F1 LIVE: George Russell leads Mercedes one-two in wet second practice at Japanese GP

Max Verstappen has another opportunity to claim his second world title this weekend as Formula 1 returns to Suzuka for the first time since 2019 for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull star – 104 points clear of Charles Leclerc in the standings – will be crowned champion in Japan if he wins and sets the fastest lap on Sunday.

Verstappen is looking to bounce back after a disappointing weekend in Singapore, finishing seventh, while his team-mate Sergio Perez claimed victory. Leclerc came home second, with Carlos Sainz in third.

Lewis Hamilton also endured a difficult Sunday in the rain of Singapore, finishing ninth after crashing into the barriers, while Mercedes team-mate George Russell came home in last place. Hamilton, still looking for his first win of the season, is a five-time winner in Japan. Fernando Alonso was quickest in the wet of FP1 on Friday with Russell leading a Mercedes one-two a few hours later in second practice.

Follow live with The Independent as George Russell leads a Mercedes one-two in FP2 :

F1 PRACTICE - JAPANESE GRAND PRIX

F1 news: Max Verstappen ‘starting from zero’ after wet Japanese Grand Prix practice

Friday 7 October 2022 15:30 , Kieran Jackson

Max Verstappen believes all the drivers are “starting from zero” this weekend after a day of wet running at the Japanese Grand Prix. Damp conditions for both sessions meant laps were limited, with the runaway World Championship leader coming home third in second practice after finishing sixth in FP1.

Verstappen has a 104-point lead to Charles Leclerc with five races left and can clinch his second world title by winning the race on Sunday and setting the fastest lap. Yet with dry conditions expected for qualifying on Saturday, the Red Bull star believes Friday’s sessions and timesheets won’t make a huge degree of difference.

“I would have liked that it was a bit more representative, but it’s always nice to be here,” Verstappen said. “Luckily, it wasn’t a complete disaster with the weather; at least we could get round and do a little bit of stuff, but in terms of knowing where you are with pace, in the wet it’s a bit tricky.”

Max Verstappen ‘starting from zero’ after wet Japanese Grand Prix practice

F1 news: Charles Leclerc reflects on ‘very, very difficult’ start to Japanese Grand Prix weekend

Friday 7 October 2022 14:59 , Kieran Jackson

Charles Leclerc described his start to the Japanese Grand Prix weekend as “very difficult” after a mixed day of practice at Suzuka. The Ferrari star, who comes into this weekend 104 points behind Max Verstappen with five races left, is looking to extend the title race to Austin, Texas in two weeks’ time.

The only way he can guarantee that is by winning on Sunday, while coming second would also extend the Championship battle should Verstappen not set the fastest lap if he wins.

Yet the Monegasque admitted Friday’s running - in damp conditions in Japan in contrast to expected dry weather for qualifying on Saturday - was far from ideal; he finished third in FP1 but was only 11th in second practice, 2.7 seconds off the pace set by Mercedes’ George Russell.

“FP1 was fun! FP2, no tyres left, so less fun,” Leclerc said. “But overall it was quite a good day, the feeling with the car is good, we just need to put everything together tomorrow, but the feeling is good, so that’s positive. FP2 was very, very difficult because the tyres were just completely done. But there’s plenty to learn from today for the race especially, so it’s a positive Friday.”

Leclerc reflects on ‘very, very difficult’ start to Japanese Grand Prix weekend

F1 news: Michael Schumacher’s world title-winning Ferrari to go up for sale

Friday 7 October 2022 14:26 , Kieran Jackson

Michael Schumacher’s 2003 world title-winning Ferrari is to go up for sale. The F2003-GA took the German to a fourth consecutive Drivers’ Championship crown in an exceptionally tight season of racing.

Schumacher pipped Kimi Raikkonen by just two points in a year that also brought Constructors Championship success for the Italian manufacturers. A sixth overall world title moved Schumacher clear of Juan Manuel Fangio as the most successful F1 driver in history.

The F2003-GA was a tweaked version of Ferrari’s 2002 car and featured the initials Gianni Agnelli, the former head of Fiat who passed away in January 2003. Chassis #229 will go up for sale at prominent auction house Sotheby’s on 9 November in fully track-ready condition.

Michael Schumacher’s world title-winning Ferrari to go up for sale

F1 news: Max Verstappen reveals what he needs to win F1 world title in Japan

Friday 7 October 2022 13:56 , Kieran Jackson

Max Verstappen insists he needs the “perfect weekend” at the Japanese Grand Prix if he is to claim his second F1 world title at Suzuka.

The Red Bull driver has won 11 of 17 races so far this season and has a 104-point lead to Charles Leclerc with just five Grands Prix remaining. The 25-year-old will win the World Championship this Sunday if he wins the race and sets the fastest lap, while a race win alone would secure the title if Leclerc finishes lower than second.

There are a possible 138 points available until the end of the season – five race wins at 25 points each, a fastest lap point at each and eight points for the sprint race winner in Sao Paulo.

Yet Verstappen admitted in the pre-race press conference that he wasn’t focused too much on permutations and instead was looking to simply perform to the best of his ability.

Max Verstappen reveals what he needs to win F1 world title in Japan

F1 news: ‘I’m not planning on going anywhere’: Lewis Hamilton could race for another five years

Friday 7 October 2022 13:28 , Kieran Jackson

F1 news: ‘I’m not planning on going anywhere’: Lewis Hamilton could race for another five years

Lewis Hamilton has hinted he could race for another five years after Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed the pair had recently spoken about his future. The seven-time world champion has one more year left of his Mercedes deal at the end of the current season.

Hamilton, 37, holds the record for the most wins, pole positions and podiums in Formula One history and is tied with Michael Schumacher for the most drivers’ championships. But he appears to be far from finished, Wolff revealing last weekend that “we sat down and he says ‘look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?’”

Asked ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix if that was his plan, Hamilton replied: “I haven’t spoken to him (Wolff) about his comments but I can’t say just yet. Possibly, yes, I’m feeling good. I love what I’m doing. We have a lot of work to do, a lot to achieve still. So I’m not planning on going anywhere, any time soon.”

Wolff hailed Hamilton as the “shining star on and off track” in F1 and it was with one eye on his future out of the car where the Briton explained why he wants to remain in the sport for well beyond an additional five years.

Lewis Hamilton hints he could race for another five years

F1 news: Ferrari chief reveals why he believes F1’s ‘credibility is at stake’

Friday 7 October 2022 12:58 , Kieran Jackson

Mattia Binotto, team principal at Ferrari, fears that Formula 1’s “credibility is at stake” as the FIA prepares to announce if any teams have breached the budget cap.

Rumours in the last week have suggested that two manufacturers may have exceeded the cost cap limit, with Red Bull and Aston Martin both denying speculation that they had overspent. Mercedes and Ferrari have said that they believe that one team has marginally breached the cap and another by a more significant figure.

The sport’s financial regulations define a minor breach as one less than 5% of the cap, set at $145m (£114m) in 2021, and a material one as more than that. But Binotto is certain that even a minor breach should be taken seriously.

“It’s definitely a shame that we are talking about it in October of the following season, because at this point, apart from implications on last year’s championship, there are also implications for the current one,” the Ferrari team principal told Sky Italia.

“Let’s wait until Wednesday before making a judgement but, whatever amount we are talking about, it’s important to understand that even if it is four million, which falls into the category of what is considered a minor breach, four million is not minor.”

Ferrari chief reveals why he believes F1’s ‘credibility is at stake’

F1 news: What Max Verstappen needs to clinch the F1 world title in Japan this weekend

Friday 7 October 2022 12:28 , Kieran Jackson

Max Verstappen failed to claim his second world title in Singapore last weekend but his seventh-placed finish still means he is in prime position to wrap up the Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old has a 104-point lead to Charles Leclerc at the top of the Driver Standings, with only the Ferrari man and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez (106 points behind) able to mathematically stop the Dutchman.

With the 2021 cost-cap saga being delayed to after this weekend’s Grand Prix, focus turns to action on track: here’s what Verstappen needs this weekend to wrap up a dominant title as F1 returns to Suzuka.

What Verstappen needs

Verstappen has won 11 races out of 17 this season and leads second-placed Leclerc by 104 points heading to Japan, the first of the five remaining races. There are a possible 138 points available until the end of the season – five race wins at 25 points each, a fastest lap point at each and eight points for the sprint race winner in Sao Paulo.

More below:

What Max Verstappen needs to clinch the F1 world title in Japan this weekend

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: WEEKEND PREVIEW

Friday 7 October 2022 11:58 , Kieran Jackson

While last weekend represented Max Verstappen’s first, albeit slim, opening to claim his second world title, Formula 1’s return to an old-school favourite track at Suzuka in rural Japan gives the Dutchman a genuine shot at wrapping up a dominant 2022 season.

The Red Bull star has a 104-point lead to Charles Leclerc with five races to go and, this time, it’s completely in his own hands: a race victory come Sunday with the fastest lap will secure the World Championship irrespective of where Leclerc or team-mate Sergio Perez finish.

Even finishing top of the podium – something Verstappen has done in five of the last six races – without the bonus point means Leclerc has to finish second to mathematically keep the race alive heading into Austin in two weeks’ time.

Of course, the reality is that it is a matter of when, not if. Red Bull’s relationship with Honda does though provide a perfect narrative should the title be claimed at the Japanese manufacturer’s home track. And despite a week where F1’s budget cap row was stretched to Monday – with Red Bull the predominant team in the firing line – Verstappen seemed ultra-relaxed at what could be a glorious few days.

Verstappen has title shot in his own hands as Formula 1 returns to Suzuka

F1 news: Daniel Ricciardo won’t be rushed into decision over next move in F1

Friday 7 October 2022 11:28 , Kieran Jackson

Daniel Ricciardo insists he won’t be rushed into any decision regarding his F1 future with the 33-year-old still without a seat for next year.

The popular Australian is looking for his sixth team in Formula 1 after McLaren decided to end his contract a year early, with Oscar Piastri instead partnering Lando Norris in 2023.

It leaves Ricciardo currently without a drive next year, with options limited, and the ex-Red Bull driver previously hasn’t ruled out taking a year sabbatical away from the sport after eleven-and-a-half straight seasons.

There is currently a vacant seat at Alpine - though Ricciardo’s departure from Renault at the end of 2020 means a return is unlikely - while Haas could also be an option should Mick Schumacher’s contract at the team not be renewed. Williams are also looking for a replacement for Nicholas Latifi - and a spot could open up at AlphaTauri.

Yet Ricciardo insists he won’t rush his decision, as speculation mounts that he could take up a reserve role with Mercedes.

Daniel Ricciardo won’t be rushed into decision over next move in F1

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Abu Dhabi rivalry ‘popping back up again’ as Horner and Wolff needle each other

Friday 7 October 2022 10:58 , Kieran Jackson

Mark Webber believes that the rivalry between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner is “popping back up again” as speculation continues about potential breaches of Formula 1’s budget cap.

The Mercedes and Red Bull team principals regularly clashed during the 2021 season throughout a closely-fought title rival between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

The Drivers’ Championship was eventually won in contentious circumstances by Red Bull’s Verstappen, with the ill-feeling between Wolff and Horner coming to a head during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the controversial intervention of former race director Michael Masi.

Relations between the pair and the two teams have been rather more cordial this season with Verstappen cruising to a second consecutive crown and Mercedes’ largely uncompetitive, but rumours that Red Bull may have breached the 2021 budget cap have inflamed tensions.

Wolff suggested ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix that it was well known that Red Bull were being investigated over a breach, leading Horner to threaten legal action after what he described as “a completely unfounded allegation”.

Abu Dhabi rivalry ‘popping back up again’ between Christian Horner and Toto Wolff

F1 news: Lewis Hamilton hoping to maintain pace after ‘dull’ Japanese Grand Prix practice

Friday 7 October 2022 10:49 , Kieran Jackson

Lewis Hamilton is hoping to carry his Friday speed into the weekend after Mercedes clocked the two fastest times in a “dull” practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix.

With rain hammering Suzuka for much of the day, there was less track action than normal but it was George Russell who topped the time sheets with Mercedes teammate Hamilton coming in second.

Russell was over 0.8 seconds faster than champion-elect Max Verstappen in third as the British pair timed their fast runs perfectly on a drying track. Hamilton recently enjoyed a run of five consecutive podium finishes in a season where Mercedes do not have the pace of the front-runners.

He then retired in Belgium before fourth and fifth-placed finishes in Holland and Italy, coming home ninth in Singapore last weekend.

While there was little that could be taken from the performance of the cars in such inclement weather and changeable conditions, Hamilton is hopeful of retaining Friday’s speed.

Asked what he is expecting from Saturday qualifying – which is forecast to be run in the dry – the seven-time world champion replied: “No clue.

“I really have no idea, if we get it dry I imagine the Ferraris and Red Bulls will be quick but I really, really have no idea. I hope that we are fast but that is a hope that continues to be the case each week.”

Lewis Hamilton hoping to maintain pace after ‘dull’ Japanese Grand Prix practice

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Lando Norris wants ‘hefty penalty’ for any teams who break F1 budget cap

Friday 7 October 2022 10:28 , Kieran Jackson

Lando Norris has added his name to a growing list of Formula One drivers calling for a “hefty penalty” for teams who break the budget cap – claiming they would benefit for years to come from any infringement.

The sport’s governing body, the FIA, has delayed its findings into whether any of the grid’s teams have broken the financial rules until Monday.

It was anticipated that the FIA would reveal on Wednesday those that failed to comply with last season’s £114million cap.

Red Bull faced unproven allegations at the Singapore Grand Prix that they exceeded F1’s costs cap last term – bringing into the spotlight the legitimacy of Max Verstappen’s already controversial championship win over Lewis Hamilton.

With the decision now being delayed, Norris believes it will hang over the Japanese Grand Prix and, when asked if punishment needed to be swift and severe, the McLaren driver replied: “Of course.

“I think because teams are trying to find and trying to be as efficient as possible with every single thing that they do, any small amount over is, in any part of Formula One, maybe not huge, but depending on what it is, a big advantage.

“Considering there has been such a rule implied to make things a bit more comparable for everyone, give all teams a better chance at fighting, then it’s just an unfair stat within the performance of Formula One. There should be a pretty hefty penalty for whoever does cross the line.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: FP2 report!

Friday 7 October 2022 09:58 , Kieran Jackson

Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton led the way in a wet second practice for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Russell pipped seven-time world champion Hamilton to the quickest time as Formula One returned to Suzuka for the first time since 2019.

The changeable conditions had seen Mick Schumacher crash out after the chequered flag had already waved to end first practice, with his Haas damaged enough to rule him out of the 90-minute second session.

Nicholas Latifi, Carlos Sainz, Yuki Tsunoda, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez all had trips off the track as the rain came and went.

With a high chance of showers during Sunday’s race, there was plenty of running in preparation and Mercedes set the pace.

George Russell leads Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes one-two during Japan GP practice

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Mike Elliott (Mercedes technical director)

Friday 7 October 2022 09:40 , Kieran Jackson

“Generally happy with what we learned. Top of timesheets is nice but it doesn’t really matter on the Friday.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: George Russell...

Friday 7 October 2022 09:39 , Kieran Jackson

“It’s probably not going to be that representative for this weekend but definitely good learning for the future. It’s always nice to end the day top of the timesheets, definitely made some progress on P1.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton...

Friday 7 October 2022 09:37 , Kieran Jackson

“It’s been pretty dull today, just grey and wet! A bit of running but it’s been very chilled.

“There’s always stuff to take away, some of the stuff with tyre wear and tyre balance. Data on downforce levels - and on the positive side we were able to switch our tyres on.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Christian Horner...

Friday 7 October 2022 09:08 , Kieran Jackson

“Our pace is reasonable but it’s difficult to draw a lot of conclusions - a lot of data for the guys to look at.

“Tomorrow looks dry and Sunday maybe wet, so we need a halfway house to leave a resonable amount of downforce on the car.

“Mercedes are definitely in the mix and looking competitive.”

On cost-cap: “We were expecting them on Wednesday but that’s been delayed for all of the teams. FIA have taken that choice, we wait with interest on Monday. We feel we’ve absolutely complied with the cost-cap, happy with our submission.

“It’s a big weekend for Max - it’s a possibility rather than a probability. Talking about other topics, we can only imagine it’s been a distraction.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Sergio Perez...

Friday 7 October 2022 09:03 , Kieran Jackson

“This track is always a challenge, in the wet more of a challenge.

“We’re fairly comfortale in these conditions, we have a good idea of what we need to do.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen..

Friday 7 October 2022 09:02 , Kieran Jackson

“It wasn’t a disaster with the weather but in terms of knowing where you are with pace, it’s always tricky in the rain.

“It’s starting from zero tomorrow in the dry, same for everyonee, don’t think it’ll make a massive difference across the grid.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: FP1 report...

Friday 7 October 2022 09:01 , Kieran Jackson

Fernando Alonso went fastest in a wet first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix as champion-elect Max Verstappen kept his running to a minimum. Racing in Japan for the first time since 2019, the hour-long session saw rain fall throughout – Alonso timing his run perfectly to put his Alpine top of the timing sheet with a lap of one minute 42.248 seconds.

With teams taking their time to head out on track, Nicolas Latifi ran wide as the speeds picked up on a drying track just as Verstappen left the pits for the first time. He smashed the fastest time by over three and a half seconds as a potential title-winning weekend began in style.

That proved to be his only run of a session which was gradually picking up pace, Alonso eventually setting the pace ahead of the Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Esteban Ocon was fourth in the sister Alpine while the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher sandwiched Verstappen – who finished sixth-fastest. Lando Norris was eighth for McLaren as the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas – who won here for Mercedes last time out in 2019 – and Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.

Fernando Alonso tops wet first practice at Japanese Grand Prix

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen:

Friday 7 October 2022 08:54 , Kieran Jackson

“I need a perfect weekend just in case Charles finishes second. We have a big lead, we have a good car, there’s not really a lot of pressure on it to be honest.”

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: FP2 done!

Friday 7 October 2022 08:34 , Kieran Jackson

Nobody improved on their time in the latter stages so George Russell comes home top of the standings in second practice, with a 1:41:935.

Lewis Hamilton finishes second, 0.235 seconds off top spot, with Max Verstappen completing the top-three, eight-tenths down on Russell.

4-10: Perez, Magnussen, Sainz, Alonso, Bottas, Ocon, Zhou

Encouraging 90-minute session for Mercedes and red Bull then - less so Ferrari (Charles Leclerc was P11) and McLaren. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were only 16th and 17th respectively.

That’s it for all the on-track action today!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: 20 minutes left in FP2

Friday 7 October 2022 08:11 , Kieran Jackson

Russell still the fastest man on track, leading a rather impressive one-two for Mercedes - the 24-year-old is two-and-a-half tenths quicker than seven-time world champion Hamilton.

Verstappen is in third, with Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez fourth, while Carlos Sainz completes the top-five. 5-10: Alonso, Bottas, Ocon, Zhou, Leclerc

Mick Schumacher incidentally, who crashed at the end of FP1, yet to set a time - presumably his Haas car hasn’t been fixed in time.

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: 40 minutes left in FP2

Friday 7 October 2022 07:50 , Kieran Jackson

With nearly all the cars now out on track, George Russell has just gone fastest in the Mercedes - with Max Verstappen a tenth down in second place and Lewis Hamilton in third, half-a-second off his team-mate.

4-10: Sainz, Ocon, Leclerc, Bottas, Latifi, Zhou, Albon

The rain has stopped and the track is, slowly but surely, drying - we might get some slick tyre running after all!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: 30 minutes gone in FP2!

Friday 7 October 2022 07:32 , Kieran Jackson

About half the field have braved the wet conditions at Suzuka so far and Lewis Hamilton - something of a wet weather specialist - has gone fastest, less than a tenth quicker than Carlos Sainz.

Lando Norris is third but has returned to the pits, with Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly completing the top-five. Hamilton says the track is almost ready for inters, with George Russell now trialing the inter.

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez not yet out on the track...

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: FP1 REPORT!

Friday 7 October 2022 07:23 , Kieran Jackson

Fernando Alonso went fastest in a wet first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix as champion-elect Max Verstappen kept his running to a minimum. Racing in Japan for the first time since 2019, the hour-long session saw rain fall throughout – Alonso timing his run perfectly to put his Alpine top of the timing sheet with a lap of one minute 42.248 seconds.

With teams taking their time to head out on track, Nicolas Latifi ran wide as the speeds picked up on a drying track just as Verstappen left the pits for the first time. He smashed the fastest time by over three and a half seconds as a potential title-winning weekend began in style.

That proved to be his only run of a session which was gradually picking up pace, Alonso eventually setting the pace ahead of the Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Esteban Ocon was fourth in the sister Alpine while the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher sandwiched Verstappen – who finished sixth-fastest. Lando Norris was eighth for McLaren as the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas – who won here for Mercedes last time out in 2019 – and Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.

Fernando Alonso tops wet first practice at Japanese Grand Prix

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: FP2 is underway!

Friday 7 October 2022 07:04 , Kieran Jackson

We are officially underway with second practice - but given the heavy rain there’s no sign of any cars out on track at the moment, and there might not be for the foreseeable future!

A reminder: this FP2 is 90 minutes long as it was meant to be a Pirelli 2023 tyre test, but that has been cancelled due to the damp conditions. Yet the session remains an hour and a half long... not sure why....

The two tyre tests will now take place in Austin, Texas and Mexico City a week later - the next two Grands Prix.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: What Max Verstappen needs to clinch the F1 world title in Japan this weekend

Friday 7 October 2022 06:44 , Kieran Jackson

Max Verstappen failed to claim his second world title in Singapore last weekend but his seventh-placed finish still means he is in prime position to wrap up the Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old has a 104-point lead to Charles Leclerc at the top of the Driver Standings, with only the Ferrari man and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez (106 points behind) able to mathematically stop the Dutchman.

With the 2021 cost-cap saga being delayed to after this weekend’s Grand Prix, focus turns to action on track: here’s what Verstappen needs this weekend to wrap up a dominant title as F1 returns to Suzuka.

What Verstappen needs

Verstappen has won 11 races out of 17 this season and leads second-placed Leclerc by 104 points heading to Japan, the first of the five remaining races. There are a possible 138 points available until the end of the season – five race wins at 25 points each, a fastest lap point at each and eight points for the sprint race winner in Sao Paulo.

More below:

What Max Verstappen needs to clinch the F1 world title in Japan this weekend

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Abu Dhabi rivalry ‘popping back up again’ as Horner and Wolff needle each other

Friday 7 October 2022 06:30 , Kieran Jackson

Mark Webber believes that the rivalry between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner is “popping back up again” as speculation continues about potential breaches of Formula 1’s budget cap.

The Mercedes and Red Bull team principals regularly clashed during the 2021 season throughout a closely-fought title rival between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

The Drivers’ Championship was eventually won in contentious circumstances by Red Bull’s Verstappen, with the ill-feeling between Wolff and Horner coming to a head during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the controversial intervention of former race director Michael Masi.

Relations between the pair and the two teams have been rather more cordial this season with Verstappen cruising to a second consecutive crown and Mercedes’ largely uncompetitive, but rumours that Red Bull may have breached the 2021 budget cap have inflamed tensions.

Wolff suggested ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix that it was well known that Red Bull were being investigated over a breach, leading Horner to threaten legal action after what he described as “a completely unfounded allegation”.

Abu Dhabi rivalry ‘popping back up again’ between Christian Horner and Toto Wolff

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen reveals what he needs to win F1 world title in Japan

Friday 7 October 2022 06:14 , Kieran Jackson

Max Verstappen insists he needs the “perfect weekend” at the Japanese Grand Prix if he is to claim his second F1 world title at Suzuka.

The Red Bull driver has won 11 of 17 races so far this season and has a 104-point lead to Charles Leclerc with just five Grands Prix remaining. The 25-year-old will win the World Championship this Sunday if he wins the race and sets the fastest lap, while a race win alone would secure the title if Leclerc finishes lower than second.

There are a possible 138 points available until the end of the season – five race wins at 25 points each, a fastest lap point at each and eight points for the sprint race winner in Sao Paulo.

Yet Verstappen admitted in the pre-race press conference that he wasn’t focused too much on permutations and instead was looking to simply perform to the best of his ability.

Max Verstappen reveals what he needs to win F1 world title in Japan

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Daniel Ricciardo won’t be rushed into decision over next move in F1

Friday 7 October 2022 05:57 , Kieran Jackson

Daniel Ricciardo insists he won’t be rushed into any decision regarding his F1 future with the 33-year-old still without a seat for next year.

The popular Australian is looking for his sixth team in Formula 1 after McLaren decided to end his contract a year early, with Oscar Piastri instead partnering Lando Norris in 2023.

It leaves Ricciardo currently without a drive next year, with options limited, and the ex-Red Bull driver previously hasn’t ruled out taking a year sabbatical away from the sport after eleven-and-a-half straight seasons.

There is currently a vacant seat at Alpine - though Ricciardo’s departure from Renault at the end of 2020 means a return is unlikely - while Haas could also be an option should Mick Schumacher’s contract at the team not be renewed. Williams are also looking for a replacement for Nicholas Latifi - and a spot could open up at AlphaTauri.

Yet Ricciardo insists he won’t rush his decision, as speculation mounts that he could take up a reserve role with Mercedes.

Daniel Ricciardo won’t be rushed into decision over next move in F1

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Ferrari chief reveals why he believes F1’s ‘credibility is at stake’

Friday 7 October 2022 05:43 , Kieran Jackson

Mattia Binotto, team principal at Ferrari, fears that Formula 1’s “credibility is at stake” as the FIA prepares to announce if any teams have breached the budget cap.

Rumours in the last week have suggested that two manufacturers may have exceeded the cost cap limit, with Red Bull and Aston Martin both denying speculation that they had overspent. Mercedes and Ferrari have said that they believe that one team has marginally breached the cap and another by a more significant figure.

The sport’s financial regulations define a minor breach as one less than 5% of the cap, set at $145m (£114m) in 2021, and a material one as more than that. But Binotto is certain that even a minor breach should be taken seriously.

“It’s definitely a shame that we are talking about it in October of the following season, because at this point, apart from implications on last year’s championship, there are also implications for the current one,” the Ferrari team principal told Sky Italia.

“Let’s wait until Wednesday before making a judgement but, whatever amount we are talking about, it’s important to understand that even if it is four million, which falls into the category of what is considered a minor breach, four million is not minor.”

Ferrari chief reveals why he believes F1’s ‘credibility is at stake’

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: ‘I’m not planning on going anywhere’: Lewis Hamilton could race for another five years

Friday 7 October 2022 05:28 , Kieran Jackson

Lewis Hamilton has hinted he could race for another five years after Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed the pair had recently spoken about his future. The seven-time world champion has one more year left of his Mercedes deal at the end of the current season.

Hamilton, 37, holds the record for the most wins, pole positions and podiums in Formula One history and is tied with Michael Schumacher for the most drivers’ championships. But he appears to be far from finished, Wolff revealing last weekend that “we sat down and he says ‘look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?’”

Asked ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix if that was his plan, Hamilton replied: “I haven’t spoken to him (Wolff) about his comments but I can’t say just yet. Possibly, yes, I’m feeling good. I love what I’m doing. We have a lot of work to do, a lot to achieve still. So I’m not planning on going anywhere, any time soon.”

Wolff hailed Hamilton as the “shining star on and off track” in F1 and it was with one eye on his future out of the car where the Briton explained why he wants to remain in the sport for well beyond an additional five years.

Lewis Hamilton hints he could race for another five years

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: Mick Schumacher crashes right at the end of FP1!

Friday 7 October 2022 05:09 , Kieran Jackson

Oh wow - with the session already done as drivers headed to the grid simply to practice standing starts, Mick Schumacher loses control of his Haas in the rain and smashes into the barrier at turn eight on his way back to the pits!

The German is fine to leave the car but his Haas is quite the mess - not ideal for a man with his future for 2023 still unclear! Will they be able to get his car out for FP2 in a matter of hours?!

“I just had so much aquaplaining...” Schumacher says over the team radio.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: FP1 DONE!

Friday 7 October 2022 05:05 , Kieran Jackson

Indeed, only Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas in their Alfa Romeos came back out on track to set a lap - but on wet tyres - and so Fernando Alonso claims a session win in Japan! He was fastest in the brief running in FP1 on inters!

Carlos Sainz was second, three-tenths down, with Charles Leclerc a smidge further down the timesheet in third.

4-10: Ocon, Magnussen, Verstappen, Schumacher, Norris, Bottas, Perez

Lewis Hamilton was 13th and George Russell 18th but not too much to glean here, given qualifying is expected to be dry tomorrow.

Bad news for later today too: the rain is not expected to ease until after second practice (which is 90 minutes long today due to 2023 Pirelli tyre testing which is likely not to happen now given the wet weather) but we shall see how much action we get later!

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: 10 minutes left in FP1!

Friday 7 October 2022 04:53 , Kieran Jackson

10 to go but with the rain getting heavier at Suzuka, that might be it for first practice in Japan - every car is now back in the pits...

However, the whole field were able to go out on inters - and Fernando Alonso went fastest in his Alpine with a 1:42:248!

Carlos Sainz is second, three-tenths down, with Charles Leclerc in third a little bit slower. Completing the top-five is Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: 20 minutes to go in FP1!

Friday 7 October 2022 04:34 , Kieran Jackson

Majority of the cars have been out on track now - unsurprisingly on wet weather tyres - which is refreshing to see, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz top of the standings at the moment!

Team-mate Charles Leclerc is three-tenths off Sainz, with Daniel Ricciardo a further tenth down the road in third. 12 cars have now set laps...

Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappenn have just switched to intermediates - though we are expecting more rain in the final 15 minutes of the session!

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: 20 minutes gone in FP1....

Friday 7 October 2022 04:19 , Kieran Jackson

We have had a few cars out on track - and Yuki Tsunoda was one of them!

Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll have also bene out on the rivers on the track at Suzuka, but have only done out laps so far... no lap times registered at the moment!

Lewis Hamilton is now in the cockpit too. Less action over at Red Bull, with Sergio Perez rather worryingly looking at a radar screen which does show more rain is on its way....

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: FP1 is underway!

Friday 7 October 2022 04:07 , Kieran Jackson

So action is officially underway at Suzuka - execpt it isn’t!

It’s been bucketing with rain and even though it has eased, the track is extremely damp and given dry conditions expected for qualifying tomorrow, it’s unclear how many cars will actually come out for first practicee here...

Home hero Yuki Tsunoda is currently in his AlphaTauri, so the Japanese fans could see their man, while current expectations is that Ferrari and Mercedes could also do some wet weather running this morning!

Rain could fall on Sunday too, so might be worth a little bit of driving today for the drivers to get attuned with a track we haven’t been to since 2019....

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: ‘I’m not planning on going anywhere’: Lewis Hamilton could race for another five years

Friday 7 October 2022 03:55 , Kieran Jackson

Lewis Hamilton has hinted he could race for another five years after Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed the pair had recently spoken about his future. The seven-time world champion has one more year left of his Mercedes deal at the end of the current season.

Hamilton, 37, holds the record for the most wins, pole positions and podiums in Formula One history and is tied with Michael Schumacher for the most drivers’ championships. But he appears to be far from finished, Wolff revealing last weekend that “we sat down and he says ‘look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?’”

Asked ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix if that was his plan, Hamilton replied: “I haven’t spoken to him (Wolff) about his comments but I can’t say just yet. Possibly, yes, I’m feeling good. I love what I’m doing. We have a lot of work to do, a lot to achieve still. So I’m not planning on going anywhere, any time soon.”

Wolff hailed Hamilton as the “shining star on and off track” in F1 and it was with one eye on his future out of the car where the Briton explained why he wants to remain in the sport for well beyond an additional five years.

Lewis Hamilton hints he could race for another five years

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: What does Max Verstappen need to win the world title in Japan?

Friday 7 October 2022 03:44 , Kieran Jackson

Max Verstappen failed to claim his second world title in Singapore last weekend but his seventh-placed finish still means he is in prime position to wrap up the Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old has a 104-point lead to Charles Leclerc at the top of the Driver Standings, with only the Ferrari man and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez (106 points behind) able to mathematically stop the Dutchman.

With the 2021 cost-cap saga being delayed to after this weekend’s Grand Prix, focus turns to action on track: here’s what Verstappen needs this weekend to wrap up a dominant title as F1 returns to Suzuka.

What Verstappen needs

Verstappen has won 11 races out of 17 this season and leads second-placed Leclerc by 104 points heading to Japan, the first of the five remaining races.

There are a possible 138 points available until the end of the season – five race wins at 25 points each, a fastest lap point at each and eight points for the sprint race winner in Sao Paulo.

This weekend, Verstappen needs to ensure he is 112 points clear of both of his challengers - Leclerc and Perez - in order to claim the title in Japan with four races to go. Fourth-placed George Russell - after not scoring any points in Singapore - is now out of contention.

This race also represents the first time Verstappen’s title-clinching moment is in his own hands: if he wins the race and sets the fastest lap, he will be the champion no matter what anayone else does.

What Max Verstappen needs to clinch the F1 world title in Japan this weekend

F1 practice - Japanese Grand Prix: What is the race schedule this weekend and where can I watch?

Friday 7 October 2022 03:31 , Kieran Jackson

(All times BST)

Friday 7 October

  • Free Practice 1: 4am

  • Free Practice 2: 7am

Saturday 8 October

  • Free Practice 3: 4am

  • Qualifying: 7am

Sunday 9 October

  • Race: 6am

How can I watch it online and on TV?

The entire race schedule from Friday to Sunday will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1and Sky Sports Main Event. Highlights will be aired on Channel 4; for qualifying at 10:50am (BST) on Saturday and for the race at 12:30pm on Sunday.

If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.

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