Japanese Grand Prix: everything you need to know

The 18th race of the F1 season begins this weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan. This is the first time in 3 years that the drivers will race in Japan due to the pandemic. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Japanese Grand Prix: everything you need to know

What time is the Japanese Grand Prix?

It will be an early start for viewers here in Ireland, with the race starting at 6am on Sunday.

How to watch the Japanese Grand Prix

The race will be shown on Sky Sports F1 with coverage starting at 4.30am.

The crowning of champions

The Japanese Grand Prix is ​​famous for crowning champions. The Suzuka Circuit has seen 11 champions crowned under the checkered flag despite being just the last race on six occasions. The 1976 world championship was also won by James Hunt in the Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji circuit. The last championship victory at the Japanese Grand Prix was won by Sebastian Vettel in 2011. This bodes well for Max Verstappen. The Dutchman must finish first and set the fastest lap to add a second world championship to his record.

Guide to the form:

Max Verstappen – Red Bull

The championship leader’s 5-game winning streak came to an end in Singapore. After a Red Bull team error left him without enough fuel in qualifying, Verstappen had to settle for eighth on the grid. From there it was an uphill battle for the 25-year-old to be crowned champion and he finished in 7th place. The Dutchman will aspire to win the race and the championship in Japan.

READ HERE: Red Bull could have problems with 2021 cost cap

Charles Leclerc-Ferrari

Starting from pole position for the race, the native of Monaco gave Sergio Perez the lead at the start. From then on, Leclerc had a solid race but was unable to overtake Perez to regain the lead. Ferrari’s main driver has had 9 poles so far this season, but none of them have translated into wins. He hopes to spoil Verstappen’s party and finish first in Japan.

Sergio Perez – Red Bull

The Mexican rode spectacularly to win his second Grand Prix this season. His previous win came at the Monaco Grand Prix, so it looks like street circuits are his speciality. With the glow of his latest win, the 32-year-old hopes to at least finish on a podium spot for the 9th time.

George Russell – Mercedes

One of the season’s most consistent riders endured a horrific Singapore Grand Prix. The 24-year-old struggled on the wet circuit, colliding twice with other cars and finishing last. Mercedes’ strategy of putting slicks on their car didn’t help their pace either. Russell hopes to bounce back and finish in the top 5 at the Suzuka Ciruit.

Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes

After being so dominant over the past decade, the seven-time world champion has just 5 races to go to clinch his first win of the season. His winning record in each season of his career is seriously threatened. The 37-year-old struggled on the circuit last weekend after an error in the final minutes of the race allowed Verstappen to overtake him. He finished 9th and like his team-mate at Mercedes, Hamilton hopes to improve this weekend.

Carlos Sainz Ferrari

The Spaniard rode a consistent race last time out finishing 3rd behind teammate Charles Leclerc. It was the first time since Miami that Ferrari had both drivers on the podium. This may prove that Ferrari was capable of fighting for the championship but dropped out due to multiple mistakes. It was Sainz’s 8th podium so far and he is hoping for another or even a first next time.

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