Japanese Grand Prix: Race Notes

Nico Rosberg will be looking to regain the championship lead at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

He’ll start the race on pole, where he out-qualified Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by two tenths of a second.  Rosberg currently sits three points behind Hamilton with five races left to go in the season.  This is just the second time that Hamilton has led the points standings all year.  

Sebastien Vettel won at Suzuka last year with a commanding 7+ second gap to second place finisher Mark Webber.  The former will start the race in ninth place after a troubling qualifying performance on Saturday.  Vettel and Ricciardo were both forced to make late Q2 appearances and get themselves out of knock out danger. The Aussie fared slightly better and will start in sixth.
News also broke before FP3 on Saturday concerning reigning champion Sebastien Vettel.  It was reported by the team:

“Sebastian Vettel has advised us that he will be leaving Infiniti Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2014 season,” a statement from Red Bull read.  “We’re pleased to announce that Daniel will be joined in the team for 2015 by another rising star from the Junior Programme, Daniil Kvyat.”

Reports have been linking Vettel to Ferrari to drive with Kimi Raikkonen; as well as a departure of Fernando Alonso who may be headed over to McLaren for the 2015 season. 

Alonso will start the Suzuka GP in fifth and be looking for his first race win of the year.  His highest finish this season was second in Hungary:

“So far, this weekend has been very positive as I had a good feeling from the car right from the first lap of free practice.”  – Alonso

Fernando came in fourth last year just ahead of his now teammate Kimi Raikkonen.  

The impending typhoon could threaten the Japanese Grand Prix. 
With the impending rain due to the typhoon scheduled to hit the Suzuka area on Sunday, the race could yield some unexpected twists.  The FIA have decided not to move the race start to an earlier time, as was suggested by several news organization and drivers.  The race will more than likely be a wet one, so there may be no standing start for round 15 of the 2014 season.

Your Turn
Who do you think will win the Japanese Grand Prix?  Will Nico Rosberg be able to regain the championship lead, or will Lewis Hamilton hold firm on Sunday?  Sound off in the comments below.

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