As we transfer to the following cease within the gruelling 2023 F1 calendar, it’s time to go to some of the well-liked locations of the season: Japan.First holding an official spherical of the World Championship in 1976 on the Fuji circuit, Japan has hosted a complete of 36 official World Championship rounds, with all however 4 of these (1976, 1977, 2007 & 2008 in Fuji) happening on the Suzuka circuit.Traditionally held because the season finale for a few years, in newer seasons it has taken place a number of rounds after the mid-season break. Despite the change in calendar positioning, it typically all the time delivers an thrilling race, making this week’s high 5 a very difficult one.Before we start, two fast notes. From an Australian perspective, it is without doubt one of the uncommon races on the calendar by no means to have been gained by an Aussie. Mark Webber twice completed second within the race in 2010 & 2013, the very best end by an Australian within the nation.Also, as per ordinary, we’ll solely be counting rounds dubbed the “Japanese Grand Prix”, that means different races held in Japan (particularly the Pacific Grand Prix held on the Aida Circuit in 1994 & 1995) is not going to be thought-about for inclusion.With all that out of the way in which, let’s get to the listing.Mark Webber went shut, however couldn’t win in Japan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)5. 2000 – Winner: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
The race that each Ferrari fan will bear in mind for delivering the workforce their first Driver’s Championship in 21 years, it was a tense affair that summed up the 2000 World Championship.Michael Schumacher went into the spherical figuring out he might safe the Championship with a win, and went one step in direction of that aim by taking pole on the Saturday. However his primary title rival Mika Hakkinen stormed previous at first in his McLaren, establishing the tense Sunday showdown.The pair remained shut and rain made issues extra attention-grabbing, with Hakkinen making his ultimate cease from the lead on lap 37 whereas the rain started to extend. This allowed Schumacher to provide a collection of speedy laps earlier than his cease, earlier than Ferrari put collectively a surprising cease to present Schumacher the lead of the race. It was a place he by no means relinquished, securing the race win and his third World Championship.4. 1994 – Winner: Damon Hill (Williams)One of essentially the most distinctive races in F1 historical past, Damon Hill supplied his biggest ever drive to present himself a well-known victory and maintain himself within the hunt for the 1994 World Championship.A moist race on the Sunday, the race was stopped after 13 laps because of the poor situations. Michael Schumacher lead the race for Benetton from Damon Hill, and when the race was restarted an hour later, it was determined that the winner can be the motive force with the very best combination time over 37 laps.To win the race, Hill needed to win half two of the race by greater than seven seconds. Stopping solely as soon as in comparison with the two-stopping Schumacher, Hill knew he would have observe place however Schumacher simply wanted to be quicker and inside seven seconds to take the win.
However Hill managed to defend his time and place, ending the race ten seconds forward of Schumacher to say the win and take the title combat all the way down to the wire.Ayrton Senna. (Photo by Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images)3. 1988 – Winner: Ayrton Senna (McLaren)While each the 1989 and 1990 Japanese races are notorious for his or her Senna v Prost incidents (one among which you’ll examine shortly), the 1988 race is usually forgotten about.The penultimate spherical in a season lengthy battle between each Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost of their dominant 1988 season, Senna went into the race figuring out a win would seal his first ever title. Securing pole on the Saturday went a good distance in direction of reaching that aim.
However on race day, he stalled initially and dropped all the way in which all the way down to 14th. But driving like a person possessed in blended climate situations, Senna stormed his manner by way of the sphere and by lap 27 was proper behind his teammate within the lead.
An epic overtaking manoeuvre adopted as Prost tried to lap the Rial of Andrea de Cesaris, and Senna waltzed to the win and his first of three World Championships.2. 1989 – Winner: Alessandro Nannini (Benetton)One of essentially the most iconic races within the historical past of the game, all people remembers THAT incident on lap 47 that noticed title rivals Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna come collectively on the Suzuka chicane that finally determined the World Championship.What is usually forgotten nevertheless is all the pieces else round it and the race as an entire. Senna claiming pole by an unimaginable 1.7 seconds. Prost taking the lead at first from Senna. Senna’s absolute decided talent at preserving Prost within reach for 46 laps and looking for a technique to go his nice rival. Everything about this race was unimaginable.But, there’s a purpose why THAT second on lap 47 is so typically talked about on high of all that. As Senna tried the lunge on the within of Prost to take the lead, the Frenchman forcefully closed the hole to take each the automobiles out (albeit much less blatantly than Senna a yr later). Prost can be the one one to retire, with Senna dashing again from the incident to retake the lead from the Benetton of Alessandro Nannini and ship the Championship to the finale in Australia.At least that will’ve been the case had he not been disqualified for re-joining the circuit illegally, handing the title to Prost and bringing the FIA as enemy primary to each Brazilian and Senna fan on the planet.The race was gained by Nannini, and it went down as some of the talked about races within the historical past of the game.
Kimi Raikkonen. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)1. 2005 – Winner: Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)While 1989 will get talked about extra typically, there isn’t any denying simply how thrilling the 2005 version of the Japanese Grand Prix was.By this stage within the Championship, there was nothing at stake, with Fernando Alonso and Renault already claiming each the Drivers and Constructors titles. This nevertheless made for a extra thrilling race, given nothing was on the road.A moist qualifying on the Saturday blended up the grid, with Alonso beginning down in seventeenth and his primary title rival that yr, Kimi Raikkonen, beginning in sixteenth.Both drivers stormed by way of the sphere on a dry race day, with Michael Schumacher additionally storming his manner by way of the sphere having began within the mid-pack as nicely.This led to a few of the most epic overtaking manoeuvres ever seen in trendy F1, together with Alonso’s unimaginable overtake of Schumacher into 130R.
Raikkonen was capable of get forward of Alonso within the pit stops and solely had Alonso’s teammate of Giancarlo Fisichella to chase down for the win. With 5 seconds to make up with solely 9 seconds to go, Raikkonen slowly reeled him in, earlier than an epic final lap overtaking transfer sealed some of the epic comeback wins of all time.It was an thrilling race full of old fashioned overtaking and nice technique that will go down in historical past as an all-time basic.Do you agree with this listing? Which Japanese Grand Prix is your favorite? Let me know your ideas within the feedback under