Typhoon Hagibis: Japanese GP qualifying to take place on Sunday
The qualifying race of the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix has been postponed to Sunday. All activities have been cancelled with the threat of Typhoon Hagibis approaching. The tropical storm, the year's biggest, is due to hit Japan tomorrow. One expects to see strong winds continue into Sunday, when qualifying and race will be held. Here's more on the same.
Valtteri Bottas led team member Lewis Hamilton to a Mercedes one-two in the second practice. This result could decide the grid if conditions are too difficult to hold qualifying on Sunday morning. The two were above third-placed Max Verstappen of Red Bull. Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth respectively ahead of Red Bull's Alexander Albon.
Organizers made a collective decision to postpone qualifying and close the circuit on Saturday. This was done keeping the interests of safety for the spectators, competitors, and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit. F1 organizers delayed a decision earlier on Thursday to have a clearer idea of the path of the storm. However on Friday, they decided to cancel all activities tomorrow.
#F1: 2/2 The FIA and Formula 1 support this decision in the interests of safety for the spectators, competitors, and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit. See updated timetable here: https://t.co/7OX2Yg3Cqp— FIA (@fia) October 11, 2019
The potential impact of the tropical storm has already seen two matches at the Rugby World Cup getting cancelled. According to reports, Suzuka is expected to be hit by high winds and heavy rain throughout Saturday. It's currently a Category Three typhoon and is due to hit the coast not far from the track on Saturday before moving north towards Tokyo.
Mercedes appear to be in a strong position after Friday's practice. The side is quicker than anything else on both short runs and longer ones aimed at simulating the race. In fact, Mercedes were way quicker than Ferrari on their race simulations. Meanwhile, Ferrari appear to have slipped back with Leclerc 0.356secs off the pace and Vettel 0.235secs further behind.