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frozenmail.net October 21, 2017


Hamilton aiming to build championship lead at Japanese GP

07 October 2017, 02:39 | Randolph Howard

Formula 1 | Japanese GP Preview Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes in search of lost speed at Suzuka

Formula 1 | Japanese GP Preview Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes in search of lost speed at Suzuka

Although he made it back to the pits, that was the end of his session.

Just one month ago, the Ferrari ace was the toast of the town when he arrived at the Italian Grand Prix riding a seven-point lead over Mercedes nemesis Lewis Hamilton atop the Formula One drivers' standings.

AT A GLANCE:Live coverage of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix airs Saturday at 1 a.m. on TSN5, 1:55 a.m. on TSN4 and 1:45 a.m. on RDS. He has also continued his relationship with Mercedes in an ambassador role and taken on new responsibility as Robert Kubica's manager. As a result, Vettel will start alongside Hamilton on the front row.

Unhappy with his vehicle in the previous two races, despite winning one and finishing second in the other, Lewis Hamilton declared his W08 as being "back to normal" following the opening day of practice at Suzuka.

Meanwhile, the omens do not look good for Ferrari in Japan.

Several drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, had their super-soft qualifying-simulations ruined by the two red-flag interruptions. Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne's mood won't be helped by the fact that his team has not won in Japan since Michael Schumacher's 2004 victory.

"It's not a duel anymore, it's three teams fighting", Vettel said.

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But Hamilton looked much more at home at Suzuka, a track he had been out-qualified at by former teammate Nico Rosberg the previous seasons.

Hamilton offered a sign of things to come in Q3 by breaking the previous Suzuka track record held by Michael Schumacher in the second stage of qualifying, going nearly a second faster than the previous benchmark. There could have been a different leader of 2017 drivers championship if the Dutch driver had allowed Vettel to overtake the British In Singapore.

"I don't know if any of you guys can predict but I definitely can't predict what races are going to work and what are not". The next few minutes saw Jolyon Palmer, Marcus Ericsson, and finally Sebastian Vettel all take to the track, followed by most of the field. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - 247 (-34) 3. The world champion responded with a faster time of 1m29.047s.

Can Hamilton be the most consistent of them all?

There was hardly any doubt about Hamilton taking his first pole position in Suzuka after his first lap in the supersoft tyres in the second session of qualifying when he broke the circuit record with a time of 1.27.8.

This is an exciting race with genuinely the three leading teams all hoping they can win. The top five after the first runs were Hamilton 1m27.345s, Vettel 1m27.797s, Bottas 1m27.986s, Ricciardo 1m28.444s and Verstappen with a 1m28.985s. Ever since, Hamilton has been the model of consistency, and he is now chasing down Kimi Raikkonen's record of 27 consecutive podium finishes.



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