Formula One: Time running out for Hamilton to lay down the hammer

The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka has played host to many championship showdowns in Formula One history, but while the modern calendar dictates this is no longer the case, the famous racetrack will still play a pivotal role in this year’s title fight.

Lewis Hamilton finds himself 23 points behind Nico Rosberg after retiring from the lead of last Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix through engine failure.

The Brit even alluded to some higher power conspiring against him this season, but with five races to go, the title race is still very much on.

And it’s often when Hamilton is up against it, that his powers come through stronger than ever and now is the time to bring out his selfprofessed ‘hammertime’.

The three-time world champion is 6/5 favourite to win this weekend in Japan, edging Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at 7/4.

But the German driver is the man to beat in the standings, and is 8/15 favourite to win this season’s title, with Hamilton 6/4.

Indeed, a win for Rosberg on Sunday would mean he can afford to finish second in the remaining four races and still win the championship, even if Lewis won the lot.

The crème de la crème often come to the fore at Suzuka, and Hamilton has shone here in the past, taking victory at the figure-of-eight circuit in each of the last two years.

What’s more, he’s got his elbows out both times to deny his team-mate.

With plenty of rain forecast for the weekend, both drivers will have to have their wits about them.

Any dropped points from here on in can, and almost certainly will, have major title ramifications.

For Rosberg, he’s bidding to land his first world championship, and become only the second son of a world champion to achieve the fete for himself.

As for Lewis, he’s looking to join just four other men – Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel – as a four-time world champion.

It’s all on the line as we head into the final part of the season, and Suzuka is a wonderful test to kick it all off.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing