Typhoon Hagibis had wrecked havoc in mainland Japan on Saturday. The Circuit organizers had decided to shift Qualifying to Sunday Morning while cancelling all events on Saturday ( and rightly so ). The storms lasted for the night but the sun came out in the morning! It was great to behold the morning sun on what promised to be a very very busy Race Day!
A Glorious Morning after a Stormy Saturday!
We had learnt our lesson and decided to use the Trains to make our way into Suzuka. The first leg of my journey consistent of a one stop Metro ride to Nagoya Central Station.
Taking the Metro to Nagoya Central Station :
The train ride to Shiroko Station and a 15 minute Taxi ride to Suzuka from there.
Shiroko to Suzuka :
The journey was fairly brisk and we reached the Paddock Gates at 9 in the morning. There were others from the F1 Fraternity making an entry with us!
The F1 Supremo, the CEO, Mr. Chase Carey :
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff :
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team :
Welcome to the Japanese GP Paddock!
Chocolate and Cappuccino to go with breakfast :
Post breakfast, I made my way down to the F1 Village to see what the stores had on offer.
The F1 Village, completely packed with passionate fans. It is pretty evident that Kimi Raikkonen is a big hit in Japan.
An hour of walking around and it was time to head to the Viewing Terrace for the start of Qualifying.
The view from the Terrace on Sunday Morning :
Shots from Q1 :
Charles Leclerc was the fastest in Q1 from Lewis Hamilton & Max Verstappen. Both the Alfa Romeos made it into Q2!
Returning to the Pits at the end of the session :
Q2 Underway :
Valtteri Bottas was the Fastest in Q2 from Lewis Hamilton and Alexander Albon! Antonio Giovinazzi qualified in P11 while Kimi Raikkonen finished in P13, both Alfa Romeo cars out in Q2 sadly.
Shots from Q3 :
Video Link for Start of Q3 :
Sebastian Vettel grabbed Pole position from Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas, a great position to start for Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team!
Alfa Romeo would be disappointed to narrowly miss being in the top 10, but a free tyre choice should promise them a strong race!
The various levels of Access in the Paddock World of F1. Complex and confusing!
Post Qualifying, it was time for the Pit Lane Walk :
Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :
The Alfa Romeo Racing Garage getting prepped :
The Motorhome, a busy place. Everyone grabbing a quick bite before heading back to the garage to prepare for the race :
Grid Kids making their way down to the grid :
I found my vantage spot on the Terrace and it was time to get ready for the Grid Presentation and the Race Start!
The Starting Grid - a hub of activity before the Race Start :
The Drivers gathering for the National Anthem before the race :
The chariots being readied for their riders :
The Alfa Romeo crew getting the machines ready :
The Boys getting suited up for battle :
Time to get buckled in :
Final checks before the Formation Lap :
The Timer running down :
The Grid is cleared for the start of the Formation Lap :
Formation lap time!
Video Link To Start of the Formation Lap :
Cars forming up on the grid for the Race Start :
2019 Japanese GP Race Start ( Video Link ) :
Shots from the race :
Charles Leclerc Pit Stop ( Video Link ) :
Alex Albon Pit Stop ( Video Link ) :
Sebastian Vettel Pit Stop ( Video Link ) :
Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team battling in out in the race :
Valtteri Bottas reigned supreme in Japan. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton finished P2 and P3 respectively. Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished P12 and P14, another weekend with no points for the the team..unable to break the rut!
The Paddock being packed up before the race ends. A common occurrence at a lot of race weekends.
I spent some time socializing with friends post race.
China is a short trip from Japan and it was amazing to meet the ICE ARMY from China! Fanatical Kimi Raikkonen supporters this lot!
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team :
Making my way to the circuit exit :
Bye Bye Suzuka! You were awesome! Hope to be back here one day!
Back to Nagoya..will miss these views.
A Kimi Raikkonen flag, Thank you for the gift Ice Army China :
The Collectibles from the Race Weekend! Mini helmets of Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, Charles Leclerc & Lewis Hamilton and the Scale model of Kimi Raikkonen's Alfa Romeo F1 Car C38.
It was yet another disappointing weekend for Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team. However we keep pushing and we will be back to better days soon! A Big Thank you to the team for their hospitality!
Japan has been an overwhelming experience. I am bowled over by the warmth & respect shown by the people. Words fall short to describe the passion that the fans have..they Live, Breathe F1. At every step you find fans with unique ways of expressing their love & support for the teams & drivers.
God Bless this land abundantly!
I do hope that you enjoyed "The Paddock Weekends" series from 2019. There will be more of these in 2020.
Thank you all for your support and love!