Lewis Hamilton led an all-Mercedes front row in Suzuka as Ferrari were left to rue an ill-timed call for intermediate tyres in Q3.
The Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were left to fight it out for pole position after making the call to use supersoft tyres at the start of the final part of qualifying, whilst Ferrari were the only team to try the intermediates. They realised that this was the wrong decision and pitted both drivers immediately for supersoft tyres, but mistakes from both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel – along with gradually-intensifying rain – meant the Ferrari pair qualifying down in fourth and ninth.
“I‘m not sure if we were able to do the pole position today. I want to be honest. And I want to say that I never interfere with the technical decision but today I was really disappointed and what happened is not acceptable. I don‘t want to point finger to anyone. I want to say the final responsible is me.” – Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene concluded at the end of the qualifying session ahead of the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix.