Japanese F1 Grand Prix 2018: Start Time, Drivers, TV Schedule and More

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2018

SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP (L) looks on, as third placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari (R) looks dejected on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 30, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images)
Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton holds a significant lead over Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' world championship, as the pair battle for supremacy at the 2018 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

The reigning champion produced a composed performance to win the previous race in Russia, with Vettel only able to secure third.

The Brit leads the German by 50 points with five races of the season remaining, and Ferrari must find a way to curtail Mercedes' immediate dominance.

                           

Date: Sunday, Oct. 7

Start Time: 6:10 a.m. BST/1:10 a.m. ET

TV Info: Sky Sports F1, Channel 4 (UK); ESPN2 (U.S.)

Live Stream: Sky Go, All 4WatchESPN

For a full drivers list, visit the Formula 1 website.

              

Preview

SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Soch
Charles Coates/Getty Images

It appeared Vettel had Hamilton's number early in the campaign, but the 33-year-old British superstar has once again proved his consistency and dominance.

Ferrari's straight-line speed remains undoubted, but the Silver Arrows have consolidated any weaknesses their vehicle might have in comparison to their main competitor for the constructors' title.

When Vettel is in the zone, he is almost impossible to stop, but errors have crept into his game over the past 12 months.

This cannot be said about Hamilton, with the champion only missing out on a podium-finish three times across 16 races this season.

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's team principal Toto Wolff speaks during a press conference following the second practice session at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on July 8, 2016, ahead of the July 10 British Formula One
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Getty Images

However, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has urged caution, reminding Hamilton he lost a 45-point lead in the title race in 2007, per Mikael McKenzie of the Daily Express.

"We are far from having it in the bag," Wolff said. 

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 05: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 5, 2018 in Suzuka.  (Photo by Charles Coa
Charles Coates/Getty Images

Hamilton has said he is surprised with how the season has unfolded in recent months, per Philip Duncan of the Mirror:

"When I look back at those recent races, I couldn't have hoped for better performances. There have been some dream experiences for me, performing at that level. It is what I live for.

"As the season progresses you hope that you can improve, and usually you do get better, but I didn't know I was going to improve in the way that I have."

There is no room for error from Vettel at this point, and he must win if he still harbours world title ambitions.

Sergei Grits/Associated Press

There's only a maximum of 125 points to win at the top of the drivers' championship, and with the improvements from Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes could cruise past the winning post if their two drivers work in tandem.

Team orders saw Hamilton take the win ahead of Bottas in Russia, and the pair could replay their double act in Japan.

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