Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the Japanese Grand Prix yesterday was significantly overshadowed by the serious accident that left his fellow racer Jules Bianchi unconscious and being transported to hospital.
The weather conditions were treacherous when the race took place, with the track soaking wet due to storms that marked the approach of typhoon Phanfone. The race began with a safety car and just a lap and a half into the race the red flag was shown due to the conditions being judged too dangerous.
The race was later resumed but it was not long before conditions got worse, with light fading and the rain getting heavier. Prior to Bianchi’s life-threatening accident Adrian Sutil had come off the track in the same spot but fortunately escaped without serious injuries.
Recovery vehicles were still tending to the first accident when Bianchi ran into water at the corner and flew off the track.
Speaking about the weather conditions Hamilton said, “In the wet it’s always tough. It’s some of the toughest conditions you have and this is such a high speed circuit so it’s very twitchy.”
The race was stopped prematurely, with nine laps to go, following the accident.
When interviewed after the race Hamilton was visibly distressed by the news of Bianchi and unable to fully enjoy his victory. “Obviously it’s a real anti-climax to hear that one of the drivers is seriously injured,” said Hamilton. He continued, “I could see there was a tractor lifting away one car, it wasn’t until when it was red-flagged that I could see there was another car in the mix there. I’m just hoping for him and hoping he will be okay.”
The tragic events of the race overshadowed what was a remarkable display of talent from Hamilton, for whom it was an eighth victory of the season.
Describing the moment when Hamilton overtook his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard said, “That was bravery in the extreme. That is an overtake other drivers will remember."
Things are looking extremely promising for 29 year-old Hamilton who is now enjoying a 10 point championship lead over his rivals.
Bianchi has since undergone surgery for serious head injuries at the Mie General Hospital and will remain in intensive care until he shows signs of improvement.