On This Day:
In 1987, Suzuka hosted its first Grand Prix. It was pole and win for Ferrari’s Gerhard Berger, and despite finishing outisde the points, Alain Prost took the fastest lap. Ayrton Senna came second for Lotus, while McLaren picked up third with Stefan Johansson.
A decade later in 1998, Mika Hakkinen sealed his first championship with victory at Suzuka, giving him exactly 100 championship points. He would take his second championship one day short of a year later. Eddie Irvine was on the podium on both occasions, but in 1998 Michael Schumacher had retired from the race and it was McLaren who achieved the constructor’s championship with a double podium.
The 2009 season ended with victory for Red Bull at Abu Dhabi. Lewis Hamilton had started on pole, but a brakes issue put him out of the race. Sebastian Vettel went on to dominate in his usual pattern, with Mark Webber finishing second. Jenson Button took third for Brawn in their last race. Toyota also got a double points finish in their final race. Brawn GP secured their constructor’s championship, and went on to become Mercedes GP for 2010 and beyond.
It has been confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg has signed for Sauber for 2013. The skilled German will be hoping to do even better than his up-and-down campaign with Force India this year.
Meanwhile Toro Rosso confirm that they will continue with the same driver line-up of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.
Stat of the Day:
Aged 31 years and 227 days, Ayrton Senna became the youngest-ever triple world champion. It is almost guaranteed that this record will be beaten in 2012, with both Alonso and Vettel younger than this age at the Brazilian GP (the last date the championship can be won). Alonso will be 31 years and 119 days; Vettel will be 25 years and 145 days.