Mercedes-AMG at the 2012 Formula 1 Japanese Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
These conditions are near perfect and should guarantee an exciting race. Of course, the weather is a little unpredictable in Suzuka at this time of year, so just in case Pirelli is bringing its full wet tires in addition to its harder compounds.
The Suzuka circuit is one of the most demanding on the calendar, so it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most popular among fans and drivers alike. Almost every corner is a challenge and the high-speed uphill curves behind the pits provide a real benchmark for aerodynamic performance.
The average lap speed is comparable to Silverstone and the engines spend over two-thirds of the lap distance at full throttle, so engine performance and reliability are crucial. Equally, drivers need to stay focused as gear changes are frequent due to all the corners.
Thanks to his performance during today's qualifying session, Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel will start on pole tomorrow, while his teammate, Mark Webber, will be starting next to him on the grid in second position. McLaren's Jenson Button qualified third but will start eighth due to a gearbox replacement penalty. Instead, local hero Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber will round out the top three.
Going into tomorrow’s race, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso remains on top of the Drivers’ Championship ladder with 194 points, followed by Sebastian Vettel with 165 points and Kimi Räikkönen of Lotus with 149 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains the clear leader with 297 points, with McLaren in second with 261 points and Ferrari in third place with 245 points.