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Hamilton enjoys 'best day' as Mercedes star dominates practice

09 October, 2018, 08:13 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton dominates practice but Mercedes insist Ferrari are holding back

And the British racer's time was again nearly half a second faster than teammate Bottas in second and over eight tenths faster than title rival Sebastian Vettel.

Asked if Ferrari will continue its aggressive approach this weekend, having been left 0.8s adrift of Lewis Hamilton in this afternoon's session, and the Briton showing better pace on the softs than he and his teammate on the supersofts, Vettel replied: "I think you can always do something, the question is whether it works".

The Briton also narrowly avoided a huge crash in first practice.

The two drivers were summoned to see the stewards to discuss the incident, where officials handed Gasly a reprimand.

Toto Wolff has warned the rest of Formula One that Mercedes are yet to fully unleash star drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the same time.

"This track is awesome", a giddy Hamilton said over the radio. "I think we know what the auto can do". But were Ferrari holding some pace back?

"Now when we have the same tyre, we seem to be gaining in a straight line so that makes me doubt whether they have really shown their full performance".

The race begins at 6.10am BST on Sunday, 7 October.

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Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari is clearly damaging its tyres more than its Formula 1 rivals in Japan, on a weekend where it is already locked in to an ultra-aggressive strategy.

Vettel is 50 points behind Hamilton in the drivers' championship, and needs to finish ahead of Hamilton in Sunday's race to stand any realistic chance of winning the 2018 title, reports Efe.

Reflecting on his form and the improvement of Mercedes, Hamilton said: "I could not have hoped for better. It has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite", Hamilton said. "The vehicle is the best it has been all year long". "The balance was in quite a nice place, so I was just enjoying it".

"But I think overall, it has been OK".

Whilst returning to Suzuka always comes with a little bit of sadness for these reasons, some of the drivers on the grid, like Charles Leclerc, feel his loss more closely than others.

"It's also going to be a lot warmer in the race, so that will be different, but at least we got enough running already in dry conditions, so it doesn't matter if it's wet tomorrow".

"It has been a clean Friday, no issues with the vehicle". "My team and I, we're working so well together in fine-tuning this vehicle".

Vettel had his own theory for Ferrari's deficit to Mercedes, suggesting that he and Kimi Raikkonen might have been culpable.

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