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Preview | Will Verstappen win his second F1 world title in Japan?

Preview | Will Verstappen win his second F1 world title in Japan?

5 October - 11:07
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GPblog.com

Max Verstappen can still clinch his second Formula 1 world title in a few days after a difficult weekend in Singapore. To do so in Japan, the Dutchman needs to score at least eight more points than Charles Leclerc and at least six more points than Sergio Perez. Will Verstappen succeed? Read GPblog's preview here.

Japanese Grand Prix

The first two GPs in Japan took place at Fuji Speedway, where Mario Andretti and James Hunt were the winners in 1976 and 1977 respectively. Between 1978 and 1986, the race weekend then disappeared from the calendar again, after which from 1987 the race weekend was on the calendar almost continuously. In 2020 and 2021, the coronavirus crisis only threw a spanner in the works.

From 1987, Suzuka International Racing Course was the new place to race. Michael Schumacher is the record holder in Japan with six wins. Lewis Hamilton comes close to that with five wins, while Sebastian Vettel emerged victorious four times. Valtteri Bottas was the last winner in 2019. Max Verstappen has yet to stand on the top step of the podium in Japan.

Suzuka International Racing Circuit

The Suzuka International Racing Circuit is located 50 kilometres southwest of Nagoya. The circuit is almost six kilometres long and is shaped like a figure of eight, as sectors 2 and 3 overlap with a bridge. Circuit architect John Hugenholtz was the course's designer in the 1960s.

The 130R corner, among others, poses a big challenge to drivers every season. Turn 11 is another well-known spot on the circuit. Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi managed to overtake as many as five drivers there in 2010, so it has carried his name ever since. The high speed in Japan is expected to give Red Bull Racing's car a slight advantage.

Formula 1 in 2022

The question now is not whether Verstappen will take the world title, but when it will happen. His lead in the world championship is 104 points over Charles Leclerc, so this coming weekend could already be the moment he decides the world championship. If he wins as well as driving the fastest race lap, he will already have enough points regardless of what Charles Leclerc does.

Leclerc and Perez are jointly fighting for the second final spot in the rankings. The Monegasque currently occupies the place behind Verstappen, but is only two points ahead of Perez. Both drivers are expected to fight hard for the position of 'best of the rest' in the coming race weekends. George Russell and Carlos Sainz, in turn, are one point apart in fourth and fifth place.

Weather forecast

The possibility is considerable that Formula 1 drivers will face showers during the first two free practice sessions. According to weatheronline.co.uk the chance of rain is in fact 85 per cent. On Saturday, this is considerably less at 40 per cent, while the possibility rises to 70 per cent on race day. Temperatures will be around 20 degrees Celsius.

Grand Prix forecast

Verstappen will not only have the possible world title in Japan as his driving force, the Singapore GP will also play a role. Indeed, on several levels the race weekend in Singapore did not go as hoped, so Verstappen will want to show that it was an incident. A victory for the world championship leader is therefore in the offing.

Leclerc and Perez will be keen to put a stop to that, but the question is whether they are actually capable of doing so. After all, Verstappen has shown on several occasions this year that he is almost unbeatable when he reaches his level with Red Bull. The simple world champion therefore has his second world title completely in his own hands.

Timetable for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix [UK times]

Friday

First free practice: 04:00 - 05:00

Second free practice: 07:00 - 08:30

Saturday

Third free practice: 04:00 - 05:00

Qualifying: 07:00 - 08:00 hours

Sunday

Race: 06:00 - 08:00

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