Hamilton smashes track record
FORMULA One leader Lewis Hamilton smashed the Suzuka track record yesterday to seize pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix with Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel lining up alongside him on the front row.
Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will start today’s race from third and fourth on the grid.
Mercedes’ Hamilton produced a stunning fastest lap of 1min 27.319sec for his first pole at the 5.8km track and 71st of his career. The time shattered Michael Schumacher’s pre- vious outright best at the circuit by 1.6 seconds.
“Incredible. Every lap was fantastic,” Hamilton said.
“It’s my first time. I’m running out of opportunities to get this pole, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to make sure I make it stick today.’”
His teammate Valtteri Bottas was second quickest, 0.332 seconds adrift, but dropped five places due to an unscheduled gearbox change.