Lewis Hamilton claims pole for Mercedes smashing Suzuka all-time lap record on Pirelli supersoft tire

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas will start tomorrow’s race on the Pirelli soft tire compound

A two pit stop strategy expected for most drivers in the 53-lap race tomorrow if it remains dry and warm

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton demolished the Suzuka all-time lap record in today’s qualifying session on the Pirelli supersoft tire to claim pole position for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix race.

Hamilton and Ferrari’s Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel were the only two drivers to get through Qualifying 1 on the soft tires only, while their team mates, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, adopted an alternative strategy for Qualifying 2. Both set their fastest Qualifying 2 times on the Pirelli soft tire, which they will begin the race on tomorrow. However, Bottas and Raikkonen are among several drivers to have collected grid penalties, so they will start further back tomorrow.

With today’s dry weather expected to remain tomorrow, two pit stops should be the optimal strategy. However, there is always the possibility of a safety car to disrupt the strategy in Suzuka, with red flags seen in free practice as well as during Qualifying 1.

MARIO ISOLA – PIRELLI’S HEAD OF CAR RACING
“Hamilton’s remarkable lap, which obliterates the previous all-time Suzuka record, has underlined the pace of the latest-generation Formula 1 car and tires, even though preparation for the race has been interrupted by weather and red flags up until now. Pole this year was in fact 3.3 seconds faster than 2016, with the tires performing perfectly. We would expect two pit stops for most drivers in the race tomorrow, as this is one of the circuits that takes the most energy out of the tires in the entire year. Already we’ve seen some tactics in qualifying, with two of the drivers carrying grid penalties opting to start on the soft tires. This should allow them to gain track position by running a longer first stint than their direct rivals. Last weekend in Malaysia proved that with the right strategy, it’s still possible to get a good result even when starting from the back of the grid.”

HOW THE TIRES BEHAVED TODAY

All the drivers in the top 10
grid positions will start on
this tire, except for Bottas.
Bottas and Raikkonen
were the only drivers to
use this tire in Qualifying 2.
Seen only at the beginning
of Free Practice 3 today for
installation laps.

FREE PRACTICE 3 – TOP 3 TIMES

DRIVER TIME TIRE COMPOUND
Bottas 1m29.055s SOFT NEW
Hamilton 1m29.069s SOFT NEW
Vettel 1m29.379s SUPERSOFT USED

QUALIFYING TOP 10

DRIVER TIME TIRE COMPOUND
Hamilton 1m27.319s SUPERSOFT NEW
Bottas 1m27.651s SUPERSOFT NEW
Vettel 1m27.791s SUPERSOFT NEW
Ricciardo 1m28.306s SUPERSOFT NEW
Verstappen 1m28.332s SUPERSOFT NEW
Raikkonen 1m28.498s SUPERSOFT NEW
Ocon 1m29.111s SUPERSOFT NEW
Perez 1m29.260s SUPERSOFT NEW
Massa 1m29.480s SUPERSOFT NEW
Alonso 1m30.687s SUPERSOFT NEW

MOST LAPS BY TIRE COMPOUND SO FAR

TIRE COMPOUND DRIVER LAPS
MEDIUM Alonso, Grosjean, Magnussen 3
SOFT Perez 18
SUPERSOFT Raikkonen 19
WET Hamilton, Stroll 4

BEST TIME BY TIRE COMPOUND SO FAR

TIRE COMPOUND DRIVER TIME
MEDIUM - -
SOFT Bottas 1m28.543s
SUPERSOFT Hamilton 1m27.319s
WET Hamilton 1m48.719s

More information
Copyright-free videos and photos
f1pressarea.pirelli.com
Follow us on
@pirellisport
Facebook/Pirellimotorsport
Instagram/pirelli_motorsport
More info on
Racingspot.pirelli.com
 
 

***

For further information please contact
Roberto Boccafogli • +39 335 125 6694 • roberto.boccafogli@pirelli.com

Maria Stella Narciso • +39 338 942 3585 • mariastella.narciso@pirelli.com
Anthony Peacock • +44 7765 896 930 • anthony@mediaticaworld.com

Sara Vimercati • +39 366 620 9720 • sara.vimercati@pirelli.com

John Paolo Canton • +1 347 809 0994 • jp.canton@pirelli.com (Director of Communications and Consumer Marketing, NAFTA Region)

The F1 FORMULA 1 logo, F1, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX
and related marks are trade marks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula One group company. All rights reserved