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Does the best driver at Suzuka have an F1 future?

The latest driver to try a Formula 1 car for the first time was, paradoxically, perhaps the most experienced at Suzuka last weekend. But even after a stellar practice debut, can Japan's most prominent racer realistically expect anything more?

Suzuka is a hallowed place. It is universally loved by Formula 1 drivers and as a challenge and all-round experience the circuit may well be the greatest of the season. If a driver masters it, they command the respect of their colleagues. In this regard, the curious thing about the Japanese Grand Prix weekend is that arguably the best driver in an F1 car at Suzuka last weekend did not take part in the race.

In fact, Naoki Yamamoto only completed the opening practice session. But that was all he needed to turn heads. An F1 debutant he may have been. A Suzuka rookie he most certainly was not.

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