Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) used Bridgestone's wet Potenza Formula One tyre to set a time of 1min 25.368secs for pole position at Fuji Speedway for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton beat team-mate Fernando Alonso to the first ...
Hamilton beat team-mate Fernando Alonso to the first place on the grid for tomorrow's race by just seven hundredths of a second, meaning an all McLaren Mercedes front row. Ferrari team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa are on the second row after setting the third and fourth fastest times.
Conditions were difficult today. Qualifying almost didn't take place due to thick fog, as the required medical helicopter cannot fly when visibility is too low. Persistent light rain through the day also meant that the circuit was wet. Consequently, running took place on Bridgestone's wet and extreme wet tyres, the dry grooved Potenza tyres not being used.
This morning's free practice session started 30 minutes late due to the fog making it impossible for the helicopter to fly. After it did start, only four and a half minutes of running took place before the helicopter was grounded once more, and the session was later abandoned with no further running taking place. During this brief period of track action, only three drivers completed timed laps. Alex Wurz (Williams Toyota) was the fastest with a time of 1min 32.746secs, set on Bridgestone's extreme wet Potenza Formula one tyre.
Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development:
"Unfortunately we saw weather today that is typical of Mount Fuji and we had very little running in the morning practice session. However, conditions did improve in the afternoon and qualifying was able to go ahead for all the fans here. In the first part of qualifying, teams were able to get enough running to determine their set-ups."
"In this session, the extreme wet tyre was used at first, with the wet being the tyre to use when the circuit was damp. In the second and final sessions, the wet tyre was the correct one to use. McLaren and Ferrari both found good set-ups, as shown by their performances. Tomorrow the weather could be very different and we could see a driver from far down the grid put in a good performance, especially as it will be difficult to decide the correct set-up because of the weather."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 515 laps
Average number of laps per car: 23 laps
Most laps by a driver: 36 laps - Nico Rosberg
Fastest lap: 1m 24.753s - Hamilton in Q2
Compounds: wet and extreme wet tyres used