Lewis Hamilton extends his 2017 championship lead after winning the Japanese Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton extends his 2017 championship lead after winning the Japanese Grand Prix.

It has been a sad run for the Ferrari team who have experienced issues for the past two races — Malaysia and now Japan — where both its drivers did not finish.

In Singapore both cars crashed out of the race on the first lap, while in Malaysia and Japan both cars retired due to mechanical maladies. According to reports, both Ferraris of Sebastien Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen experienced a broken spark plug in one of the cylinders. This is disappointing as the team has up to recent races been a strong contender.

With both Ferraris out of the Japanese race at the weekend, Lewis Hamilton once again managed to expand his championship lead as he led the race from start to finish. He pipped Max Verstapppen, who won the Malaysian Grand Prix. Verstapppen was followed by teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Hamilton has a 59-point lead ahead of Vettel with four races to go.

It was also the Catalunya, Spain, leg of the WRC (World Rally Championship) where the charging Citroen C3 Abu Dhabi of Kris Meeke claimed the top laurels of the weekend’s race.

Teammates Sebastien Ogier and Ott Tanak finished second and third overall in their M-Sport Fiesta cars.

The new Audi e-tron FE04, which will participate in the 2018 Formula E championship season, has left a strong impression at the official preseason testing of the Formula E electric racing series at Valencia (Spain).

Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler completed the largest number of test kilometres of all 10 teams from Monday to Thursday. The lap times of the first all-electric Audi race car were promising as well.

New Audi factory driver Daniel Abt (Germany) and title defender Lucas di Grassi (Brazil) reeled off an extensive test programme with the four race cars of Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler. The programme was focused on race simulations and optimisation of the energy management of the new motor-generator unit, which now only has one forward gear.

The four Audi e-tron FE04s ran with complete reliability on all three days, so enabling Abt and Di Grassi to reel off a total of 474 laps on the 3km Circuit Ricardo Tomo near Valencia.

The number of laps equates to a distance of 1,466km — equalling the race distance of a whole Formula E season.

The two Audi drivers were regularly part of the top group, although the absolute best times are only of limited significance: testing was only permitted with the full qualifying power of 200kW twice per day and per car. The season opener will take place in Hong Kong from December 2-3.

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