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The Japanese Grand Prix - did you know? 10 Oct 2013

James Hunt(GBR) Mclaren M23, 3rd place which clinched the World Championship Japanese Grand Prix, Fuji, 24th October 1976. World © PHIPPS/SUTTON (L to R): Pole sitter and race winner Mario Andretti (USA) Lotus 77 leads third placed finisher and World Champion James Hunt (GBR) McLaren away at the start of the race help in very wet and dangerous conditions. Japanese Grand Prix, Rd 16, Fuji, Japan, 24 October 1976. World © Phipps/Sutton The podium (L to R): Ayrton Senna (BRA) Lotus, second; Gerhard Berger (AUT) Ferrari, winner; Stefan Johansson (SWE) McLaren, third. Japanese Grand Prix, Rd 15, Suzuka, Japan, 1 November 1987. Race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2002.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, 13 October 2002 Podium (L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, Paul Monaghan (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Engineer, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber celebrate.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 9 October 2011 Second placed Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R25 is passed by race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 on the last lap of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, 9 October 2005 A very happy Aguri Suzuki after his 3rd place at his home GP Japanese GP - Suzuka, Japan, 21 October 1990. World ©  Sutton. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber celebrates his third place with his team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012 Winner Alessandro Nannini (ITA), on the podium with 2nd place Riccardo Patrese (ITA) and 3rd place Thierry Boutsen (BEL) Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, 22nd October 1989 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 8 October 2010

Did you know that Suzuka is the only figure-of-eight track on the calendar, or that Japan has witnessed more title-deciding championship rounds than any other country? On the eve of the 2013 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, we uncover a host of lesser known facts and figures about the race…

• The Japanese Grand Prix has been run 28 times previously - 24 times at Suzuka (1987-2006, 2009-) and four times at Fuji (1976-77, 2007-08). The only other Japanese track to host a Grand Prix is the TI Aida circuit, which staged the Pacific Grand Prix in 1994 and 1995.

• The inaugural Japanese Grand Prix in 1976 was held at Fuji and won by Lotus’s Mario Andretti. James Hunt dramatically clinched the ‘76 drivers’ title by finishing third.

• Suzuka features a crossover and is the only figure-of-eight circuit on the calendar, meaning that it features both clockwise and anti-clockwise elements. It was designed by Dutchman John Hugenholz in 1962 and hosted its first Grand Prix in 1987.

• Michael Schumacher is statistically the most dominant driver in Japanese Grand Prix history, with six wins, three other podium finishes, eight pole positions and four fastest laps.

• Schumacher’s eight pole positions in Japan ties him with Ayrton Senna for the most pole positions at any one circuit (Senna scored eight poles at San Marino).

• Yet another Schumacher stat - the German’s victory at Japan in 2002 was the last of his record 19 consecutive podium finishes.

• Five drivers on the current grid have won the Japanese Grand Prix - Sebastian Vettel (three times), Fernando Alonso (twice), Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button (all once).

• Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position in Japan on each of his last four visits.

• In 2012 in Japan, Vettel scored the second Grand Chelem (pole, fastest lap, race win, led every lap) of his career. Ominously, he scored his third and fourth Grands Chelem at the last two races in Singapore and Korea. Can he make it three in a row in Japan?

• McLaren have more wins (nine) and more podiums (25) in Japan than any other team.

• The lap record at Suzuka stands at 1m 31.540s, set by Kimi Raikkonen in 2005 driving a McLaren.

• Jenson Button has appeared in the Japanese Grand Prix more times than any other driver on the grid - this year will be his 12th start.

• The furthest back on the grid any Japanese Grand Prix winner has started is 17th. That was McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen in 2005, when he thrillingly took the lead on the final lap.

• The drivers’ world championship has been decided in Japan more times than in any other country - 12 times. However, Vettel is the only current driver to have secured a title in Japan (in 2011). The other three champions on the 2013 grid won theirs in Brazil. To secure the title in Japan this year, Vettel needs to win the race with Alonso finishing no higher than ninth.

• The pole sitter has been victorious in 14 of the 28 Japanese Grands Prix to date. At Suzuka the polesitter has won 50 percent of the time - 12 times in 24 races.

• The safety car has been deployed in five of the last eight Japanese Grands Prix.

• According to Mercedes, the drivers are on full throttle for 70 percent of the lap distance. The longest time at full throttle is 16 seconds. Drivers make an average of 48 gear changes per lap, which equates to 2,544 gear changes over the 53-lap race.

• 17 Japanese drivers have started a world championship Grand Prix. Three of them have reached the podium once. Of those three, Takuma Sato is the only man to do so outside his homeland (in the USA in 2004). Aguri Suzuki (who scored Japan’s first podium) did so at Suzuka in 1990, while Kamui Kobayashi finished third in Japan last year.

• Aside from titles being decided, a few other milestones have been recorded at the Japanese Grand Prix over the years:

- Alessandro Nannini won his first and only Grand Prix in Japan in 1989, though only after Ayrton Senna was disqualified.
- Roberto Moreno, Aguri Suzuki, Mika Hakkinen, Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi all stood on an F1 podium for the first time in Japan.
- Michael Schumacher and Ralf Schumacher both started their 100th Grands Prix in Japan, five years apart (in 1997 and 2002 respectively).
- Jacques Villeneueve celebrated his 150th Grand Prix start at Suzuka in 2005, whilst the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix was Rubens Barrichello’s 300th race start.

• And finally, Ferrari may have recorded disappointing sixth and ninth place finishes in Korea, but they did manage to extend their point-scoring streak to 62 races and are now just two behind McLaren’s 64-race record. If they score points in Japan, they can equal their great rivals in India…

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