Formula 1 is back this weekend and this time all eyes will be on the Japanese Grand Prix as the season enters its final six races. Points are becoming all the more precious, drivers are feeling the pressure and this is where a victory can mean so much.
Fernando Alonso is the man who is still leading the way in the Drivers Championship and it does look as though it is going to be very tough top stop him lifting the trophy at the end of the campaign. He currently holds a 29-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel is second place, so knows that if he can perform consistently in the final six races, then he should come out on top.
However, such is the way this season had panned out so far – you cannot write off anything happen. As we have seen many times in Formula 1, a driver always runs the risk of crashing out of a race and if that happens to Alonso in Japan, then the race for the Drivers Championship is wide open again.
Vettel has enjoyed a great deal of success at the Suzuka race track in recent years and came out top in 2009 and 2010. The German is not a man that will let his trophy go easily and he will fight until the very end to retain it.
He comes into this one on the back of a superb victory in Singapore in the previous Grand Prix.
Many had tipped Lewis Hamilton to be the big challenger to Alonso in the closing stages of the campaign, but his inconsistency let him down yet again in Singapore last time out. The Englishman crashed out of the race and now sits 52 points off top spot.
It is going to take a run of victories for Hamilton to challenge for the title. One thing he does seem to relish though is putting in a stunning performance when people write him off, so maybe we will see something special from the McLaren driver this weekend.
Of course he is also looking to finish his career with McLaren on a high after it was announced last week that he will be joining Mercedes next year.
Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button has been dealt a blow for this race in Japan as he will be dropped five places on the grid after an gearbox change last time out. Button was the man on top of the podium here last year and despite this penalty, will feel as though he still has enough to take the victory.
As always, Kimi Raikkonen is sure to be in contention for at least a podium finish and he is by no means out of the running for the title.
The Japanese crowd will come out in their thousands and will know that they are in for a treat as there is so much at stake in terms of the Drivers and Constructors Championship.