F1: 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Preview
Lewis Hamilton during the Russian Grand Prix. (Photo credit: Clive Mason, Getty images)

F1: 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Preview

After a one-two in Russia, Mercedes head to Japan with the target of clinching a sixth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, equalling Ferrari’s best run in Formula 1.

matthewwatkinson
Matthew Watkinson

For the Silver Arrows to wrap up the Constructor’s Championship they need to fend off the danger of Ferrari to secure a one-two in Japan.

Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff said they will arrive in Japan with several upgrades to clinch the Constructor’s title.

“The win in Sochi doesn’t change the fact that Ferrari had a stronger start to the second part of the season than we did. We’ll bring some minor upgrades to the car in Japan which will hopefully help us take a step in the right direction; however, we know that we need to extract absolutely everything from our car and the tyres if we want to be able to challenge for a win,” said Wolff.

As one championship nears an end, the driver’s World Championship is arguably over already too, but Lewis Hamilton will no doubt be arriving in Japan this weekend with the target of victory and edge ever-closer to his sixth title in Formula 1.

While Mercedes are on the brink of further success, the Ferrari feud rumbles on as Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will look to battle their rivals rather than each other after they engaged in a war of words during the race in Sochi which contributed to a comfortable one-two for Ferrari turning on its head.

Meanwhile Honda will be hoping for Red Bull success at their home race in Suzuka, but after recently being unable to match the blistering pace of Ferrari or Red Bull it could be a difficult weekend for the Japanese engine manufacturers.

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The track

The Suzuka International Racing Course first featured on the Formula 1 calendar in 1987 and is one of the classic circuits on the calendar.

The circuit is 5.807km in length and with a race distance of 307.471km and there will be 53-laps from lights-out to the chequered flag.

The lap record is held by Kimi Raikkonen in 2005 after setting a time of 1.31.540.

Formula 1 is preparing itself for disruption throughout this weekend as typhoon Hagibis is set to hit Suzuka on Saturday and Sunday. It will bring strong winds and heavy rain which would damage the chances of seeing on track action this weekend with the FIA needing to closely monitor the situation.

What happened last year?

The 2018 Japanese GP seemed as easy as a Sunday drive for Hamilton who, from lights-to-flag, was dominant in achieving his fifth victory in Japan.

The Brit consolidated his position at the top of the standings with a 67-point advantage over Vettel who again struggled in wheel-to-wheel combat, this time with Max Verstappen who sailed past the spinning German with the four-time World Champion only able to muster a sixth placed finish.

Valtteri Bottas couldn’t match his teammate but ensured it was a one-two in a perfect weekend for the Mercedes team.

Daniel Ricciardo, then of Red Bull, endured a strong recovery drive to go from 15th on the grid to an impressive fourth place at the end of the race.

When can I watch it?

Friday

Free practice 1: 02:00 – 03:30

Free practice 2: 06:00 – 07:30

Saturday

Free practice 3: 04:00 – 05:00

Qualifying: 07:00 – 08:00

Sunday

Race: 06:10

All times UK.

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