Suzuka, FP2: Hamilton continues to dominate

Bottas 2nd, Vettel 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

5 October 2018 - 08:34
Suzuka, FP2: Hamilton continues to (...)

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.

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:28.217 31
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:28.678 30
03 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:29.050 36
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:29.257 32
05 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:29.498 33
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

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