2022 Japanese Grand Prix - Sunday
“Congratulations to Max Verstappen for his second title”
“The Japanese Grand Prix came down to a 40-minute sprint race after the wet conditions hampered visibility too much for the race to start.. The conditions dictated the tyre strategy for everyone, as the safety car start meant that all the drivers had to start on the full wets. But it soon became clear that the intermediates were best for the circumstances, which performed strongly in inconsistent conditions at an impressive pace. Looking after the front tyres was critical, with the drivers showing their skills in managing their used intermediates during the closing stages of the race. A big thank you to the amazing Japanese fans, who finally saw an action-packed sprint after waiting so long, showing once again their passion and commitment to Formula 1 by staying put despite the challenging weather. They deserve all our affection and support.”
TYRE TALES: HOW THE RACE WAS WON
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified on pole in dry conditions and was able to convert that advantage into the lead on the Cinturato Blue full wets. He pitted a couple of laps after the re-start for Cinturato Green intermediates, at the same time as his pursuer Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and re-emerged in the lead – which he maintained to the end after 28 laps.
BEST OF THE REST: THE ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY
With such a short race starting behind the safety car in wet conditions, there was a clear-cut strategy that left little room for variation. However, some drivers initially stayed out on their full wet tyres while the majority pitted for intermediates after the start – hoping to gain track position and take advantage of any potential safety cars. This didn’t materialise though, with all the drivers apart from five stopping just once. The highest-placed two-stopper was Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in seventh.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR NEXT
The teams now head west for three rounds on the American continent: in the USA and Mexico (back-to-back) followed by Brazil two weeks later. With the planned 2023 tyre test during FP2 in Japan cancelled due to rain, this has been moved to Mexico. A similar test is already on the schedule for FP2 in Austin.