After a scintillating performance from Max Verstappen at Sepang which saw him win his first race completely on merit, second overall after the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided at Spain last year. We quickly turn around and get set for the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.
Round 16 of the Formula 1 World Championship emanates from the Suzuka circuit. The 5.807 km (3.609 mile) circuit is a unique figure of eight design which features some very high speed corners which contribute to an average lap speed of over 220kmph (136mph), one of the fastest of the season.
Suzuka first held a Japanese Grand Prix in 1987 and held it for 20 years before the Grand prix briefly being moved to Fuji in 2007 and 2008 and retuning to Suzuka in 2009 where it has been held ever since.
Suzuka is a real challenge for both Cars and drivers alike, especially the high speed S corners at the start of the lap.
Mercedes should be strong here, the track seems to suit them well as they have won the race in each of the last 3 races here an Lewis Hamilton has won 2 of those (2014,2015) and finishing in 3rd at last years race.
Max Verstappen would like to follow up his form from both last week’s race win and last year’s Japanese GP where he finished 2nd and the red bull’s have shown to be more competitive with the front runners as the season has progressed.
Another team that could potentially do well this weekend is Force India. Not only do they have Mercedes powered engines, so the track should suit them reasonably well but Sergio Perez and Estoban Ocon have proven to be consistent points scorers for the team, When they’re not tangling with each other that is, and they will be looking to solidify their 4th position in the constructors standings with a good performance.
A team that cannot afford any more slip ups is Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel in particular. After incidents in the past 2 races that have put Vettel 34 points behind Everyone will be watching intently to see if he will in fact need a gearbox change after a post race collision with Lance Stroll’s Williams If indeed he does need to change the gearbox it will give him a 5 place grid penalty and immediately put him on the back foot, something he can ill afford if he wishes to keep his dwindling title hopes alive.
Key times for the weekend (UK time)
Practise 1 – Fri 02:00
Practise 2 – Fri 06:00
Practise 3 – Sat 04:00
Qualifying – Sat 07:00
Race Start – 06:00
All sessions are live on Sky Sports F1