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Formula 1 NewsQualifying report

Hamilton blitzes lap record to claim maiden Suzuka pole – Qualifying Report

Japanese Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton claimed his maiden Suzuka pole with lap record pace ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas.

The championship leader did a 1:27.319, some 1.6s quicker than Michael Schumacher’s 2006 qualifying record.

Bottas was second, three tenths away from his team mate but will start sixth after taking a 5-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified in sixth but suffers the same penalty after a crash in FP3. He starts tenth, with both of the Finns starting on the soft tyre having qualified on them in Q2.

Championship challenger Sebastian Vettel was third, just under half a second away but will join his rival Hamilton on the front row.

Daniel Ricciardo was running less downforce than team mate Max Verstappen with the Australian out-qualifying the Malaysian Grand Prix winner in fourth.

Esteban Ocon beat his Force India team mate Sergio Perez to seventh, with Perez under investigation for blocking Lance Stroll at the final chicane in Q1.

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso completed the top ten, but the McLaren will start at the back having taken a 35-place grid penalty for power unit element changes.

He will be joined on the back row by Carlos Sainz Jr, who has a 20-place penalty for the same reason.

Romain Grosjean brought Q1 to a premature end when he crashed at the Esses in a bid to get himself out of the drop zone. He lost the back end of his Haas and smashed into the tyre barriers, bringing out the red flags.

Qualifying results.

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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