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Five races remain in the 2019 Formula One world championship and the pointy end of a long season nears, as the titles look set to be decided. Join The Roar for a live blog of the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, starting from 4:10pm AEDT.
Reigning world champions Mercedes AMG arrive at a typhoon stricken Suzuka circuit, looking to clinch their sixth consecutive constructor’s world championship, while another win for Lewis Hamilton puts him a step closer to his sixth driver’s title.
Though with Typhoon Hagibis having wreaked havoc across Japan through the weekend, the 53-lap race will be more challenging with qualifying having been conducted only hours before.
Ferrari have been the benchmark qualifiers in the past four races, with Charles Leclerc having claimed pole on all four occasions. The win in Russia went begging for the Scuderia and there will be spotlight on them following their team order debacle – as they seek their first win in Japan since 2004.
Sebastian Vettel has been quite successful in Japan, winning four races here for Red Bull Racing – though is a win behind Hamilton, who will be chasing Michael Schumacher’s record of six.
The four-time world champion claimed his fifth pole position at Suzuka and will the first non-Mercedes pole sitter in the hybrid era of Formula One. Ferrari completed the front-row lockout, with Leclerc set to the start second.
Mercedes lock out the second row of the grid headed by Valtteri Bottas, as Hamilton in his final fast lap was unable to displace his teammate.
The Honda powered Red Bull cars occupy the third row of the grid, with Max Verstappen leading teammate Alexander Albon on the same time. Pierre Gasly for the sister Toro Rosso team, also powered by Honda will take a top-ten start from ninth.
In the battle for fourth in the constructor’s championship, McLaren will enjoy the benefit of a top-ten start, while their rivals in Renault endured a difficult qualifying with Daniel Ricciardo eliminated in Q1 and Nico Hulkenberg having car troubles in Q2.
Facing a tough turnaround to the race will be the crews at Haas and Williams, who have to repair the crashed cars of Kevin Magnussen and Robert Kubica respectively, after they had separated incidents during Q1.
Mercedes demonstrated the better race pace during Friday practice, but can Ferrari engineer a winning strategy from the front-row of the grid?
Tune in on The Roar from 4:10pm AEDT for live blog coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix, as Formula One battles the elements to go racing.