F1 database preview: form guide to the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

by Peter Higham on 4th October 2018

The Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix preview, from the database

Suzuka pitlane paint

This year’s Japanese Grand Prix will be the 30th time Suzuka has held a Formula 1 world championship round, with Fuji having hosted the race on four additional occasions.

Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have won the Japanese GP four times – two shy of Michael Schumacher’s record six victories – and McLaren is the most successful team with nine Japanese GP victories, although Jenson Button’s 2011 win is its only success in the last decade.

Mercedes-Benz has won all four Japanese GPs in the turbo-hybrid era with Hamilton starting on the front row and finishing on the podium on each occasion. That includes three of his victories and a second-place finish behind Nico Rosberg in 2016. Hamilton also won the 2007 Japanese GP at Fuji during his rookie season with McLaren. In contrast, Valtteri Bottas has not finished on the podium or started from the front row at Suzuka thus far.

Vettel has only led five laps at Suzuka during the turbo-hybrid era.

Romain Grosjean and Daniel Ricciardo – looking for his 30th podium – have both started seven Japanese GPs and finished on each occasion with third place their best results, in 2013 and 2017 respectively. Grosjean qualified fourth for Lotus-Renault in 2012 and led 26 laps from fourth in 2013. 

Fernando Alonso has won two of the 16 Japanese GPs he has started but the Spaniard has not scored a point here since 2013. Alonso has now started 307 GPs (including the restarted 2001 Belgian GP) to make him the second most experienced F1 driver in history.

For the last two years, Max Verstappen has finished second, Kimi Räikkönen fifth and Sergio Pérez seventh. If Räikkönen wins, he'll surpass Mika Häkkinen as the most successful Finnish F1 driver.

Force India's Esteban Ocon had an excellent weekend a year ago, qualifying fifth and finishing sixth.

Hamilton, who starts his 225th GP this weekend, finished first or second for the last seven races as he extended his lead in the 2018 standings.

Meanwhile, Vettel has not led a race since dominating in Belgium. But a win from pole would be Ferrari's 100th from the front of the grid and its first at Suzuka since 2004.

Teams have a choice of medium, soft and supersoft tyres, but it remains to be seen whether they'll need the wets or intermediates.

The weather is expected to be sunny and hot on Friday and Saturday, but showers could strike on Sunday...

Read more: Suzuki makes history at Suzuka

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