Lewis Hamilton dominates Japanese GP practice after crash scare

Lewis Hamilton dominates Japanese GP practice after crash scare

Lewis Hamilton dominates Japanese GP practice after crash scare

Suzuka (Japan), Oct 5 (IANS) Britain's Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) on Friday led the second practice session at the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, while Germany's Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) was third.

Hamilton made a sublime start to his campaign in Japan, the Briton recording a time of one minute, 28.217seconds - four-tenths of a second clear of Bottas on another impressive day for Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton is 50 points clear of Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers' Championship (Picture: Getty Images)What time is the Japanese Grand Prix on in the UK?

With five races to go, his fifth world championship is nearly in the bag.

Defending champion Hamilton leads the drivers' championship, with Bottas in third, while Mercedes are out in front in the constructors' standings, having recorded a one-two in Russian Federation last week.

Vettel managed to put 19 laps on the super-soft tyre in second practice at Suzuka, but his race pace did not appear to be as strong as Hamilton's. Vettel has expressed dissatisfaction with several strategy decisions from his team in recent weeks and a decision to use up vital engine mileage at the end of Friday's second session left him annoyed again. "Today I think we were both sliding a little bit too much and therefore damaging the tires a bit more than others", he added.

"Straight away I was much, much better than I've ever been through those particular corners. I am just grateful for the races I have had and how a lot of then have panned out".

"I think I've said many times that we have a strong vehicle, but I don't think, against the people's opinions, that we had a dominant auto at any point this year", the German said.

"It has been a clean Friday, no issues with the auto".

He and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen struggled with their tyre life as the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struck a psychological blow by topping both sessions ahead of this weekend's qualifying and race. I think we can still improve, and in the end we tried something with the vehicle that managed to give us a bit of a better feeling, so let's see if we can carry that in to tomorrow and find something else. "We couldn't do that today but it doesn't matter what they do, we look at ourselves, and we will try to get the best out of our package". "My team and I, we're working so well together in fine-tuning this auto". "I think we know what the vehicle can do".

"It always gets more intense in Qualifying, so we're going to work just as hard as usual to find all the improvements we can".

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