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F1: 4 Race predictions ahead of the Japanese GP

Jamie Davies
Top 5 / Top 10
1.19K   //    06 Oct 2018, 15:33 IST

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Qualifying
A frustrating day for Sebastian Vettel

The three practice sessions are done and dusted and so has Saturday's qualifying as Lewis Hamilton records his 80th pole position.

Building up to this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka is seen as probably Sebastian Vettel's last chance to try and turn it all around.

The German is currently 50 points behind Hamilton in the championship with just five races remaining on the 2018 calendar.

But Vettel's attempts are not going to plan after Saturday's qualifying sessions.

Vettel was surprisingly ninth fastest while his teammate performed better by starting Sunday's race in the fourth position.

It is a big ask for Vettel and Ferrari to dig themselves out of an ugly hole and catch up with Mercedes and Hamilton come Sunday.

All that's left now to complete this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix is the race itself.

So here is our four race predictions ahead of Sunday's showdown...

#4 Hartley, make the most out of it!

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Qualifying
Hartley performed his best ever qualifying on Saturday

There was a big surprise in Saturday's qualifying when Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley qualified in sixth position ahead of his teammate Pierre Gasly.

The New Zealander's F1 future is in doubt for 2019 but will be thrilled to perform as 6th fastest on Saturday in a bid to change Helmut Marko's mind on his contract.

2018 has been a tough year for Hartley with a number of retirements to his name and many low finishes have left the 28-year-old unsure about his future.

Come Sunday's race, however, there's no guarantee that Hartley's Toro Rosso will have the right race pace to compete against the Renaults, Force India's and the Haas'.

But it is a golden opportunity for Hartley to remind the bosses at Toro Rosso to why they should reconsider him.

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