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About MIKA27

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  • Birthday 04/26/1976

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  1. Raikkonen 'very confused' after poor Suzuka showing for Alfa Romeo Another disappointing race in Suzuka left Kimi Raikkonen scratching his head as his Alfa Romeo delivered a “very confusing” performance. After both cars failed to score in Russia, Raikkonen called upon Alfa Romeo to find out where their pace had gone since the summer break and deliver a more consistent car. It appears that work has not yet had the desired results as the team again faded in the race to finish 14th and 16th with Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi respectively in Japan, and the Finn says he was perplexed by changes in the car’s handling throughout the race. “It was a boring day [for me] that’s for sure,” Raikkonen said. “I don’t know why but in the first two stints we just had no front end in the car and no real grip at all. Once we swapped to soft tyres actually the car was pretty nice and I think I went like three or four seconds faster suddenly. So it’s very confusing. “Let’s hope we can figure it out. We ran the two cars in different aero packages this weekend and now let’s hope we figure out what is what and get back to where we should be, which is fighting for the points.” Giovinazzi scored points in Italy and Singapore but hasn’t been able to finish ahead of Raikkonen in the past two races – and he admits he was struggling with a similar problem to his team mate on Sunday. “It was the same for me,” Giovinazzi said. “The pace in the race was really slow. I think qualifying was actually better – a lot better – compared to the midfield teams, but in the race we struggled a lot so we need to find a solution for the next four races. “I’ve not really [got an idea what’s gone wrong], so we need to check with more detail and then we’ll see.” Alfa Romeo are now 19 points behind Racing Point in seventh place in the constructors’ championship and 24 adrift of Toro Rosso in sixth, with team principal Frederic Vasseur saying they can’t afford such problems during a weekend if they want to score points. “We got into the race hoping to be in the top 10 but in the end we weren’t able to fight for the points after the opening laps,” Vasseur said. "We showed a much better pace in the closing stages, on the soft tyres, so we will have to review what happened and analyse the data to ensure we can deliver the same level of performance throughout the race. “In such a tight field, we need to extract the best from our car at all times or the competition will have the upper hand, which is what happened.”
  2. Magnussen: Suzuka weekend derailed by "embarrassing" crash Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen said he "showed everyone what not to do" with his "quite embarrassing" qualifying crash, which preceded a Japanese Grand Prix that "went south". Magnussen was eliminated early in qualifying on Sunday morning when he lost the rear of his car on the exit of the final chicane and crashed through the kink before the finish line. Haas repaired his car and fitted a new gearbox in time for the race, which took place just a few hours later because of the unusual schedule at Suzuka enforced by Typhoon Hagibis, but Magnussen finished down in 17th. Asked by Motorsport.com if the high winds were a factor in his qualifying crash, Magnussen said: “Yeah, I went on the power and had full throttle, and then suddenly I got wheelspin and spun around, which was unfortunate and quite embarrassing really. But s**t happens.” He added: “It was still an issue [in the race] but at least you know what to expect. “This was on the first lap and I just didn’t expect to get such a big gust of wind there right in the tail. I showed everyone what not to do.” When asked by Motorsport.com to talk through the race, Magnussen said he was “fairly happy” to move up from 19th and run as high as 11th. However, after just two points finishes in 12 races and only four all season, the Dane was left to rue another missed opportunity of a grand prix. “It just didn’t work out with pitstops and strategy,” said Magnussen, who was among the earliest scheduled stoppers and switched to hard tyres but had to pitting again five laps from the end. “It wasn’t terrible in terms of tyres and pace, not like previous races where we’ve been hopeless because of whatever. “If we hooked everything up, and I started where I should have and got as good a start as I did, then I would have been in a much better position and probably with a better pitstop and strategy we could have scored points. “So, it’s frustrating.”
  3. FIA: F1 needs tolerance approach to start system Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says that allowing secret tolerances in jump-start rules remains the right thing to do, despite the controversy over Sebastian Vettel's getaway at the Japanese Grand Prix. Vettel's car moved forward briefly from his pole position slot before the lights had gone out to start the race at Suzuka on Sunday. That inching forward appeared to be in contravention of the rules which are clear that cars must remain stationary before the start lights have gone out. Article 36.13a) of F1's Sporting Regulations states a penalty will be given to any driver who "moved before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car." The stewards later explained, however, that Vettel was not given a penalty because the movement that was detected by his sensor was within certain tolerances that the FIA allows for. Motorsport.com understands that some movement before the lights go out has to be allowed for because of the need for drivers to sometimes make adjustments to their clutch in those crucial moments before the start. This has been accepted practice for more than 20 years, and is fully understand and accepted by all teams and drivers. But, what the exact tolerances for movement are – whether that is distance moved or time before the lights go out – are kept a closely guarded secret by the governing body. That is because if teams knew exactly what they could get away with, then they would use that knowledge to try to exploit their getaways in the future. Masi has admitted that while there may be scope in the future to use new technology to better police the starts, he is happy with the current way it is managed. "The current system is a system we have had in place for a number of years," he explained. "I think the advent of technology has got better over the years with in-car cameras, the ability to see things better and all that. "Is there something we can look at for the future? Absolutely. But as we sit here now, it is the determining factor that we have and the one that we use." Masi explained that the judgement by the FIA is made purely on car sensor movement, and the approach of having some leeway is similar to when Valtteri Bottas was ruled to have done nothing wrong with his speedy getaway at the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix. "We have effectively the signal from the jump start sensor, and it [Vettel's movement] was within the tolerances. "Probably the best analogy for everyone would be Valtteri a couple of years ago. It was within that [allowance], and that is why that is the approved method in the regulations for it to be determined if it is or if it isn't [a jump start]."
  4. Hamilton: 2019 title doesn't feel as "happy" Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Mercedes' title success this year does not feel as "happy" as its previous ones, following the loss of former team chief Niki Lauda. Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda died earlier this year, leaving a hole in the team that he had helped play a role alongside Toto Wolff in guiding to the top of the sport. But while Mercedes' record-breaking run is something everyone at Mercedes is proud off, Hamilton says the shine has been taken off the 2019 success. "It definitely feels a little bit different," said Hamilton. "Obviously, I wouldn't say as happy as previously, because naturally we lost Niki this year and it doesn't feel the same without him. "Naturally I'm very, very proud of the team. Very proud of everyone back at the factory, and I know Niki would be taking off his hat for today's result. "I think we owe him a huge amount and this win is really for him. I think the whole team and the whole of Mercedes will probably dedicate this to Niki. I definitely do. Very, very proud to be a part of it, and a part of the journey – but it has been a difficult, a tough year for us, you know? "Every time I walk into the garage I see Niki's headphones and his cap. I sat and I looked at it today before I got in the car. "As I said, I know he'll be proud, I know his family will be as well. The team should be proud too." Valtteri Bottas, who has played his role in the last three constructors' championship successes, said being at the centre of the triumph meant it was sometimes a bit difficult to appreciate what had been achieved. "We're making history and, it's funny with anything you do, if you are getting success, and so on, sometimes it's quite tricky to realise that success," he said. "Sometimes you have to step outside, a step or two to realise it really. I'm sure we will look back at this afterwards at some point, that wow, we made six and obviously hopefully more. But this moment, yeah, I hope we all can really appreciate it and take the time to enjoy it as well, even though we need to keep pushing. "It just feels like life goes pretty quickly onwards and it's very important to enjoy those moments and, at least personally for me, I'm really, really proud, really happy for every single team-member. "I know the amount of work that has gone into achieving it. So very, very happy for everyone and I just hope everyone realises that and enjoys it because it's well-deserved."
  5. Vettel: No changes made for Japan breakthrough Sebastian Vettel says there are no changes to explain his "step in performance" at the Japanese Grand Prix, where he ended Ferrari Formula 1 teammate Charles Leclerc's qualifying superiority. Leclerc had qualified on pole for the previous four grands prix, a run that stretched his dominant run over Vettel in qualifying to nine races. Suzuka marked the first time Vettel had outqualified Leclerc since June's Canadian Grand Prix, which was also the last time Vettel was on pole. Asked if he had enjoyed a breakthrough during the Japan weekend, Vettel said: "Not really, just a clean [qualifying] session. "I don't think there was a particular problem. We've been improving the car since Singapore, the update has helped me in areas where maybe I struggled a bit before. "Overall qualifying sessions on my side didn't go entirely smooth. Maybe that one just went quite smooth – both laps were clean, I had no issues preparing the lap. "[There is] nothing that has changed. We didn't change the car for here. [There is] nothing that would explain the step in performance." Vettel has struggled more with the SF90 than Leclerc, who was generally the quicker of the two Ferrari drivers in the first half of the season when the car was more inconsistent. Since the major aerodynamic upgrade Ferrari brought to Singapore Vettel's form has improved, but Japan was the first time he looked like he had an advantage over Leclerc. However, Vettel botched the start, which meant he could not capitalise on his qualifying result, although he avoided a penalty and was able to finish second. "I was doing what I normally do [at the start]," he said. "I had a very poor start because I moved a little bit, stopped, then lost all the momentum. "So overall I lost compared to a normal start. It was a mistake. [So] there was a reason, but not a great reason!" Vettel's pole had looked extremely unlikely on Friday, when Leclerc ended practice marginally the faster Ferrari driver but neither was as competitive as the two Mercedes. By Sunday morning's qualifying session – rescheduled after Typhoon Hagibis caused Saturday to be cancelled – Ferrari's recent qualifying dominance returned, but Vettel's error and inferior race pace allowed Valtteri Bottas to take the win. "It's always difficult to judge the true performance on Friday," said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto when asked by Motorsport.com to explain Ferrari's twice-changing fortunes. "Because we maybe on different programmes, I don't know how they were running. "But focusing on ourselves we had some car issues on Friday, quite high degradation, and we worked through the set-up for the qualy and the race. "We dropped the rear wing for qualy and the race, which helped the front balance, and the [drivers said the] car felt better. "We've got the right pace in qualy but not in the race. We've got degradation, higher at least to our competitors."
  6. F1 gears up for decisive Paris meeting on 2021 rules Several aspects of the 2021 Formula 1 regulations remain to be decided ahead of the October 31 deadline, with a key Wednesday meeting in Paris offering stakeholders the last chance to debate the subject face-to-face. The gathering is the fourth of a series held in recent months specifically to shape the 2021 rules, with representatives of the GPDA invited to join the FIA, Liberty and teams. Two subsidiary meetings were held at Suzuka this weekend by way of preparation. One saw team managers discuss details of sporting regulations, such as the revised curfew. The other was specifically for strategists, where the results of recent simulations of the impact of potential changes – such as Saturday qualifying races – were analysed. The big teams have been pushing back on some of the initiatives, especially those related to standard parts. “Some of the regulations actually just came through on my email this morning,” said McLaren boss Zak Brown on Friday. “We'll have the balance of what the future of F1 is going to look like in our hands next week, and then it should be finalised by the end of October. “I think F1 does need some radical change. The amount of money we are spending is unnecessary relative to putting on a great show for the fans, which is what motor racing should first and foremost be about. “If you have a lot of fans around the world you'll have lots of sponsors, lots of promoters selling tickets, lots of manufacturers selling road cars etc. I think the F1 spend is way too much, and clearly we need closer racing and more unpredictability. “I think Formula 1 is headed on the right path. I think it does need some drastic change and I'm confident that's going to come in 2021.” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto agreed that the Paris meeting would be "very important, because that’s the last one, altogether, before the end of the month when there will be a new vote". “I think there are still a lot of open points and discussions are still ongoing so how will be the conclusion of all these discussions, it is very difficult to say at the moment," Binotto said. "There are various interests between teams, between the teams and F1, and the teams and the FIA. “But certainly, as Ferrari, we are intending to play our role, we believe as Ferrari because of what Ferrari represents for F1, we’ve got a voice, an important voice in the discussions but no doubt that there’s still a lot of points to be addressed.” Binotto reiterated that Ferrari was not keen to use its power of veto in 2021 discussions. “That will really be a shame. I don’t think that should be the case at all. I think we’ve got a good and open discussion with the stakeholders at the moment and I’m as well somehow hopeful that we can find the right compromise at the end.” Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer confirmed that much has still to be agreed ahead of the next meeting. “There are still a lot of balls in the air,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “I think we’ll know a lot more after the 16th when we all meet in Paris. I think there are still serious things up for grabs. “I think everyone should put their opinions out and come to a conclusion that people are happy with, if we can. “I think after the 31st you can still make changes, but the objective is to have predominantly what it’s going to look like tied together by then. The World Motor Sport Council has to vote on something on the 31st.” Szafnauer admitted that some of the original ideas proposed by the FIA and F1 have not come to fruition. “Things have got diluted a bit. Cost cap, better income distribution, things are happening but not to the same level that some of the small teams wanted. I guess if you look at it it’s probably a compromise. The big teams probably wanted nothing.”
  7. Victory within reach with better guidance – Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton believes he could have executed a potential race-winning one-stop strategy with better guidance during Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton held third place after the early drama at Suzuka, behind Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel, who were both committed to two-stop strategies. The one-stopping Hamilton pitted five laps later than his team-mate, after which he was informed to push to catch Vettel, as Mercedes accepted a sole stop was unlikely to work. Hamilton assumed the lead when Vettel, and then Bottas, made their second stops, prompting Bottas to seek clarification that the reigning World Champion would be pitting once more. Hamilton came in again, dropping to third, and while he reeled in Vettel through the final laps he was unable to find a way past the Ferrari driver. “With better guidance, I think I probably could have [reached the end],” said Hamilton. “They [Mercedes] said when they put the tyre on [at the first stop] they would be going to a two-stop because the degradation is higher. “Just the direction I was given in terms of having to close the gap to Seb, every time I was having to close this gap, I was using the tyres up a lot. “In how I was utilising them and using them, there was no way I was going to make it [to the end]. “Maybe if I had from the beginning [of the second stint] said to them just eke it out, just see if you can manage it, I could have driven differently to help them to the end.” Hamilton nonetheless praised the job of race winner Bottas but suggested Mercedes allowed a 1-2 to slip through its grasp. “Naturally we will go and sit and talk to the engineers and strategists,” said Hamilton. “I think it could have been better. There have been multiple scenarios during the year where that has been the case but nevertheless Valtteri did a good job. “I would like to have driven differently in that second stint to stretch it out as far as we could. “Naturally while I was never going to stay out I thought about staying out but by that time I had already pushed so much to close the gap to Seb. “We should have at least got a 1-2 today I think but strategy wasn’t optimum.”
  8. 'Ideal' start perfect for Japan win – Valtteri Bottas Valtteri Bottas says his “ideal” opening first lap provided the platform for him to take victory at Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix, ending his barren spell. Bottas led the standings following wins earlier in the year in Australia and Azerbaijan, but did not add to his tally thereafter, as his title prospects narrowed. Bottas qualified third in Japan, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and swept into the lead before Turn 1, as he overhauled both slow-starting Ferrari drivers. The Finn went on to control proceedings via a two-stop strategy as he finished comfortably clear of Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton. “I did have a very good start but for sure it was made to look better as the cars around didn’t have very good starts,” he said. “My start was quite a good one, and what happened was pretty much ideal. “We knew that we had a good race car here, really good pace, but you are behind other cars you can’t really use it. “I was obviously very happy to get the lead because when you are in the lead you can control the pace and on this track, being in free air makes a big difference. I really enjoyed it.” Bottas added that his only concerns came during the second stint as it was “full of traffic and I was passing backmarkers all the time, so I couldn’t get into a good rhythm during that stint. “Otherwise, Lewis still hadn’t done his second stop and I was slightly concerned that his tyres could last the distance, because maybe he had managed them well, but he was on the Medium and we struggled massively on that tyre. “From my side, it was a very good race and on top of that I’m very, very happy for every single team member for winning the sixth constructor title in a row.”
  9. Formula 1 to keep three-day track action, revise Friday format Formula 1 has confirmed that it will continue to have track action across three days at each grand prix moving forward, though is poised to revise the format for Friday’s running. Formula 1 chiefs have been evaluating whether to alter the timetable of a grand prix weekend, which currently has practice on Friday (Thursday in Monaco), final practice and qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday. This is partly due to the expanding nature of the calendar, with a record-breaking 22 events set to be held next year, and the scope for further growth into the early-mid 2020s. The discussion over the format of events was raised once more at Suzuka in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis, which resulted in Saturday’s action being cancelled, and leaving running taking place across only Friday and Sunday. Formula 1’s sporting chief Ross Brawn has revealed that Formula 1 has settled in three-day weekends, though it remains unclear if the remodelled Friday format will begin in 2020 or 2021. “The format is an aspect of the sport we have focused on in some detail as we work towards the rules that will govern Formula 1 over the coming years and we have taken into account the voices of all of the key players – the promoters, the teams and last but not least the fans,” said Brawn. “I’ll be honest and say that there has been strong consensus, especially among the organisers, for maintaining the three-day format of track activity, although with a different timetable. “It's true that a day like Sunday in Suzuka offers a great show in just a few hours but it would confine the feeder series races to the previous days. “After careful analysis we have concluded that the best solution is to keep the event over three days, revising the Friday format but leaving the rest untouched, with qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday." Brawn added that “in order to meet the demands of the teams and in order to slightly increase the number of Grands Prix, which will be at 22 next year, we have given consideration to reorganising the schedule so that teams and drivers can arrive a day later.” Formula 1 drivers and teams currently arrive at events on Thursdays (Wednesdays in Monaco) in order to carry out media duties, some fan zone appearances, and track walks, though other members of the paddock, such as rigging crews, are at circuits several days in advance.
  10. Ancient Egyptian 'Industrial Zone' Uncovered In Luxor's Valley Of The Monkeys The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has announced new archaeological discoveries in Luxor, highlighted by a remarkable “industrial zone” in which workers manufactured items for royal tombs. Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who headed the excavations, made the announcement on Thursday at a press conference in Luxor, reports Ahram Online. Khaled El-Enan, Egypt’s antiquities minister, along with Mostafa Wazir, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, attended Thursday’s press briefing. The discoveries were made in the West Valley, commonly known as the Valley of the Monkeys, and in the East Valley, also known as the Valley of Kings—the final resting place of King Tutankhamun. Excavations in West Valley, which started back in 2017, have yielded an ancient Egyptian industrial zone in which funerary ornaments were produced on a mass scale. It’s the first of its kind to ever be found in the area. “Each workshop had a different purpose,” Hawass told CNN. “Some were used to make pottery, others to produce gold artifacts and others still to manufacture furniture.” A limestone fragment discovered at a new excavation site at the Valley of the Monkeys. Within this zone, the archaeologists uncovered 30 workshops, which consisted of houses used for storage and the cleaning of funeral furniture meant for the tombs of royalty, said Hawass, who added that pottery found at the site dates back to Dynasty 18. The 18th Dynasty—from circa 1549 BCE to 1292 BCE—marked the period in which Egypt emerged as a world power. Within this area, the archaeologists also discovered an oven used to burn clay and metal and a “tank”—or more accurately, a pit—that once held drinking water for the workers, according to an Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities statement published at its Facebook page. Accordingly, the discovery could shed light on the working conditions at the time. This hole once held drinking water for ancient Egyptian workers. Other recently discovered items included a scarab ring, hundreds of inlay beads (including beads decorated with the wings of the Egyptian god Horus), and gold foil used to adorn royal coffins. Excavations are ongoing in the West Valley in an ambitious attempt to uncover the tomb of Queen Nefertiti and her daughter, Queen Ankhesenamun—the wife of King Tut. The team is also hoping to uncover the tombs of three prominent pharaohs: King Amenhotep I, King Tuthmose II and Ramses VIII, reports CNN. An assortment of artifacts found in Luxor. In the East Valley, Hawass’s team found a tomb, designated KV 65, which still contained some of the tools used for its construction. Excavations in the Valley of Kings were described as being the largest since the time of Howard Carter, the famous discoverer of King Tut’s tomb. These digs are happening near the tombs of Ramses VII, Hatshepsut, and Ramses III, according to Ahram Online. Excitingly, the excavations in the East Valley near King Tut’s tomb resulted in the discovery of other artifacts, including 42 small huts used to store tools, noted the antiquities ministry. Here, the archaeologists also found some hieroglyphic paintings, fragments of carved tombs, and rings from the Ramesside period, which kickstarted the 19th Dynasty (1292 BCE to 1189 BCE). It’s unreal how, after so many years of digging, Egyptian archaeologists are still able to uncover new tombs, structures, and artifacts. It’s testament to the massive cultural footprint left behind by the ancient Egyptians.
  11. Sainz celebrates ‘perfect day’ in Suzuka after finishing fifth Super Sunday in Suzuka was especially super for McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, as he converted seventh place on the grid on Sunday morning into his third P5 race finish of the year, over 30 seconds clear of his nearest ‘midfield’ rival, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo. Sainz’s initial getaway off the line was actually bettered by team mate Lando Norris, starting in P8, as both McLarens surged past the Red Bull of Alex Albon. But with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc tangling into Turn 2, Sainz was able to avoid the carnage and jump up to fifth by the time he got to Dunlop corner. Although Albon would later make it back past the McLaren driver to take fourth place, Sainz showed impressive pace in the final portion of the race, eking out the medium tyres that he switched onto on Lap 26 to come home fifth, ahead of the recovering Leclerc, who was eventually demoted to seventh following a post-race penalty. “Honestly it’s been a perfect day,” said a delighted Sainz after the race. “Qualifying lap was clean, the start was clean and then the race, I managed to extend the first stint a lot, and that gave me opportunities to be strong at the end of the race with the medium tyre. “When Albon and Leclerc pitted, one in front and one behind me, to manage to hold to their pace was probably the nicest surprise of the year, nicest surprise for the team, to manage to have that space, and to manage to match the pace of Leclerc and Albon for those laps was very special.” While Sainz had managed to neatly dodge Leclerc and Verstappen’s collision at the race start, Norris was forced to get on the anchors to avoid it, before picking up some debris that blocked a brake duct and forced an early pit stop, meaning he only had the pace to recover to P13 by the race end. “We had to box really early on,” said Norris. “I didn’t have a big enough delta to catch everyone back, make some moves and make the most of a different strategy. It was too early on. It was just in no-man’s land, pretty much, so I did my best to come back through, but it wasn’t enough.” Sainz’s 10 points for finishing fifth – as Daniel Ricciardo was classified sixth following Leclerc's penalty, and Nico Hulkenberg 10th, meaning a combined score of nine for the Renault pair – meant that McLaren stretched their lead in fourth place in the constructors’ championship to 36 points, with just four races left to run this year.
  12. Wolff dedicates Mercedes’ sixth straight title to late team mate Niki Lauda With Valtteri Bottas winning and Lewis Hamilton third, Mercedes made history at Suzuka on Sunday as they became only the second team in history to win six straight constructors’ titles, while at the same time ensuring that only Hamilton or Bottas can be crowned 2019 drivers’ champion. That means they’re now guaranteed to become the first team ever to secure six straight championship doubles – an achievement Silver Arrows Team Principal Toto Wolff was quick to dedicate to late team member Niki Lauda. “We want to dedicate this to Niki because he’s just been such an important part from the beginning of the journey and his sheer presence was always so important and the mixture between support and pressure, he was just a very special person,” said Wolff of the three-time world champion who passed away in May, and had served as non-executive chairman of Mercedes throughout this golden period. “When we embarked on the journey six or seven years ago we wanted to win races more regularly and then fight for a championship. And then six years later it’s the sixth championship in a row. “I feel so happy for everybody that is involved and lots of hard work behind the scenes, lots of pain, painful moments also but the team was always able to pick themselves up. Ferrari had previously been the only team to win six straight constructors’ titles, doing so between 1999 and 2004. Matching that, Wolff said, had taken a big toll. “The pressure’s enormous because you can say ‘ok you’re fighting at the front’ but the truth is you’re setting your own bar very high and your own expectations and then not meeting those expectations is extremely painful, you get used to it, and that’s something we are tackling. “At the end we are learning from our painful experiences. This team has become so strong I think, because we have really been able to stand up when it didn’t go well – like this morning [in qualifying] – and that is something we need to continue to work on.” The only question now is when Mercedes will clinch the drivers' title too, with Lewis Hamilton in pole position to do so, holding a 64-point lead over Bottas with four races to go.
  13. Japanese GP results altered after race was declared early The FIA has launched an investigation into why the chequered flag light display panel was shown a lap too soon at Formula 1's Japanese Grand Prix, which meant the race was declared a lap earlier than originally intended. The Suzuka race was supposed to run to 53 laps, but it is understood the chequered light was displayed on lap 52. With F1’s regulations being strict that the race is declared as soon as the chequered flag is shown, it means the final result has to be taken at the completion of lap 52 rather than 53. Article 43.2 of F1's sporting regulations states: "Should for any reason the end‐of‐race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the Line before the signal was given." This does not change the results of the leading cars, but it means some shuffling further down the order. It is good news for Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who will now be credited with a ninth-place finish. The Mexican had got involved in a tangle with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly on what should have been the final lap and ended up in the barrier. Nico Hulkenberg gets moved down to 10th place, with Lance Stroll dropping from 10th to 11th. The FIA is uncertain about why the chequered light panel got illuminated too early, and is currently looking into the details. It is not the first time in F1 history that the race has been officially declared prematurely, with model Winnie Harlow famously waving the flag two laps early at the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. MIKA: The FIA are a Joke...
  14. Leclerc gets double penalty for clash, late stop Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has been handed two time penalties for his incidents during the Japanese Grand Prix. Leclerc broke the left front endplate of his car in a second-corner clash with Max Verstappen at Suzuka, and the part dragged along the ground for much of the opening lap. F1 race director Michael Masi had safety concerns about the part breaking off and, during communication with the team, he was advised that Leclerc would be pitted at the end of the second lap. But, with Leclerc not losing much time initially, Ferrari kept him out – with the part then breaking off on the second lap. The flying parts struck Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, ripping off his right-hand side mirror, and pieces also ended up in the front brake duct of Lando Norris. Leclerc has received a 15-second time penalty, five seconds for his initial collision with Verstappen and 10 for Ferrari leaving him out with a damaged car. The penalty drops Leclerc from sixth to seventh, behind Renault's Daniel Ricciardo. The stewards explained that "by not bringing car 16 into the pits at the end of lap 1, immediately after the incident for a safety inspection when there was damage clearly visible and then by telling the driver to remain out for an additional lap after telling the Race Director otherwise, the team created an unsafe condition on the circuit which only narrowly avoided being a major incident and also increased the likelihood of additional incidents after the one noted." Asked by Motorsport.com about the Leclerc situation, Masi said: "I was originally advised that they would be pitting the car. They then chose not to and subsequently Ferrari was instructed by me to pit Charles' car, which it did. "On the second lap, the elements came off and they were still instructed to pit because we could not confirm if there was going to be anything else that was going to come off." Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitted he knew Leclerc would need to stop to change the wing. However, as well as the stewards' claim that Ferrari was appeased when it saw part of the wing detach, Binotto suggested that the delay in pitting was also a response to Leclerc's pace. He said that the team was willing to pit as soon as the FIA demanded it. "What happened is we got the damage and Charles is the one who is driving and can feel the car, and how it behaves," he said. "From outside we saw the wing was broken so it would have needed to be changed at some stage. "He still had the right pace, stayed out, but then the FIA asked us to come in for safety reasons and we immediately accepted the decision. "The stewards realised maybe we should have come in earlier and we have been penalised for that as well." Pushed further on whether or not he was slightly annoyed Ferrari did not pit when he expected them to, Masi said: "More than 'slightly annoyed' from a safety perspective." McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said he was upset about what Ferrari had done, especially because the broken front wing parts cost Norris the chances of a good points-scoring finish. "We obviously strongly disagree with competitors leaving cars out on track with entire front wing endplates hanging down, putting everyone at risk," he said. "Unfortunately when this endplate then exploded, we were catching in our front right brake duct debris, from Ferrari. Brake temperature went through the roof so we had to box him to clean it. And then the race was over."
  15. Verstappen hits out at "irresponsible" Leclerc Max Verstappen has labelled Charles Leclerc's driving in the Japanese Grand Prix as "irresponsible", saying that "doesn't understand" the decision not to penalise the Ferrari driver. Leclerc had started the race from second on the grid but got a poor getaway, while Verstappen was able to sweep his Red Bull past the fourth-starting Lewis Hamilton to gain an advantage heading into Turn 2. But the Ferrari driver ran deep into the corner before going wide, then colliding with Verstappen and forcing him off the track. The stewards initially deemed the collision a racing incident that did not require an investigation, before reopening the case some laps later to be looked into after the race. Verstappen ultimately retired his Red Bull on lap 15. "At T2, Charles just drove into the side of my car," said Verstappen in a post-race interview to Sky. "From my side I don't think I could have done anything different there. We all know that you lose downforce behind a car so that is not an excuse, he's experienced enough to know that. "For me, the weird thing is that initially they don't investigate it - the whole car was destroyed, there were just holes in the side of the car. "Now they've started to investigate it but it's after the race, what more should he do to get a penalty? I like hard racing but this wasn't hard racing, just irresponsible driving. "They had a bad start so he was trying to recover but there's only so much you can do in a very long race. It's a shame that it happened." Leclerc did not attribute blame to Verstappen for the incident after the race and said it was a "tricky situation" that he would need to see a replay of. "Obviously I understeered being behind Seb and Lewis, and then we touched, I don't know what happened from the full situation from the outside, and this I need to look at," said Leclerc. "From the car it was just a tricky situation." Sebastian Vettel was also briefly under investigation for a jumped start, but ultimately escaped a penalty - with Verstappen unhappy with the inconsistency from the FIA. "Also, just watching the footage back from Seb's start, he moves, he stops - the rules say you cannot move," said Verstappen. "It's fine because he didn't gain an advantage there, I really don't understand what's going on today with the rules."

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