Who Will Win the Japanese Grand Prix?

Author: Last Updated: April 2, 2024
japanese gp

The fourth F1 Grand Prix of the year takes place on Sunday April 7. The F1 circus heads to Japan with Max Verstappen again leading the championship race. Who should you be backing to win the Japanese Grand Prix?

After the first three races of the season, Red Bull’s Verstappen has 51 points but that only sees him leading the drivers’ championship by four points. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is in second place with Red Bull’s other driver Sergio Perez a further point behind.

Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) is fourth and 11 points behind his teammate. Will we see another Red Bull v Ferrari battle in the Japanese Grand Prix?

The 2024 F1 season began with a familiar result. Defending world champion Max Verstappen won the Bahrain Grand Prix with teammate Sergio Perez making it a 1-2 for Red Bull. It was the same story in Saudi Arabia with Verstappen again winning with Perez in second place.

Another shock result?

Another Red Bull procession was beginning to look likely. However, in Australia we got a very different result. Carlos Sainz Jr was the winner with Charles Leclerc making it a Ferrari 1-2. It wasn’t a great race for Red Bull and that doesn’t get written a great deal.

A third win for Verstappen looked on the cards as he started the race in pole position. He hadn’t retired from a race since the 2022 Australian Grand Prix. History repeated itself though as he was soon overtaken by Sainz in his Ferrari.

He was soon on the radio to his team and told them: “The car is loose.” His brakes caught fire and bits of his car fell off. Soon his race was over and so was the chance to further extend his lead at the top of the table.

The hope will be that there’s no repetition of those problems in Japan. Red Bull have won this race for the past two years with Verstappen winning on both occasions. He’s 2/9 at William Hill to make it a hat-trick of wins on Sunday.

Sergio Perez will hope for better luck this weekend. Last year saw him retire on lap 15 due to the damage sustained in a collision with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. The year before he’d finished second 27 seconds behind Verstappen and 31 seconds ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Perez can be backed at 12/1 at BetVictor to win this race for the first time.

More success for Ferrari?

Ferrari will be looking to build on their success in Australia. They know that either of their drivers could be championship leaders after this race. That’s unlikely but it’s a position they are glad to be in. Leclerc is 14/1 at bet365 to get the win in Japan. His teammate is the same price at BetVictor to win this race.

The weather could play a key role this weekend. Rain is forecast so we may well end up with another unpredictable race. There’s a 60 percent chance of rain on Sunday and the temperatures won’t be getting too high.

McLaren have made a good start to the new season. Oscar Piastri has finished fourth in the last two races. Teammate Lando Norris went one better in Australia with an excellent third place. It’s 25/1 at William Hill that Norris wins on Sunday.

Mercedes have struggled this year with them down in fourth in the constructors’ championship. Only 26 points have been earned so far, 71 less than leaders Red Bull. McLaren are third in the table and have more than double the points that Mercedes have.

Lewis Hamilton (50/1 at bet365) only has eight points from his three races. His days of winning world titles with Mercedes are over but even he doesn’t want a battle for a top ten finish. The speed and competitiveness simply isn’t there for Mercedes at the moment. It could just be a case of Hamilton counting down the days until his move to Ferrari.

We look set for another fascinating race this weekend. Max Verstappen will want to get back into winning ways and that may well happen.

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