Dopo il contatto con Max ho visto alcune parti dalla mia auto volare via, e la macchina ha riportato danni ingenti sul lato sinistro. Ovviamente questo ha influito negativamente sul resto della mia gara. E’ un vero peccato, perché da quel momento è stato tutto piuttosto difficile. Avevo perso molto carico aerodinamico e non c’era molto che potessi fare. E’ impossibile sapere quale sarebbe stata la nostra prestazione oggi senza l’incidente alla chicane; durante il fine settimana avevamo migliorato la macchina, la si guidava sempre meglio, ma sfortunatamente questo è quello che abbiamo ottenuto oggi. Nel complesso è stato un fine settimana difficile e deludente; questo risultato non è il massimo. Ora è necessaria un’analisi approfondita, sperando di arrivare alla prossima gara in una condizione più normale che ci metta in grado di combattere.
Japanese Grand Prix: Hamilton wins, Vettel clashes with Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton moved to the brink of the 2018 Formula 1 title by claiming victory in the Japanese Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel clashed with Max Verstappen.
Hamilton’s ninth win of the year and Vettel’s sixth place at Suzuka, after spinning to the back, leaves Hamilton leading by 67 points with four grands prix remaining.
That means Hamilton only needs to outscore Vettel by eight points at the next race in the United States to clinch a fifth world championship.
Hamilton held his pole advantage at the start and kept Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at arm’s length throughout the first stint, which was punctuated by a safety car.
Kevin Magnussen’s Haas picked up a puncture after he moved to the right down the start-finish straight defending from Charles Leclerc and was rear-ended by the Sauber.
The Haas eventually shed the damaged tyre, and bodywork that splintered thanks to the flailing rubber, and the safety car was deployed while the debris was cleared.
By this point a flying start from Vettel had launched him from eighth to fourth, helped by Verstappen’s first incident of the day with a Ferrari.
Verstappen locked up entering the final corner on the opening lap and ran off track, bounced over the grass and kerb as he rejoined at the second part of the chicane.
That resulted in light contact with Kimi Raikkonen, who was forced wide as he tried to pass the Red Bull on the outside, and allowed Vettel to sneak ahead of his team-mate.
When the safety car period ended on lap eight Vettel attacked Verstappen, who had been handed a five-second penalty for the Raikkonen incident.
Vettel tried to sneak inside Verstappen into the fast Spoon left-hander, but carried too much speed and made light contact with the Red Bull and spun onto the run-off.
Verstappen managed to continue without losing a position to Raikkonen but Vettel dropped to the back – the stewards looked into the clash but took no further action.
Despite his early time penalty, Verstappen was able to maintain third ahead of Raikkonen thanks to Ferrari pitting the Finn first and releasing him into traffic.
That also allowed the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, who had started 15th after a problem in qualifying, to jump Raikkonen having carved through the order in a stellar opening stint.
The lead order settled thereafter, with Hamilton constantly extending his lead as Bottas came under late pressure from Verstappen.
Bottas survived a mistake at the final corner with six laps to go, which resulted in him skipping across the chicane, to complete a Mercedes one-two for the second race in a row.
Raikkonen drifted further away from the Red Bulls in fifth, while Vettel gradually made his way back to sixth – but by the time he was clear of the rest of the field, he was a minute behind Hamilton and 40 seconds behind Raikkonen.
That gap shrank to 18.8s at the flag as Ferrari opted not to switch the drivers, denying Vettel an extra two points.
Sergio Perez stole best-of-the-rest honours in seventh after Racing Point Force India mugged Haas and Toro Rosso with a superior strategy.
Romain Grosjean and Pierre Gasly ran sixth and seventh early on for their respective teams, but Force India stopped Perez and Esteban Ocon earlier than their immediate rivals.
The fresh-tyre advantage allowed them to jump Gasly, before Perez caught and passed Grosjean after a virtual safety car called to deal with Charles Leclerc’s stricken Sauber.
Ocon was not able to match his team-mate and finished ninth, with Carlos Sainz Jr beating Gasly to the final point after passing him late on.
That meant Toro Rosso failed to score at all after qualifying sixth and seventh for engine supplier Honda’s home grand prix.
Brendon Hartley finished 12th at the end of a muted race in which he had already plunged from sixth to 10th with a poor start.
Only three cars retired from the grand prix – Magnussen, Leclerc, who had also been rear-ended by team-mate Marcus Ericsson just as they prepared for the restart after the safety car, and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||53||14.295s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||53||19.495s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||53||1m19.379s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||53||1m28.055s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Renault||52||1 Lap|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||52||1 Lap|
|12||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|13||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||52||1 Lap|
|14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Renault||52||1 Lap|
|15||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||52||1 Lap|
|16||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
|17||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
“Le qualifiche di oggi, in condizioni insidiose, non sono state facili. In Q3 pensavamo che sarebbe iniziato a piovere prima, così abbiamo deciso di uscire con le Intermedie. Purtroppo non è stato così e abbiamo perso il momento giusto. Siamo rientrati per mettere le Supersoft, ma alla curva 14 ho toccato un cordolo bagnato, sono andato largo e ho perso del tempo. Ovviamente il quarto posto non è l’ideale, ma almeno siamo riusciti a mettere insieme un giro nonostante l’errore commesso. Il terzo posto sarebbe stato facilmente alla nostra portata. E’ un peccato che non sia andata così oggi; il feeling con la macchina andava migliorando sempre più in qualifica. Di certo domani sarà difficile, ma faremo del nostro meglio”.
Japanese GP: Hamilton takes pole, Vettel only ninth as rain arrives
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix, while title rival Sebastian Vettel ended up ninth after a failed intermediate tyre gamble.
Hamilton hit the front on supersofts on the first runs in Q3, lapping 0.299 seconds faster than Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
That lap of 1m27.760s proved to be fast enough to secure pole position given renewed rain that hit the track in the middle of the session.
Both Mercedes drivers will start on the soft compound Pirellis, having used them to set their Q2 times.
Ferrari drivers Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, were sent out on intermediates at the start of Q3 in anticipation of the rain coming earlier.
Both were forced to abort their runs to take on slicks, meaning their first flying laps came just as rain was on the cusp of falling, and while Raikkonen was able to post a 1m29.521s to secure fourth behind Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, Vettel ran off the track at Spoon Curve after the rear stepped out and posted only a 1m32.192s.
For good measure, Vettel later went off through the gravel at Degner 1 while cruising on slicks in the intensifying rain.
This allowed Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who will be the only driver in the midfield group in the top 10 to start on softs having brilliantly used the tyre to set his Q2 time, to take ‘Class B’ pole position in fifth.
His Q3 lap put him just over two-tenths faster than Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley.
The Honda-powered team had set a target of having both cars in Q3 after using its ‘Spec 3’ engine for qualifying for the first time, and Hartley slotted in ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly in seventh.
Racing Point Force India duo Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were eighth and 10th, sandwiching Vettel’s Ferrari.
Perez also did not set a serious time, lapping 9.5s off the pace, having aborted his lap on his first run.
Ocon was subsequently given a three-place grid penalty for a red-flag procedure infringement in practice, so his demotion to 11th will raise Vettel to eighth.
Sauber driver Charles Leclerc was the quickest of those eliminated in Q2, in which rain meant the first-run times decided the order.
Leclerc was 11th after his first run, but attempted to complete a lap on his second set of supersofts in the forlorn hope of breaking into the top 10 before spinning exiting Degner 1.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was 12th fastest having used softs on his first run and lapping 0.548s slower than Grosjean in Q2 on the same compound.
Carlos Sainz Jr was 13th for Renault ahead of Williams driver Lance Stroll.
Daniel Ricciardo was 15th after failing to set a time in Q2, cruising into the pits at the end of his outlap with what appeared to be an engine problem.
Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was eliminated in Q1, having had his first run compromised by a red flag caused by Marcus Ericsson crashing in Turn 7.
The Swede ran wide onto the grass through the left-hander then spun into the barrier on his second push lap, leading to a six-minute red flag.
Hulkenberg was, along with team-mate Sainz and Perez, one of three drivers not to have set a time at that point, and after going out immediately after the restart was relegated into the dropzone by a flurry of improvements as Q1 was chequered flagged.
Sainz was the driver whose improvement actually relegated Hulkenberg into the bottom five, with the German ending up just 0.044s slower than Stroll ahead.
Sergey Sirotkin was 17th, just 0.011s slower than Hulkenberg, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso 18th on his first taste of the fastest supersoft Pirellis of the weekend.
Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was 19th having had to use soft rubber for his first run before moving onto supersofts, putting him ahead only of Ericsson.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.057s||1.297s|
|6||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m30.023s||2.263s|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m30.093s||2.333s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.229s||9.469s|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.126s||–|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
Japanese GP: Hamilton completes Suzuka F1 practice clean sweep in FP3
Lewis Hamilton continued his domination ahead of Japanese Grand Prix qualifying as the final Formula 1 practice session at Suzuka ended early after a Nico Hulkenberg crash.
Hamilton improved late on to topple title rival Sebastian Vettel, having spent most of the session at the foot of the times following an early rain shower.
Kimi Raikkonen led Ferrari team-mate Vettel by a tenth on their initial flying laps on supersofts before light rain increased after a quarter of an hour.
That left the Ferraris on top, with Friday pacesetter and championship leader Hamilton slowest of the 20 drivers.
Hamilton did not set a representative time in his Mercedes after aborting his first flying lap then locking up and going down the escape road at the final chicane on his second.
A slide for Sergio Perez at Spoon confirmed slick tyres were no longer suitable for the conditions and track action stopped for 15 minutes while teams waited for the weather to improve.
Valtteri Bottas broke the silence just after the half-hour mark and reported the track was fine but for damp kerbs, and that sparked a series of improvements.
Fernando Alonso was the first to lower his time with 20 minutes to go, although the McLaren driver remained near the tail end of the field in 17th.
It took a while for the leaders to find time, with Raikkonen messing up his first effort by going off-track at the end of the esses in the first sector.
Vettel set a personal best in the first sector but then ran wide exiting Degner 2, and complained he was still struggling with the rear as he failed to improve.
The final 10 minutes proved decisive, with first Vettel going quicker on a 1m29.715s and then Hamilton lapping 0.116 seconds quicker despite a slightly scruffy lap.
Vettel was quicker in the first two sectors but shipped almost half a second in the final sector, which is the second part of the long back straight, 130R and the final chicane.
Raikkonen did not improve and fell to third, ahead of Max Verstappen in the leading Red Bull.
Bottas ended up fifth in the second Mercedes, 0.8s slower than Hamilton, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo sixth.
A late flier from Esteban Ocon took him to seventh ahead of Racing Point Force India team-mate Sergio Perez as Carlos Sainz Jr (Renault) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas) completed the top 10.
Any chance of final improvements was extinguished with less than three minutes to go when Hulkenberg rear-ended his Renault into the barriers halfway through the uphill esses at the start of the lap.
Hulkenberg ran a little wide on the exit of the first left-right and his car swapped ends as he tried to correct the slide, which sent him into the wall with quite considerable damage.
The session was red flagged and did not resume.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.304s||0.705s||13|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.474s||0.875s||10|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.088s||1.489s||12|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.483s||1.884s||12|
|13||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m32.030s||2.431s||13|
|20||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m33.105s||3.506s||10|
KIMI (P5, 33 giri completati, miglior tempo 1’29’’498 su Supersoft): “E’ stato un venerdì normale, sia per quanto riguarda le cose che abbiamo provato, sia per l’uso del motore. Ci siamo concentrati sull’avere il miglior set up possibile per la macchina e verso la fine della sessione il feeling era migliorato, ma di certo abbiamo del lavoro da fare prima di domani. Non so se pioverà o no durante le P3 e le qualifiche; dovremo vedere quello che il tempo ci porterà”.
Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest again in second Friday practice
Lewis Hamilton dominated Friday’s second Formula 1 free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver hit the front during the early running on soft-compound Pirelli tyres, setting a best time of 1m28.911s.
So strong was the pace of Mercedes that Hamilton’s initial time would have been good enough for second overall at the end of the afternoon, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas the only driver to better it later in the session on supersofts.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was the first of the frontrunners to complete a qualifying simulation, posting a 1m29.257s to climb to second.
This was subsequently bettered by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who set a 1m29.050s despite later complaining that the car handled "like rallycross".
Bottas had a shot at going fastest, only to carry too much speed into the Degner 2 right hander and run wide at the exit. He aborted the lap.
Hamilton then completed his three-lap qualifying simulation run, banging in the fastest time of the session with a 1m28.217s – taking a bite of the grass on the run from the hairpin to the kink before Spoon Curve on the way while passing a touring Charles Leclerc.
Bottas did put a lap together at that point, outpacing Hamilton in the long middle sector that stretches from the approach to Degner 1 to the middle of the back straight, but overall he was 0.461 seconds slower.
That put him ahead of Vettel and Verstappen, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen fifth and a massive 1.281s down.
Daniel Ricciardo was slowest of the drivers from the top six teams, just 0.015s behind Raikkonen.
Esteban Ocon led ‘Class B’ for Racing Point Force India, posting a 1m30.035s that briefly placed him fifth after showing strong pace on mediums on the first runs.
That put him four-tenths faster than the Haas of Romain Grosjean, who pipped Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson by 0.038s.
Brendon Hartley, driving for Toro Rosso and benefiting from the upgrade ‘Spec 3’ Honda engine, rounded out the top 10, 2.285s off the pace.
Sergio Perez was 11th in the second Force India, missing out on the top 10 by eight-thousandths of a second.
Renault’s recent slide continued with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr ending up 12th and 14th respectively.
They were split by Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, who did not head out until the final quarter-of-an-hour after what the team described as a fuel cell issue.
He went straight into a performance run on supersofts, posting a 1m30.795s with 10 minutes remaining.
Sauber driver Leclerc had a scruffy session, which included a couple of off-track moments in the middle of Spoon Curve, and ended up 15th.
His first qualifying simulation lap was compromised by running side by side with Lance Stroll in the chicane and then his second was ruined by a wide moment at the hairpin.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was 16th ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who used soft Pirellis to set his best lap of 1m30.988s.
Williams pairing Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were 18th and 19th, ahead of the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.257s||1.040s||32|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.513s||1.296s||27|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.035s||1.818s||32|
|10||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m30.502s||2.285s||27|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.510s||2.293s||28|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m30.795s||2.578s||10|
Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in practice one
Formula 1 world championship leader Lewis Hamilton led a dominant Mercedes one-two in the opening practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix despite avoiding Pirelli’s softest tyres.
Hamilton toppled team-mate Valtteri Bottas to set a session-best 1m28.691s, putting Mercedes seven-tenths clear of Red Bull and a full second clear of Ferrari.
Daniel Ricciardo ended the morning third, with Kimi Raikkonen beating Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel to fourth.
Ricciardo was the session’s early pacesetter as he and team-mate Max Verstappen ran quickly on soft tyres in the opening half an hour.
A 1m29.842s from Bottas then put Mercedes ahead before the halfway mark on softs.
Bottas headed Vettel by a tenth at that point but the Ferrari was running supersoft tyres and barely outpaced Hamilton, who was only on mediums.
hen Bottas switched to fresh medium tyres he improved to a 1m29.137s, which Hamilton comfortably eclipsed on his first soft-tyre flying lap by almost half a second.
The Ferraris were no match despite using a second set of new supersofts, having brought an aggressive tyre allocation to Suzuka.
Ricciardo set a 1m29.373s to lap three tenths clear of Ferrari, though Raikkonen was able to steal ahead of his team-mate because Vettel lost time in the final corner behind Pierre Gasly.
Toro Rosso driver Gasly, who also had a trip over the grass out of Turn 2 during the morning, had already been involved in an earlier, more dramatic incident with Hamilton.
Gasly was slowing ahead of the chicane before the start of a flying lap but despite checking his mirrors he remained on the racing line and Hamilton, approaching on a fast lap, had to swerve aggressively at the last minute in avoidance.
Hamilton, who is edging closer to a fifth F1 title, locked up and took to the escape road before gesturing his displeasure at Gasly.
The incident will be investigated after the session.
Behind the big three teams, Esteban Ocon claimed best-of-the-rest honours.
The Point Racing Force India man lapped 1.9s off the pace but impressively outpaced his midfield rivals on soft tyres as they all ran supersofts.
Romain Grosjean was eighth-quickest, just over two tenths behind Ocon, while Sauber completed the top 10 with Charles Leclerc a tenth quicker than Marcus Ericsson.
Gasly missed out on a top-10 place despite matching Ericsson’s best time to the thousandth.
The classic Suzuka circuit caught out a few drivers, with Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso suffering the biggest moments.
Perez had a half-spin at the final corner after dropping a wheel onto the dirt on the outside entering the chicane.
Alonso made the same mistake at the first Degner corner, which sent his McLaren skating across the gravel and ended with the Spaniard facing the wrong way.
He was able to rejoin the track and eventually set the 18th-fastest time, 3.3s off the pace and backed up by 2019 McLaren driver Lando Norris in 20th.
Norris was slowest of all, 3.9s off the pace, as he stood in for Stoffel Vandoorne for his latest practice one outing.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.373s||0.682s||32|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.841s||1.150s||30|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.591s||1.900s||28|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m31.073s||2.382s||20|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.272s||2.581s||29|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m31.908s||3.217s||23|
Our starting position today was not ideal. I did a decent start on the soft tires and in the first lap I tried to gain some positions, but when I attempted to pass a Renault I ran wide and lost some places; so I had to make them back. The feeling in the car was a little bit tricky all the way through the race, not the nicest balance; some laps were ok, some others a bit more difficult. It’s quite tricky to follow other cars on this track; we did a fairly good job out of overtaking people but we were too far from those at the front. Obviously, the final result is far from being the best possible. As for Sebastian, I don’t know what happened; we have made a lot of improvements over the last few years as a team, but now, for whatever reason, we suddenly seem to have technical issues coming out from nothing. It’s kind of weird, our cars are running perfectly and suddenly on Sunday there is an problem that nobody expects. There is some work to be done on that side. Then we are going to push until the last lap of the last race and we’ll see where we end up.