Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Hamilton dominates ‘awesome’ practice day in Japan

Hamilton dominates ‘awesome’ practice day in Japan

FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton has laid down a fearsome gauntlet for title rival Sebastian Vettel by setting an untouchable fastest lap during Friday practice at the Japanese Grand Prix today (Oct 5).

Formula-One
By Michael Lamonato

Friday 5 October 2018, 03:42PM


Lewis Hamilton laid down a fearsome gauntlet for title rival Sebastian Vettel by setting an untouchable fastest lap during Friday practice. Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Lewis Hamilton laid down a fearsome gauntlet for title rival Sebastian Vettel by setting an untouchable fastest lap during Friday practice. Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes arrived at the historic Suzuka Circuit in a position of power over Ferrari, which has seen the championship hopes of lead driver Sebastian Vettel flounder since the midseason break and which badly needs a win to suspend its rapidly declining form.

But based on today’s practice times Japan is unlikely to be the scene of the Italian team’s first step towards what would now be an unprecedented championship fightback, with Hamilton in a seemingly unbeatable groove around the swooping Suzuka curves.

The title-leading Briton topped both practice sessions, most impressively the afternoon, when his time of 1 minutes 28.217 seconds was 0.833 seconds quicker than third-place Vettel.

Worse was that Hamilton was quicker on the slower soft-compound tyre than Vettel was on the qualifying supersoft compound.

“This track is awesome!” whooped Hamilton to his engineer barley half an hour into the session. “I’m having the best day!”

Valtteri Bottas split the two championship rivals. The Finn was almost half a second slower than Hamilton, albeit after abandoning his first flying lap due to a mistake at the second Degner corner.

The gap to the leading Mercedes team was foreboding for Ferrari, but its proximity to Red Bull Racing will be downright frightening. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, the driver of the day last weekend in Sochi, was only 0.2 seconds slower than Vettel to finish the second practice session in fourth.

Even so, the Dutchman complained of his RB14 behaving like a “rallycross” car, and adjustments from the garage seemed unable to ameliorate his concerns.

QSI International School Phuket

Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo were 0.2 seconds behind Verstappen to finish fifth and sixth.

But whereas the picture at the front of the field appears bleak, the midfield looks colourful and closely contested, with four different teams completing the top 10 at the end of today.

Esteban Ocon, still without a drive for 2019, was the quickest among his ‘class-B’ rivals in seventh place for Force India with an impressive lap just 1.8 seconds slower than Hamilton’s headline time.

His efforts won him a 0.4-second gap to Haas’s Romain Grosjean, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley and Force India teammate Sergio Perez, who were classified in places eight to 11 respectively.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg finished the day in 12th after lamenting yesterday (Oct 4) that his team had fallen behind in the development race after finishing out of the points in Russia last weekend, and his practice times suggest the French marque is set for another difficult weekend.

Pierre Gasly followed in 13th for Toro Rosso ahead of Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen at the tail of the midfield.

The back of the grid will be contested by former British giants McLaren and Williams. Fernando Alonso ended the day 17th, leading Williams partners Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll and McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

Don’t forget to listen to Live89.5 each and every Saturday at 9am and 5pm for te Box of Neutrals radio show.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Smith's Ashes run-spree sparks Bradman comparisons

What an idiotic response by Mr Rorri. So you think the Captain of the Australian Cricket team cheati...(Read More)


Saving the elephant

ematt, many horse are very happy, otherwise they would happily trot over to there owners, obviously ...(Read More)


Thai airways reports loss of 122% in Q2

Mr Dek.. " therapeutic" dancing, is no different to a "therapeutic" holiday in a...(Read More)


Restaurant staffer caught in meth sting

Another team of criminals, without roots on Phuket. Convict and ban them for life from Phuket. Upgra...(Read More)


A beginner’s guide to caring for the island’s soi kittens and cats

Yet, no thought to the indigenous wildlife populations. Lizards, frogs, toads, snakes and song-birds...(Read More)


Thai airways reports loss of 122% in Q2

R2. please google "Waldorf school/Name dancing",you can learn something!...(Read More)


New Phoenix owner aims to restore wreck, return it to the sea

Interesting to see the helm, where the Captain was at the controls before he realized that he REALLY...(Read More)


Chinese tourist rescued from surf by Patong lifeguards

R2, how do you know what the life guards did and did not do? Were you there? Jeesh...,....(Read More)


Saving the elephant

How does the horse feel about having a steel bit forced into its mouth, tied up in leather straps, w...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Click to end the outdated TM30

Re: "my Thai wife and her wonderful family", and you subject them to your constant dispara...(Read More)