Hamilton: Red Bulls out of reach in qualifying

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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.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”