Qualy: Hamilton on pole with new Suzuka record


Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, shattering the lap record with Sebastian Vettel joining him on the front row of the grid.

The Mercedes driver was the man to beat on the supersoft tyres as he threw down a marker in Q2 with a 1:27.819.

Purple in his first run in Q3, he posted a 1:27.345 to take provisional pole by almost half a second up on Vettel.

Hamilton bettered his time on his second run to a 1:27.319, claiming pole position by 0.332s up on Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas, who is facing a grid penalty for a gearbox change, ran the soft tyres in Q2 which means he’ll start on that rubber come Sunday’s Japanese GP.

Vettel fell to third but will start on the front row while Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were next in line.

Kimi Raikkonen, also facing gearbox penalties, was sixth fastest in qualifying ahead of Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa.

Fernando Alonso, who has a 35-place grid penalty, made it inside the top ten but will start Honda’s home race from the very back of the grid.

Romain Grosjean brought Q1 to an early conclusion when he got it wrong at the first of the Esses, clipping the grass on the outside which sent him flying through the gravel and into the barrier. With 1:18 on the clock, Q1 was over.

“Something wrong on the car,” said the Frenchman, adding “massive oversteer.”

Q1 also saw Sergio Perez court controversy with the stewards for blocking Lance Stroll. The Williams driver failed to progress.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.319
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:27.651 0.332
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:27.791 0.472
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:28.306 0.987
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:28.332 1.013
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:28.498 1.179
7 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:29.111 1.792
8 Sergio Perez Force India 1:29.260 1.941
9 Felipe Massa Williams 1:29.480 2.161
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:30.687 3.368
11 Vandoorne McLaren 1:29.778
12 Hulkenberg Renault 1:29.879
13 Magnussen Haas 1:29.972
14 Palmer Renault 1:30.022
15 Sainz Toro Rosso 1:30.413
16 Grosjean Haas 1:30.849
17 Gasly Toro Rosso 1:31.317
18 Stroll Williams 1:31.409
19 Ericsson Sauber 1:31.597
20 Wehrlein Sauber 1:31.885