Ferrari had mixed feelings over their performance in Singapore but showed enough to warrant support in our Japanese Grand Prix predictions.
Charles Leclerc took pole position but was left floundering at the start by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who went on to secure victory on race day.
However, Leclerc rallied to finish second and was joined on the podium by teammate Carlos Sainz, so there were some positives for the Scuderia.
Following a slump either side of the summer break, Leclerc looks back on track with 3-2-2 placings over the past month.
In Singapore, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto told the official F1 website: “It’s been quite a while that we have been chasing a win and today, we came close.
“I think then finishing second and third, still a good result – if we look in terms of the constructors’ championship, it has been a good weekend.
“I think overall the car was going well on the wet, on the dry, in quali and in the race, and we can be satisfied because looking back at Spa and Zandvoort, definitely it was more difficult.
“Here in Singapore, Ferrari showed that it had got over the difficulties of Spa and Zandvoort and we were able to get our performance back on track, which bodes well for the coming races.”
Leclerc can be backed at 3/1 to win for the fourth time this season, ending a drought since Austria three months ago.
Teammate Sainz is available at 16/1 to add to his British Grand Prix success the previous week.
Max Verstappen’s second world championship triumph was delayed after he spun and finished seventh, but he is still 104 points clear at the top of the table.
He needs to leave Suzuka 112 ahead to wrap up the title and the Dutchman will be crowned champion in Japan if he wins and sets the fastest lap.
Perez, 12/1 here, is only two points behind Leclerc in the battle to finish second in the drivers’ standings after his second victory of 2022.
“It was my best performance,” said the Mexican after taking the fourth win of his career. “I controlled the race.
“The last few laps were so intense. When I got out of the car, I felt it. I gave everything for the win.”
Mercedes had a race to forget in Singapore, with Lewis Hamilton ninth after he crashed into a wall and fell off the road.
Teammate and fellow Brit George Russell was last of 14 to complete the course following collisions with Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher.
“I am pretty flat,” said Hamilton. “It was a poor day, a pretty rubbish day. It all went out the window when I locked up, so my apologies to the team.
“Your heart sinks. I knew it was all over from then, but these things happen. I am not going to punish myself for a mistake. When you fail, you get up and try again.”
Past Japanese Grand Prix winners
2019 Bottas (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2018 Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull)
2017 Hamilton (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull), Ricciardo (Red Bull)
2016 Rosberg (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2015 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari)
2014 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Vettel (Red Bull)
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