Formula One: 2015 Japanese Grand Prix – Preview.
Lewis Hamilton: Singapore was a strange weekend but I’m chilled about it. It’s been an incredible season so far and I’ve been around long enough now to accept that you can’t win them all. So, it’s just a case of leaving that weekend in the past and moving on to the next one. Japan is always a memorable weekend. Tokyo is one of my favourite cities and Suzuka is definitely one of the greatest tracks in the world – good for overtaking, with some legendary corners that have seen historic moments over the years.
The fans, too, are incredible – so enthusiastic and welcoming. It was great to finally win there last year and that’s the target again. Of course, returning to Suzuka also means we will have Jules in our thoughts and I’ll be sending out strength to his family.
Test of driver skill.
Nico Rosberg: Obviously, Singapore wasn’t a good weekend for the team but I know everybody has been working hard to understand what happened and it’s good that we’ve got a chance to get straight back on it this weekend. Suzuka is an awesome track – one of the best in motorsport and a real test of driver skill. There’s so much going on around the lap with high, medium and low speed corners all thrown in together. The first sector is great fun to drive; you have to really nail the line and a small mistake can cost you so much time. You have to find a good rhythm and that’s a challenge I really enjoy. I haven’t had the best of luck at this circuit in the past and I’d love to change that. We’ll all be thinking of Jules and his family this weekend, of course. He will be always in our hearts.
Thinking of Jules Bianchi.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: The performance in Singapore was far below expectations and left us with plenty to think about moving forwards. But move forward is what we will do. We remain calm, learn our lessons and use the pain of those disappointments as motivation to get back on top. One bad weekend does not negate what has been an incredible season so far and we know our car is competitive. But we also recognise the constant threat from our rivals. Whether Singapore was a blip or not, we cannot take our position at the front for granted and expect not to get caught out. Suzuka is a track which should suit us better, so this will be a good indicator.
Of course, as we return to Japan, we will be thinking of Jules, his family and our friends at Manor Marussia on what will be an emotional weekend for us all.
All-round test for the car.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): Clearly, Singapore didn’t deliver the result we would have liked. We didn’t do a good enough job of getting the best out of our car and, at the same time, we don’t automatically assume our car was capable of winning that race even if we had done so, as our competitors looked extremely strong. So, we came away from the weekend with plenty to analyse to ensure we come back in better shape for the future. In Suzuka, we have one of the great tracks on the calendar. It’s a good all-round test of a car which credits both chassis and Power Unit performance, as well as driver skill. There are some immensely tricky sequences around the circuit, so this is an event where you see the top drivers come to the fore. There is significant history here too – including the tragic accident suffered by Jules Bianchi last year. So, we hold him in our thoughts this weekend and aim to put on a good show for the fans, who are amongst the most energetic and certainly the most creative in the world, whilst aiming for a good result to put the disappointment of Singapore behind us.