Round sixteen of the season sees Formula One head to the fast flowing Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. Japan was the first Asian country to hold a World Championship Grand Prix in 1987 expect two in the late 2000’s and its figure of eight layout give drivers a unique rollacoaster ride around 3.6 miles with challenging corners around the fifty-three lap race.
However, the high-speed fast flowing nature of Suzuka makes it a challenge for drivers and means that overtaking can be difficult because of the figure of eight layout of the circuit. Suzuka’s layout means it has become a favourite with fans and drivers seeing some of the most dramatic races in the history of the sport.
For many years it was the title-deciding and final race of the season. This led to great battles between Frenchman Alain Prost and Brazilian Ayrton Senna or the world championship. The most famous one being in 1990, both started on the front role with Senna on pole. However the Brazilian felt that pole was on the dirty side, he didn’t yield and move over for the Frenchman with them both crashing out at Turn One.
The 1996 race saw Damon Hill taking the win and the title after his rival Williams team-mate Jacques Villeneuve retire. That made Hill the first son of a champion to become champion, something Nico Rosberg did last season.
Over the past few years, Mercedes has dominated the race. However, the 2017 race could be a different story as Mercedes haven’t performed well on tight and twisty circuits this season meaning Ferrari could mount a challenge.
Facts and figures
|Race||2017 Emirates Japanese Grand Prix|
|Venue||Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan|
|Circuit Length||5.807 km (3.608 mi)|
|Race Distance||307.573 km (191.117 mi)|
|Lap Record||01:31.540 (Kimi Räikkönen, McLaren, 2005)|
|Most wins drivers||Michael Schumacher (6)|
|Most wins manufacture||McLaren (9)|
What happened in 2016?
Nico Rosberg capitalised on his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton made a poor start allowing him to extend his lead at the top of the championship. Hamilton dropped as low as eighth but recovered to third before trying to get past Max Verstappen. Other results allowed Mercedes to take a third consecutive constructors championship.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took a modest fourth for Ferrari ahead of stable-mate Kimi Raikkonen as just five teams monopolised the points-finishing positions.
2015 vs 2016 Race Data
|P1 Fastest||P2 Fastest||P3 Fastest||Q1 Fastest||Q2 Fastest||Q3 Fastest||Race Time||Fastest Lap|
A lap of Suzuka
So we see Nico Rosberg going into the Casio Triangle and on the exit of turn seventeen he begins building up speed along the start finish straight on his way down to Turn One and Two. Breaks down from 315km to 175 and stays in the centre of the track. He then gets close to the inside at Two before running to the outside of two.
Goes into the S Curves, left into three, right into four at 172kpm, dips down and back up into five and six before opening up the speed though Dunlop. Slows slightly for Degner Curve and into the short run to Nine which goes well. Under the bridge and through the kink at ten into the hairpin.
Down to 73kpm at the apex before heading through the flat out turn twelve heading to the multi apex Spoon at thirteen and fourteen. Good into part one then a brief wobble into part two before opening the throttle for the long run to sixteen. 317kpm at the entry to the flat out fifteen and begins breaking on way into Casio Triangle chicane.
One of the slowest part of the lap just under a 100kpm before once again opening it up for eighteen uses the DRS to set a 01:30.647 on the soft tyre and pole.