Suzuka. It’s fast, it’s flowing, and its figure-of-eight layout makes it essentially a ridiculously big Scalextric track. You’d be hard-pushed to find someone that dislikes this track, and though Hamilton ran off in to the distance again during the race, pretty much everyone else put on a great show of racing.

Here’s what piqued our interest at the Japanese GP!

badgerometer-5-1Attacking the Pit Lane: 0.210s saved broken front wing

Carlos Sainz’s late call into the pits in the Japanese GP meant that his line in to the pit lane was slightly compromised. Maybe he was distracted, maybe he understeered. Whatever the case, it left the pit crew with even more work to do when he pulled in to his box.

Sainz was attempting to undercut Maldonado, and was told to stay out if Maldonado came in. It looked like the Lotus was heading for new tyres on Lap 27, but when he continued down the straight, the Toro Rosso rookie has to act quickly, and unfortunately couldn’t turn the car in quite enough.

Sainz of improvement... Carlos topped his first session in F1 on Friday morning. Photo: Octane Photographic
Sainz of improvement… Carlos topped his first session in F1 on Friday morning. Photo: Octane Photographic

It was a costly rookie mistake, but in fairness, he hasn’t made many this year, and he still grabbed a point in the race, as well as setting fastest time in FP1.

And hey, at least he didn’t make quite as bad of a pit lane error as the guy he was trying to undercut…

badgerometer-41Fernando Alonsulk

These days, F1 drivers are more complex than the racers of yesteryear, thanks to PR and adversiting tie-ups. Having an opinion not in-line with the powers that be, or in particular criticising machinery is not something most drivers are allowed to do any more.

That’s why it was pretty…interesting, shall we call it, to hear Fernando Alonso bemoan his power unit so harshly on the team radio, comparing it to a “GP2 engine”, and calling it “embarrassing”.

However, the Spaniard later backtracked on Twitter and blamed the outburst on the heat of the moment, pledging his future to the team. Which is nice.

badgerometer-311Russian Roll-ette

Crashes are no laughing matter, but Daniil Kvyat’s first tumble in an F1 car was a biggun. It was a spectacular shower of carbon fiber for everyone sat at the Hairpin on Saturday afternoon, as Kvyat clipped the grass on the way up to the corner, spun into the wall, and then rolled as the car dug in to the ground. In some ways, it reminded me an awful lot of Jarno Trulli’s off at Silverstone in 2004.

Anywho, after the rushin’ Russian clambered out and dusted himself off, it quickly became apparent that his car was totally ruined, and so Red Bull changed the engine and had to rebuild the chassis for race day on Sunday.

He couldn’t quite get in to the points unfortunately, finishing a frustrating 13th place. However, he showed his pace once again; most impressive was his move on Jenson Button at 130R, ducking inside of the McLaren at one of the scariest parts of the track.

He also sneaked past Marcus Ericsson at the end of the race as the Sauber driver was lapped by Kimi Raikkonen, and if he was able to use his overtake button – which he was told not to do for reliability fears – he may have been in the points.

badgerometer-21Japanese Fans

No, we’re not trying to flog you a Mitsubishi Air Conditioning unit, but the fans at Suzuka once again proved to be some of the most fantastic anywhere in the world. With Honda’s return to the sport after a seven-year hiatus, those brimming with national pride were out in full force, however hard that might be in 2015.

If there’s one thing that separates a Japanese fan from those of a different country, it’s their unparalleled love for wacky hats. In fact, we almost had to make two separate Badgerometers this week; one for sporting prowess, one for elite head coverings.

Where else can you find fans wearing home-made cardboard hats in the shape of an F1 car? As well as that, there were McLaren rear wing hats – with actual working DRS flaps – and these two chaps with camera housings like the ones you get on top of an airbox, strapped to their heads.

Tired of your go-pro not being aerodynamic enough? Get one of these! Photo: Octane Photographic
Tired of your go-pro not being aerodynamic enough? Get one of these! Photo: Octane Photographic

We would say you can expect these in the Badger GP store some day, but to be honest, we’d probably end up keeping them all. Sorry folks.

badgerometer-11Watch your backs… here comes Max!

The feisty young Dutchman once again showed why he is a future World Champion in Japan by making overtake after overtake on his peers. He had to start from 17th place due to a penalty he received for parking his broken Toro Rosso in a rather silly place in Qualifying, but it only made the teenager more determined to put on a show on Sunday afternoon. He battled Nasr, Ericsson, Alonso, Button and his own team-mate Carlos Sainz. Max would go on to finish ahead of all of them.

His move on Alonso down the main straight prompted the Spaniard’s comical ‘GP2 engine’ outburst and he put Sainz firmly in his place with a bold move on him after Carlos locked up. Verstappen tends to be one of the most prominent performers at a race weekend, due to his fondness for daring overtaking manouvers. He finished the race in a fantastic 9th place to add a further two points to his solid 2015 tally; two points only he seemed to believe possible on Saturday night. The boy done bloody good. Again.

You could say his brave overtaking moves prove he has a lot of balls… but that’s probably because he’s still going through puberty.