Formula 1: Japanese Grand Prix
Venue: Suzuka Circuit, Japan.
Race Date: 9th October 2022
It was Sergio Perez who came out on top in the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend, with the whole racing world now waiting for Max Verstappen to get over the line and officially secure his second consecutive F1 Driver’s Championship title. Ferrari and Mercedes continue to battle away this term, to limited avail but with just a handful of races left on the calendar, the Japanese Grand Prix presents another opportunity for all drivers on the grid. The race at the Suzuka Circuit makes a much-anticipated return, following its omission from the calendar since 2019 due to COVID 19 and it should be another incredible racing spectacle in front of the passionate Japanese F1 fraternity.
The Suzuka Circuit will provide the perfect backdrop to a superb weekend of racing in Japan and plenty of big name drivers will fancy their chances here at the Japanese Grand Prix:
Max Verstappen has enjoyed having things go his own way for much of this season, but he found the Singapore Grand Prix a bridge too far last weekend – finishing 7th. A minor blip surely though for the Dutchman who has blitzed the field in most races this year and a move away from the street circuit in Singapore, to the more traditional set up here in Japan, will certainly assist his driving style. A win here at the Suzuka Circuit secures the Driver’s Championship for Verstappen and how he’d love to get it boxed off this weekend.
It has been a frustrating campaign for both Ferrari and Charles Leclerc, with the man from Monaco fading badly over the past few months. Both driver and team have been at fault for incidents that have not gone their way in recent races, and it is now a case of looking ahead to next season. The Japanese Grand Prix hasn’t been on the calendar since 2019 and having a relatively fresh outlook here, could assist Charles Leclerc this weekend.
Still awaiting his first race win of the season, seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton needs to pick up the first place quickly if he is to win a race in 2022. Hamilton has seen it all before but with a relatively poor campaign under his belt, he and Mercedes are looking for answers as the season draws to a close. There have been signs in recent weeks that Hamilton is starting to get his car ticking again and how he’d love to pick up a race win here.
First Driver to Retire
The Suzuka Circuit is a notoriously tricky track and with so much on the line, it could be an exciting weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix:
Alfa Romeo have broadly endured a season to forget and Guanyu Zhou’s standing of 18th in the Driver’s Championship is representative of that. The man from China often gets caught up in traffic early on, making him a candidate to bump out early in every race at the moment.
German Sebastian Vettel is one of the most experienced drivers on the grid and when he finds his gear, he can be very difficult for anybody to live with. However, he and Aston Martin have had a quiet campaign and with the stakes lowering a little at the end of the season, Vettel could retire first here in Japan.
Top Six Finish
Points are key at the later stages of the Formula One season and every driver on the grid will be vying to finish as high up the leader board as possible here in Japan:
George Russell has enjoyed an excellent full debut season in charge of Mercedes’s second car, and he looks set to finish the campaign above team mate Lewis Hamilton. The Suzuka circuit in Japan should suit Russell’s driving style and he could well be in the podium hunt.
Fresh off the back of his 5th place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix, Daniel Riccardo should arrive here in Japan full of confidence. Confusion reigns about where he will be racing next season, but he has undoubted quality and should be in the mix again this weekend.
F1 Japanese Grand Prix Best Bets:
Race Winner: Max Verstappen – 1/2
First Driver to Retire: Sebastian Vettel – 16/1
Top Six Finish: George Russell – 1/4