- In qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix in Formula 1, world championship leader Lewis Hamilton has conquered the pole position.
- Thanks to a failed tire strategy, Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion from Germany, only lands ninth.
Ferrari dilettanteisch, Mercedes outstanding: Sebastian Vettel has gambled after an adventurous tire strategy of his team in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Japan early on all chances to the much needed victory in Suzuka. While championship leader Lewis Hamilton raced to pole position in front of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari was completely spoiled in the tire choice in Q3. Vettel was just ninth – the red carpet for Hamilton to win his fifth World Cup is rolled out.
"In retrospect and from the outside it is always easy to say that was wrong, we assumed that the track is wet," Vettel said on the RTL microphone: "If the rain had started a little earlier, then we would stand there like the heroes, not so much, it has nothing to do with frustration, but if it works, then it works. "
Vettel gives away precious minutes
The Heppenheimer, who is behind the fifth-to-last race of the season on Sunday a whopping 50 championship points behind the British Hamilton, was the victim of a catastrophic decision of the Ferrari command post: sent the Vettel and the ultimately fourth-placed Kimi Raikkonen with Intermediate tires on such a good like dry track. "It's pretty dry, I'll come right back in," Vettel radioed after just a few corners.
While the competition drove top times in parallel with dry tires, the Scuderia pilots gave valuable minutes. When the red racers had finally raised dry pneus, it actually started to rain. Vettel swam over his declared favorite track, while Hamilton was able to finish his day's work early in the feeling of safe pole. "We made the right decision as a team, as we can see in the result, but I did not know if it was dry enough either, so it was great that it worked so well," said Hamilton, delighted with the 80th pole position of his formula -1 career and the eighth of the season.
Actually, luck with the weather
Also for the second German, things went bad on Saturday. Nico Hülkenberg had to settle for the unsatisfactory 16th starting position, after he had flown off in the final training with his Renault evil. For positive headlines provided others: In the Honda home game, the two Toro Rosso made it into the top ten.
With a new development stage of the Japanese engine, which should have 40 hp more power in one fell sack, the New Zealander Brendon Hartley took sixth place, the Frenchman Pierre Gasly starts directly behind from seventh place. With the weather in Suzuka, the formula 1 had the lucky luck in the misfortune: Typhoon "Kong Rey", which had raged first on the southern islands of Japan, turned towards the Korean peninsula. The track was easy to drive at any time. For the race on Sunday stable conditions in sunshine and temperatures around 30 degrees are expected.