Verstappen took victory in the shortened Suzuka race

Max Verstappen won the shortened race at Suzuka. The Red Bull pilot led from start to finish on the wet Japanese track and crossed the start-finish line first. Charles Leclerc finished second and Sergio Perez third. The Ferrari driver was handed a 5-second time penalty which sent him down to third place and effectively all but guaranteed Verstappen’s second world title.

Conditions before the start of the Japanese Grand Prix were wet due to pre-race showers. The track was not flooded enough to delay the start procedure. Shortly before the start, it became clear that Pierre Gasly would start from the pits due to a replacement of the rear wing and other components of his car.

Leclerc had a better starting reaction than Verstappen, but the Dutchman attacked on the outside and regained first place. Behind them, Perez dealt with Sainz, and Vettel spun after a collision with Alonso. Stroll made an incredible start and gained several positions. Magnussen also did a great job at the wet Suzuka circuit.

Suzuka’s dramas started at the end of lap #1. Carlos Sainz spun out of the hairpin and hit the walls after possibly aquaplaning. Gasly went through an advertising board and Albon stopped in the security area due to a technical problem. The incidents led to the advent of the safety car.

At the start of the third lap, the race in Japan was stopped due to accidents and damage to the safety fences. Meanwhile, the rain on the track was getting heavier and more intense.

The rain on the Suzuka track was getting heavier. During the red flag, the medical car made several laps of the flooded track and the marshals removed Carlos Sainz’s car. For the time being, there were no signs of the race being restarted.

30 minutes after the red flag at the Japanese Grand Prix, flight control announced that the race would be restarted behind the safety car.

The restart of the race was delayed for at least another 10 minutes.

The interruption of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix lasted more than an hour. During the red flag, the competitors found different activities to pass the time. The fans around the track continued to stay in their seats and wait for the start of the race.

During the intermission, Tsunoda waved to the audience. The Alfa Tauri driver was looking forward to competing in his first home Grand Prix.

After a near two-hour stoppage, air traffic control announced that the race would be restarted behind the safety car at 16:15 local time.

The pilots were asked what the track conditions were like. Their answer was that the condition of the track was better even than the start of the race. Bottas said that visibility is still poor when you are behind several cars. The length of the competition will be about 45 minutes.

After the restart, Verstappen led ahead of Leclerc, Perez, Ocon, Hamilton, Alonso, Russell, Ricciardo, Tsunoda, Schumacher and Magnussen. Vettel and Latifi went on to stop for tires in the interlude. The Aston Martin driver was investigated by the commissioners for dangerous release from the mechanics, but did not receive a sanction. Norris and Bottas also changed their tyres.

35 minutes before the end of the race almost all the competitors put on intermissions except for Alonso, Ricciardo, Schumacher and Zhu. The German stayed on track on wet tires and was overtaken by Verstappen and Leclerc.

Schumacher continued to lose positions due to the wet tires. At the front, Verstappen led ahead of Leclerc, Perez, Ocon, Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Latifi, Norris and Tsunoda.

Verstappen increased his pace and led by 10 seconds over Leclerc. The Monegasque complained about the work of the interludes. Perez continued to occupy the third position, followed by Ocon. The French was defending from Hamilton, and Vettel – from Alonso. Latifi continued to hold eighth as Russell passed Norris and Tsunoda.

Ocon continued to fend off Hamilton, who struggled to overtake him due to the Mercedes’ low top speed. Verstappen continued to increase his gap to Leclerc. The Ferrari driver continued to experience tire difficulties in the intermission and was overtaken by Perez. Some of the competitors made another pit stop.

By the end of the abbreviated race in Japan, Verstappen controlled his pace and recorded first success at the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit. The podium was completed by Leclerc, who fended off the attacks of Sergio Perez. The Monegasque went straight through the chicane and received a 5-second penalty, which sent him into third place.

Esteban Ocon finished fourth. The Alpin driver kept Lewis Hamilton behind him. Sebastian Vettel finished sixth, followed by Fernando Alonso, George Russell, Nicolas Latifi and Lando Norris.

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