It’s very rare for Lewis Hamilton to be happy with anything other than first place, but the Mercedes driver was pleased with P2 on the grid during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix after crashing out in practice early on Saturday morning.
The British driver went straight on at the first corner during FP3 at Suzuka, leaving the Mercedes team with a sizeable repair job on the front of his car in the two-hour window between practice and qualifying.
However, Hamilton enjoyed a trouble-free session on Saturday afternoon, finishing two-tenths of a second shy of teammate Nico Rosberg in the fight for pole position. Although he said qualifying did not go entirely to plan, he was happy with the result under the circumstances.
“It wasn’t the best of sessions today but it was a decent recovery considering the crash in FP3,” Hamilton said. “I just overcooked it this morning and the team did a fantastic job to put the car back together. Our mechanics are the best, they work so hard to get everything perfect.
“I feel good but I just wasn’t quick enough today. Nico did a great job, he looked very quick, particularly in turn eight, but I don’t feel like I’ve quite had the pace all weekend.
“I’m still second and we’ve seen races where we’ve come back from further than that, so I’m excited for tomorrow. I’ve heard there’s some rain coming, it’s going to make it very hard but it makes it more of a lottery.”