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GP Week : Issue 137
F1 JAPAN >> Team-By-Team: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka Brilliant starts for both Sutil and di Resta failed to net them any points at the end of the race, after just falling short in 11th and 12th places respectively. Di Resta got the better start and jumped his team-mate at lights-out, thereby beginning a ding-dong battle in which they swapped places three times over the course of the race. The safety car spoiled both their races however, leading to their downfall from the points. Challenging Renault for fifth in the constructors’ championship is looking increasingly unlikely now with four races left. Saving new tyres during qualifying failed to help Toro Rosso on Sunday after recording a 15th place and a DNF. Buemi retired on lap 12 when his wheel came loose following a pitstop, for which the team was fined €5,000, while Alguersuari ran at the back end of the midfield pack for the entire race to come home 15th, having been overtaken by Maldonado on the final lap. He spent his first stint behind both Lotuses but found it difficult to overtake as he was hitting the rev limiter. Buemi’s race was looking much more promising after running in 9th prior to retiring. Sergio Perez attained his first back-to-back points finish in Suzuka on Sunday after two- stopping his way to 8th place having started a lowly 17th on the grid. Despite not making a single place up off the line he rose through the field as his rivals pitted early and the deployment of the safety car allowed him to leapfrog both Force Indias. A short final stint on the soft allowed him to maintain his position to the flag. Kobayashi endured a tough home race after a poor start and taking on too long a final stint due to the emergence of the safety car. Timo Glock won the battle of the Virgins at the back of the field after a race-long battle with team-mate d’Ambrosio, with HRT’s Ricciardo in the mix also. All three were on similar three- stop strategies and d’Ambrosio was ahead for most of the race until the final round of stops when Glock snuck by. The German had lost 4 seconds in his first pitstop because of a sticking rear tyre, meaning he spent his second stint behind Ricciardo but with the help of the safety car he was able to battle back to finish 20th at the flag. It was a bitter sweet day of racing action for HRT in Suzuka, with Daniel Ricciardo enjoying his best race to date but with team-mate Tonio Liuzzi enduring a nightmare weekend to finish in last place three laps behind the leader. Liuzzi hit problem after problem in practice and qualifying, meaning he had only 14 laps under his belt before the race. That left him with massive tyre degradation and he was happy just to finish. Ricciardo battled race-long with both Virgin drivers and lost a place to Glock because of the safety car, but finished within 4 seconds of him and Glock. Team Lotus got both cars to the finish on the lead lap for the very first time in their short two-year history on Sunday, albeit helped with the deployment of the safety car at the perfect time to aid their cause. Both drivers enjoyed tremendous starts to get ahead of a number of experienced teams, with Kovalainen rising as high as 14th. Both Kovalainen and Trulli kept Senna at bay in the third quarter of the race, with the pair eventually finishing 15 seconds behind the Brazilian .Trulli stayed with Kovalainen right to the flag after dropping almost 15 seconds behind him prior to the safety car. 35