Paul Hembery: “This was always going to be a very close race, with little difference in lap times between the two nominated compounds. As a result we saw varied approaches to strategy, with both the medium and the hard tyre being used at different points for the second and third stints.
“The majority of drivers stopped twice as we expected: wear is quite low at Suzuka due to the flowing nature of the circuit – which means that traction demands are low ” but the high lateral energy loads mean that the limiting factor is degradation. This of course is exacerbated when you have a close race with the cars following behind each other, as aerodynamic efficiency is compromised and the cars slide more.
“Vettel was able to use a two-stop strategy to make the difference here, but it was extremely close with Webber and Grosjean. Once more we received a great welcome in Japan: one of the most difficult circuits in the world for drivers, cars and tyres, with an absolutely amazing atmosphere thanks to some fantastic fans.”