F1 continues the flyaway section of its schedule with the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend at the iconic Suzuka Circuit. Having hosted its share of dramatic title deciders in the past when it was the final race on the calendar, it could see another this weekend, although much less compelling than, say, Ayrton Senna vs. Alain Prost.
If reigning champion Max Verstappen can finish eight points (the difference between a race win with the fastest lap and second place) ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and six points ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, he will clinch his second title, with four races remaining – a far cry from last year’s final-lap decider.
Japanese Grand Prix TV schedule
Fans in the United States can watch practices, qualifying and the race on TV via the ESPN family of networks or stream it via ESPN or F1TV Pro.
(All times ET)
Saturday, Oct. 8
Qualifying: 2 - 3 a.m. (ESPN2)
Sunday, Oct. 9
Pre-race show: 11:30 p.m. - 1 a.m. (ESPN2)
Japanese Grand Prix: 1 - 3 a.m. (ESPN2)
Top drivers and best bets for the Japanese Grand Prix
As has been the norm this season, Leclerc enters with the best odds for pole position at +125 – which this round he shares with Verstappen – but has longer odds for the race win (+300) than Verstappen (-165).
Best odds for the Japanese Grand Prix (per BetMGM)
Max Verstappen (-165)
Charles Leclerc (+300)
Lewis Hamilton (+800)
Yahoo Sports' Nick Bromberg likes Mercedes' Russell to finish in the top six (-400) despite the low return and Mick Schumacher to finish ahead of Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen (+100).
F1 drivers Top 5 entering Suzuka
Max Verstappen, Red Bull - 341
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari - 237
Sergio Perez, Red Bull - 235
George Russell, Mercedes - 203
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari - 202
Japanese Grand Prix weekend weather
The forecast calls for rain during Friday's practice sessions, clear conditions for qualifying on Saturday and showers on Sunday, so we could see some mixed tire strategies if the circuit is wet when the race starts.