Lewis Hamilton got his first Pole at Suzuka, the only current circuit where he had never done it, with a spectacular 1:27.3. Mercedes gets a one-two, but does not monopolise the first row since Bottas will be penalised on the grid. Vettel has been third in the qualifying session and second on the grid.
The session started with dry conditions and Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to establish a record. The Briton had come out with soft tyres, and would not be the only one who would try to overcome Q1 with those tires; Sebastian Vettel did it too. Max Verstappen took Hamilton’s lead half-way through.
The Q1 ended prematurely, with 1:18 minutes to go, due to a strong crash of Romain Grosjean’s at Turn 5. There was no time to resume session and Hamilton finally got the fastest time. Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Grosjean were eliminated.
Q2 started and Hamilton was again the first one to leave the box. Kimi Räikkönen used the soft tyres, in order to use them at the start of the race, since he has been penalysed with five positions on the grid. Valtteri Bottas did the same, as he had the same penalty as the Ferrari driver.
Again, it was the leader of the world championship who got the fastest time. The Briton, in addition, improved the track record in more than a second. Carlos Sainz, Jolyon Palmer, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg and Stoffel Vandoorne were out of the fight for the pole in Q3.
Already in Q3, Hamilton was again the strongest from the beginning. Räikkönen went wide at the same point where he had crashed on the FP3.
In the last attempt, Hamilton slightly improved himself and took the 71st Pole of his career, in the only circuit of the current calendar in which he had not yet done so. Second was Bottas, who has made a great final lap but has a penalty on the grid, so Vettel, who has qualified third, will start second.
The race will be disputed tomorrow at 14:00 local time.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:29.475||1:28.935||1:28.306|
|5||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:29.181||1:28.747||1:28.332|
|7||Esteban Ocon||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:30.115||1:29.199||1:29.111|
|8||Sergio Perez||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:29.696||1:29.343||1:29.260|
|9||Felipe Massa||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:30.352||1:29.687||1:29.480|
|10||Fernando Alonso||MCLAREN HONDA||1:30.525||1:29.749||1:30.687|
|15||Carlos Sainz||TORO ROSSO||1:30.565||1:30.413|
|16||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||1:30.849|
|17||Pierre Gasly||TORO ROSSO||1:31.317|
|18||Lance Stroll||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:31.409|
|19||Marcus Ericsson||SAUBER FERRARI||1:31.597|
|20||Pascal Wehrlein||SAUBER FERRARI||1:31.885|