Lewis Hamilton took pole position for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix as title rival Sebastian Vettel could only qualify ninth at Suzuka.
The Ferrari driver was caught out by mixed weather conditions in the final part of the session on Saturday and failed to set a representative lap time. The German was more then four seconds slower then Hamilton’s pole-setting time of one minute, 27.760 seconds.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was left frustrated after qualifying ninth in Suzuka: “I made a mistake in Spoon and the second run we didn’t get out in time. This is not the position we deserve to be in. In the end it was a wrong choice, but at that time making laps with the intermediates seemed a risk to be taken. Had the rain arrived before, we would have been the heroes. These things happen.” – the German driver explained – “It does not matter who makes the choice of the tyres, we made the choice all together. I agreed. It was shared. Then we saw it was the wrong choice. Tomorrow is a new day, it’s not easy when you start further back but it’s not impossible.” – Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel concluded at the end of the qualifying session for the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix.
Hamilton leads Vettel by 50 points going into the 53-lap race, and with Mercedes-GP teammate Valtteri Bottas starting second, he is in a strong position to strengthen his advantage even further to close in on sealing a fifth drivers’ world title.
Max Verstappen was third in his Red Bull Racing car, ahead of Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen.