March 22, 2018

Max Verstappen hoping for rain and not sandwiches at F1 Japanese GP

08 October 2017, 11:50 | Randolph Howard

Max Verstappen hoping for rain and not sandwiches at F1 Japanese GP

Hamilton fastest in rain-hit practice for Japanese GP

If the 32-year-old wins at the next round in the U.S. and Vettel finishes below fifth, the title will be his and he will become Britain's most successful racing driver, with one more F1 championship than Sir Jackie Stewart.

"The vehicle is insane here", said three-time world champion Hamilton, after his 71st career pole and his first at Suzuka.

Here's how Hamilton could draw level with Vettel and Alain Prost on four world titles, and Mercedes can win their fourth as well, putting them level with Red Bull.

With Lewis Hamilton leading the race at the time of this writing and looking as if he'll surely extend his championship lead, this race is Vettel's worst nightmare come to life.

"It is great to have a attractive day here - the track was fantastic and the team did an incredible job".

"We gain one spot with Bottas' penalty so all we can do is fight and try to progress from P4".

Depending on results, Hamilton could win his fourth title at the next race in the United States on October 22. "I just felt a couple of things so I just... you just point out things that you might forget to tell them after this next meeting".

"I wouldn't say I have one hand on it".

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"I was driving down the back straight at one point and I'm thinking "Jeez, the guy behind me is so much younger than me, I've got make sure I kind of man up and show my age".

The Toro Rosso driver looked solid in Suzuka as he held off the challenges of Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne to finish just outside the points.

Hamilton also won his maiden pole at the Suzuka and he did it in style by smashing Michael Schumacher's circuit record of 1:28.954s by clocking a fastest lap of 1:27.319s in the qualifying on Saturday.

"You make lots of different switch changes and the turbos make unusual noises and different vibrations come in, so I'm hoping there's nothing. I'm really grateful the vehicle stuck in and I didn't make any mistakes".

Hamilton re-joined in third, behind Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas - both yet to change tyres. However, the latter's Ferrari started losing power due to a failing spark plug, dropping him to sixth place.

"But I need to protect them [Ferrari]". We've done an incredible job so far.

"Of course it hurts and we're all disappointed, but now we need to get back, get some rest and then go flat out for the last four races and see what happens", he said. The German would have been hoping to apply some pressure to his title rival off the line, though he struggled to find early pace and was overtaken by Verstappen.

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