red Bull has now had successive double podium finishes for the first time in the V6 turbo hybrid era.

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FORCE INDIA (Esteban Ocon 6, Sergio Perez 7)

Ocon ran as high as third early on but then fell back. Force India still pulled further away from Williams. The drivers, who have clashed repeatedly this season, followed team orders to hold position and bring home the points haul.

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WILLIAMS (Felipe Massa 10, Lance Stroll retired)

Stroll pitted early on after a suspected puncture and then suffered his first retirement since Bahrain 13 races ago. Massa had started eighth, struggled with a damaged car but held on for a precious point.

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TORO ROSSO (Pierre Gasly 13, Carlos Sainz retired)

Sainz started at the back of the grid due to power unit penalties and was the first to retire, spinning off on the opening lap and bringing out the safety car in his final race for the team before joining Renault. Gasly struggled with the car and had to make an extra pitstop after looking like he might score a point.

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HAAS (Kevin Magnussen 8, Romain Grosjean 9)

Haas went back ahead of Renault, by a single point, in a tight midfield battle. The double points finish was only the team’s second. Magnussen had started 12th, Grosjean 13th.

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RENAULT (Jolyon Palmer 12, Nico Hulkenberg retired)

Palmer bows out of Formula One, possibly never to return, with another frustrating afternoon before he is replaced by Sainz. Hulkenberg started 11th and ran as high as fifth but retired when his car’s DRS mechanism failed.

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MCLAREN (Fernando Alonso 11, Stoffel Vandoorne 14)

No points for McLaren on their last race in Japan with engine partners Honda. Alonso, who had grid penalties and started 20th, was reprimanded and handed two penalty points for ignoring blue warning flags. Vandoorne tangled with Raikkonen at turn two and fell back, changing to a two stop strategy.

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SAUBER (Pascal Wehrlein 15, Marcus Ericsson retired)

Ericsson hit the barriers on lap eight. Wehrlein also damaged his car with contact on lap one. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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