The Formula 1 drivers enjoyed a well-deserved break last week but will be back in action this weekend as the tour heads to the Suzuka Circuit for the annual Japanese Grand Prix!
We have a full preview and betting tips for the weekend’s action below.
It was a fantastic weekend in Russia a few weeks ago as Lewis Hamilton climbed back to the top of the podium, his first race win since the mid-season break. Hamilton beat out his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to claim the win in Russia, advancing him even further atop the 2019 drivers’ standings.
The Englishman now holds a whopping 73 point lead over his nearest opponent in the standings, a lead that is unassailable if Hamilton avoids retirements. Hamilton has racked up nine wins from 16 races so far this season and has missed the podium on just three occasions.
Bottas picked up yet another second place finish in Russia. He has two wins on the season but has been one of the most consistent drivers, with 12 total podium finishes from 16 races. Bottas sits in second place on the drivers’ championship, a further 34 points clear of young Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc has been without doubt the most improved driver since the all-star break. In four races, the 21-year-old has two wins and two more podium finishes to overtake teammate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on the drivers’ championship standings. Vettel picked up his first win of the season a few weeks ago in Singapore but was forced to retire in Russia, adding to disappointing season overall.
The Suzuka International Racing Course in Suzuka, Japan has hosted every Grand Prix dating back to 1976 except for four occasions when the race was held at Fuji. The current iteration of the track is just over 5.8km long and is a high speed track. The track record of 1:31.540 is held by Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, achieved while racing for McLaren back in the 2005 season.
The track features 17 turns and has been described as a favourite by many of the drivers on the F1 circuit. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez says Suzuka is a ‘proper driver’s track’ and loves it’s high flows and speeds.
““130R is my favourite corner of the track. You get there at more than 300kph and it’s a sharp left in seventh gear – you’re still doing 300kph at the exit. It’s such an amazing feeling. The corner is a bit less imposing in the new-generation cars because you have a lot more downforce, but you still need to focus perfectly to avoid making a mistake.”
The English super-star Lewis Hamilton has had an absolute stronghold on the Japanese Grand Prix over the past five years. In that span, Hamilton has won four races, including the last two in a row, and also won a fifth Japanese Grand Prix back in 2007 at Fuji.
We are looking elsewhere for value this week, however, and turning our attention towards Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc. Leclerc has been great since the mid-season break, seemingly taking over the No.1 spot at Ferrari from Sebastian Vettel and finishing on the podium in four straight races.
The track should suit the youngster and we think he is great value both to win and finish on the podium for a fifth straight race.
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