Vintage Hamilton: Mercedes Japanese Grand Prix Review

Mercedes F1 Japan

We assess each driver's performance in yesterday's Japanese Grand Prix. First up, Mercedes pairing Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. #ForzaJules

Another front-row lockout followed by another one-two in the race represented an excellent weekend for Mercedes. Perhaps there were some nervous moments while Lewis Hamilton homed in on Nico Rosberg to snatch the lead, but the pair were almost perfect in combat.

All in all Suzuka was a stellar showing for the Silver Arrows, though events elsewhere on the circuit put their success firmly into perspective.

Lewis Hamilton: Grid 2nd. Finish 1st. Rating 9/10

Hamilton ticked another marquee circuit off his list with this victory at Suzuka, albeit a very hollow one following Jules Bianchi's accident. Like all the drivers, Lewis was visibly affected by what had happened to the Frenchman and led the well-wishes on the podium.

An FP3 crash put him on the back foot for qualifying, and he admitted he "wasn't feeling it" as Rosberg beat him to pole.

But from the moment a wet race day dawned on Sunday it always seemed that Lewis was destined for the victory. His wet weather prowess, combined with his recent form, made him hot favourite. 

He stalked Rosberg almost perfectly (there was one worrying off-track moment) and, with the benefit of DRS, got the move done in some style at the outside of Turn 1. From there it was a very simple drive to victory. Lewis is beginning to look ominously good in the championship's closing stages, though it must be remembered that his lead is still only 10 points.

Nevertheless, this was a vintage display from the Brit.

Nico Rosberg: Grid 1st. Finish 2nd. Rating 7/10

Rosberg did not have a bad Japanese Grand Prix. His qualifying lap was excellent and, in the race's early stages, he seemed to be doing a good job of keeping Hamilton in his mirrors.

But his second stint was beset by oversteer. "I was definitely not happy with the balance but we had pretty much the same set-up," Rosberg said afterwards.

"Lewis must have had the same oversteer. I tried to tweak the balance, but we need to look into it. I guess I struggled a bit more with it. Oversteer, I didn't like it."

He was a sitting duck once DRS was activated but, thanks to the pace advantage of his Mercedes, second was always guaranteed so long as he kept the car moving forwards.

That minimised the points loss to seven, though he can ill afford a repeat in Russia if he is to maintain his title challenge. Should he slip more than 14 behind Lewis heading to double-points Abu Dhabi, Nico is in real trouble.