Qualifying for Japanese Grand Prix moved to Sunday due to Super Typhoon Hagibis

Qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix has been moved to Sunday due to Super Typhoon Hagibis.

Formula One bosses and its governing body, the FIA, have announced that the Suzuka circuit will be closed on Saturday.

The battle for pole position will now take place four hours before Sunday’s race.

F1’s move to push back qualifying comes a day after England’s Rugby World Cup match against France on Saturday was cancelled in response to the approaching storm. The decision was taken before Friday’s first practice session.

A statement issued by the FIA read: “As a result of the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis on the 2019 FIA Formula One Japanese Grand Prix, Mobilityland and the Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF) have decided to cancel all activities scheduled to take place on Saturday, 12 October.

“The FIA and Formula One support this decision in the interests of safety for the spectators, competitors, and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit.”

The region’s most powerful typhoon of 2019 is set to bring violent winds and heavy rain to the area.

The race in Japan has been hit by bad weather in the past, with qualifying staged on Sunday morning on two occasions, in 2004 and 2010.

Four years ago, qualifying for the US Grand Prix was pushed back a day due to heavy rain.

“I am happy for them to do that,” said Lewis Hamilton, who holds a 73-point championship lead over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with 130 available.

“It is cool when the format changes. You have to enter into two different mindsets, and two different rhythms. It is a different challenge so I like that.

“It is intense here when it rains, but I love driving in the wet. It doesn’t make a difference to me. It is quite exciting.”

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