It turned into a fruitless Japanese Grand Prix today for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team with an early incident compromising Charles Leclerc’s race, which would eventually end in retirement, while Marcus Ericsson had it all to do as he battled his way up from the back of the pack.
Spectators and teams watched a hectic Grand Prix unfold at the epic Suzuka Circuit but the eventful start of the race made an impact on Leclerc’s race outcome. Starting from tenth on the grid, Leclerc made a good start and was fighting his way to gain positions when an incident with Kevin Magnussen on lap two caused damage to his car that ended his chances of pushing into the points paying positions.
Shortly after that, Leclerc came in for an early pitstop during the safety car period where the team changed the nose of his car. He then consistently worked his way into the upper midfield. Unfortunately, a mechanical issue on Leclerc’s car saw him retire from the race on lap 39.
Ericsson also had a good start and made a good recovery from the back of the grid, fighting in the midfield. He crossed the finish line in P12.
After an unrewarding weekend the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team looks forward to the next grand prix, which will take place in the United States, and will be eager to fight for good results there.
C37 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
Result: 12th. Start on soft tyres, after 5 laps change to medium tyres
“We knew that it would be a difficult race, but taking our starting position P20 into consideration, finishing in P12 is a result we can be satisfied with. We had a good pace and the car also felt quite good. I drove on the same set of tyres for the majority of the race, which required a lot of management from my side. It is a bit of a shame not to have started the race from a better position, because points could have been possible. Nevertheless, it was a positive day, and I look forward to our next chance in Austin.”
C37 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
Result: DNF. Start on soft tyres, after 4 laps change to medium tyres, and after 35 laps change to soft tyres
“It was a fun race, despite not ending the way we would have liked it to. The start was busy – I was fighting with some of the cars around me but eventually had to back off. I lost some places there but fought hard to recover them later on during the race. On the second lap, I was involved in an incident. We made a pit stop shortly after that and changed the nose on my car. We knew that it was not ideal to pit so early, but we had to do that to have a chance to fight for points. After that, it went quite well. I was able to recover some positions, but, unfortunately, I had to retire from the race because of a mechanical problem on my car. It is a shame not to finish the race, but I look forward to the next one where I hope to fight for some points again.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“It was a tough day. Charles’ race was compromised by the incident with Kevin Magnussen. It was a very dangerous move on his part and Charles’ car was quite damaged after that. We had to change the nose during the pitstop. He did a good job recovering positions, but in the end, he had to retire from the race because of a mechanical issue. Marcus gave a good performance. Finishing in P12 after starting in P20 is a solid job done and he managed the tyres well. We can see that we have a good pace overall, and look forward to the next opportunity for points in the United States.”
Photos: Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team - 2018 FIA F1 World Championship
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