Hamilton heaps pressure on Vettel in Japanese GP practice

Aubrey Yates
October 6, 2018

It appears only Typhoon Kong Rey can stop Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix after the championship leader dominated Friday practice at Suzuka.

"This track is awesome", he whooped over the team radio.

His comments to the media after the end of practice were no less ebullient. "It's incredible - they don't make tracks like this anymore". "Suzuka has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite one, it's very cool".

"I'm just loving driving more than ever". Especially the first and second sectors are insane, the first section is the best roller coaster ride that I've felt in a Formula 1 auto.

The gap to Kimi Raikkonen was more than a second as Ferrari lost significant time in the power-sensitive final sector, and while teams tend to turn down their power units on a Friday, Vettel says Ferrari needs to maximize its own vehicle and ensure it's Mercedes' closest rival if it can't close the gap.

"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.

"Straight away I was much, much better than I've ever been through those particular corners". "Now I just have to stay on it, keep working".

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was comfortably quickest in both practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix as the Mercedes driver piled the pressure on title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari on Friday.

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He and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen struggled with their tyre life as the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struck a psychological blow by topping both sessions ahead of this weekend's qualifying and race. I think we can still improve, and in the end we tried something with the vehicle that managed to give us a bit of a better feeling, so let's see if we can carry that in to tomorrow and find something else.

Validating his theory, Wolff continued: "In the morning they were quicker through nearly every corner but they had a softer tyre".

However, one concern was tyre wear after delivering blisters on his P2 long-run: "We were sliding a bit too much when the temperatures go up".

"That makes me really doubt whether they've shown the whole performance", he said.

"We'll see how it is in qualifying tomorrow".

"We have a full night ahead to investigate all the changes we made and find the right set-up".

"Then for Sunday we're expecting hot and sunny conditions". "We are actually losing a bit through the Esses, the fast corners".

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