F1 2019: Japanese Grand Prix Preview

Mercedes ended Ferrari's three race winning run with an one-two finish in Russia last time out, putting them on the verge of securing their sixth consecutive Constructor's title this weekend. (Image credit: Steve Etherington)

As Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes hone in on a sixth world driver and team title double, Formula One heads to Suzuka for the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.

Ferrari however will be keen to hit back after their Russian Grand Prix imploded through infighting whilst Red Bull and Toro Rosso look to impress in front of Honda’s home fans, so welcome to our Japanese GP preview.  


Track Guide


Circuit: Suzuka International Circuit

Laps: 53

Race Distance: 305.573km

Tyre Compounds: C1, C2 & C3



Date Session Time (BST)
Friday 11 October FP1 2:00am
Friday 11 October FP2 6:00am
Saturday 12 October FP3 Cancelled
Sunday 13 October Qualifying 2:00am
Sunday 13 October Race 6:10am

* UPDATE – FP3 has been cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis with Qualifying moved to Sunday morning. 


Three Key Pointers

  • The technical demands of this twisty track should suit Mercedes and Red Bull, although Ferrari will need to utilise their straight-line speed wherever possible to reduce their deficit in the slow corners.
  • Should Qualifying be wet, this will be Alexander’s Albon chance to show Red Bull what he can do in wet conditions, after impressing for Toro Rosso at German GP in tough conditions.
  • Producing clean laps could be key in both the front and midfield battles in deciding who qualifies in which position, although Typhoon Hagibis could be a factor if we get a wet qualifying.


Title Permutations


Hamilton can’t win his sixth driver title this weekend but he can eliminate some of his top five rivals, so here is what each of Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel need to keep their title hopes alive.  

*Hamilton would take the title on count back if any of his title rivals finished the season tied on points with him. 

Driver Task
Bottas Stays in title race until at least Mexico irrespective of result. 
Leclerc Outscore Hamilton by four points.
Verstappen Outscore Hamilton by seven points.
Vettel Outscore Hamilton by 25 points.


Mercedes simply need to outscore Ferrari by 14 points to seal their sixth consecutive title as a constructor, because they will become team champions on virtue of more race wins if both teams were to finish the season tied on points.


If missed the opening 16 rounds of this season, get up to date with our race reviews below along with our half-term report.



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