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George Russell
1:34.404 Fastest Lap
53 Laps
Lewis Hamilton
1:33.952 Fastest Lap
53 Laps
Lewis Hamilton
1:28.766 Fastest Lap
15 Laps
George Russell
1:29.008 Fastest Lap
15 Laps

The Circuit

Suzuka is a venue like no other. The fast speeds, insane corners and varied elevation make it one of the most demanding but rewarding circuits to drive on the calendar.

A unique feature of this Japanese track is the figure of eight layout, meaning it can be run clockwise or anticlockwise! The crossover is an unusual part of this 5.807km circuit, but it was initially drafted as having three points where the track passed over itself.

The configuration also makes it beneficial for the Pirelli tyres, as drivers will have more even tyre wear thanks to the almost-balanced load experienced on ten right-hand and eight left-hand corners. However, it’s still a track that is incredibly tough on tyre stress, with asphalt abrasion and downforce being high. As a result, Pirelli will be bringing along the three hardest compounds - C1, C2 and C3 - for the challenge, the same tyre selection we had earlier this season in Bahrain.

Over the 53 laps, Lewis and George will be exposed to lots of elevation change. The run to the first turn is downhill, and they’ll need to climb back up to go through the esses.

Towards the end of the lap drivers will experience the iconic 130R corner, named after its metric radius. The left-hander is often approached at speeds close to 200mph (320 kmh) and in eighth gear, making it one of the fastest corners of the year, before they’re forced to slow down and prepare for the final chicane.

There’s also only one DRS zone, a dramatic contrast to Albert Park, where we recently raced, that has four over a lap.

As well as its fantastic characteristics which drivers adore, it’s also a place that has crowned the Drivers’ World Champion a record 12 times, the most of any circuit.

Stat Sheet: Japanese Grand Prix

  • This figure-of-eight layout is beneficial for tyre wear. It creates a more even balance between left and right-hand corners (10 being right-handers and eight to the left), distributing load more equally between tyres.

  • The first corner doesn't require any braking on entry. In Qualifying, drivers don't hit the brakes until the car is cornering at close to 5G.

  • That helps to generate some of the highest steering wheel torques of the entire season.

  • The vast majority of the first sector at Suzuka is spent cornering. From Turn 1 until the exit of Turn 7, the steering wheel is moving almost continuously for nearly 2km of the lap.

  • Just 1.2km of the lap is spent driving in a straight line. Most of the 5.807km sees some lateral g-force going through the car.

  • The lack of straights also means that Suzuka is just one of four circuits on the calendar that has a solitary DRS zone.

  • 130R is one of F1's quickest corners, taken at 295km/h (183mph). Turn 11 meanwhile is one of the slowest at 60kmh (37mph).

  • The braking zone for Turn 11 is particularly challenging. Drivers must hit the brakes midway through the fast Turn 10. They are cornering at close to 3.5G while turning right before the hairpin left. Lockups are therefore common.

  • In contrast to Singapore, brakes have a slightly easier time at Suzuka. There are only two heavy braking events on the track. Brake duty and wear are therefore among the lowest we see across the year.

  • Suzuka has one of the highest mass sensitivities of the season. That means that carrying more fuel is more penalising in terms of lap time and performance.

  • First GP
  • Circuit Length
  • Race Distance
  • Laps

Everything You Need To Know: Japan

Formula 1 is back in Japan, although much earlier in the year than usual! The iconic circuit is ranked as one of the favourites among drivers, and the addition of the passionate Japanese fans makes it a true highlight of the racing calendar.

Suzuka has witnessed so much F1 history since it made its debut in 1987, although the track was constructed much earlier in the early ‘60s. It was initially a test track for Honda, and designed by Dutchman John Hugenholtz, but we’re glad it became a permanent racing facility for all!

Since first appearing on the calendar, Suzuka has hosted every Japanese Grand Prix apart from a brief spell at Fuji Speedway in 2007 and 2008.

Mercedes have won the Japanese Grand Prix six times, with Lewis being responsible for four of those victories. Our seven-time champ also holds the lap record here, with a time of 1:30.983, which he set in his W10 in 2019 before going on to clinch the Drivers’ World Championship for a sixth time later that year.

We’ve had 11 fantastic podiums in Japan and five pole positions as a constructor, as well as powering 11 wins with our Mercedes engines. We’ve celebrated sealing the Constructors’ Trophy multiple times at this special circuit, and between the years of 2014 and 2019, we won every Japanese Grand Prix thanks to the amazing work of Lewis, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas.

Visits to Suzuka can often bring unpredictable weather, with heavy rain and typhoons affecting the traditional timetable several times. However, it’s hoped that moving it from its normal autumnal slot and into springtime alongside the beautiful cherry blossom season should help with this issue.

Our Successes

Mercedes’ and Lewis’ first win around Suzuka circuit came in 2014, with former team-mate Nico Rosberg finishing behind in second, having started on pole. However, the race weekend ended under devastating circumstances after a tragic accident involving Marussia's Jules Bianchi.

F1 returned the year afer, with Rosberg once again doing the business to achieve the pole position for race day – his second of three consecutive poles achieved in Suzuka. Yet, he was unable to keep the lead as Lewis swooped past him by the first corner and never looked back, dominating the race and helping the team once again lock in another one-two result.

Rosberg finally converted his first place grid slot into a victory in 2016, extending his Championship lead with Lewis also passing the chequered flag in third meaning we were able to secure our third straight Constructors' crown in style.

During 2017 and 2018, Lewis continued to tally up victories in Japan, delivering controlled drives to go from pole to the top place of the podium on both occasions. During his most-recent win around the unique Japanese track, Lewis managed to pull off a lights-to-flag masterclass and reach his 50th career victory for the Silver Arrows. Valtteri also joined him on the podium in second for the memorable moment.

Valtteri also got his chance to lift the winners’ trophy the year after in a weekend heavily impacted by the wet weather. Qualifying was moved to Sunday morning, a few hours before lights out, but the change of schedule didn’t stop Valtteri from putting on a brilliant performance to win from third on the grid. The victory, and Lewis’ third place finish, also meant we once again sealed the Constructors' Championship, our sixth consecutive title.

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