Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is confident he can still get points even if qualifying is postponed because of the typhoon. Photo: Toru Takahashi/AP Photo

Lewis Hamilton believes his title defence will not be blown off course by super typhoon Hagibis even if it causes tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix qualifying session to be postponed.

A decision on whether to amend the weekend format was expected this morning.

Organisers were determined not to rush into a change of schedule despite Rugby World Cup chiefs cancelling two matches including England’s clash with France.

They have instead been monitoring the latest forecasts, with the sport’s officials and track authorities meeting at 8am and 6pm local time for the last few days. It is circuit bosses, rather than the governing FIA or F1’s owners Liberty, who were due to take the final decision.

The FIA told Sportsmail that forecasts increasingly showed the Suzuka circuit — 250 miles south west of Tokyo — would miss the worst of the typhoon, which is expected to arrive tomorrow afternoon.

‘Every effort is being made to minimise disruption to the F1 timetable,’ said the FIA in a statement.

‘However, the safety of fans, competitors and everyone at the Suzuka circuit remains the top priority.’ The 160mph typhoon is expected to be Japan’s biggest storm of the year.

A postponement would mean qualifying being run before Sunday’s race instead, as it was in 2004 and 2010.

Hamilton, who holds a 73-point championship lead with 130 available, said: ‘I’m sure the FIA are prepared for it and have procedures in place.

‘I don’t mind if they move qualifying back until Sunday. It is cool when the format is a bit different.

‘You need two different mindsets, two different rhythms on one day for qualifying and the race.

‘It’s intense when it rains here. It makes it tricky but quite exciting.’

Daily Mail