F1 2019, Japanese Grand Prix: Race Predictions
The Japanese Grand Prix is an unconventional race at the best of times. At the Suzuka circuit, fans always create a lively environment which is distinctive to Japan. The uncanny hats, the handmade posters and other quirky items make an appearance each year to lift this race into a special corner of everyone’s hearts.
In 2019, however, the Grand Prix would be distinctive for a disheartening reason. Typhoon Hagibis approaches, bringing along the danger to property and lives. In light of the threat, all Saturday on-track activities had been cancelled. While FP3 running was abandoned, Qualifying has been shifted to Sunday and will take place four hours before the main event.
With race day being hugely cluttered, a lot of confusion and excitement has bubbled up. During the two practice sessions that took place on Friday, Mercedes looked in top shape. Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton on the timing sheets during both.
Max Verstappen set a time slower than the Ferrari drivers during first practice. By the time the second session was over, though, he had jumped ahead of Ferrari and was only behind the Silver Arrows.
Sunday is likely to be hectic and eventful and here are five predictions for the Japanese Grand Prix:
#5 Sergio Perez to Thrill on Sunday
Sergio Perez had been close on the heels of Carlos Sainz's McLaren when it comes to lap times on Friday. He finished a sturdy eighth during both the practice sessions. The Mexican is a steller racer and the fierce overtaking and defending capabilities he displays would come in handy.
If Racing Point can bring the fight to McLaren during qualifying, it would make for an interesting midfield battle during the race. Perez would be looking forward to another points-scoring finish after he finished P7 in Russia. The Mexican has a liking for the track, adding to his benefit.
A good haul of points for their drivers would help the team bridge the gap to Toro Rosso in the constructor's standings. For now, merely three points separate them from their direct competitors.