Hamilton dominates Japanese GP practice

Mat Coch

Friday 5th October, 2018 - 5:37pm

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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has set the pace after the opening day’s running at the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.

The world championship leader headed a dominant performance from Mercedes which saw he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas first and second across both 90-minute practice sessions.

Quick on soft rubber, Hamilton then hit home his pace advantage during his qualifying simulation late in Practice 2 to set a 1:28.217s.

It proved to be almost half a second faster than anyone else, including Bottas, who could manage no better than 1:28.678s.

Third fastest was Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), though almost a second adrift of the two Mercedes, followed by Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) as the last of the leading three teams.

Esteban Ocon was best of the rest for Racing Point Force India, though at 1:30.035s the Frenchman was 1.818s slower than Hamilton’s lap.

Eighth fastest was Romain Grosjean (Haas) ahead of Marcus Ericsson (Sauber), and Brendon Hartley rounding out the 10 for Toro Rosso.

Charles Leclerc had an eventful session which included an excursion at the Spoon Curve and running wide at the Hairpin on his second qualifying simulation lap.

His first had been thwarted by Lance Stroll, the pair entering the Triangle Chicane side-by-side.

Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly spent much of Practice 2 in the garage with a fuel cell issue before finally emerging in the final 15 minutes of the session.

Earlier, Hamilton topped the opening session from team-mate Bottas, the duo more than six tenths clear of third placed Ricciardo.

The Australian had topped the session before falling to third as the session progressed, with Raikkonen fourth ahead of Vettel and Verstappen.

A spin from Alonso saw the Spaniard find the gravel at the exit of Degner 1, escaping to set the 18th best time of the session.

Gasly and Hamilton almost tangled when the Frenchman backed off before starting a lap, the Mercedes driver locking a brake as he avoided the Toro Rosso.

The incident was referred to the stewards for investigation after the session with Gasly reprimanded for the incident.

Practice continues on Saturday prior to qualifying at 1600 AEST.

Results: Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, Practice 2

Pos Num Driver Team Time/Diff Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.217 31
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.461s 30
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.833s 36
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Renault +1.040s 32
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari +1.281s 33
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault +1.296s 27
7 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes +1.818s 32
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari +2.223s 32
9 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari +2.261s 33
10 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda +2.285s 27
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes +2.293s 28
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +2.427s 36
13 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda +2.578s 10
14 55 Carlos Sainz Renault +2.687s 31
15 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari +2.689s 26
16 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari +2.739s 25
17 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault +2.771s 34
18 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes +2.870s 39
19 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes +2.998s 32
20 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault +3.764s 32

Results: Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, Practice 1

Pos Num Driver Team Time/Diff Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.691 25
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.446s 26
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault +0.682s 32
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari +0.936s 20
5 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.994s 20
6 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Renault +1.150s 30
7 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes +1.900s 28
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari +2.123s 22
9 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari +2.238s 27
10 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari +2.382s 29
11 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda +2.382s 20
12 55 Carlos Sainz Renault +2.409s 23
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes +2.581s 29
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari +2.583s 28
15 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +2.727s 18
16 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes +2.817s 27
17 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda +3.217s 23
18 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault +3.343s 21
19 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes +3.822s 26
20 47 Lando Norris McLaren Renault +3.992s 30

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