Japanese GP: The revised Sunday schedule and what to expect on track
Written by News on 13/10/2019
Formula 1 will stage qualifying and the race on the same day for just the fifth time in the sport’s history in a super Sunday of Suzuka action.
With F1’s personnel hunkered down in hotels on Saturday as Typhoon Hagibis prepared to make landfall on the Japanese mainland, with heavy rain and strong winds brought to the area around Suzuka, the plan is for action to resume on Sunday with a rare qualifying-race double header.
Read on for all the latest schedule information and on-track form guide after Friday practice.
What’s the revised Sunday schedule?
Weather-permitting, the postponed qualifying hour will start at 2am UK time on Sunday morning with the usual three-segment knockout fight for pole position.
The race schedule remains unchanged, with lights out at 6.10am UK time.
Sky Sports F1 will remain live from 1.30am onwards, when the channel’s qualifying build-up begins, all the way through the UK night and morning for all the action and reaction until 9.30am, when the first race replay starts.
All the live programmes are being simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event – and are also available to watch for Sky F1 customers on the Sky Sports App and Sky Go.
Who’s favourite for pole?
The Suzuka form-book heading into qualifying will purely be based on the evidence of Friday’s two practice sessions, with Practice Three cancelled on Saturday and not rescheduled.
Ferrari, and principally Charles Leclerc, have topped every qualifying hour since the summer break, but the Scuderia’s chances of a fifth successive pole position – a feat they haven’t achieved since 2001 – look challenging after Mercedes dominated Friday.
The world champions, the winners of all five Japanese GPs in the hybrid engine era, finished one-two in both practice sessions, finishing Friday with a lap-time advantage of around 0.3 seconds.
Valtteri Bottas edged out Lewis Hamilton in P2, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third ahead of the Ferraris, and that order would set the grid were qualifying to not take place at all if conditions were deemed unsafe on Sunday morning.
“Mercedes was very quick every time they went out on track,” said Sebastian Vettel, fifth-fastest for Ferrari in P2.
“Plus, it looked a bit more comfortable for Red Bull as well here. So it will be tight and I expect them both to be very strong on Sunday morning as well.”
Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok said: “This is a Mercedes track. Any long radius corners where you’ve got to keep the front-end in, the Mercedes works better.
“We’ve seen it in China, Silverstone and this is another one of those circuits.”
Can any world titles be settled?
The Japanese GP could see Mercedes equal Ferrari’s all-time record of six successive Constructors’ Championship victories by the end of Sunday’s race.
Mercedes must outscore Ferrari, second in the standings, by 14 points to seal another teams’ crown, this time with four races to spare. A Silver Arrows one-two would be enough to retain the title for the Brackley team.
But Hamilton cannot clinch his sixth Drivers’ Championship yet.
The world champion can, however, knock all drivers but Bottas out of mathematical contention heading to the next race in Mexico. If Hamilton ends Sunday 104 points or more clear of the first non-Mercedes driver then the drivers’ title is guaranteed to go to one of the two Mercedes drivers.
(c) Sky Sports 2019: Japanese GP: The revised Sunday schedule and what to expect on track