|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australian||Red Bull-Racing||204|
Hello and welcome back to VAVEL's LIVE coverage of the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix, from the much-loved Suzuka circuit, the formation lap is underway, so around two and a half minutes until lights out!
It's early, but if you're up and on Twitter, keep in touch with me (@therealjeagles) throughout the race.
Another early one for Europe and thus the UK, so join me, bleary-eyed or not at 5:45am Sunday morning, where the live updates will continue.
A sombre spot - However, the last death to have ocurred in Formula 1 to date was due to an accident at the fabled Dunlop Curve, with the talented and charming Jules Bianchi succumbing to colossal brain injuries nine months after hitting a recovery vehicle in the waterlogged 2014 race. Mercifully, safety measures have improved even further, and the weather is set to follow suit; with the race set to be dry, after some morning rain.
Suzuka: Where titles are won and lost
Think about the infamous duels between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1989 and 1990. Mika Hakkinen taking on and beating Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine in 1998 and 1999 respectively. Schumacher sealed Ferrari's first Drivers' title for 21 years here in 2000, before pipping a young Kimi Raikkonen to the 2003 world title by just one solitary point here, and on the other end of the spectrum, all but conceded his chance of a record-extending eighth world title in 2006 - courtesy of a rare Ferrari failure. Suzuka is a track that has decided 13 World Championships since its introduction onto the calendar in 1987 and is truly of the jewels in the F1 crown, providing some great races; who can forget Raikkonen's charge from 17th to 1st in 2005?
Whilst we have no chance of the 2016 champion being crowned this weekend, we may have a fair idea of who will go onto to claim the tag of the world's best for 2016.
Can Rosberg extend his advantage?
After Turn One in Malaysia last weekend, Nico Rosberg was last. At the end of lap 56, after a stellar, if not controversial drive, the German was celebrating a well-earned podium, with his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton stricken by engine woes, that ended his race prematurely on lap 41, whilst leading by over 20 seconds.
The gap between the two is now 23 points, with Rosberg the form man, having won three of the last four Grand Prix since the summer break. Hamilton has it all to do, but is looking for a hat trick of Suzuka wins, having won the 2015 and the ill-fated 2014 events. Meanwhile, Rosberg has never won here, but has started on pole-position for the last three races around the legendary, 18 turn, 3.6 mile track, situated in Mie Prefecture.
|2013||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Racing|
|2012||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Racing|
|2010||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Racing|
|2009||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Racing|
Welcome to VAVEL's live coverage of the 2016 Formula 1 Emirates Japanese Grand Prix, I'm your correspondent James Eagles and will be guiding you through all the events of tomorrow morning's Grand Prix from the iconic Suzuka circuit, in Japan.