Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes has another great chance to increase his lead in the Drivers Championship at the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, though Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari is right behind him — both in the standings and on the grid.
Sunday’s race will begin at 1 a.m. ET and will be broadcast by NBCSN in the United States. A live stream will be available online via NBC Sports at the same time.
Hamilton qualified in first and has pole position. He originally was scheduled to have his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, next to him on the grid but penalty points caused him to be moved down. Vettel qualified in third and moved up due to the penalties.
After Max Verstappen of Red Bull won the last race, he and teammate Daniel Ricciardo had a disappointing qualifying session at the Sazuka circuit. They occupy the second row, which is good, but were both a full second behind Hamilton in qualifying.
Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari were given five-place penalties for gearbox changes. Jolyon Palmer of Renault and Carlos Sainz Jr. of Toro Rosso were both given 20-place penalties for power unit changes. Finally, Fernando Alonso of McLaren was given a 35-place penalty for his own power unit changes.
Of those drivers, Bottas qualified in second, Raikkonen in sixth, Palmer in 14th, Sainz in 15th and Alonso in 10th. But on the starting grid after penalties, Bottas will start sixth, Raikkonen 10th, Palmer 18th, Sainz 19th and Alonso in 20th at the back of the pack.
Esteban Ocon of Force India will start fifth alongside Bottas, while his teammate, Sergio Perez, will be next to Felipe Massa of Williams on the fourth row. Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren will start ninth next to Raikkonen.
This will be the last race of the season for Palmer, who is done with Renault after the weekend. Sainz will be moving to Renault as part of a multi-team engine deal that was expected to go into effect next year, but these driver changes are happening early.
Daniil Kvyat, who lost his seat to Pierre Gasly, will rejoin Toro Rosso after Sainz moves teams.
“With my grid penalty I’ll be starting near the back but I will be giving it my all as always,” Palmer said. “Thanks everyone for the support during the last two years, it means a lot.”
Palmer doesn’t have a seat locked up for the 2018 season. At this point, it seems unlikely he finds a new team, and the grid should see plenty of changes next year. Anything can happen, but for now, it’s very possible we’re about to see the last of Palmer in Formula 1.
Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean of the American-owned Haas team will be starting 12th and 13th, respectively. Grosjean crashed out in the first qualifying session, while Magnussen couldn’t find pace throughout the weekend.
Below is the full lineup and starting grid for Sunday’s race, as well as all you need to know to watch the action.
F1 Japanese Grand Prix Starting Grid
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:28.306|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:28.332|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:29.111|
|Sergio Pérez||Force India||1:29.260|
|Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:31.317|
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso||1:30.413|
How to watch Formula One Japanese Grand Prix
Date: Oct. 8, 2017
Location: Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka, Japan
Time: 1 a.m. ET
Online Streaming: NBC Sports Live