With just five rounds remaining, Lewis Hamilton is in a commanding position at the top of the drivers’ championship after claiming his eighth win of the last season last time out at the Sochi Autodrom. Hamilton’s latest victory means Sebastian Vettel trails the Mercedes driver by 50 points meaning winning each of the remaining races wouldn’t be enough to win the title if Hamilton was to finish second each time.
The Japanese Grand Prix takes place at the legendary figure of eight Suzuka Circuit. A favourite among fans and drivers, its high-speed nature test drivers’ bravery and the car’s aerodynamic performance. Mercedes has dominated the Japanese Grand Prix in recent seasons with Hamilton winning three of the last four races at Suzuka, with former Silver Arrows teammate Nico Rosberg winning the other in 2016.
What time does it start and how can I watch?
This weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix is set to get underway at 14:10 PM local time, 06:10 PM BST and 1:10 AM Eastern.
For U.S. viewers, all of this weekend’s sessions are live on ESPN (all times Eastern):
Thursday, October 4
Practice 1 – Thursday, Oct. 4, 8:55 PM – ESPN2
Friday, October 5
Practice 2 – Friday, Oct. 5, 12:55 AM – ESPN2
Practice 3 – Friday, Oct. 5 ,10:55 PM – ESPNEWS
Saturday, October 6
Qualifying – Saturday, Oct. 6, 1:55 AM – ESPN2
Sunday, October 7
On The Grid – Sunday, Oct. 7, 12:30 AM – ESPN2
Race – Sunday, Oct. 7, 1:05 AM – ESPN2
Encore – Sunday, Oct. 7, 1:00 PM – ESPNEWS
Encore – Sunday, Oct. 7, 3:30 PM – ESPN
UK viewers can watch every session live on Sky Sports F1. Check local listings for all other territories.
What will a Hamilton win mean?
Since retiring from the Austrian Grand Prix in early July, Hamilton hasn’t failed to finish outside the top two. The Briton is in fine form and looks impossible to stop at the moment. A ninth win of the season will put him at least 57 points clear of Vettel in the drivers’ championship with four rounds remaining meaning title number five could be won at the U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
Like in 2017, the Mexican Grand Prix — a week after the U.S. GP — looks more likely to be where Hamilton will win the title.
What else to look out for?
With Mercedes using teams orders last time out to move Bottas out of the way for Hamilton in Russia, it will be interesting to see if the German manufacturer uses them again if Bottas was running ahead of Hamilton on Sunday.
The race for seventh place in the drivers’ championship is hotting up with five drivers — Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon — separated by just six points. Seventh place is the best of the rest spot behind F1’s three leading teams and with the midfield so close in performance, it’s a battle likely to go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.