As Typhoon Phanfone approached Japan, the course at Suzuka was completely wet. All practices and qualifying were held in dry conditions. Lewis Hamilton led his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by 3 points coming into the race. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) was in third place, 60 points back.
The field started behind the safety car. Only two laps needed to be completed for half points to be awarded, 40 laps (of 53) for full points. Rosberg started on pole, with Hamilton next door. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa made it an all-Williams Row 2. The race was red-flagged during Lap 2.
The race restarted behind the safety car after 25 min. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) came to a stop on track during the out lap. The safety car came in at the end of Lap 9. The top of the field remained unchanged through the first green lap. By Lap 13, Mercedes had built at 17-sec lead on the Williams.
Rosberg pitted the next lap to take on intermediate tires. Hamilton followed on Lap 15. Rosberg retained the lead. Jenson Button (McLaren) had pitted earlier for intermediates and now ran third. By Lap 21 Rosberg held a 1+ sec lead. Hamilton went off during Lap 27. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull…for the balance of this year) and Ricciardo were closing on Button in third.
Hamilton passed Rosberg for the lead on Lap 29. He opened up a 2-sec lead in the first lap, with Button gaining on the German from third. Button pitted for a new set of inters during Lap 32, surrendering third to Vettel. Rosberg came in one lap later, having slipped to 6 sec behind Hamilton. He retook the track in third behind Ricciardo, Vettel having also pitted.
Hamilton pitted and came out behind Ricciardo. Ricciardo pitted on Lap 37. Rain started falling again. The Top 3 was Hamilton, Rosberg, and Vettel. Hamilton built his lead to 1.2 sec over Rosberg. Vettel left the track and lost 4 sec to the leader. Hamilton’s lead was 10 sec during Lap 40.
The safety car was deployed on Lap 44, running three laps before bringing the field a halt on Lap 47. The race was not resumed. Hamilton, Rosberg, and Vettel made up the podium. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) raced from P20 on the grid to finish ninth.
Adrian Sutil (Sauber) left the track in the late running. His car was in the process of getting recovered by a tractor when Jules Bianchi (Marussia) left the course at the same point and hit the tractor. He was taken to the infield care center and then airlifted unconscious to a nearby hospital.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 266
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 256
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull-Renault – 193
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Red Bull-Renault - 139
Fernando Alonso (Spain), Ferrari – 133
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 130
Jenson Button (Great Britain), McLaren-Mercedes – 82
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany), Force India-Mercedes – 76
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 71
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes - 46
Team standings (teams earning points)
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 522
Red Bull Racing-Renault (Vettel, Ricciardo) – 332
Williams-Mercedes (Bottas, Massa) – 201
Ferrari (Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen) – 178
Force India-Mercedes (Hulkenberg, Perez) – 122
McLaren-Mercedes (Kevin Magnussen, Button) – 121
STR-Renault (Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniil Kvyat) – 29
Lotus-Renault (Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado) – 8
Marussia-Ferrari (Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton) – 2
Next event: Russian Grand Prix (Sochi) – Oct. 10-12