United States Grand Prix Photo by: Marcel Heil on Unsplash

Japanese Grand Prix 2022 Preview

It’s off to the Land of the Rising Sun for the next exciting instalment in the 2022 F1 season. We’re a bit jealous of the amazing sushi and ramen that everyone will be able to try in Japan, but then again, we’re not talented Formula One drivers… at least not yet.

Anyway, before we look at the Japanese Grand Prix, we’ll provide a quick summary of what occurred at the previous race in Singapore.

Despite all the chatter about Max Verstappen potentially claiming the 2022 F1 championship in Singapore, it was all about his teammate, Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver took only his second chequered flag of this season in a superb race just ahead of the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz.

Perez shot out of the gates on the first lap and didn’t look back, and even managed to hold onto the victory with a five-second time penalty for Safety Car infringement (don’t you just hate getting those on your commute?).

In the end, Verstappen had what only could be described as a “meh” of a race, as he never looked like much of a podium threat and even spun out on one corner to lose more time. The Dutchman finished in 7th place, but he wasn’t as bad as Lewis Hamilton, who ended up in 9th after a shunt with the barriers.

A slight tip of the hat must go to McLaren, who picked up the fourth and fifth spots with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, respectively. There hasn’t been much to celebrate over at McLaren, but this was a decent effort that they can take into next season.

Venue, time, & where to watch the F1 Japanese Grand Prix

The Japanese GP in 2022 is going to be held at the Suzuka International Racing Course on Sunday October 9th. UK viewers will be able to check out the race at 06:00 (great for early birds) on Sky Sports F1 & Main Event. The entire racing weekend schedule is below.

© TVsportguide.com – Motorsport on TV

Suzuka is comprised of 53 laps over a track length of 5.807km. The current lap record is 1:30.983 and is held by Lewis Hamilton in 2019.

Although the circuit itself was first created in 1962 by Soichiro Honda (yes, that Honda), it wasn’t until 1987 that the track was added to the Formula One schedule. But a great thing it was, as there’s nary a driver who dislikes the lightning-quick straights, enjoyable S-shaped curves, and the fun crossover point on Suzuka.

The F1 Japanese Grand Prix is a track built by driving enthusiasts, and it really shows, as it’s a beautiful circuit to watch F1 and there’s never a dull moment in any contest.

Major F1 talking points

These are some of the biggest discussions taking place before the F1 Japanese Grand Prix begins.

Will Verstappen become the F1 2022 champion?

It’s never fun to write about the Formula One champion with several races left in the year, but that’s how it is when Verstappen and Red Bull are incredibly awesome.

As Verstappen is 104 points ahead of Leclerc, all the Dutchman has to do to secure the title is win the race and get the extra point for having the fastest lap. Not only is this possible, but highly likely, given how poorly he drove in Singapore and his desire to redeem himself.

One way or another, Verstappen will be crowned the 2022 champion, but whether it’s in Japan or somewhere else remains to be seen. Ideally, it should be in another race so we have a bit more drama to look forward to in the season!

Verstappen absolutely deserves this title, as you can’t fake all those wins. His talent and poise speak for themselves on the track, and while he’s not exactly the most exuberant driver in the world, he’s a force to be reckoned with and will be the No. 1 target for many years to come.

Can Hamilton win his first race of the season?

Lewis Hamilton has secured at least one victory in every single season of his career… that is, apart from 2022. Thankfully, the Mercedes car is looking the best it’s been all season, and the team is very experienced on the Suzuka circuit.

Hamilton reportedly had a lot of sleepless nights after mistakes in Singapore, so you just know he’s going to come out firing in Japan and prove that there’s still one victory for him in 2022.

Even if Lewis doesn’t pick up a win this season, you still have to think that Mercedes, Ferrari, and basically every other team will be much closer to Red Bull next season. The car designs are all figured out and there appears to be less of a gap between Red Bull and its rivals.

Driver standings

This is how the top 10 looks in the driver standings right now.

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 341 points

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 237 points

3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 235 points

4. George Russell (Mercedes) 203 points

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 202 points

6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 170 points

7. Lando Norris (McLaren) 100 points

8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) 66 points

9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) 59 points

10. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 46 points

Predicted outcome for the Japanese GP in 2022

There have been rumours of bad weather reaching the Suzuka circuit on the race weekend, however, most of the rain is likely to hit on the practice and qualifying days (if at all).

We had enough of wet weather delays in Singapore, so let’s hope the track is dry as a bone in Japan. The temperature should be a very decent 18°C, which is the Goldilocks zone for any F1 driver.

One really has to wonder if F1 will ever be indoors, considering how much the elements play a major part in the race. Could it be done? It would be enjoyable to see, and we’re sure the Formula One experts could figure something out! How many races have we seen that have been ruined by bad weather?

As usual, Verstappen is the favourite to win the race, but there’s still something to be said for Lewis Hamilton earning his very first victory of the season. He’s a five-time winner at Suzuka and knows all the straights and turns like the back of his hand. If Mercedes has the car to back it up, which it looks like they do, then this Japan weekend belongs to Hamilton.

Ferrari is still in excellent form and shouldn’t be forgotten, which makes us believe Leclerc will arrive in second, with Verstappen taking the third spot. Perhaps all this title talk will be a major distraction to Verstappen, and he’ll be just slightly out of sorts once the race begins.

It’s fantastic to see the famous Japanese Grand Prix in 2022 back on the schedule, as like many races, we haven’t seen this great circuit since 2019 due to the pandemic.

There’s always such an incredible buzz at Suzuka, with the supporters going bonkers at every point on the track. The circuit is highlighted in every F1 driver’s calendar, as it’s such a special design that is a treat for every competitor out there.

Author: Joe Garland