Friday, 19 October, 2018

Vettel denies team has lost direction ahead of crucial Japanese GP

Hamilton nearly 0.5s clear in Japan as Alonso makes mistake			Image by Mauger  LAT Hamilton nearly 0.5s clear in Japan as Alonso makes mistake Image by Mauger LAT
Domingo Copeland | 09 October, 2018, 08:15

Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo was slowest of the drivers from the top three teams, just 0.015 seconds behind Raikkonen. "My dad's having tennis lessons so I said to him we should have a game". When we have both the softer tyre, we are gaining a little bit in a straight line and that makes me really doubt whether they've shown the whole performance. 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.

Even victory at Suzuka may be a case of "too little, too late" for the Ferrari driver, with Lewis Hamilton sitting 50 points clear and just five races remaining.

The qualifying round will be on Saturday, and the race will start on Sunday at 0610GMT.

Validating his theory, Wolff continued: "In the morning they were quicker through nearly every corner but they had a softer tyre".

"But our understanding of the auto is continuing and our understanding of the vehicle is where we are making the biggest steps".

Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel, a hefty 50 points behind Hamilton with five races remaining, was almost a second adrift of his fellow four-time champion.

"I just have to stay on it, keep working", said the 33-year-old.

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Hamilton added: "I'm just loving driving more than ever; when you get in the auto, it's just the best, it's so fast and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to do what I do".

The Italian and Singapore Grands Prix left the German particularly frustrated with Ferrari's tactics in qualifying, which left him unable to catch a rapidly improving Mercedes.

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

"We know what the auto can do", he added, "and we need to focus on that and try to get everything out to put us in the best possible position".

"No interruptions, no issue with the vehicle or anything, so now we have to try to obviously squeeze out everything that is left in the auto for tomorrow".

"Obviously you don't want to commit suicide, so I think if we attack we will still try to be reasonable". We've got good data on the tyres from today but it is never easy to predict exactly how they will behave on a much warmer track. "If we can grasp pole tomorrow, that is great, but if not we need to be there just right behind".

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