Japanese GP 2022 Preview: Verstappen hopes to seal F1 title at Honda´s home

Just five days after the last battle of the season in Singapore, the Continental Circus is back this weekend (Oct. 7-9) to celebrate the Japanese F1 GP 2022 and eighteenth round of the calendar. Following the COVID-19 hiatus, the Suzuka International Racing Course will host the round once again since it last did in 2019. 

The legendary track, which has been the backdrop of so many deciding races such as those of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, could see Max Verstappen (Red Bull) taking his second F1 crown next Sunday.


Driven by his unexpected poor performance at Marina Bay, where he finished in seventh place following a string of mistakes that started in qualifying, he will give his all in order to seize the title next Sunday.

Japan, home of Red Bull’s partner and engine supplier, Honda, would also be a perfect country to do so. The track itself, which is located in the Mie prefecture, also belongs to the eastern giant. 



What does Max need to win the F1 world title in Japan? 

The Dutchman would need to win the race as well as set the fastest lap if he wants to seal the title this weekend in Suzuka. If, on the other hand, he wins but does not take the fastest lap, he would only conquer the glory if Leclerc finished in third place or worse. In another scenario, if Max was to finish in third place, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) would have to finish in sixth place or lower for the former to get his crown.

This weekend’s race, however, as it was Singapore, is not going to be a walk in the park for Verstappen. The Flying Dutchman has never had a podium in Japan. The track, which is located 60km away from Nagoya, is among the most technical and challenging in the calendar. 


Initially conceived as a test track, its configuration features a wide range of high-speed turns, including the famous 130R, one of the most complex curves of the season. The pilot’s own steady hands and confidence are key to overcoming these challenges. 

The adverse weather, a usual protagonist in this part of the world, could also play against the defending champion. The forecast is currently predicting rain for Friday and Sunday over Suzuka. If heavy rain falls over the track on race day, anyone could win. 

The title, in any case, is still very much decided, and Verstappen knows it. if he doesn’t win it at the Japanese GP, he will at any of the four subsequent engagements. He currently commands the standings with 341 points, 104 more than Leclerc and 106 more than his Red Bull teammate, Checo Perez. 


The Mexican driver, by the way, resurrected in the streets of Singapore with a dominant victory. Now it remains to be seen if that, his second victory of the season, is merely a result of the more favourable characteristics of the track, both urban circuits as Monaco, or on the contrary, they signify his definitive adaptation to his RB18. 



Ferrari wants to stop Verstappen from celebrating this weekend 

Ferrari will be focusing all of its efforts on delaying Verstappen’s coronation for as long as possible. In order to do so, and assuming no mistakes on Verstappen’s part, they would have to win, something they have been unable to do since Austria in July with Leclerc.

The young Monegasque will be especially motivated this Sunday. In Singapore, he was unable to take his pole to victory for the seventh time in the season, each one of them for different reasons. 

Carlos Sainz, for his part, will try to make up for his lukewarm performance in Marina Bay. Despite taking his eighth podium of the season, his low pace prevented him from fighting for victory and getting a bit closer to his teammate. 

As for the objectives of La Scuderia as a team, they are now quite relieved to hold the third place of the standings a bit more comfortably than they did two weeks ago. After their double podium in Singapore, and Mercede’s disaster, they have distanced themselves from the German team by 66 points (439 vs 373). 

Images of Japanese F1 GP 2022: Red Bull Racing.

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