Following an exciting and shocking race at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia, the F1 juggernaut has arrived at the much-loved Sukuza International circuit in Japan. This is a circuit loved by all drivers, with Sebastian Vettel calling it his favourite track.
Mercedes had a chance to wrap up the constructors' title in the previous race, but a first lap spin for Nico Rosberg and a spectacular engine blow up for Lewis Hamilton made sure that they have to wait until they get to Suzuka for their third straight title. The reigning world champion was the biggest loser in the previous race after he suffered an engine failure while in the lead. It put a big dent in his title hopes after his teammate recovered from an opening lap spin, which occurred when Sebastian Vettel made contact with the Mercedes on Turn 1, to finish third and extended his championship lead to 23 points with five races to go.
Hamilton will have to win most of the remaining races to have a chance of winning a third straight title, but as of now Rosberg looks favourite for his first ever F1 Drivers' title. Suzuka is a circuit that is well suited to Mercedes and they will be favourites yet again for the win.
Red Bull Racing have clearly established themselves as their closest challengers as Ferrari continue to struggle to keep up. They have been close to Austrian team in recent races, but are unable to match their pace in qualifying or the race. Daniel Ricciardo looks comfortable in third place in the drivers' championship and his team are 45 points ahead of the Italian team in second place in the constructors' race.
However, rain is predicted for qualifying and the race this season and a wet track always throws up some surprises. The Red Bull cars have looked strong in wet conditions and could have a part to play in the outcome of the championship, if they get between the two Mercedes cars.
Where to watch live
The first practice session of the Italian Grand Prix starts at 2am BST (Friday), with Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports F1 HD providing live coverage in the UK.
Real-time internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's official website. Live coverage of the second practice session starts at 6am BST.
- Circuit name: Suzuka International Racing Course
- First F1 Race: 1987
- Circuit length: 5.807km
- Number of laps: 53
- Race distance: 307.471km
- Lap record: 1.31'540 (K Raikkonen - 2005)
- Most wins: M Schumacher (6)
- 2015 winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- 2015 pole: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
Drivers Championship standings
|3||DANIEL RICCIARDO||AUS||RED BULL RACING||204|
|6||MAX VERSTAPPEN||NED||RED BULL RACING||147|
|8||SERGIO PEREZ||MEX||FORCE INDIA||74|
|9||NICO HULKENBERG||GER||FORCE INDIA||50|