Can anyone stop Hamilton in Japan?

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton dominates practice but Mercedes insist Ferrari are holding back

Hamilton loving life after sweeping Friday practice in Suzuka

Hamilton, who was comfortably fastest in both practice sessions at Suzuka on Friday, has recorded five victories from his last six outings to establish a dominant 50-point lead over Sebastian Vettel.

Although Vettel trails Hamilton by 50 points in the drivers' championship with just five races left this season, he denied that this Sunday presents his last chance to dent the Briton's lead and mount a realistic title challenge.

Hamilton was almost a second quicker than title rival Sebastian Vettel, who could manage no better than fifth despite running the grippiest super-soft tyres on his Ferrari.

Hamilton was nearly half a second clear of the field in both sessions, with title rival Sebastian Vettel unable to get anywhere near the Mercedes.

Daniel Ricciardo set the third-fastest time in his Red Bull ahead of Vettel's Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen. In Singapore an aggressive undercut strategy failed to achieve the team's goal of leapfrogging Hamilton and he lost a position to Max Verstappen, but in Russian Federation he was able to get ahead of Hamilton by pitting a lap earlier than the Mercedes - albeit before being passed on track.

".they don't make tracks like this any more". "It has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite", Hamilton said.

"It's the best rollercoaster ride, that first section, that I've particularly felt in a Formula One auto".

"I really didn't know where we were going to stand alongside the Red Bulls and the Ferraris", the 33-year-old Briton said after the session.

"I think I've said many times that we have a strong vehicle, but I don't think, against the people's opinions, that we had a dominant auto at any point this year", the German said.

Qualifying for Sunday's race will be held on Saturday.

"In the morning they were quicker through nearly every corner, but they had a softer tyre", he explained.

"Every time we come to Suzuka, particularly over the past few years, the cars just get faster and faster", Hamilton said.

The Mercedes cars have clearly made a step forward in the last couple of races, while Ferrari seemed to have lost their edge. "But I just came here with the mindset, 'Okay I know where I want to get the auto'".

"You can always do something, the question is whether it works", Vettel said after FP2, as quoted on Planet F1. "Both short and long runs didn't feel ideal". "We couldn't do that today but it doesn't matter what they do, we look at ourselves and try to get the best from our package". "I wasn't totally satisfied with the feeling in the vehicle today".

Latest News