Lewis Hamilton has said that he is pleased to have qualified in the top three for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, believing that both Red Bull drivers were out of reach at Suzuka on Saturday.
Hamilton will line up third on the grid after finishing just three-tenths behind pole-sitter Mark Webber with Sebastian Vettel finishing second in qualifying despite suffering from a KERS failure. For Hamilton, the result is the best that he could have wished for given the pace of the Red Bulls.
“I am really happy with P3 on the grid and the team has done a great job this weekend, so thank you to everybody for their hard work,” Hamilton said. “It seems to me that we have a better package here than we’ve had for a while and the car felt awesome to drive. Third place is a strong result from qualifying but the Red Bulls were just out of reach today.”
Hamilton had expressed his concerns about tire management on Friday in Japan, with the problem persisting throughout the season for Mercedes. However, the Briton is hoping for a good start to aid the life of his tires.
“Managing the tire degradation will be key tomorrow so hopefully we can get a good start from the clean side of the grid, then see what we can do from there against the guys in front.”
The British driver has won just one race so far this season, but he will be looking to add to his tally as well as picking up his second victory in Japan this weekend.
EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.
As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.
NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.
Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.
So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads
Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.
MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.
MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup
MORE: Stage 13 wrapup
MORE: Stage 12 wrapup
MORE: Stage 11 wrapup
MORE: Stage 10 wrapup
MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions
MORE: Stage 8 wrapup
MORE: Stage 7 wrapup
MORE: Stage 6 wrapup
MORE: Stage 5 wrapup
MORE: Stage 4 wrapup
MORE: Stage 3 wrapup
MORE: Stage 2 wrapup
MORE: Stage 1 wrapup