It’s already time for the Japan Grand Prix, a vital appointment for Sebastian Vettel after the last two weekends marked by negative episodes. There will not be another final trial, even though it is pointless crying over spilt milk.
Regardless of what happened at Sepang and Singapore and despite the strong declarations by Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne, which I do not share since we are faced with a young team that must work one step at a time to build a winning cycle, they must look forward and at Suzuka the German driver will have to rip points away from Lewis Hamilton. It is certainly a hard task. Ferrari is called to confront five finals.
There is certainly bitterness for the lost chance because, looking at last week’s race and his race times, Vettel could have won the 25 points bringing himself 10 points closer to the British driver.
We are coming to a historic circuit which is fast and demanding where any error could carry a heavy price since the runoffs are reduced. Despite Hamilton’s statements I do not yet see Red Bull on a par with Ferrari and above all Mercedes but the aerodynamics could overcome any lack by the Renault power unit and it could put itself once more between the two pretenders to the title. The eight points taken away from the British champion by Verstappen are vital lifeblood for Seb. In addition, Mercedes’ difficulties could be a weapon for Arrivabene’s men, even though the temperatures in Japan will be very different from those in Malaysia and Singapore.
For his part Vettel could show that he is a world champion who is able to avoid being affected by negative episodes by quickly finding once more his peace of mind. In recent times I have seen a driver lacking tranquillity, also in his declarations, and the contact with Stroll in the victory lap was a blazing example.
We expect an interesting weekend and hope to witness again a race full of emotions.
Gian Carlo Minardi