REPORT: A tough race in Suzuka

Published on
07 Apr 2024
Est. reading time
3 Min

A first lap incident and a tiny error prevented a challenge for points in Japan

Hopes were high for a fight up the field on Sunday in Suzuka, but bad fortune befell both of our drivers, as Alex crashed out on the first lap, before Logan ran wide at Turn 9 to deprive him of the chance to challenge for points late on.
Alex was desperately unlucky to find himself in Daniel Ricciardo’s blind spot as he raced towards the outside of Turn 3. The Australian moved ever-so-slightly right as they approached the corner, clipping Alex’s front right tyre, before they both collected the barriers and brought out a red flag.
The efforts to clear the cars and repair the tyre wall meant a delay of more than twenty minutes before the grid lined up once more.
This afforded everyone a chance to change tyres, and Logan swapped on to the hard compound in warmer conditions that the teams had not yet had the chance to run in.
He showed good pace, overtaking both Alpines into Turn 1 in the space of a few laps, before settling into some tyre management.
There was a manic moment in the pit lane, as several cars both in front of and behind Logan boxed at the same time. Logan lost some ground, but was able to fight back towards a group of cars challenging for the final points-paying position, before the team elected to change the strategy, boxing for mediums with 17 laps remaining.
Our American was lapping a second per-lap quicker than those rivals up the field, but unfortunately a small lock-up heading into Turn 9 dented his progress. He was able to reverse the car out of the gravel, but the time had been lost, and it was a P17 finish for our one remaining car.
Alex added, "I didn’t have a great start but being on the Hard tyres, I had good traction coming up into Turn 2, but I don’t think Daniel [Ricciardo] saw me and it was a bit of a pinching moment…
"I tried to back out of it but I couldn’t quite get out of the way quick enough. It’s a tough one to take, so all in all a very frustrating and disappointing weekend.
"It wasn’t a big crash but the way I hit the tyre wall, the car gripped and went under it, and I came to a hard stop really fast and aggressively, so that won’t help with the damage to the car. Looking ahead, we’ll assess the damage and get the car ready in time for China."
Logan commented, "After that second stop, I was pushing as hard as I could to catch the group ahead and make something happen.
"I bottomed on the exit kerb, locked up and went straight. That moment was disappointing but leading up to it there were some positives.
"We had a bold strategy trying to do the Hard, Hard race which I think would’ve worked. Of course, the lap we try to pit everyone pits and instead of jumping four cars, we got jumped by four cars which can make or break a race.
"Had that gone to plan, the race would’ve played out very differently. Nonetheless, we tried to adapt to the situation by boxing again. We still could’ve had a decent result, but I made that little mistake."
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