After a two-year wait, F1 will finally race once more at Suzuka Circuit for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix. This is very exciting for me as Suzuka is my favourite track due to its unique figure of eight layout, It’s also the only track of its type on the F1 calendar and has various driver technicalities and challenges. Suzuka is an old school circuit that requires high focus and consistency. In the past, there have been many controversial championship deciders at the Japanese Grand Prix. These include the famous decider between Senna & Prost in 1988 and 1989, Senna & Mansel in 1991, and the 1994 fight between Hill & Schumacher. As you can see, some drivers arrive to Suzuka with a lot of pressure and this weekend is no less as we could see the Japanese Grand Prix decide the championship. Which driver should you bet on? One thing’s for sure, you should only use the best F1 betting websites to place your bets.
Max Verstappen will always have fond memories of Suzuka as well as the Japanese Grand Prix. This is where Verstappen made his Formula 1 debut at 17 years old driving for Torro Roso back in 2014. Max has two goals going into this weekend: To be the fastest man on track and to win the Japanese Grand Prix, this is what Max needs to do to secure his second world championship. The championship can currently only be won by either Verstappen, Leclerc, and Perez with Verstappen being the favourite. Charles Leclerc, Verstappen’s championship rival, must finish second if he wants to keep his title challenge alive, it’s to be noted that Max must not get the fastest lap though. Similarly If Sergio Perez wants to fight for a possible championship win, he must also finish ahead of Max at the Japanese Grand Prix. So we’re now heading to Suzuka with a three way battle. But who will win?
Max is without doubt the fastest driver with the fastest car, and probably the fastest man on race day. He must prove this to everyone this weekend as the Dutchman must finish the race with the fastest lap, which is a difficult task given Charles’ strength over just one lap. Strategy and tactics will play a major part in Max’s victory. One option would be to pull away and get a new set of soft tyres. On the downside, his Red Bull has been well-developed earlier in the season and this means that the other teams are now on par or pretty close to matching Red Bull’s performance. It’s to be noted that Max has never won the Japanese Grand Prix. His best result was third in 2016 and 2017.
Charles must win the Japanese Grand Prix, or will finish second to Max without allowing Max to get the fastest lap and in doing so, he will keep the title race alive between them. Charles has the Ferrari to his advantage in terms of speed, and Charles can also count on Carlos Sainz for his support. The Spaniard is out of contention to win the world championship. He will use his experience and skill to get the best result for his teammate and for his team. This could upset the Red Bull drivers, who are currently in contention against each other. Charles had raced in Japan twice. In 2019, he finished 6th, despite a controversial start and questionable Ferrari strategy. He had started second on the grid but was unable to finish. After suffering from mechanical problems, he was forced to retire completely from the race on lap 38 in 2018.
Sergio gave an outstanding performance at the Singapore GP, which allowed him to continue his title contention hopes into the Japanese Grand Prix. Sergio has the most difficulty of all three title contenders. He must not only beat Charles, but also beat Max, his fierce team mate to the finish line. This is no easy task. He will carry over his winning momentum but he must be focused and find something extraordinary if he is to succeed. He is also the most familiar of the three around Suzuka. He has raced at Suzuka nine times and, even though he was within the points five times, he had never finished higher than seventh. He has a very competitive car this time around and I believe he has exceptional race craft for race day.
The Japanese Grand Prix drivers will race the Suzuka circuit, a 5.8 km (3.6 miles) track, navigating it 53 times. It features a series of ‘S’ curves, fast corners and long straights. This mean that its all about the cars’ setup. F1 has not raced here in the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the drivers and teams will be thrilled to return, they need to find the right setup with new machines, regulations, and new tyres. Suzuka needs a high downforce package that doesn’t compromise cars on long straights. This is something McLaren failed to achieve last time around at the Belgian GP, which has similar downforce requirements. Their recent performance in Singapore and double points finish may give them an edge. You might need to boost your odds of winning an F1 bet, so check out our odds comparison page for the best F1 betting odds.
Mercedes will be there to spoil the party. They still want that win and in terms of performance, they came close in Singapore but they aren’t quite there yet. It’s only a matter of time before one of the Mercedes drivers is on top of the podium. They won’t be trying to win the championship title, but the Mercs have been able to almost clinch wins on multiple occasions. This will likely impact things at the front. They were competitive in Belgium, so you shouldn’t discount their success here. Red Bull and Mercedes have some ‘beef’ between them, especially after Abu Dhabi 2021. They will try to upset Max’s championship race and are also trying to win second place in constructors championship. Expect them to be there this weekend.
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