Verstappen took his second title at Suzuka in 2022, Hamilton has taken five Japanese Grand Prix victories at the track and seven current drivers have a 100% finish rate at the circuit. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s history at the Japanese Grand Prix!
🇳🇱 Max VERSTAPPEN
Max Verstappen made his first ever F1 appearance at the Suzuka circuit in 2014, as he took part in Free Practice 1 with the Toro Rosso team. Since then, Verstappen has scored five times, won once, finished on the podium four times and retired once.
Verstappen secured his second World Championship title at the track in 2022, doing so by winning at Suzuka for the first time. He failed to finish the race here in 2019 after colliding with Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen has qualified in the top five in all of the last five Suzuka races, taking his first pole position – and first front row start – at the circuit in 2022. He’s yet to lose a place from where he has started in all five races which he has finished at Suzuka.
🇲🇽 Sergio PEREZ
Sergio Perez has scored at the Japanese Grand Prix on seven occasions. After finishing seventh for three consecutive seasons, he finished eighth in 2019. In 2022, Perez picked up his first podium finish at Suzuka, finishing as runner-up to his Red Bull team-mate. The only time that Perez has failed to reach the end of the race here was in 2012, when he slithered off into the gravel at the hairpin.
Perez ended a four year streak of reaching Q3 at Suzuka in 2019 with his first Q1 exit at the track. He returned to Q3 in 2022, recording his best qualifying result at the Japanese Grand Prix to date with fourth place. Perez has not out-qualified his team-mate at the track since 2016.
🇲🇨 Charles LECLERC
Charles Leclerc scored at Suzuka for the first time in 2019. He finished sixth in 2019, following on from his DNF in the previous season. In 2022, Leclerc recorded his first podium finish at Suzuka, finishing the race in third place.
2019 marked the first time Leclerc has reached the final part of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. He lined up on the front row of the grid, just behind his team-mate. He took another front row start at Suzuka in 2022. He was eliminated in Q1 in 2018.
🇪🇸 Carlos SAINZ
Carlos Sainz recorded his best Japanese Grand Prix result in 2019 with fifth place for McLaren. He had previously scored twice at the track with tenth place finishes for Toro Rosso in 2015 and Renault in 2018.
Sainz has recorded two retirements at the Japanese Grand Prix, in 2017 – on his final race appearance with Toro Rosso – and in 2022. Both of those retirements were crashes on the opening lap of the race.
In 2019, Sainz reached Q3 for the first time at Suzuka, qualifying in seventh place. He followed that up with his best qualifying result to date at the circuit in 2022, with third place. He had been eliminated in Q2 in every season prior to 2019. 2022 was the first time since 2016 that the Spaniard was out-qualified by a team-mate at the circuit.
🇬🇧 Lewis HAMILTON
Lewis Hamilton has won at Suzuka four times, all in the V6 hybrid era. He won in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. He finished on the podium in every Japanese Grand Prix from 2014 to 2019, finishing third in the years which he did not win. Fifth place in 2022 was Hamilton’s first non-podium result at Suzuka since his retirement in 2013. That retirement is the only time he has not finished in the top five in his 12 appearances at the venue.
Hamilton has only qualified outside of the top three only three times at Suzuka, including in each of his last two visits. It wasn’t until 2017 that Hamilton took his first pole at the track, which he followed up with another pole in 2018. Hamilton has led laps in five of the last seven Japanese Grands Prix.
🇬🇧 George RUSSELL
George Russell finished 16th in the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix. He qualified 18th, ahead of his team-mate and Kevin Magnussen, who both crashed in Q1. Russell failed to out-qualify Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton at Suzuka in 2022, qualifying two positions behind him in eighth place. Russell finished the race in the same position as he started, picking up his first points at Suzuka.
🇫🇷 Esteban OCON
From his four previous visits to the Japanese Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon has a 100% finish rate and has scored three times. He recorded his best result at the track to date last year, with a fourth place finish.
Ocon has never been out-qualified by a team-mate at the circuit, and has a best qualifying result of fifth in 2022. Last year was actually the first time Ocon started from the position in which he qualified at the Japanese Grand Prix. He also started fifth on the grid in 2017.
🇫🇷 Pierre GASLY
Pierre Gasly scored points at the Japanese Grand Prix for the first time in 2019 with a seventh place finish. It remains his only points finish at Suzuka, though the Frenchman has a 100% finishing record at the track.
Gasly reached Q3 in both 2018 and 2019, but was eliminated in Q1 in 2017 and 2022. 2019 is the only time he has out-qualified his team-mate at this circuit. He has gained two positions from where he has started in the last two Japanese Grands Prix.
Gasly raced at Suzuka in Super Formula in 2017. He finished tenth in the first round of the season. Suzuka was scheduled to hold the final two rounds of the Super Formula season too, for which Gasly missed the 2017 United States Grand Prix, but the races were cancelled due to the weather conditions.
🇬🇧 Lando NORRIS
Lando Norris finished 11th at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix. He qualified in eighth for the race, one place behind his team-mate. Norris reached Q3 again in 2022, this time qualifying ahead of his McLaren team-mate. He scored his first point at the event, finishing in tenth place.
Norris drove at the Suzuka circuit for the first time in 2018, in Free Practice 1 for the Japanese Grand Prix with McLaren.
🇦🇺 Oscar PIASTRI
This will be Oscar Piastri’s first appearance at Suzuka.
🇫🇮 Valtteri BOTTAS
Valtteri Bottas won the Japanese Grand Prix for the first time in 2019. While the Finn has a 100% finish rate at the track, his second place finish in 2018 is the only other time that he has finished on the podium at Suzuka.
Last year, Bottas finished the Japanese Grand Prix in 15th place. It was the first time he failed to score at Suzuka since his first appearance in 2013, when he finished 17th.
Bottas has never taken pole in Japan, but qualified on the front row in both 2017 and 2018. Strangely, those two years are the only two in which Bottas has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track. Due to a grid penalty in 2017, 2018 is the only occasion that he has actually started on the front row.
🇨🇳 ZHOU Guanyu
Zhou Guanyu qualified in 14th place for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix, two positions behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas. He finished in 16th place on his Suzuka debut.
🇪🇸 Fernando ALONSO
Fernando Alonso has recorded a single win at Suzuka in his Formula 1 career, winning the Japanese Grand Prix in 2006. With seventh place in 2022, it marked the first time that Alonso has scored at the track since 2013.
Alonso has never taken pole at Suzuka, nor has he lined up on the front row of the grid at the track. His best qualifying result here is fifth, which he has recorded five times. His best grid position is fourth, recorded in 2010.
From his 16 appearances, Alonso has been out-qualified by his team-mate on five occasions, with 2022 being the first time this happened since 2013. Of the 13 races which he has completed at Suzuka, 2016 is the only occasion on which he has finished the race in a worse position than where he started.
🇨🇦 Lance STROLL
Lance Stroll finished ninth in the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, making it the first time that he has scored points at Suzuka. He failed to finish in 2017, finished 17th in the following year and came home 12th in the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.
Stroll reached Q2 in 2018 and 2019 at Suzuka, recording a best qualifying position of 12th in 2019. He was eliminated in Q1 on his first appearance in 2017 and on his last appearance in 2022. 2022 was the first time since his maiden season that Stroll was out-qualified by his team-mate at the Japanese Grand Prix, while 2019 was the first time he has gained positions from where he started. He made up six places in last year’s Suzuka race.
🇩🇰 Kevin MAGNUSSEN
Kevin Magnussen has made six previous appearances at the Japanese Grand Prix, finishing in the points only once. He finished eighth with Haas in 2017. His retirement in the following season is the only time that he’s failed to reach the chequered flag at the track.
2014 is the only year Magnussen has reached Q3 at Suzuka, qualifying in seventh place. That’s also the only time he’s out-qualified a team-mate at the venue. He recorded his third Q1 exit at the track in 2022.
🇩🇪 Nico HULKENBERG
From nine appearances at the Japanese Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg has scored points five times, with a best result of sixth place in both 2013 and 2015. Of his other three races here, three resulted in retirements, while he and his team finished tenth in 2019 before being disqualified having found to be using illegal driver aids. His eighth place finish in 2018 is the last time he scored points at Suzuka.
2016 is also the last time Hulkenberg reached Q3 at the Japanese Grand Prix. It’s one of four Q3 appearances he’s had at the track, with a best Saturday result of seventh place in 2013. 2018 is the only season in which he has been eliminated in Q1 at the track. Hulkenberg has gained at least one position from where he has started every time he has been classified in the Japanese Grand Prix.
🇯🇵 Yuki TSUNODA
Yuki Tsunoda made his Japanese Grand Prix debut in 2022, becoming the first Japanese driver to take part in his home Grand Prix since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014. He reached Q2, out-qualifying his team-mate and setting the 13th fastest time. He finished the race in the same position as he started.
Tsunoda previously raced at Suzuka in the F4 Japanese Championship and has had some impressive results, including winning both races in 2018.
🇳🇿 Liam LAWSON
Liam Lawson has already raced at Suzuka once this year. He took part in the Super Formula race at the track in April. Qualifying ninth, he made up positions in the race to finish fourth.
If Daniel Ricciardo is back in action at the end of October, Lawson will return to Suzuka for the final two races of the Super Formula season. He is currently eight points behind points leader Ritomo Miyata in the standings.
🇹🇭 Alex ALBON
On his first Japanese Grand Prix appearance in 2019, Alex Albon finished in fourth place, which was the best result of his career at the time. He reached the final part of qualifying, starting sixth on the grid but failing to out-qualify his team-mate.
In 2022, Albon did out-qualifying his team-mate, just missing out on Q2 and qualifying in 16th place. He made up three places at the start of the race but retired on the opening lap following contact with Kevin Magnussen.
🇺🇸 Logan SARGEANT
Logan Sargeant has never previously raced at Suzuka.