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Featured 2017 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Lewis Hamilton

  2. Sebastian Vettel

  3. Valterri Bottas

  4. Daniel Ricciardo

  5. Kimi Raikkonen

  6. Max Verstappen

  7. Sergio Perez

    0 vote(s)
  8. Esteban Ocon

    0 vote(s)
  9. Carlos Sainz

    0 vote(s)
  10. Nico Hulkenberg

  11. Felipe Massa

    0 vote(s)
  12. Lance Stroll

  13. Romain Grosjean

    0 vote(s)
  14. Stoffel Vandoorne

  15. Kevin Magnussen

    0 vote(s)
  16. Fernando Alonso

  17. Jolyon Palmer

  18. Pascal Wehrlein

  19. Marcus Ericsson

    0 vote(s)
  20. Pierre Gasly

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    2017 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix.jpg
    Welcome to the central place to discuss the 2017 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix.

    From the long straights and wide turns of Sepang the Formula One circus heads to one of the finest racetracks in the world, the tortuous and twisting 5.807km of historic tarmac that makes up the Suzuka International Circuit in Japan.

    The 2017 Formula One field will take to the circuit on Friday morning in this the 16th round of the season, and with only five races left on the calendar before a champion is crowned, can Ferrari and Sebastien Vettel do anything to stop the dominance of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team heading into the close of the championship fight?

    Suzuka is one of the more challenging circuits on the F1 schedule, and with rain an ever present threat, anything could happen before the weekend comes to a close the Sunday afternoon.

    Session Report Links:

    Sit back, relax and enjoy the race!
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  2. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    THURSDAY FIA PRESS CONFERENCE PART ONE - Felipe MASSA (Williams), Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull), Lance STROLL (Williams)

    Felipe, let’s start by talking about your future. This time last year you knew what you were going to be doing, or not doing, in 2017….

    Felipe MASSA: No, I didn’t know anything last. What I decided didn’t happen.

    Well you weren’t going to be racing in Formula One, that was the plan, but there seems to be some uncertainty now. Where are you at ion your head, how much do you want to stay in Formula One and how much do you want to stay at Williams?

    FM: To be honest in my head I’m pretty relaxed, so I’m enjoying and trying to do the best I can in the last races this year and I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. But I’m quite relaxed. I’m quite keen to do maybe another season. I think I can do it in a great way. I can give a lot to the team, like I did already and I think maybe I can do another year. But I don’t decide; the team decides. Yeah, I’m pretty relaxed, trying to enjoy the races, trying to do the best I can in the car, trying to the give the best to the team, and that’s the most important thing. I’m talking with the team definitely for next year and we are in discussion. So everything has some directions around, so I have my direction as well to follow, like a professional driver, like I was always in my career in Formula One and I am very happy for that. That’s the way it is and definitely I can do a good effort for the team but we need to find a good solution to carry on in the right way, that everybody is happy. But anyway, I’m quite relaxed and definitely gave a lot to the team, to Formula One as well. If people are happy that I stay, I stay, and I will do everything I can to stay at the top level. But I’m quite relaxed and I’m trying to do my job in the right way in the last races and we’ll see what’s going to happen.

    When do you need to know by? Have you given the team a deadline?

    FM: Well, we don’t have a deadline. Definitely I think it would be good for the team and also for myself that we know what’s going to happen before the race in Brazil. We’ll see if this will be possible but I really hope so.

    Turning to matters on track now, you hold the pole position record here at Suzuka, for your Q3 time in 2006. Tell us a little about what’s the secret of stitching together a good lap here and indeed is there any advice you can give a rookie, like your team-mate Lance Stroll?

    FM: Yeah, I remember it was 2006; it was around 29.5 lap time. That was pretty amazing. A long time ago, many things change from that time to now. If you see also that the car we race now is one hundred and something kilos heavier than how it was the car in 2006. But maybe this year it can change. Maybe this year we can see some records around this track and I’m sure it will be great to drive the car we have this year on this track, which is definitely one of the best tracks in Formula One. I’m sure Sector 1 will be quite fun, but also quite difficult for all of us in terms of our neck and in the race and also to do one lap in qualifying will be pretty interesting, to see that feeling. Lance knows already the track, but definitely it is a different car so I think it will be nice for him to drive the car this year.

    Thank you. There is clearly a good dynamic between yourself and Felipe, and there’s a lot of speculation around who is going to be your team-mate next year. Do you have a preference?

    FM: We’ve had a really god relationship this year and we’ve done a good job to help the team score as many points as possible, between the both of us. But, at the end of the day, it comes down to the team, who are the drivers. I’ve just got to focus on what I’m doing, but definitely we have a good relationship this year.

    Is there one particular thing that you have learned from Felipe this year?

    FM: Many!

    LS: That’s it.

    FM: We should say, no?

    LS: No. It’s between the two of us. All in all, he brings a lot of experience to the team and I’ve been able to use him as a benchmark throughout my rookie season. He’s really helped to develop the car in many ways, with these regulations, and as well I think I’ve been able to pick up a few details along the way that I could apply into my work at the track, so all in all there have definitely been a lot of things I’ve picked up throughout the year.

    And you’ve now scored points in six of the last nine races. You’re looking very assured in the car. How much more confident are you now compared to Melbourne at the start of the year?

    LS: I’m a different driver to where I was in Melbourne at the beginning of the year. It’s just experience that you soak up through the year and every race there is always something that I think I could do better. I just feel that I’m getting better every single race and that’s just experience and time in the car.

    Thank you Lance. Daniel, can we start by talking about what you’ve been up to since the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend, have you been having fun in the Land of the Rising Sun?

    Daniel RICCIARDO: It can be a dark place… the sun doesn’t always rise (laughs). It can get emotional in Tokyo. But no, it’s been OK. A more positive experience in the last few days, was actually with this man here [Felipe Massa]. We went to the famous sushi… I’m going to get it wrong now, Sukiyabashi Jiro, and it kind of became more on the map to let’s say the western world after there was a documentary ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ and I was told about it a couple years ago and I was like ‘oh, we’ll just call and get a reservation for tomorrow night’, but you’ve got to book like a year in advance, so two years later we finally made it. It was a good experience. Yeah but… well, anyway…

    FM: It was good to see his face, when some fish that he is not really keen to have…

    DR: I only started eating seafood a few years ago, like properly, like raw fish. I like some of it, but some is still new to me, but you don’t want to disrespect.

    FM: There was no salmon.

    DR: There was some different stuff, but anyway, it was a good experience for sure. And you’re in and out in 30 minutes, so it’s bang, bang, bang, but it was good. I did some Kendo as well, a Japanese martial art. That was quite cool and I enjoyed that. So two good experiences this week.

    You’ve been having a good time! Thanks for that. Well, let’s just cast our minds to the race last Sunday. Can you describe your emotions on Sunday night, because on the one hand you had scored your eighth podium of the year, but was there a sense of what if? What if, for example, you had got past Bottas sooner, what might have been possible?

    DR: I guess there was a small what if. If I had got Bottas or he hadn’t got me on the start I guess then my chances of having a battle with Lewis would have been higher. But I still didn’t look back on the race like ‘aw, it was a missed opportunity’. After the race I thought the start, I was like ‘if only I went to the outside I could have braked later and held my position’, but I think if I had pulled out early of Max’s slipstream to the outside, I think Bottas would have probably just gone through the middle of us. So in hindsight it would have been difficult probably to do anything better on the start. I was still happy, another podium. Although I won there last year it’s actually never really been a track I’ve… I wouldn’t say enjoyed, but had much success on, so to finish on the podium there in the last year I was going to take that, so it’s OK.

    Well, the car has been competitive on three very different tracks now, Monza, Singapore, Malaysia. Would you agree with Helmut Marko that it’s now the best chassis in Formula One?

    DR: We have to be close. If it’s not then we’re certainly close, and a lot closer than we were in the first handful of races this year. Like Monza, you surprise yourself on Sunday but then in Singapore, Seb puts a few tenths on us in quali. So you’re like ‘we do and we don’t, we do and we don’t’. Obviously, in Malaysia we were quick. If Ferrari has started at the front they would have been tough to beat. But we’re certainly close. If we’re not the best, we’re certainly close and I think this circuit is another chance for us to show that and I’m looking forward to it very much.


    Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Daniel, Dr Marko has been quoted this week as saying that you are already on the market. Could you elaborate on that, are you aware of that, have you discussed anything with them and what does your future look like within the Red Bull family?

    DR: I mean the only thing I’m aware of is that my contract with them is at an end next year. I guess he’s referencing that. He’s not referencing next year, I guess.

    Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) You hope!

    DR: Ha, ha! I’m 100%, well 99.999% sure I’ve got a seat with Red Bull Racing next year. But I guess he’s talking about beyond that, but nothing’s been said between us beyond next, so I guess he’s more stating facts than… I don’t think he has a plan yet beyond ’18. But yeah, I should be racing next year! He wasn’t too disappointed after Malaysia; I think he was OK, so I think I’m still OK.

    Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Daniel, in the beginning of the season you were not that close to Valtteri’s pace but in the last four races you have overtaken him twice and beaten him three times. Are you surprised at this change?

    DR: I think it’s been… we’ve been getting stronger. So, we have been able to compete more regularly now with Mercedes and yeah, since the summer break he hasn’t had as many – I guess – good performances compared to Lewis at least. I think it’s a combination maybe: he hasn’t performed at his best the last few races and we have got better, so it’s given us a chance to steal some points from him. Obviously my chance of winning the title is very, very, very little but there’s still a small chance at least to get top three again. Valtteri still has a good gap but if I can keep closing on this, then I’ll be pretty satisfied.

    Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Daniel, Red Bull are really good at developing through a season and getting better and better, as you’ve just said. From your perspective isn’t it about time they stopped developing through the season and started developing in the winter and gave you a car to win a championship from the outset. If that doesn’t happen next year, is that make or break for you with the team?

    DR: It’s certainly our plan. It has been obviously… I still don’t know why the last few years we’ve had slow starts and then found a way to come back. So I guess the idea is again what we learn, because there’s not many changes next year, what we learn hopefully from this year hopefully we take to next year and we start stronger. So yeah, that’s obviously the plan, that’s everyone’s wish and yeah, I guess we go from there. Look, if next year’s not a very competitive season at all then, of course, that will then, y’know, be addressed. At least… I feel I’ve said it every time this year but where we are now this year, you’d think next year we should be competitive. Hopefully as competitive as y’know, I would like to see. So, yeah. Mercedes has been winning for too long. We’ll try to change that.

    Q: (Abhishek Takle – Mid-Day) To Felipe. It’s been reported that Williams are going to be evaluating Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta for next year. Knowing that, how does that factor into your plans for the future?

    FM: I think it doesn’t change anything for me. So… it doesn’t change anything for me. Williams know 100 per cent what I can give to the team and, even if you do a test with a car that is four years before, completely different. You cannot evaluate too much, as well. So, doesn’t change anything for me, to be honest.

    Felipe, will you attend that test?

    FM: No! I don’t know. I don’t know even if it’s true, that test, or not. I don’t know. To be honest… I don’t know.

    Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Lance, on the topic that Felipe’s just mentioned about a four-year-old car, you’ve done a lot of testing with a four-year-old car and you’re obviously driving the current car. What comparison is there between the two? Do you believe that one could really evaluate a driver that way?

    LS: Well, the cars we drive today are really quick. Back then, in ’14, the cars were, I believe, the first year with the new regulations, so there has been a lot of development, obviously the rules have changed this year, so lot more down downforce, different tyres and all that. So, they are very different, yeah, we’ll see what the team thinks about it. It’s not up to me to decide whether it’s a good evaluation or not.
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  3. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium


    Q: Valtteri, if we could start with you, it hasn’t been the easiest for you since the summer break and you said on Sunday evening in Malaysia that this might now be the most difficult moment of your career. Can you elaborate on that? Why is that?

    Valtteri BOTTAS: Well, I think the main thing is just because, the only thing I want to do is to perform and to try and meet my goals what I set for me personally. I definitely haven’t been achieving those lately, so that’s why the feeling wasn’t so positive after the race. So, for sure it’s tricky because now, y’know, having such a good car and with potential for such good results, I just want to perform. So, that’s why.

    Q: Has the car become harder to drive than it was earlier in the year when you were winning races, getting pole positions?

    VB: I think the compromises we’ve been needing to do in some circuits to get it into the right window has been quite a challenge sometimes to drive around. I think Lewis has been able to extract a little bit more sometimes with a more tricky set-up. Some things with the driving style always makes a difference and to understand those, you always kind of need that bad weekend to learn from it – otherwise you don’t know these differences. It’s not massive things, it’s small things but this sport is all about details and changing some things in your own driving, then it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge and then that way the driving maybe doesn’t feel quite natural at times – but that’s how it is. I see things positive because I think from all those difficult weekends we’ve had there’s been so much to learn from, so much to get better from. Like the race in Malaysia. I’ve had so many answers to my questions from that race. We’ve been trying to work out every single detail with the engineers and trying to understand, so I’ve learned massively again from last weekend. That’s why there’s always a positive.

    And talking about those details, is there anything when you look at the data that you can learn from a guy like Lewis Hamilton?

    VB: Yes, of course. From every team mate you can always learn something. From every single one. From every circuit there’s always a thing or two you can pick up, especially from an experienced, extremely quick driver.

    Q: Stoffel, tough times for Valtteri at the moment but you’ve had a cracking couple of races, seventh in Singapore, seventh last weekend in Malaysia. You must be feeling pretty good about things.

    Stoffel VANDOORNE: Yeah, lately everything has been going very well for me. I think it shows all the work I’ve been doing with the team – with the engineers, back at the factory as well – is paying off. And yeah, obviously feeling more and more comfortable with the car. It was great to have those two seventh places in Singapore and Malaysia – I don’t want to get used to being happy with seventh but I think considering the package we have it was definitely the best result possible, so very pleased with that and, yeah, five races left this year, which is hopefully five opportunities to make something good of it, so shows we have to keep pushing, keep working as hard as we can and who knows what is possible for the last couple of races.

    Q: You’re now ahead of Fernando Alonso in the World Championship. Can you share with us just some of that work you’ve just referred to? What have you been doing? What areas of your job have you had to focus on to turn things around?

    SV: It’s only my first season in Formula One so there were a lot of things I had to get to grips with, learn. I think definitely the troubled start to the season didn’t help with that in terms of the amount of track time we missed and, yeah, lately everything has had a much better run. The relationship between my engineers has developed massively as well and yeah, I think we go into every weekend very positive, very comfortable as well, knowing the areas we have to focus on. It’s very nice to see the results are paying off as well.

    Q: You won a Super Formula race here at Suzuka last year. How important is local knowledge? Is there something you gain from your year in Japan last year that might help you this weekend? Is there a trick to this track that you might know that the others don’t?

    SV: I think it’s always very good to know a circuit. Like you said, I have a lot of experience around this circuit. Done a lot of testing, a lot of racing in Super Formula here, and obviously have a win around here as well – which was a special moment. So looking forward to this weekend again, to discover this circuit in Formula One. I think with these cars especially it will be a very exciting track for everyone to drive around.

    Q: Pascal, now unlike these other guys, you don’t yet know what you’re going to be doing in 2018 yet you’ve out qualified your teammate, Marcus Ericsson, nine times, you’ve scored all of Sauber’s points this year. Are you confident that that will be enough to keep you in Formula One next season?

    Pascal WEHRLEIN: I hope so. My focus is on driving. This weekend – or every weekend - is another opportunity to show something. The previous races have been quite difficult for us and Malaysia was a bit better so hopefully we learned something from there and can have a better weekend this weekend.

    Q: How dependent on Mercedes are you to place you somewhere next season?

    PW: I am a Mercedes Young Driver so of course Mercedes is doing all the talks for me.

    Q: And looking ahead to next season, specifically with Sauber, obviously it’s been a tough time for the team this year but judging by what you’ve seen of next year’s car, how do you rate their prospects going forward?

    PW: For Sauber, you mean? So definitely a step forward is the engine, that they are running the current engine next year because now, especially, in the second half of the season we are struggling a bit with the performance there and definitely this is going to be better next year and then also hopefully with the car they are doing some steps forward.


    Q: (Tatsuya Otani – Car Graphic) I have two questions for Stoffel. How do you look back at the development of the car during the season, for the chassis and the power unit respectively? And question two is: you raced for Honda last year here in Japan in the Super Formula championship; after your experience in Formula One Grands Prix, your image or your feeling of Honda has been changed or not?

    SV: As a team, I think we’ve progressed a lot since the start of the season. Obviously everyone knows the situation, how it was back in Barcelona during winter testing, when it was obviously a very tough time for everyone, even getting the car out on track was difficult. The first few races were complicated as well and I think every weekend there were positives to take; every week has been going better and better. We’re still not at the point where we are happy about our performance. We still know it’s a very long way to go but I think lately we’ve been able to score a couple of points which are definitely very valuable for the team. But like I said, there’s still a long way to go to compete with the top guys so plenty of margin.

    Q: And Stoffel, the second question, can you relate the two experiences of Honda last year and this year?

    SV: Well definitely my year in Super Formula helped me to work with Japanese people. I think the culture especially was very different so to come out here and discover something new, to work in a completely Japanese environment was not the easiest in the beginning, but I think it was a big challenge for me as well to kind of transform a team around me, to teach them some European lessons as well and to guide the team in a certain direction and then seeing the results of that was a nice challenge for me to do.

    Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Hallo Valtteri; you have been very open and honest, talking about your current problem. Aren’t you afraid that at that the same time you have been playing yourself down in public?

    VB: I don’t really… I’m not really interested about what people say in public. I know, like I said before, I know just my own targets, my own goals and if I don’t meet those, if I’m far away from those I’m not happy and then it’s tricky. I’m always very honest with myself and if there’s any single little bit I can improve myself and if I can look in the mirror and I can say I can improve something, normally I will improve it, one way or another. It’s been a very difficult few races that I need to learn massively from and especially from Malaysia but that’s now history. I’m now here and I’m looking forward. There’s been weekends when I’ve learned massively so looking forward to the next one.

    Q: Valtteri, to go public on those thoughts as Heikki just referred to is a surprise to some people.

    VB: Normally I just say things how they are and how things were. I was not happy, that’s it.

    Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Pascal, this weekend will mark the ninth race since the big management changes earlier on in the year, so effectively almost half a season ago in terms of race count. How much has the team changed in that time and in what areas and does it now have a proper foundation for the future, do you believe?

    PW: About the foundation, I don’t really know. But definitely it has changed in the team, with Fred coming we have a very experienced guy and also some other guys joining the team so for next year’s car everyone can expect a good step. Then one of the first things he did of course was to re-sign the Ferrari deal and to put the current engine in the car which will be better.

    Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Valtteri, you’ve talked about what’s happened since the summer break but whilst your teammate’s been on the podium, you haven’t got within half a second of him in qualifying, it’s been a bit difficult. You said the compromises you’ve made but is it time to ask for a new chassis? Would that actually help some of your problems?

    VB: Well, if the team would find a problem with the chassis, with nowadays technology, before going just changing the chassis, you can find out if everything is alright and I trust the team as always, doing everything to make sure the car is in a good condition and well set-up. I trust the guys on that and who knows, maybe I’ve already asked before.

    Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) I’ll take that as a yes, you have.

    VB: Erm, no, not really, directly. I think… what was the first one after the summer break? It was Belgium. I had a poor performance in the beginning of the race and also the qualifying wasn’t great so I asked a lot of questions, you know, I just wanted to kind of take off any things that could affect… I always want to make sure the machinery is good as well. So, like I said, I completely trust that the team is giving me a good car.

    Q: (Shigenori Ogura – Tokyo Sport) Stoffel, welcome back to Suzuka. I would like to know how do you feel now to be back in Suzuka and racing in front of your supporters in Japan?

    SV: Yeah, obviously very excited to be back in Japan in general, back in Suzuka. Obviously some very good memories from last year, racing here. I always had a lot of support from the Japanese fans and this weekend will be no different. If anything, it will be more. They always turn up with great surprises, great presents for all of us and it’s just great to see the atmosphere so I’m looking forward to this weekend. It’s a great circuit and just a great event for all of us.

    Q: (Gaetan Vigneron – RTBF) Stoffel, could we say that your improved results in so few races could be related to the fact that at one point you could choose your own set-up with your engineers?

    SV: Yeah, I think - like I said before - I think it’s just the way I’m working with the team, working with my engineers has developed a lot. I think having had the opportunity to have a bit more track time enabled us to kind of see what I needed from the car, for the engineers as well to understand exactly what I needed from the car. At this point we’re perfectly up to speed with that. There are no doubts any more. I’m very, very comfortable as well. Every time I go into a weekend I’m just confident that things will work out, things will go and that’s a nice feeling to have when you jump in the car, to feel comfortable and the car will do what you want it to do.
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  4. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Paul Jeffrey
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    Paul Jeffrey
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    Ferrari Take Early Initiative in Japan.

    Japanese Grand Prix FP1.jpg
    Ferrari driver Sebastien Vettel would strike first blood in the battle at the sharp end of the field on Friday morning, two tenths up on Hamilton while the impressive Ricciardo remains close.

    Suzuka on Friday morning would begin in dry conditions, with many of the field very quickly taking to the circuit in order to gather important data before the predicted rain showers during the remainder of the weekend.

    With plenty of track action to keep the ever enthusiastic spectators trackside on the edge of their seats, free space would be at something of a premium for the drivers as they looked to settle into their programme ahead of an undoubtedly challenging Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

    It would be usual protagonists Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull who set much of the pace during the early stages of FP1, eventually ending up with just under half a second covering the top four at the end of the useful dry running this morning.

    Unfortunately it wasn't to be a successful start to the weekend for Carlos Sainz Jr in the Toro Rosso, pushing too hard in his off the pace car the Spaniard suffered heavy contact with the barriers on the exit of the turn 11 hairpin, ending his running early and bringing out a session red flag to allow the marshals the opportunity to clear up what remained of Sainz very badly damaged car.

    Rain would eventually fall towards the end of the session relegating many of the cars back to the safety of the pit lane, setting the scene nicely for FP2 later in the afternoon...

    Provisional FP1 Result
    1. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:29.166 23
    2. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:29.377 +0.211s 29
    3. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer - 1:29.541 +0.375s 27
    4. Kimi Räikkönen - Ferrari - 1:29.638 +0.472s 22
    5. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:30.151 +0.985s 30
    6. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer - 1:30.762 +1.596s 26
    7. Esteban Ocon - Force India Mercedes - 1:30.899 +1.733s 22
    8. Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1:30.974 +1.808s 24
    9. Romain Grosjean - Haas Ferrari - 1:31.032 +1.866s 22
    10. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren Honda - 1:31.202 +2.036s 24
    11. Kevin Magnussen - Haas Ferrari - 1:31.216 +2.050s 15
    12. Fernando Alonso - McLaren Honda - 1:31.235 +2.069s 19
    13. Sergio Perez - Force India Mercedes - 1:31.530 +2.364s 23
    14. Lance Stroll - Williams Mercedes - 1:31.602 +2.436s 22
    15. Jolyon Palmer - Renault - 1:31.757 +2.591s 22
    16. Felipe Massa - Williams Mercedes - 1:31.912 +2.746s 20
    17. Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso - 1:32.252 +3.086s 14
    18. Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso - 1:32.501 +3.335s 18
    19. Pascal Wehrlein - Sauber Ferrari - 1:32.897 +3.731s 29
    20. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber Ferrari - 1:33.397 +4.231s 28
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  8. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium


    Lewis Hamilton Commanding in Washed Out FP2

    Japanese Grand Prix FP2.jpg
    Lewis Hamilton again showed his mastery of wet conditions during Second Practice in Japan, however the real story would be a lack of running for the majority of drivers on a soaked Suzuka circuit.

    With typical Japanese torrential rain at Suzuka on Friday afternoon, very little on track action would be had by the teams and drivers of the field today, with just Hamilton and the Force India and Williams team managing to set a time in exceptionally wet conditions.

    The session would begin in disjointed fashion with over 45 minutes of delay until the green flag was waived, and even when the circuit would be opened to begin practice only five cars would set a serious laptime, led by Hamilton in his Mercedes and the two Force India cars of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.

    The only noteworthy news from the session would be the venturing out on track of Carlos Sainz for Toro Rosso, his mechanics having done impressive work to repair the car following the Renault bound Sainz accident during opening practice.

    Provisional FP2 Results
    1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:48.719 4
    2. Esteban Ocon - Force India Mercedes - 1:49.518 +0.799s 3
    3. Sergio Perez - Force India Mercedes - 1:51.345 +2.626s 3
    4. Felipe Massa - Williams Mercedes -1:52.146 +3.427s 3
    5. Lance Stroll - Williams Mercedes - 1:52.343 +3.624s 4
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  9. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium


    Bottas Goes Quickest and Collects Some Barrier

    Japanese GP FP3.jpg
    Mercedes once again topped out Free Practice in Japan, with Valterri Bottas ending running just 0.014 faster than team mate Hamilton despite a heavy brush with the barriers at Spoon Curve.

    Mercifully for the Formula One field the weather remained dry during third and final practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, allowing Mercedes duo Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to run away at the top of the timesheets on Saturday morning, gapping third placed Sebastien Vettel by almost four tenths of a second and laying down a startling reminder of the sheer pace of the 2017 Mercedes F1 challenger.

    FP3 would be something of a disjointed affair as the drivers very clearly showed signs of a lack of running in dry conditions at the circuit, with both Bottas and Ferraris' Kimi Räikkönen making contact with the barriers during the session, Bottas after just 20 minutes and ending his day early, and Räikkönen bringing out the red flags after losing the car at the challenging Degner 2 turn.

    Despite the regular interruptions to the session plenty of track action would be had by many of the cars in preparation for qualifying later in the day, with many drivers clocking upwards of 20 + laps in the short 60 minute session. Mercedes would hold all the cards for much of the action despite the troubles for Bottas in the #77 car, with Ferrari and surprisingly Red Bull both seeming to be quite a bit further away from the outright pace than they would ideally have desired.

    Provisional FP3 Results
    1. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:29.055 9
    2. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:29.069 +0.014s 19
    3. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:29.379 +0.324s 23
    4. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer - 1:29.910 +0.855s 15
    5. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer - 1:30.018 +0.963s 13
    6. Esteban Ocon - Force India Mercedes - 1:30.109 +1.054s 12
    7. Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1:30.315 +1.260s 19
    8. Fernando Alonso - McLaren Honda - 1:30.424 +1.369s 13
    9. Sergio Perez - Force India Mercedes - 1:30.563 +1.508s 12
    10. Jolyon Palmer - Renault - 1:30.764 +1.709s 22
    11. Felipe Massa - Williams Mercedes - 1:30.764 +1.709s 21
    12. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren Honda - 1:30.770 +1.715s 18
    13. Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso - 1:30.799 +1.744s 23
    14. Kevin Magnussen - Haas Ferrari - 1:30.982 +1.927s 12
    15. Lance Stroll - Williams Mercedes - 1:31.011 +1.956s 20
    16. Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso - 1:31.353 +2.298s 25
    17. Romain Grosjean - Haas Ferrari - 1:31.459 +2.404s 13
    18. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber Ferrari - 1:32.579 +3.524s 22
    19. Pascal Wehrlein - Sauber Ferrari -1:32.698 +3.643s 21
    20. Kimi Räikkönen - Ferrari - 1:33.962 +4.907s 12
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  10. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium


    Hamilton Dominates Qualifying at Suzuka.

    Japanese Grand Prix Qulai.jpg
    Lewis Hamilton dominated the qualifying session for tomorrow Japanese Grand Prix, setting up a Mercedes / Ferrari showdown in the Land of the Rising Sun.

    Although Mercedes bagged a one-two qualifying result thanks to Valtteri Bottas setting a time good enough for second place, grid penalties mean that Hamilton's chief championship rival Sebastien Vettel will line up alongside the Briton on the starting grid tomorrow afternoon, setting the scene for a potentially electric start to the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.

    Hamilton would set his very first Pole Position at this circuit during qualifying, lapping the circuit in a record 1.27.319 to end the session three tenths up on his Finnish team mate, and a further two tenths ahead of the quickest Ferrari in third.

    Romain Grosjean would find himself in the wars during Q1 when his Haas made heavy contact with the barriers and severely damaged his car, drawing Q1 to a close early and leaving the Haas F1 team plenty of work to do in order to be ready for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Grosjean would be in good company this weekend, with plenty of drivers having difficulty staying on the dark stuff in what has been an unusually accident filled race weekend to date.

    Various grid penalties will mix up the starting order. In summary, penalised for using additional power unit components are Sainz (20 grid places), Alonso (35), Palmer (20). Bottas and Raikkonen, meanwhile, get five-place drops for unscheduled gearbox changes.

    With those applied, the provisional grid reads: Hamilton, Vettel; Ricciardo, Verstappen; Ocon, Bottas; Perez, Massa; Vandoorne, Raikkonen; Hulkenberg, Magnussen; Grosjean, Gasly; Stroll, Ericsson; Wehrlein, Palmer; Sainz, Alonso.

    Provisional Qualifying Results
    1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:29.047 1:27.819 1:27.319 18
    2. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:29.332 1:28.543 1:27.651 17
    3. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:29.352 1:28.225 1:27.791 19
    4. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer - 1:29.475 1:28.935 1:28.306 13
    5. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer - 1:29.181 1:28.747 1:28.332 12
    6. Kimi Räikkönen - Ferrari 1:29.163 - 1:29.079 1:28.498 15
    7. Esteban Ocon - Force India Mercedes - 1:30.115 1:29.199 1:29.111 16
    8. Sergio Perez - Force India Mercedes - 1:29.696 1:29.343 1:29.260 17
    9. Felipe Massa - Williams Mercedes - 1:30.352 1:29.687 1:29.480 16
    10. Fernando Alonso - McLaren Honda - 1:30.525 1:29.749 1:30.687 13
    11. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren Honda - 1:30.654 1:29.778 11
    12. Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1:30.252 1:29.879 10
    13. Kevin Magnussen - Haas Ferrari - 1:30.774 1:29.972 11
    14. Jolyon Palmer - Renault - 1:30.516 1:30.022 10
    15. Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso - 1:30.565 1:30.413 11
    16. Romain Grosjean - Haas Ferrari - 1:30.849 5
    17. Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso - 1:31.317 7
    18. Lance Stroll - Williams Mercedes - 1:31.409 6
    19. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber Ferrari - 1:31.597 7
    20. Pascal Wehrlein - Sauber Ferrari - 1:31.885 7
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  11. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium


  12. Nick Gregory

    Nick Gregory
    Forever a backmarker Premium

    This worries me.
  13. DucMan888


    In response to ESPN ....I like to see Will Buxton as play by play and Danny Sullivan as color commentator.
  14. Rodent


    Liking the picture chosen for this even. As a Ferrari fan who's a fan because my old man was a McLaren fan and rooting for another team would make the races more interesting while watching them with him growing up I can't help but hope that those derpy dudes do well for once, Honda McLaren is winding down but it sure would be great if they managed to do well on their home turf this year.
  15. darkelf1


    Cyber Formula rules.......:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
  16. Qazdar Karim

    Qazdar Karim

    Not looking good for Mercedes.
  17. Nick Hill

    Nick Hill

    How so?

    My personal take is that it could possibly bring in more eyeballs. NBC seems content to carry most races on NBCSN (which most people have never heard of)...unless of course the massive US ratings draw (sarcasm) known as the Tour de France is going on, in which case they'll bump F1 to CNBC (which most people have heard of but, other than when the Olympics are going on, never in a million years would anyone think to surf over there looking for sports).

    I know this is purely anecdotal, but when I first got into F1 in the early 90s as a kid, ESPN was pivotal in me even knowing what F1 was. In our house, like a lot of houses, ESPN was a daily fixture on our TVs. And ESPN will cross promote the heck out of F1, too - Sports Center stories/highlights, in between innings of baseball games, during timeouts of college football games, etc, etc. I think that could spark some "huh, F1 - wonder what that's all about?" and "hmm, haven't checked that out for a while" kinds of thoughts in people.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Mark_McQ


    How do you walk one with one of those hats on? The downforce can't be good for your knees.
    • Haha Haha x 2
  19. Tberg


    Voted Ricciardo, this lad deserves a win and Suzuka could be it.

    About Honda, looking stronger, respect to the japs to make fun of how bad they've been anyway :D
  20. yusupov


    hamilton seemed fine w/ the car in the quotes i've seen