Mercedes’Hamil­ton se­cures pole for F1 race

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - SPORTS2 -

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.

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