Suzuka is one of the most exciting tracks in the world to drive. Along with Monaco and Spa, they're the only tracks I go back to and think, 'God, I wish I was still driving'. They are all just amazing challenges.
As you go past the pits, you take a deep breath before that flat-out right-hander, then it's into a rollercoaster ride of lateral g-force until you get to the hairpin, something like 30 seconds later. It's an incredible section of track: get on the internet and search for footage of Ayrton Senna's qualifying laps, watch him fighting the wheel as he manually changes gear - it's brilliant stuff.
On top of that, you've got the hugely disciplined Japanese fans, who all arrive at the track first thing in the morning and only leave late at night, and put loads of effort into their flags and banners. It's a truly great atmosphere, even though the location of the track is bizarre - in the middle of nowhere. You also get this unique scenario of all the teams and drivers staying at the circuit hotel, so you feel like you're in a travelling circus!
Button deals with pressure
We might get a new champion this weekend in Jenson Button, which would be great for him, but as I was saying to his dad John on Sunday night (I guess it was actually morning by then) it would be really great for us spectators if it goes down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.
I also suggested that the Button family has some sort of bloodline to Harry Houdini, because he conjured up a miraculous escape from what looked like a potentially bad weekend. No great damage in terms of his points advantage over Sebastian Vettel and an increase over Rubens Barrichello. How's he managing to do that? He's either incredibly lucky or a master of getting his act together on race day.
On Saturday we heard him on the team radio saying the car was so bad over the bumps, which was a sign that he's feeling the pressure because at that point the team could do nothing about it. It was then interesting to hear from Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Mika Hakkinen on the BBC coverage about the inevitable dips you get on the way to a world title.
The title is now Jenson's to lose. With that points lead, it's only poor reliability or incidents that will cost him the title. You feel it's a more likely scenario that he'll ace qualifying in one of the remaining races and, if the car allows it, win again. If he does that on Honda's home circuit this weekend, it will be left to rue the day it sold the team.
Who will shine at Suzuka?
I didn't expect Red Bull to be strong in Singapore, but its updates worked out very well; I thought Brawn would be stronger and McLaren was exactly the force I'd predicted it would be. At Suzuka, the first sector will be very strong for Red Bull, but it might struggle a bit in the fast final section. I'd even tip Force India to come back into the equation through there, as we saw at Spa and Monza.
Overall, I'd have to tip Red Bull for its medium and high-speed downforce efficiency. I don't see any need to employ team orders, even now Mark Webber is out of the title reckoning. I think they should just go for it, not worry about everyone else and see how it plays out.
I think Suzuka is a track Lewis Hamilton will revel in, coming off the back of his flawless Singapore performance. Of course, he's going be limited by what the car can deliver around a track like this, so he'll perhaps struggle in that first sector, but on the rest of the lap he'll be strong thanks to the performance of that excellent Mercedes engine.
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