Lewis Hamilton extended his Championship lead at the Japanese Grand Prix as our guests enjoyed insider access at Suzuka to meet with current and legendary Formula 1 drivers. Check out the highlights and our best trackside images below.
Exclusive Pit Lane Walk, Drive the Track Tour, Photo with the Championship Trophies
Our weekend at Suzuka kicked off on Thursday afternoon with an Exclusive Pit Lane Walk. As the teams prepared for a weekend of racing, our guests got up close to the cars and watched several teams, including Ferrari, practicing their pit stops. Kevin Magnussen from the Haas F1 Team was also on hand to sign autographs and pose for photos with a few lucky guests! We also got a closer look at this iconic circuit during a Drive the Track Tour and posed for photos on the Main Straight with the Championship trophies.
Friday night’s Insider Access tour included visits to Pirelli, McLaren and the Safety Car garage. After meeting Safety Car Driver Bernd Mayländer, several guests took their chance to get behind the wheel of his Mercedes AMG GT R. The tour concluded with a photo opportunity on the podium, including the odd “shoey”.
Paddock Club Party with Charles Leclerc
A memorable day at Suzuka ended with a party in the Formula 1 Paddock Club™. Our special guest was Charles Leclerc, the young Monégasque driver who has taken F1 by storm this year and will drive for Ferrari in 2019. After talking with James O’Brien about his meteoric rise through the motorsport ranks, Leclerc stayed around to sign some autographs with our excited guests and pose for a group selfie.
On Saturday and Sunday, we welcomed guests to the Champions Club. As well as watching the action from a privileged viewing position, our guests enjoyed our signature hospitality, guided tours of the F1 Paddock and several special guest appearances. The 1996 World Champion Damon Hill stopped by on Saturday and Racing Point Force India Team Principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer joined us on Sunday.
Here’s what Susan had to say about her time in the Champions Club at Suzuka; “I can’t even tell you how much I loved the Champions Club! With the Pit Lane and Main Straight on one side and the Paddock on the other, the lounge and viewing area is, without doubt, THE BEST I’ve experienced in all my years of going to races.”
Legends on Track
One of the highlights of the weekend for many fans were the on-track demonstrations from legendary drivers and cars to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Highlights included 2-time World Champion Mika Häkkinen driving the McLaren MP4-13 from 1998 and French driver Jean Alesi piloting the Ferrari F187 that won the first Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in 1988.
Lewis Hamilton Masterclass
After unsettled weather for most of the weekend, we were greeted by fine conditions for the race on Sunday. Lewis Hamilton led the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix from start to finish as Championship rival Sebastian Vettel tangled with Max Verstappen and could only manage sixth place. Daniel Ricciardo recovered from 15th on the grid to fourth by the flag, taking out “Driver of the Day” honours along the way. It was Hamilton’s 50th win for Mercedes and his sixth win from the past seven races. Hamilton now leads Sebastian Vettel by 67 points with just four races remaining on the 2018 Formula 1 calendar. See you in Austin for the USGP in two weeks!