Japan played host to round seventeen of the 2016 F1 world championship. Fortunes were mixed up and down the grid; Force India consolidated fourth in the WCC well with another double points finish, while at McLaren-Honda things looked rather bleak yet again as both drivers missed out on points rather woefully.
Up at the front of the grid, Ferrari showed some strong qualifying pace but unfortunately for the Scuderia, Red Bull got the better of them when it counted. On this occasion though, our TOP DOG award goes to a Silver Arrow…
It really could be Rosberg’s year. Once again he put in a sublime display of driving to win the Japanese Grand Prix. This made it the sixth time this year Rosberg has won on a track he previously hadn’t done before.
The chinks in Rosberg’s armour seem to be getting smaller as the season progresses, he has been winning at tracks previously seen as Lewis Hamilton territory and his qualifying form has been really rather excellent. For the third year in a row at Suzuka, he pipped Hamilton to pole, this time by just 0.013s.
The result has been a 33 point lead in the WDC for Rosberg with just four races to go. It became abundantly clear over the weekend that Rosberg now has Hamilton on the ropes – the triple world champion seems to be more intent on fighting the British media than his own teammate at the moment.
Hamilton’s problems seeped out onto the track on Sunday as he got off to a shocking start while Rosberg romped off into a lead he rarely looked challenged in. Hamilton’s distant third place has left Rosberg in the enviable position of not needing to win again this year to wrap up his first world championship.
The stats rest in Rosberg’s favour, never before has Hamilton came from behind his team-mate this late in the season to beat him.
With nine wins and eight pole positions in 2016 so far, only a silly character would begrudge Rosberg that world title. All he has to do is avoid crumbling as Hamilton tries to chase him down in the final rounds.
A Little Extra…
A special mention too must go to the entire Mercedes AMG F1 team. They wrapped up their third WCC title in a row in Suzuka and have ensured that one of their drivers will also become champion. Congratulations on the “Triple Triple” guys and girls, all 1100 of them share our TOP DOG award this weekend!