The Japanese Grand Prix has long been a much anticipated race on the F1 calendar for fans and drivers alike. The Suzuka circuit is the only figure 8 track in F1 and is most known for the Spoon Curve leading onto the back straight and the ‘S’ Curves after the first turn. It contains a very slow hairpin and a tight chicane which slows all the cars down before they launch onto the pit straight.
The first F1 race at Japan was one of its most famous in 1976. Won by American Mario Andretti in monsoon type conditions on the track at Fuji, it also saw Niki Lauda retire from the race due to the dangerous conditions which allowed James Hunt to race and claim his sole Drivers Championship title.
The Japanese Grand Prix wasn’t run from 1978-86 before returning in 1987 at the Suzuka track where it remained until 2007 when it returned to Fuji for two years. In 2009 it was reverted back to Suzuka where it has remained.
Mercedes has won all of the last 4 races there, with Lewis Hamilton scoring 3 of those wins and his former team mate Nico Rosberg winning there in 2016.
Hamilton has hit his straps now, while his closest competitor, Ferraris Sebastian Vettel, has had just 1 win in his last 6 races, which has seen him move from Drivers Championship leader to 50 points behind Hamilton in second place.
Hamilton and Vettel have both won 4 Japanese Grand Prix’s apiece, however one of Hamilton’s wins was at the Fuji circuit. Vettel’s form here is very impressive. He won in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013, while scoring podiums in 2011, 2014 and 2015 (3rd each time) and a 4th place in 2016. Last year he retired from the race.
There has been some severe weather this week at Suzuka. The rain is expected to continue falling during all practice sessions and possibly even qualifying, however race day is expected to be clear.
Hamilton’s recent form in both 2018 and at this track suggests he will be the one to beat yet again. The last few races has seen Mercedes enforcing team orders to protect Hamilton, at the expense of their other driver, Valtteri Bottas. If this continues, it will be hard to see Sebastian Vettel rise any higher than third. Hamilton is regarded as a better driver in wet conditions, so he would also be a better chance of claiming pole as well.
Max Verstappen has proven to be quite strong in the wet and given he is now getting preferences at Red Bull, he could well prove to be a thorn in the side of both Mercedes and Ferrari. He stands a good chance of snaring a podium. Verstappen has been performing better than expected at both Sochi and Monza - tracks where his Red Bull car is at a huge disadvantage. Both times he finished 5th, not far behind a Ferrari.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo has run 6th in both of his last two runs and given he is essentially the second driver at Red Bull now, it would seem his only chance of finishing higher is if the five cars in front of him (both Silver Arrows, both Ferraris and team mate Verstappen) are forced to retire, or Ricciardo manages to pass them despite having the slowest car of them all. He’s had 2 wins and 8 finishes in the 4th to 6th position. He’s also had to endure car troubles all year which has seen him retire six times already this year, more than any other driver.
Charles Leclerc has also been performing well above expectations in his last two starts. The rookie has placed in the points on both occasions and has shown enough to prove that he will continue that run again here.
With Mercedes proving to be a dominant force and team tactics ensuring that Lewis Hamilton is given every opportunity, it’s hard to look past another victory for Hamilton in Japan.
Lewis Hamilton has won five of the last six United States Grand Prix's. Will he add another title this weekend and seal the 2018 Drivers Championship? See our preview and tips here read more
Australia will face off against Tonga in a Rugby League international Test match this Saturday from New Zealand! We preview the game and give our betting tips here read more
The first of the three major Melbourne Spring Carnival races, the Caulfield Cup, is this Saturday afternoon! TimsTips is back to preview the race in full and give his betting tips here read more
Here's a run down of which Australian sports betting sites offer live streaming action of your favourite sports! read more
The best Australian sports betting sites insures safe and successful online betting for punters as well as offering the best betting options in Australia. read more
Spread betting has finally made it's way to Australia through new betting agency Pointsbet, we give you a quick guide to spread betting here. read more
With the phenomenon of eSports finally starting to take off in Australia, we thought we'd give you a quick 'how to' guide on betting on eSports in Australia! read more
Punters are struggling to determine a clear favourite for this Saturday's $13million TAB Everest after Tuesday's barrier draw. See all the market moves here! read more
With the 2018-19 NBA season just a week away, the folks at ClassicBet have broken down the odds for the Championship and asked the all important question 'can anyone beat the Warriors?' read more
2018 Brownlow Medal predictions are here as our AFL tipping experts offer round-by-round Brownlow votes, rolling leaderboard and vote trackers for the 2018 AFL season. read more
We could be set for an amazing Brownlow Medal count if our 2018 Brownlow vote predictions are on point. Find out who we gave votes to in Round 23 and what affect that has on the final leaderboard right here. read more