Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Hamilton enjoys 'best day' as Mercedes star dominates practice

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton dominates practice but Mercedes insist Ferrari are holding back Hamilton loving life after sweeping Friday practice in Suzuka
Betsy Taylor | 09 October, 2018, 08:14

Despite Hamilton and Mercedes' healthy lead in both championships, Wolff is not carried away and cited Hamilton's 2007 title loss where he had held a 17-point lead over Kimi Raikkonen with two rounds remaining and despite such an advantage, Hamilton lost the title to the Ferrari driver in the season finale in Brazil.

The British driver posted a best lap of one minute and 28.691 seconds to finish 0.446 clear of Bottas, with Ricciardo almost seven tenths adrift.

Vettel and Ferrari have been left to rue missed opportunities on several occasions this season, when their package has appeared stronger than that of their rival Mercedes, only for the German team and lead driver Lewis Hamilton to pull out winning performances at the Scuderia's expense.

"Time will tell, I don't know", said the 31-year-old Vettel when asked if he thought the deficit to Hamilton could be bridged.

"This track is awesome", Hamilton whooped over the radio a little over half an hour into the 90-minute session, before he had set what would be his fastest lap.

Mercedes took a surprise step forward in Singapore in September, a track that had traditionally been a bogey circuit for them, and Hamilton took pole and a dominant win.

Hamilton said: "Suzuka has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite one - it's very cool".

"I was much better than I had ever been through those particular corners", he declared.


"We know what we were doing, I don't think we tried something different to other Fridays", he added.

"We are working so hard to fine-tuning this vehicle, which we are becoming accustomed to now and as I said I'm loving driving more than ever".

Japanese Grand Prix qualifying get underway at 7am (BST) on Saturday morning, two hours after the final practice session finishes.

"In the morning they were quicker through nearly every corner but they had a softer tyre".

"Every time we come to Suzuka, particularly over the past few years, the cars just get faster and faster", Hamilton said.

"It has been a clean Friday", insisted Vettel, despite complaining of blistering tyres.

"But our understanding of the auto is continuing and our understanding of the vehicle is where we are making the biggest steps". "But I just came here with the mindset, 'Okay I know where I want to get the vehicle'". "I wasn't totally satisfied with the feeling in the auto today".

"Also, in Russian Federation, it seemed that we were a lot ahead of everyone else on Friday, but in qualifying it gets more intense".

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