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Hamilton record beckons as Verstappen set to join F1 legends - Japanese GP stats

Hamilton record beckons as Verstappen set to join F1 legends - Japanese GP stats

F1 News

Hamilton record beckons as Verstappen set to join F1 legends - Japanese GP stats

Hamilton record beckons as Verstappen set to join F1 legends - Japanese GP stats
GPFans Staff & Sundaram Ramaswami

F1 makes a welcome return to Suzuka for round 18 of the world championship as Max Verstappen again aims to clinch his second title.

The Japanese Grand Prix has been absent since the 2019 schedule due to the Covid pandemic.

But the eagerly anticipated renewal arrives with the Red Bull driver aiming to provide the fans with a show and providing a belated celebration for Honda, who officially withdrew from the sport last season.

With the excitement for the weekend building, GPFans brings you the stats and facts you have to know.

The quirks of Suzuka

The Japanese Grand Prix is the oldest F1 round to be held in Asia, with the inaugural event being held at Fuji Speedway in 1976. Suzuka did not make its F1 debut until 1987.

The circuit, first built as Honda’s test track, is 5.807km in length and comprises 18 corners. Such is its twisting nature, just 1.2km is made up of straights.

It is one of only three active circuits to host just one DRS zone - Monaco and Imola the others.

But with a racing average of 32 overtakes in the hybrid era, there should be plenty of opportunities during Sunday's grand prix.

Suzuka success stories

Ferrari and McLaren are the most successful teams at Suzuka with seven wins each.

Four drivers from the current grid have previously won in Japan - Lewis Hamilton [five], Sebastian Vettel [four], Fernando Alonso [two], and Valtteri Bottas [one].

Only three drivers have won at two different circuits in Japan - Hamilton and Alonso [Suzuka and Fuji], and Michael Schumacher [Suzuka and Aida].

Omens provide weekend hints

The last 12 Japanese GPs have seen at least one former champion on the podium, whilst the last time the pole-sitter failed to finish in the top three here was in 2005.

In the last three decades, a driver has only won on three occasions at Suzuka when starting lower than second on the grid: Kimi Raikkonen [from P17 in 2005], Alonso [from P5 in 2006], and Bottas [from P3 in 2019].

Mercedes hybrid dominance

Mercedes has won each of the last six Japanese GPs, with Hamilton on the podium at every Japanese GP in the hybrid era.

Leclerc to join Ferrari legends?

Only three Ferrari drivers have won in Japan - Gerhard Berger, Michael Schumacher, and Rubens Barrichello. The last of those wins came in 2004.

Charles Leclerc has an opportunity to become the second Ferrari driver to take 10 pole positions in a season after Schumacher. The seven-time champion first achieved the feat in 2001.

Alonso lean spell to end?

Alonso has not scored in Japan during the hybrid era.

Home hero returns

Yuki Tsunoda will become the first Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014 to race in front of his home crowd in F1.

New record in sight for Hamilton

Hamilton is set to equal Jenson Button and Schumacher for fourth on the all-time list of race starts in F1 [306]. The tie with former team-mate Button means he equals the record for appearances for a British driver.

Championship point number two

If Verstappen does seal the title this weekend, it will make him the second-youngest double world champion in F1 at the age of 25 after Sebastian Vettel.

The Dutchman would be the 12th driver to clinch a world championship at Suzuka, a feat that would move the venue past Monza for the number of champions crowned at a circuit.

Sundaram Ramaswami -Twitter/Instagram - @f1statsguru

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