Suzuka, FP2: Hamilton continues to dominate
Bottas 2nd, Vettel 3rd
Lewis Hamilton beat title rival Sebastian Vettel by more than eight tenths of a second as he continued to light up the timesheets in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.
In the morning session Hamilton had run quickest, eclipsing Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas but just under half a secod and the championship leader repeated the feat, taking top spot 0.461s clear of Bottas.
Vettel had been almost a full second off the Briton’s pace in the opening session and though he was able to edge closer during FP2’s qualifying simulations but only by a tenth of a second as he finished third, 0.833s behind Hamilton.
And when the Briton moved to the supersoft tyres for the session’s qualifying simulations he powered past Bottas and the improving Vetel to take an unassailable lead with a best time of 1:28.217.
Bottas attempted to eat into the advantage, but despite running quicker than his team-mate in the middle sector he couldn’t match Hamilton’s pace elsewhere and finished just under half a second off top spot.
With Vettel third, fourth place in the session went to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman a second back from Hamilton. Next on the timesheet was the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, 0.241 behind the Red Bull man. Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull was left as the last of the top three team’s drivers, in sixth place and 1.296 off P1.
As he did in the morning session, Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon took best-of-the-rest honours, though the Frenchman was over half a second behind Ricciardo. However, he was a comfortable four tenths of a second ahead of than the Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson finished in ninth place, just over two hundredths of a second clear of Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley, who was using an upgraded ’Spec 3’ Honda engine.
|01||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:28.217||31|
|02||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:28.678||30|
|04||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Tag Heuer||1:29.257||32|
|06||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Tag Heuer||1:29.513||27|
|07||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||1:30.035||32|
|08||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:30.440||32|
|09||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:30.478||33|
|10||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso Honda||1:30.502||27|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:30.510||28|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault F1||1:30.644||36|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso Honda||1:30.795||10|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Renault F1||1:30.904||31|
|15||Charles Leclerc||Sauber Ferrari||1:30.906||26|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:30.956||25|
|17||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Renault||1:30.988||34|
|18||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Mercedes||1:31.087||39|
|19||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||1:31.215||32|
|20||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Renault||1:31.981||32|