To watch at the Ja­panese GP

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

Pres­sure on Hamil­ton LEWIS HAMIL­TON’S cham­pi­onship cre­den­tials, not to men­tion his tem­per­a­ment, will be se­verely tested this week­end af­ter his Malaysian hopes went up in smoke. The Bri­ton trails Mercedes team-mate Nico Ros­berg by 23 points with five races left this sea­son and will be des­per­ate to stop the rot by com­plet­ing a hat­trick of Suzuka vic­to­ries, which would also mark the 50th win of his For­mula One ca­reer. Hamil­ton’s bizarre claim that there was a con­spir­acy against him will hardly have helped team morale, or his own cause. Af­ter his en­gine ex­ploded in Sepang, Hamil­ton fumed: “It’s not ac­cept­able – some­one doesn’t want me to win this year.” He has only a mat­ter of days to get his head right, be­fore it’s too late.

Force is strong with Ros­berg ROS­BERG is in the form of his life, hav­ing won three straight races be­fore a stir­ring fightback to fin­ish third in Malaysia last week­end. The Ger­man will be look­ing to press home his 23-point lead in the stand­ings as Hamil­ton bat­tles his de­mons fol­low­ing an ill-ad­vised out­burst in Sepang. Ros­berg won’t be count­ing his chick­ens just yet, hav­ing thrown away a 43-point ad­van­tage ear­lier this year. But the mo­men­tum is un­ques­tion­ably on his side and Hamil­ton has it all to do if he is to re­tain his world ti­tle.

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain RED BULL could be for­given for hop­ing it is a wet week­end in Suzuka as they look to build on a suc­cess­ful race in Malaysia, where Daniel Ric­cia­rdo (pix) led the team’s first one-two in al­most three years. Red Bull pre­vi­ously dom­i­nated the Ja­panese Grand Prix, Se­bas­tian Vet­tel win­ning four out of five from 2009 to 2013 be­fore his move to Fer­rari. But Ric­cia­rdo, who came home ahead of teenage team-mate Max Ver­stap­pen in Sepang, said they can pose a threat to the ram­pant Mercedes, es­pe­cially with rain fore­cast for Sun­day’s race, telling AFP: “In the rain we could be very strong – if it rains, I be­lieve we can win the race.”

Pot, Vet­tel, black SPARE a thought for Vet­tel: a four­time world cham­pion be­ing called “crazy” and an “id­iot” by 19-yearold Ver­stap­pen. While there is an el­e­ment of the pot call­ing the ket­tle black in the teenager’s crit­i­cism, given his own ag­gres­sive driv­ing, Vet­tel’s re­cent trou­bles have been com­pounded by a three-place penalty for Suzuka af­ter a first-cor­ner crash in Sepang which pre­ma­turely ended his race. Lan­guish­ing in fifth place in the cham­pi­onship stand­ings, Vet­tel will be hop­ing for a dramatic re­ver­sal of for­tune in Ja­pan to help sal­vage a sea­son to for­get for him and Fer­rari.

High emo­tion as Bianchi re­mem­bered RIC­CIA­RDO ded­i­cated his Malaysia win to Jules Bianchi, the French­man who died as a re­sult of in­juries suf­fered at the 2014 Ja­pan race and will be on the minds of all driv­ers again this week­end. With the is­sue of For­mula One safety again high­lighted af­ter Kevin Mag­nussen’s Re­nault caught fire dur­ing prac­tice in Malaysia, the Aus­tralian wel­comed the ‘halo’ pro­tec­tion cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped to help im­prove driver safety, de­spite Mag­nussen’s con­cern that it would have made it harder for him to es­cape his burn­ing car. Ric­cia­rdo warned that the “pros have to com­pletely out­weight the cons” but also paid trib­ute to Bianchi, say­ing: “It is a lit­tle bit emo­tional com­ing to Suzuka since then.” – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.