Mercedes’Hamilton secures pole for F1 race
SUZUKA, Japan— Championship leader Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, leading a 1- 2 finish for Mercedes drivers on Saturday.
Hamilton posted a lap record time of 1 minute, 27.319 seconds to finish 0.332 ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton’s title rival, Sebastian Vettel, was third but will move up to second after Bottas’s penalty for an unsched- uled gearbox change. Bottas drops to seventh.
Hamilton struggled for pace in the previous race, in Malaysia, but that wasn’t the case in Saturday’s qualifying.
Hamilton smashed Michael Schumacher’s qualifying lap record, set during Q2 in 2006, by 1.365 seconds to take his 71st F1 pole and first in 10 attempts at this circuit.
With five races remaining, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the drivers’ championship.