Max Verstappen looks to get back to winning ways at Japanese Grand Prix

After a disastrous — by their lofty standards — weekend in Singapore, Red Bull and Max Verstappen appear poised to resume their dominance at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Verstappen won a rain-soaked race at Suzuka last year and clinched his second straight F1 world drivers’ championship in the process. Despite coming off his worst finish — fifth at Marina Bay — since the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen is once again the overwhelming favorite.

Ferrari will be energized coming off a stellar weekend, McLaren is suddenly resurgent and Mercedes have steadily improved over the course of the season, but will any of that be enough to topple Red Bull again?

Here’s everything you need to know for the Japanese Grand Prix:

Japanese Grand Prix TV/streaming schedule

All times Eastern

Thursday
10:25 p.m.-11:30 p.m.:
Free practice 1 (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro)

Friday
1:55-3 a.m.: Free practice 2 (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro)
10:25 p.m.-11:30 p.m.: Free practice 3 (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro)

Saturday
1:55-4 a.m.: Qualifying (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro)
11:30 p.m.-12:55 a.m. (Sunday): Pre-race show (ESPN)

Sunday
1-3 a.m.: Japanese Grand Prix (ESPN, F1 TV Pro)

Japanese Grand Prix starting grid

  1. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  2. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes

  3. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes

  4. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari

  5. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  6. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari

  7. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes

  8. George Russell (63), Mercedes

  9. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  10. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  11. Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  12. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault

  13. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

  14. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault

  15. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari

  16. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  17. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  18. Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari

  19. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  20. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes

Japanese Grand Prix circuit, lap count, tire compounds

Circuit: Suzuka International Racing Course (3.608-mile, 18-turn permanent facility) in Mie Prefecture, Japan
Race length: 53 laps for 191.05 miles
Lap record: 1:30.983 (Lewis Hamilton, 2019)
Tire compounds: C1 (Hard), C2 (Medium) C3 (Soft)
2022 winner: Max Verstappen, Red Bull-RBPT

Top drivers and best bets for the Japanese Grand Prix

Verstappen once again enters as the overwhelming favorite, according to BetMGM. Oddsmakers are apparently unfazed by his record-setting 10-race win streak getting snapped in Singapore last weekend and speculation about new technical directives being the reason for Red Bull’s dip in performance at Marina Bay. Sergio Perez has the next-best odds at 11-to-1.

Best odds to win
Max Verstappen -350
Sergio Perez +1100
Lando Norris +1400

Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg wrote earlier in the week on some bets he likes for Suzuka, including both McLarens to finish in the points (-250), last week’s winner Carlos Sainz to finish in the top six (-225) and Lewis Hamilton to score a second straight podium (+175).

Formula One F1 - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Japan - October 9, 2022 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and the championship with his team REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Max Verstappen clinched his second straight world drivers’ championship at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

F1 world drivers’ championship standings

1. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT – 374
2. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT – 223
3. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes – 180
4. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes – 170
5. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari – 142
6. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari – 123
7. George Russell (63), Mercedes – 129
8. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes – 97
9. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes – 47
10. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault – 45
11. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes – 42
12. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault – 36
13. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes – 21
14. Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari – 9
15. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 6
16. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 4
17. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 3
18. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari – 3
19. Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 2
20. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes – 0
21. Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 0
22. Daniel Ricciardo (3), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 0

Japanese Grand Prix entry list

Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari
Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes
George Russell (63), Mercedes
Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault
Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault
Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes
Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes
Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari
Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari
Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes
Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

Japanese Grand Prix weather

The forecast calls for a 52% chance of rain for Friday’s practice sessions but dry, partly cloudy conditions for Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race. Should rain wipe out FP2 — when teams conduct qualifying simulations and collect long run data — we could be in for a jumbled grid. Otherwise, expect Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren to be at the top, likely in that order.

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