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Mercedes' Hamilton secures pole position for Japanese GP

Press Trust of India  |  Suzuka 

Championship leader secured pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, leading a 1-2 finish for drivers today.

Hamilton posted a lap record time of 1 minute, 27.319 seconds to finish 0.332 ahead of Valtteri Bottas.


Hamilton's title rival, Sebastian Vettel, was third but the Ferrari driver will move up to second after Bottas's penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. Bottas drops to seventh.

Hamilton struggled for pace in the previous race in but that wasn't the case in Saturday's qualifying.

"It's been a really great day, every lap was fantastic, I never really got a great balance in the past so never did a great qualifying here," Hamilton said.

Before Saturday's qualifying, Hamilton had secured pole at every current circuit except Suzuka.

"It's incredible for me, 10 years or whatever it is and my first pole at Suzuka," Hamilton said.

With five races remaining, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the drivers' championship.

Hamilton has won twice before here at Suzuka, in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up to former teammate Nico Rosberg in last year's race.

A win in Suzuka would move Hamilton a step closer to a third title in four years with and his fourth overall.

Vettel was happy to be on the front row after starting the GP from the back of the grid and working his way up to a fourth-place finish.

"The car is quick and, as last weekend shows, if you start out of position you can still get back," Vettel said.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest -- and now starts third -- just 0.026 clear of teammate Max Verstappen, who won last week's GP.

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth but, like Bottas, will also drop five places on the grid after requiring a new gearbox.

Esteban Ocon edged Force India teammate Sergio Perez to finish seventh, while Williams driver Felipe Massa and McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 07 2017. 14:57 IST
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