Friday practice at Suzuka didn’t do much to dent everyone’s belief that it’s a race where Red Bull have it all to lose, after topping both practice sessions today, you’d be a brave soul to bet against them adding their already impressive tally of pole positions so far in 2010.
As we slowly run out of races in what has been a corker of a season so far, the title fight intensifies. Webber has an ever decreasing 11pt lead going to Japan, Alonso has a renewed sense of victory, Hamilton can’t manage to finish a race (or a practice session) while Button and Vettel pickup points where they can.
With heavy rain predicted for Saturday, qualifying could be a complete lottery or even postponed until Sunday if you believe some of the weather reports. Rain or not, the weekend’s grand prix is set to be another great race at Suzuka, a track that the drivers love and a track that rewards those that drive on the limit and punishes those who push it too far – as Lewis found out today.
On the other hand, if the rain does come it’s another opportunity for the mid-field runners and maybe the new teams to have a shot at glory…. or at least a point.
Vettel and Webber dominated the session, Kubica came off but managed to post an impressive 3rd fastest time, Hamilton came off properly and destroyed half the front of his car – Button almost copied him but caught it before the walls. Schumacher had a little trip too – the sequence of corners called Degnar 1 and Degnar 2 always catch people out – there’s plenty of time to be gained, but it’s all too easy to lose it as well (try it on F1 2010 or GP4 to find out for yourself!
The Ferrari duo had a better session, Red Bull still dominated, and Lewis Hamilton just made it out for a few laps to post the 13th best time – not an ideal start to the weekend.
Even without any pesky downpours the Saturday qualifying will be an epic session – sure it could well be a Red Bull front row, but neither of their drivers are known for consistently good starts and Robert Kubica could well be in the mix with the title challengers.
As for predicting pole position, we’ll leave it up to you, our readers to battle it out in the comments – let us know who you think will first in to turn one too!
You can read Badger’s guide to Suzuka and here’s a great video of the track featuring a voiceover by Sauber’s new signing, Sergio Perez – the new Mexican driver for 2011 (a tribute to him at least)
- If you want to read more about the new teams heading into the Suzuka weekend, we recommend you have a look at out “Tail End Charlie Championship” piece
- And in case you don’t know when it’s on, the TV times are here: Sushi for breakfast – Japanese GP TV Times
- Don’t forget to make your predictions ahead of qualifying too: Fantasy Grand Prix