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GP Week : Issue 229
Having made his grand prix debut in singapore, Alexander rossi had something to prove in suzuka. While he'd beaten his Manor teammate Will stevens around the streets of the Marina Bay circuit he'd been less than convincing, but in suzuka he managed to put that right. The American failed to set a time inside 107% during qualifying, and the team was forced to ask for permission to have its newest driver start the race, but that was the result of bad luck than any reflection on Rossi's ability. He'd been impeded by Marcus Ericsson's spin mid-way through Q1 before Max Verstappen parked up on the exit of the hairpin and ruined his only other opportunity to set a lap. During the race, and despite his inexperience, Rossi was able to stick with Will Stevens and ultimately crossed the line ahead of his teammate. What's more he was responsible for the team having both cars at the finish, after doing well to avoid Stevens' wild slide on the exit of 130R. But for another foot and the two would have been involved in an almighty shunt. "Thankfully, I was able to get out of the way," Rossi said post-race. "It was a real heart-in-mouth moment that I'm sure looked every bit as dramatic from outside the cockpit as it did from where I was sitting!" Stevens spun after being lapped, his car losing downforce and understeering off the circuit. The Brit then lost control but managed to keep the car out of the wall, leaving Rossi to deftly move by into 18th. "Credit to them both for their impressive reactions," said team boss John Booth. "W ill did well to collect the car without leaving the asphalt, while Alex's lightning response ensured there was no contact. "There were sharp intakes of breath all round up on the pit wall, but all's well that ends well and we are pleased to achieve our tenth two-car finish of the season." Along with the spin, Stevens also suffered the ignominy of a time penalty added to his race after he was caught speeding in pit lane. It saw him finish in 19th and last on the road, beaten for the second race in a row by Rossi. 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> JAPAN PARTNERS: two from two