This weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix could prove decisive in crowning this season’s world champion – and it wouldn’t be the first time…
FORMULA ONE 2018 HONDA JAPANESE GRAND PRIX, Sunday 7 October, 5am, Channel 4/HD (CH 104/141)
The engines have barely cooled since last week’s showdown in Sochi, but mechanics up and down the paddock are already gearing the cars up (see what we did there…) for this weekend’s race in Japan.
While Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have a commanding lead in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, things are far from over, with a bucketload of points still up for grabs in the four remaining races.
And if history is anything to go by, the chance that the twists and turns of Suzuka will throw another two titles Mercedes’ way is as likely as them causing an almighty upset. So buckle up as we explore what you can expect to see once the action gets under way…
Bring a brolly
The Japanese Grand Prix’s traditional October placement means races are often blighted by rain, and when it rains in Suzuka, it pours. That said, the weather adds another layer of drama to one of Formula One’s toughest but most beloved races – indeed, the start time of 2014’s Grand Prix was moved forward in anticipation of a heavy storm!
Additions to a long line of crashes
The circuit’s sweeping bends and tight chicanes have played host to some of the most infamous F1 collisions in history, with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost’s 1989 clash being the standout memory. After colliding with a few laps left, Prost (assured of the title if neither of them finished) sauntered off to his garage while Senna wrestled his damaged car to victory… that is, until he was controversially disqualified, gifting the title to Prost, and worsening their already toxic rivalry.
Bring a change of underwear
Over the years, both Suzuka’s nerve-wracking turn one and the fast hairpin of turn 11 have gifted fans some truly nail-biting overtakes. Kimi Räikkönen’s 2005 win from 17th on the grid was arguably the most frightening; the Finn sweeping his way to a well-fought win after a daring, heart-in-your-mouth overtake round the outside of Giancarlo Fisichella.
It’s a proper old-school track
With narrow straights, fast bends and treacherous, race-ruining gravel run-off areas, Suzuka is a circuit known to take few prisoners. Watching the modern-day beasts that are the current grid of cars fly around a circuit that is relatively unchanged since the golden eras of the 80s and 90s is a sight to behold. And, with this season’s championship still hanging in the balance, it’s definitely a race not to be missed.
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