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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Lewis Hamilton dominates practice for the Japanese GP

The world champion comfortably quickest at Suzuka as Sebastian Vettel almost a second off the pace in third

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. AP Photo
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. AP Photo

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix as he and Mercedes-GP put on an ominous display of pace at Suzuka.

The world champion was quickest with a time of 1 minute, 28.217 seconds to be 0.4 seconds ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton's title rival, was third fastest, but was 0.8 seconds off the pace of the Briton in his Ferrari.

Hamilton leads Vettel by 50 points with five races remaining and another victory for the Mercedes driver will see him strengthen his position at the top of the standings even further.

It was not all plain sailing for Hamilton on Friday as he almost collided Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso in first practice in an incident that saw Gasly reprimanded by the race stewards.

Mercedes have won at Suzuka the past four years, with Hamilton triumphing on three of those occasions.

Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull Racing, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Final practice is at 7am on Saturday UAE time, with qualifying at 10am.

The 53-lap grand prix starts at 9.10am on Sunday.

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