Japanese Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton hits another milestone while taking 71st pole
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News October 7, 2017 Updated: 11:34 AM
SUZUKA, Japan -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton continues his run of milestones at Suzuka this weekend. He not only took his 71st career pole position but he also grabbed his first ever pole position at Suzuka and beat the lap record held by F1 legend Micheal Schumacher during Saturday's qualifying.
"I’ve been coming here for so long, but it’s my first pole here at Suzuka! It was definitely worth the wait. I didn’t make one mistake all session and just kept getting better and better. We built the foundation in Q1 and then just built upon it as qualifying developed. I’ve been waiting all weekend for that moment, for that lap in Q3 – and it feels so good when that comes together," said Hamilton.
Hamilton finished 0.332s ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who took second but will drop five spots on the grid for a gearbox change. This will move third place Sebastian Vettel to second. It will also move Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen to third and fourth. Force Indias Esteban Ocon will also enjoy a free move up the grid to fifth.
"We gain one spot with Bottas’ penalty so all we can do is fight and try to progress from P4," said Verstappen. With Bottas in sixth, Ocon's teammate Sergio Perez will take seventh in the second Force India.
Williams Felipe Massa took eighth with Stoffel Vandoorne moving up to ninth after teammate Fernando Alonso receives his 35-spot grid penalty for multiple engine element changes on his car sending him to the back on the grid.
"Despite the penalty, we wanted to have a normal qualifying session and push; we have so many fans here – so many Honda supporters – and I think we succeeded and did a decent job," said Alonso.
Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen starts tomorrow's race from tenth after receiving a five spot grid penalty for a gear change. As penalties reshape tomorrow's starting grid, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg will drop from 11th along with Haas' Kevin Magnussen in 12th.
Romain Grosjean will move up and start from 13th in the second Haas. Earlier in Q1 Grosjean's car lost grip coming out of Turn 4 sliding thru the gravel and slamming into the wall. Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly will start in the second F1 race of his career in 14th. Massa's Williams teammate Lance Stroll finished 15th with the Sauber of Marcuss Ericsson in 16th.
Ericsson's Sauber teammate Pascal Wehrlein will start 17th. Jolyon Palmer will start his last race for Renault in 18th after the team announced that new driver Carlos Sainz would be replacing him ahead of the United States Grand Prix.
Palmer also received a 20 spot grid penalty for elements changed on his power unit. Carlos Sainz qualified 15th but will move down to 19th due to Alonso starting from the back in 20th.