One of the favourite races in F1 is here, the Japanese GP at Suzuka, the only figure of eight track in F1.
This weekend is the 30th Japanese GP, 26 of which have been at Suzuka and four at Fuji. At the very first Japanese GP at Fuji in 1976 the fastest lap was falsely awarded to local driver Masahiro Hasemi, driving for Kojima, due to a timing error, the only F1 race he ever competed in. Suzuka has a very high percentage of wins from the front row, 21 of the 25 (84%) have been won from the front row with 12 from pole position and nine from second on the grid.
Suzuka Circuit is 5.807km long with 17 corners and 53 laps, a total distance of 307.771km. 13 drivers have won at the track, Ferrari and McLaren are both tied on wins with seven each and Michael Schumacher the most successful driver (as with most tracks) with six wins. The fastest lap was set by Kimi Raikkonen’s McLaren in 2005 with a time of 1:31.540 and an average speed of 228kph or 142mph.
Five Japanese constructors have raced in F1; Honda, Maki, Kojima, Toyota and Super Aguri, none of which are still active in F1, though Honda are returning as an engine supplier next year. 20 Japanese drivers have made it to F1 but none have ever won a race or started a race on pole. Three Japanese drivers have finished on the podium and three (though technically two, Hasemi was one) have a fastest lap, but only Kamui Kobayashi has both.
A Hamilton win this weekend would take him up to 30 F1 wins and just one behind Nigel Mansell, but he has never yet won at Suzuka, Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel have won four of the last five races here. Young Dutch driver Max Verstappen will also make his FP1 debut this weekend at the incredible age of 17 years and 3 days. The current record for youngest driver during a F1 GP session is Sebastian Vettel at the 2006 Turkish GP at 19 years and 53 days old.
The Silly Stats
You would need 3396 Kamui Kobayashis to lap around the Suzuka Circuit once. 468 of him would be the length of the main straight and another 702 for the back straight.
If you were to place Makizushi sushi rolls around the Japanese GP circuit you could cover the entire track surface with 19,356,667 of them.