Valtteri Bottas finished the Japanese Grand Prix in fifth place, whilst teammate Felipe Massa finished in 17th. Bottas was jumped by Vettel at the start but held on to third in the early stages after passing Rosberg on the first lap. Contact with Ricciardo at the start resulted in a front-right puncture for Massa, with him needing to pit for new tyres and front wing on the first lap. Being a lap down after the stop made it difficult for Massa to challenge for points. Bottas ultimately finished in a comfortable fifth after being passed by Raikkonen at the final round of pitstops collecting an important ten points for the team to extend the gap to Red Bull Racing in the Constructors’ Championship to 69 points.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was a tough race for the team today. Unfortunately I don’t think we showed the pace we were hoping for. Felipe had a bad start which was further compounded when he received a puncture following a collision with Ricciardo. He then had to complete a whole lap on three tyres which put him down by a lap and effectively ended his chances of a competitive race. Valtteri had a good position at the start and was driving very well. Our call on the first stop was the right one and kept us in front of Rosberg, but our second stop was too late and so we lost the position to Raikkonen. We have further solidified our third place in the Championship but leave Suzuka with the knowledge that we could have achieved more.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Not a perfect day for us, but we will take the ten points. I was hoping for a podium, but the pace wasn’t as good as we had expected. Defending from the quicker cars was hard and I think we should have pitted earlier for the final stop, but it’s always easier to say that after the race.”
Felipe Massa: “A very tough day for me today right from the first lap. I had a bad start and then had contact with Ricciardo and it took me a long time to get back to the pits. From there it was the end of the race barring any miracle. We have scored some decent points for the Constructors’ Championship with Valtteri’s fifth but I had the car to contribute a good haul of points as well. We have to regroup and get those points back at the next race.”