Japanese Grand Prix highlights: Formula One live updates, blog

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    As the 2017 Formula One world championship edges closer to its conclusion, the title race hangs delicately in the balance with the Japanese Grand Prix set to stage yet another exciting race. Join The Roar for live coverage from 3:30pm (AEDT).

    34-points is what separates Lewis Hamilton from Sebastian Vettel, with the onus on the Ferrari driver to strike back and recoup the points that he has haemorrhaged in the past four races.

    Their battleground will be 5.8km technical Suzuka circuit, which on paper appears as a ‘figure of eight’ – but, is very challenging with its variety of high-speed corners.

    53 laps will be contested across the iconic Japanese track, with weather always a variable in the outcome.

    The front row of the grid will be occupied by the two title rivals, with Hamilton claiming his first ever pole position at the Suzuka circuit.

    Vettel had qualified third, but is elevated one position with Valtteri Bottas set to drop five places on the grid, due to a penalty for changing his gearbox.

    The pair have had success before in Japan, with four wins to Vettel and three to Hamilton. The Briton however, has only won two races at Suzuka with that third having come at the Fuji circuit in his maiden campaign.

    Mercedes AMG has won the last three grand prix in Japan, whilst Ferrari have had a drought since 2004.

    The race is set to see a potential three-way battle for the win, with Red Bull having had a strong qualifying. Factoring in the Bottas penalty, Daniel Ricciardo will start third and Malaysian Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen will be fourth.

    Two former world champions and Japanese Grand Prix winners in Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso will unfortunately have to yield their top ten berths, with grid penalties being applied to the Ferrari and the McLaren.

    Räikkönen from sixth will lose five positions, whilst Alonso at Honda’s home race will embarrassingly take a 35-place grid penalty to drop to the rear of the grid, after getting into the top ten.

    Japan has always been a very pivotal race in the past for the championship and for 2017 it looks to be no different.

    Can Mercedes AMG slash any remaining hope that Ferrari have of winning the driver’s title, or can Vettel weave some of his Suzuka magic to claim a fifth victory?

    Join us on The Roar from 3:30pm (AEDT) for a live blog of the Japanese Grand Prix.