Hamilton fastest as Mercedes dominate Japanese GP practice

Ross Houston
October 8, 2018

"Now I just have to stay on it, keep working".

Hamilton has won five of the last six grands prix this season, and three of the last four to be staged in Japan, and the world champion was again in impressive form on Friday.

It was another dramatic drive from Verstappen, who over four seasons has firmly established himself as F1's most aggressive and exciting racer, but has never had a vehicle capable of a true title challenge. When we have both the softer tyre, we are gaining a little bit in a straight line and that makes me really doubt whether they've shown the whole performance.

Ferrari's leading driver admitted that it is a concern ahead of the race, but is hoping that they can work it out before the third practice session and qualifying on Saturday. "It's a monster lap and you always think that there's a little bit more here". "My dad's having tennis lessons so I said to him we should have a game. It's very cool, especially the first and second sectors are insane", he added.

The 5.8-km Suzuka circuit's unique figure-of-eight layout with its fast, undulating sweeps is a firm favourite with the drivers.

"I'm just loving driving more than ever; when you get in the vehicle, it's just the best, it's so fast and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to do what I do. If not, we need to be there just right behind and then see what happens".

"I've just been giving thanks all day today because this is what I've always wanted to do". "I wasn't totally satisfied with the feeling in the vehicle today".

"But overall, it has been a clean Friday, no interruptions, no issue with the auto or anything", added Vettel.

"I was pretty happy, it was pretty good", said Vettel.

Ricciardo set a 1m29.373s to lap three tenths clear of Ferrari, though Raikkonen was able to steal ahead of his team-mate because Vettel lost time in the final corner behind Pierre Gasly. "We focus on our work and we try to squeeze everything that is left in the vehicle".

The Brit topped both FP1 and FP2 by a comfortable margin on Friday's running at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Vettel was more than 0.8 seconds off Hamilton's pace in the afternoon after clocking only the fifth fastest time in the morning's free practice.

"I don't think we tried something different to other Fridays", Vettel said.

Similar to Russian Federation a week ago, Vettel says there are no obvious weaknesses where Ferrari is lacking at Suzuka but felt there was progress made during the day that gives him reason to be positive about the rest of the weekend.

"If we can grasp pole tomorrow that is great".

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