L&T Motorsport

Hamilton takes first Suzuka pole

Lewis Hamilton set a stunning lap at Suzuka today to take his first career pole at the Suzuka circuit in Japan, beating teammate Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel.

This may have been Hamilton’s 11th time race in Formula 1 in Japan, but his two previous pole positions in Japan came at the Fuji Speedway circuit when Formula 1 visited there in 2007 and 2008.

Valtteri Bottas almost crashed out in Q1 by going wide at the second Degner corner, but manged to qualify second on the grid, however he will start from sixth following a five place penalty for a gearbox change, his fellow Finn, Kimi Raikkonen also had to take this penalty after crashing in FP3, he qualified sixth, but will start tenth.

Sebastian Vettel qualified third, but will be promoted to sceond following the Bottas penalty, as will the to Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Verstappen and Esteban Ocon. Perez will start 7th behind Bottas followed by Massa and Vandoorne who is promoted from 11th as his teammate Fernando Alonso qualified 10th, but has had to endure yet another engine penalty, this time worth 35 places. He will start at the back tomorrow.

Joining Vandoorne out in Q2 were Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer and Carlos Sainz, the latter two subject to 20 place penlaries each for engine components, and will start just ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Romain Grosjean was pushing so hard to get out of the Q1 dropzone that the car could not handle it, and spun off into the barrier bringing out the red flag with one minute and eighteen seconds left on the clock. This meant that no one was able to go out back in time to get another lap in, meaning that Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein had no opportunity to improve their lap times, knocking them out in Q1.

The 2017 Japanese Grand Prix gets underway at 05:00 UTC tomorrow.

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