F1: The Japanese Grand Prix Preview
We are into the final rounds of the 2016 Formula One World Championship and the title run is still alive.
Round 17 is this weekend in Japan, with the race taking place at the familiar Suzuka Circuit, on the main island of Honshu.
The Japanese GP s always a favorite, due mostly to the enthusiasm of all the fans. Suzuka is also a challenge, due to its unusual layout and mix of corners. It has been described by drivers as being demanding, unforgiving but rewarding.
Suzuka started out life as a test track for Honda but was turned into a race track and held its 1st F1 Grand Prix in Y 1987.
The 3.6-mile circuit, which features a figure-of-8 layout, is known for its high speeds, with cars exceeding 200 mph at some points. Its surface is tight and some sections very narrow, making overtaking hard.
Weather can also be an issue this time of year, as we tragically saw in Y 2014 with the crash of Jules Bianchi. The current forecast calls for cloudy skies with periodic rain during Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race.
Pirelli has nominated its hard, medium and soft compound tires for the race.
At the close of Friday’s practice, MercedesAMG’s Nico Rosberg topped the time charts a fraction of a sec ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Kimi Räikkönen was 3rd fastest followed by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in 4th.
Sebastian Vettel insists the atmosphere at Ferrari is positive and thinks it is wrong to suggest the team cannot win in any of the remaining races of Y 2016.
Going into the weekend, Mr. Rosberg leads the 2016 Drivers’ Championship with 288 points. Mr. Hamilton is 2nd with 265 points and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is 3rd with 204 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, MercedesAMG leads with 553 points, Red Bull is 2nd with 359 points and Ferrari 3rd with 313 points. Last year’s Japanese GP winner was Lewis Hamilton.
Full free practice results (2) for Round 17 of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship (F1), the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
1. Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 32.250s
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 32.322s
3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari Ferrari 1m 32.573s
4. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull-TAG 1m 33.061s
5. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari Ferrari 1m 33.103s
6. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1m 33.570s
7. Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1m 33.873s
8. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 1m 33.985s
9. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1m 34.028s
10. Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 34.086s
11. Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes 1m 34.127s
12. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-TAG 1m 34.150s
13. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari 1m 34.241s
14. Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 34.305s
15. Kevin Magnussen DEN Renault-Renault 1m 34.339s
16. Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Honda 1m 34.398s
17. Esteban Gutierrez MEX Haas-Ferrari 1m 34.643s
18. Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault-Renault 1m 34.760s
19. Felipe Nasr BRA Sauber-Ferrari 1m 34.824s
20. Pascal Wehrlein GER Manor-Mercedes 1m 35.292s
21. Esteban Ocon FRA Manor-Mercedes 1m 35.400s
22. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari 1m 36.318s
Have a terrific weekend.