The race for the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship crown continues at the Suzuka circuit in Japan this weekend.
Suzuka, a popular circuit among F1 drivers, will host round 15 of the championship as the 2014 season heads towards a dramatic conclusion.
British driver Lewis Hamilton and his Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas team-mate, Nico Rosberg, are battling for championship glory, and following Hamilton’s victory in Singapore two weeks ago, the British racer holds the advantage.
Hamilton’s seven race wins during the 2014 season have put him three points clear at the top of the standings and he is looking to extend that advantage this weekend.
He said: “I have never won in Japan, and Suzuka is a great track for F1. It has always provided fantastic action for Grand Prix cars and I think this weekend will be no different.
“I am arriving in Japan looking for a win and that would allow me to travel to Sochi and Russia with a slightly larger advantage over Nico, but I know it will not be easy.”
Rosberg, who was forced out of the Singapore Grand Prix when his Mercedes suffered an electrical failure, added: “I have firmly placed the bad luck of Singapore behind me. What happened there certainly didn’t help my championship push at this late stage, but it was a one-off and it will not happen again.
“My focus is on this weekend and trying to win the Grand Prix to reclaim the lead of the World Championship. The battle between Lewis and I has been the highlight of the new era of Grand Prix racing, and our team, Mercedes-Benz, has given us the grace to race against each other.
“The battle is sure to go down to the wire and this weekend in Japan will be exciting because of that.”
Last year, Rosberg finished the Japanese Grand Prix in eighth, while Hamilton was a retirement.
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, said: “What a difference a year makes! This time last year we were looking to score points, this year anything other than a 1-2 finish can be seen as a failure. That is the way of F1.
“Saying that, we hope for a good race for both Lewis and Nico this weekend and I am sure we will see another great race for the Silver Arrows.”
The Sahara Force India team will be represented by Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, the duo placed eighth and tenth in the 2014 standings, while the after his strong drive in Singapore, Jean-Eric Vergne will be hoping for another good race for the Bicester-based Toro Rosso team as he attempts to secure his F1 future for 2015.
Daniil Kvyat, the driver of the second Toro Rosso, said this week: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend in Japan and then it will be my home race in Russia, That will be such a great race for me, but first I have to concentrate on scoring points here in Japan.”