Vettel: Ferrari damaging tyres more than F1 rivals at Japanese GP

Mae Harvey
October 9, 2018

Suzuka (Japan), Oct 5 (IANS) Britain's Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) on Friday led the second practice session at the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, while Germany's Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) was third.

Hamilton, victor of five of the last six races, leads Vettel by 50 points in the standings with four races to come after Japan.

He posted a fastest lap of one minute and 28.217 seconds to finish 0.461sec clear of Bottas in the sister Mercedes.

Hamilton was almost a second quicker than title rival Sebastian Vettel, who could manage no better than fifth despite running the grippiest super-soft tyres on his Ferrari.

Toto Wolff has dismissed suggestions that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have both titles wrapped up after building sizeable leads in both the drivers' and constructors' championships with five rounds to go.

Vettel improved in the second session but the German was still 0.833s behind Hamilton, who revelled in his performance. "I'm having the best day".

Hamilton said: "Suzuka has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite one - it's very cool".

"I think you attack every weekend, every weekend is different, the track is different, the circumstances are different, so I'm very happy to be here".

"I think probably the lap time flatters us a little bit", he said.

"We are working so hard to fine-tuning this vehicle, which we are becoming accustomed to now and as I said I'm loving driving more than ever".

Mercedes then locked out the front row in Russian Federation last weekend, where Bottas handed Hamilton the win to make it four victories in the past five races for the Briton.

Validating his theory, Wolff continued: "In the morning they were quicker through nearly every corner but they had a softer tyre". "We're expecting some rain overnight and the wind looks strong tomorrow which could make things tricky for the drivers in qualifying".

Hamilton says the pace turnaround between Mercedes and Ferrari has been a surprise, but he does not think the explanation comes from any new parts on the auto. "Today I think we were both sliding a little bit too much and therefore damaging the tires a bit more than others", he added.

Channel 4 will also show the race live, but if you do not fancy getting up ay the crack of dawn then a full race replay will be broadcast from 12.30pm.

"It always gets more intense in Qualifying, so we're going to work just as hard as usual to find all the improvements we can".

"If we can grasp pole tomorrow, great".

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