Japanese Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton says he feels he’s taking some of Suzuka’s corners better than he ever has, after a positive first day of practice.
The championship leader was class of the field in Friday practice, finishing almost half a second clear of his nearest rival, teammate Valtteri Bottas, in both practice sessions.
With lap records looking almost certain to be smashed by the 2018 cars this weekend, Hamilton was full of beans after the day’s track action and said that he’s put work into finding out how to improve his approach to certain corners at a track he’s been coming to since his first F1 visit in 2009:
“The balance was in quite a nice place, so I was just enjoying it. Every year I come back, there are always areas that I can improve, so I was like “There are two or three corners where I know that I need to kill it this year” and I got straight up to it. I was much better than I had ever been through those particular corners. Now I just have to stay on it, keep working; my team and I, we’re working so well together in fine-tuning this car. I’m just loving driving more than ever; when you get in the car, it’s just the best, it’s so fast and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to do what I do. I’ve just been giving thanks all day today because this is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
“Every time we come to Suzuka, particularly over the last few years, the cars just get faster and faster, it’s incredible. They don’t make tracks like this anymore – there’s very little room for runoff, a little touch of the grass and you’re off in the wall. Suzuka has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite one, it’s very cool. Especially the first and second sectors are insane, the first section is the best roller coaster ride that I’ve felt in a Formula One car. “