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Japanese GP: Qualifying – Drivers Report

After a lot of light rain again over the whole qualifying Hamilton secured his 80th pole while Vettel will start from 9th.

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Japanese GP: Qualifying – Drivers Report
Fuente imagen: Mercedes AMG F1

After a quiet difficult qualifying due to rain Lance Stroll was able to get his Williams into Q2. He said: Although the rain came at the wrong moment in Q2, I am still very happy and really satisfied to get through and into it, as we didn't expect that today. The car felt like it was working beneath me and I knew it was going to be a big step from my first run to my second run. I tidied up my mistakes from that first run in Q1, and then it was a combination of everything.“

While his teammate Sergey Sirotkin was eliminated in Q1, he said: “The car felt like it was working beneath me and I knew it was going to be a big step from my first run to my second run. I tidied up my mistakes from that first run in Q1, and then it was a combination of everything.”

After beeing on mediums the whole friday, McLaren could finally use the Supersofts but it didn't worked out as they hoped. Both drivers were out after Q1. Fernando Alonso reports: “In qualifying the balance of the car was good, so it wasn’t like we could have found any more time anywhere. Our pace is what it is, so it’s going to be a difficult race for us tomorrow, trying to recover from the back.”

A man who had mechanical issues again was Daniel Ricciardo, he will start tomorrows race from P15.

The Red Bull driver said: “As soon as I came through the last chicane to start my fast lap I immediately felt that something was wrong. I just didn’t have full power and I could hear the turbo or something wasn’t healthy. I came to the pits and we tried to fix it but I think it’s something terminal.”

The first driver who really struggled with the conditions was Marcus Ericsson, because of hitting the wall he will start last. He admitted: “It is disappointing to finish like this after a strong weekend. Unfortunately, qualifying did not go as I would have liked it to. It was a tricky day with the weather making it quite challenging to drive. I was carrying a bit too much speed as I approached turn 7, and with the wind being quite strong in that section I spun off track. It is a shame to have a qualifying like this.“

His teammate Charles Leclerc had a way better qualifying as he will start from P11. He explained: “Overall, it was a positive day and we see the potential is there for a good performance tomorrow. The pace was there in qualifying, and it is a shame that we did not make it to Q3 today. I made a small mistake on my first push lap in Q2, and it was not possible to improve my lap time after the rain started again, however it means we can gain an advantage by starting the race on the tyres of our choice.“

Sebastian Vettel only qualified P9 today because of the weather condition and the decision to drive out on intermediates first. At the end of Q3 the rain came back as he was out on supersofts. Afterwards the Ferrari driver said: “Now it's easy to say it was the wrong decision. I was asked if I was ok with it and I said yes. Tomorrow it won't be easy but it's not impossible.”

The man who used the weather conditions probably was Max Verstappen as he starts the race tomorrow from P3. He told the media: “I think realistically, normally we would be pretty close to Ferrari but it would be hard to beat them – but we made the right call in Q3. Of course, very happy to be third. We have a bigger chance now to be on the podium.“

The front row is all Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas starting fro P2 tomorrow said: “The team was really reactive again. We did the right decisions with the rain. I think for me, honestly Practice three this morning was very difficult. I didn’t find the car good at all, so we made some changes to build up the confidence. Q2, I was the quickest. Q3, just had that one lap, which was not quite perfect in the middle and the last sector.”

The man who claimed the Pole today, Lewis Hamilton, said: “The team have done an amazing job this weekend, and the call that we made to go out for Q3, which is probably the most difficult call – you saw all of us fumbling and kind of trying to figure out what to do. The team just were spot on with it and gave us the opportunity to grab this pole position. While it was a bit of an anti-climax, because we didn’t get to do the last lap, it’s still it’s my 80th.“

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