Hamilton claims pole for Japanese GP

by Leon Thompson October 7, 2018, 18:55
Hamilton claims pole for Japanese GP

Lewis Hamilton will clinch his fifth Formula 1 world title as early as the next grand prix in the US on October 21 if he outscores Sebastian Vettel by eight points.

Hamilton, who claimed the 80th pole of his career, will be bidding for his fifth Japanese Grand Prix victory in Sunday's race. He took the flag at Fuji for McLaren in 2007 and has now won for Mercedes at Suzuka in four of the five races since 2014.

Hamilton won the downhill gallop to the opening bend, with Bottas slotting in behind, and Verstappen holding off Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.Lewis Hamilton has one hand, three fingers and a thumb on the world championship after romping to victory in Japan as his rival Sebastian Vettel finished a lowly sixth following a calamitous collision.

Vettel dismissed suggestions that he could have waited longer before trying to pass the Red Bull driver.

Vettel's misfortune allowed 21-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen to qualify third for Red Bull.

Clay Millican piloted his Top Fuel dragster to the No. 1 spot to clinch his ninth No. 1 qualifier of the season at the 33rd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.Tommy Johnson Jr. He resumed in 19th place with a damaged vehicle.

"The whole weekend's been incredibly strong for the team", he said. "It's a great one-two for Mercedes and a true showing of the real strength in depth that we have as a team and this track is the best track in the world".

"But I had a mistake so lost most of the time there but the second run we obviously didn't make it out on time because the rain came".

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Hamilton's victory in Japan means he has an nearly insurmountable lead in the championship, if he didn't already. Only 100-points remain on the table and Hamilton will have a chance to wrap things up at the Circuit of the Americas in two weeks.

Hamilton and Bottas held the lead cleanly through turn one but Vettel executed a magnificent first lap from eighth on the grid. "I think we had better speed than ninth but we start there and then see how it goes". The Briton won from pole in Japan a year ago. Hamilton complained intermittently of hesitations from his power unit from the lead, but he had no discernable difficulty keeping a five-second gap to his teammate in second place.

"Obviously, not the prime overtaking spot".

In the final stages of the race, Verstappen was pushing hard on Bottas.

"I knew he had a penalty", insisted Vettel. "It was our call and obviously for us it didn't work out today". I think the first run was OK.

"I mean, look at (the incident with) Kimi".

"I got my balance in quite a nice place so I was just enjoying it. We're all racing, the race is long". The tow that I had was very powerful and the gap was there. "I won't be doing it forever so you've just got to cherish the moments". "Sometimes closer, sometimes with more margin but it's normal that sometimes it gets close but I think that you always need to leave a space and in that case I couldn't go anywhere and then we touched".

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