Vandoorne was 0.468s slower than Alonso in Q1. But to that we have to add the caveat that he missed FP1 to allow Lando Norris a first taste of Suzuka. Vandoorne’s race drive was quietly decent, and he finished in the traffic jam behind the obstinate Ericsson – just behind Alonso. Saturday brought the usual order of outpacing Vandoorne followed by hyperbole (it was Alonso’s best Suzuka lap, apparently). But Alonso bafflingly believed he could get away with keeping the throttle nailed after being forced off-track by Stroll. This moment compromised his race.