The disruption caused to the Japanese Grand Prix by Typhoon Hagibis has left Formula 1 drivers finding themselves in the unfamiliar territory of having a day off mid-race weekend. 

With the super typhoon set to make landfall in Japan on Saturday, F1 has cancelled all track-action in a “safety first” approach, meaning Japanese Grand Prix qualifying will instead take place on Sunday morning prior to the race. 

The tweaked schedule change means drivers now find themselves with an unexpected 'rest day’ sandwiched between driving at 200 miles an hour around the high-speed, wild rollercoaster ride that forms the Suzuka circuit. 

While team personnel and F1’s media will hunker down in their respective hotels and continue their work sheltered from the impending storm, the drivers have some different ideas of how to spend their time. 

You may have expected drivers to be rigorously pouring over data collected during Friday’s two 90-minute practice sessions in order to prepare for an extra busy Sunday. 

Think again…

Hamilton wants dolphin hunting cove visit

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton said he wanted to visit Japan’s notorious whaling town of Taiji in his continued bid to help raise awareness about animal cruelty.

The Briton, who has shared graphic videos of the practices via his Instagram account, explained: “There’s a place about three hours away called the cove, where they are slaughtering all the dolphins and I’m tempted to go and do that. 

“I’ve got nothing else to do and it would be great to really put the spotlight on that but it depends, I don’t know how long it would take me to get there.

“That’s obviously not a great part of their heritage here or their culture. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful place."

Hamilton saw the bright side of the typhoon-induced rest day: “We are lucky we’ve got the day off. I will probably do some training and go back to Tokyo tonight and have a nice night and good food and then maybe come back tomorrow."

The only complication in Hamilton's plan is that authorities in Japan have already started to suspend services on the Shinkansen bullet train that is the easiest way to get from Tokyo to Suzuka, via the major city of Nagoya. It's unclear whether Hamilton made it back to Tokyo on Friday night - but if he did, he may face a task getting back to Suzuka...

His Mercedes teammate and Friday pacesetter Valtteri Bottas, on the other hand, plans an analytical approach to his rest day in preparation for qualifying. 

“I still need to speak to the team about what is the plan,” he said.

“We might have some meetings, make the most out of it. For sure try to chill, and also try to dig into the data as well.”

Ferrari drivers opt for relaxed approach 

Ferrari's drivers may have finished some way off the pace during Friday practice, but Sebastian Vettel aims to make the most of a rare day off. 

“I don’t think there's much point going out with the forecast we have,” he said. 

“Just going through some stuff, try to relax. Maybe flush the system a little bit.”

Meanwhile Scuderia stablemate Charles Leclerc has one thing on his mind: “Sleep. 

“I’ll sleep and work on the data to be better on driving on Sunday.”

Red Bull is where the fun is at 

It’s all fun and games within Red Bull’s ranks, with Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly revealing he has brought his Playstation along to Japan. 

The Frenchman wants to set-up a FIFA competition in the team’s hotel and has welcomed all drivers to take part. 

When made aware of Gasly’s suggestion following FP2, Max Verstappen enthusiastically replied: “Why not? I’m up for it.”

His Red Bull teammate Alexander Albon plans to make the most of the hotel’s bowling alley by hitting the lines. 


Most competitive Saturday we’ve had in years

A post shared by Max Verstappen (@maxverstappen1) on


And what about the others? 

True to his typically mischievous style, Renault's Daniel Ricciardo joked: "I was going to go to the beach. Probably take a jet ski out. Everything is going to be closed. We could go for a swim. 

“Let’s all get together, tell stories, it could be a chance for everyone to get rid of technology for a day. 

“And do things that people used to do. Maybe we could get around, light a little fire, tell some stories.

“I don’t know, maybe find a bar or something. What else do you do? WIFI is going to be down. Millennials are going to struggle.”

"I’ve got the Xbox ready to go, also I bought a Tyrrell 6-wheeler model to build," added Haas' Romain Grosjean.

"I went to the shop here in Shiroko and they have amazing remote-control cars, and I wanted to buy them, but I don’t have the tools to build them, so I said I’m just going to go for the small plastic Tyrrell 6-wheleer and glue it.

"I don’t have the paint unfortunately, but put the stickers on, and while the glue is getting off, play Xbox."


Williams driver George Russell said: “I’ll probably go bowling, I went last night and it was great fun. 

“I guess we’re not even allowed out of the hotel. Make sure I have some lunch with me as there’ll probably be no-one in the hotel.”

And Kimi Raikkonen responded to suggestions he could spend time with his family in classic Kimi style…

“I doubt I’ll fly back to Europe to be with the family.”