2015 Japanese Grand Prix Preview

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As we enter the twilight of the 2015 season, Formula 1 ventures to the land of the rising sun for the Japanese Grand Prix at the iconic Suzuka circuit.

Suzuka has etched itself a unique place in F1 history over the past three decades, being the site of numerous title deciders and duels, including those infamous battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1989 and 1990.

In recent years, the track has been something of a stronghold for Sebastian Vettel, who arrives in Japan with the wind in his sails following his crushing victory at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend.

Vettel’s lights-to-flag charge brought him back into the championship fight – albeit as the outsider – as Mercedes endured a weekend to forget. Lewis Hamilton was resigned to his first retirement of the season thanks to a power unit problem, while Nico Rosberg could only finish fourth, leaving him 41 points behind his teammate in the title race.

In Japan this weekend, the teams will renew their battle for supremacy at the front, but with a number of storylines meandering throughout the field, there is plenty of play for at Suzuka.

2015 Japanese Grand Prix – Talking Points

Can Mercedes bounce back?

Mercedes’ lack of pace in Singapore was something of a shock to everyone in the F1 paddock. All weekend long, the Silver Arrows found themselves battling for fifth and sixth place at best, lagging well behind the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull at Marina Bay.

Most have put it down as a one-off, and are expecting Mercedes to roar back at Suzuka and surge to a one-two finish. The tire allocation certainly suits the W06 Hybrid far better, but Ferrari’s engine updates make it a force to be reckoned with. Vettel’s Suzuka form is second to none – four wins and two podium finishes in six appearances – making this weekend far from being a two-horse race.

Vettel the outsider

Vettel may be a serious contender for the race win at Suzuka this weekend, but he remains the outsider in the championship battle. The 49-point deficit to Lewis Hamilton at the top is not a great amount if we are to consider Rosberg (41 points down) to still be in the title fight, yet it requires Singapore repeating itself another three or four times in the final six races of 2015.

Nevertheless, what Vettel continues to do is not only justify his move to Ferrari, but also prove his own greatness. Those who wrote off his four world championships with Red Bull by attributing them to car and the car alone have been silenced. Vettel is excelling with Ferrari, and his excellent Suzuka record makes him a threat to Mercedes on Sunday.

Retirement rumors

Jenson Button’s future remains the biggest talking point in a largely static F1 silly season, with reports earlier this week claiming that he would be announcing his retirement from the sport ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

However, Button remains engaged in “good talks” with McLaren about 2016, meaning that we are unlikely to get a decision anytime soon. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if anything about the driver market comes out of this weekend. Sergio Perez has signed up with Force India for another season, leaving only Lotus, Manor and Haas to be finalized.

Running on fumes

For Lotus, though, there are bigger problems at play. After having a High Court hearing adjourned until September 28 last week, the team is facing an increasingly difficult fight to survive. At Suzuka, its freight only arrived at the track midway through Thursday due to outstanding payments from last year, putting pressure on everyone in the team.

If the hearing on Monday goes against the team, it could be game over. Talks with Renault about a buy-out for 2016 are ongoing, and it is hard to see a future for the Enstone operation if they are not successful.

Nevertheless, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado continue to fight the good fight, and will be hungry for points at Suzuka this weekend.

Forza Jules

Aside from all of the on-track action this weekend, the paddock will have a heavy heart as it returns to the site of Jules Bianchi’s accident 12 months ago.

Bianchi died in July following a nine-month fight, having suffered a severe head injury when he collided with a recovery tractor during the closing stages of last year’s rainy Japanese Grand Prix.

Just as the grid did Jules proud in Hungary, we can hope for another thrilling event this weekend.

2015 Japanese Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Suzuka Circuit
Laps: 53
Corners: 18
Lap Record: Kimi Raikkonen 1:31.540 (McLaren, 2005)
Tire Compounds: Medium (Option); Hard (Prime)
2014 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:32.506
2014 Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:51.600
DRS Zone: Main Straight (T18 to T1)

2015 Japanese Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 9pm ET 9/24
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 1am ET 9/25 NBCSN
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 11pm ET 9/25
Qualifying: NBCSN 2am ET 9/26
Race: NBCSN 12:30am ET 9/27

All sessions will be streamed live at f1stream.nbcsports.com.

Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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