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07 Octubre 2017, 12:24 | Gerardo Tarin
Lewis Hamilton leads Sebastian Vettel by 34 points
The Red Bull's of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, who won the last race in Malaysia, did not set a time in the afternoon but had been third and sixth quickest in the morning session, respectively. I think we were losing a lot on the straight and I don't think it was just engine today.
Friday's downpour has in any case greatly reduced all of the teams' understanding about their cars' optimal set-up heading into the weekend.
Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the overall standings with five of the season's 20 races remaining.
He expects his vehicle to perform much better in the cooler conditions this weekend in Japan.
Bottas set the early pace on the soft tyre, a fraction ahead of Mercedes Hamilton, who was running the same rubber.
"It's going to be a different view, I've never had this view here!" said Hamilton when asked about his predictions for the race. "We were relatively close to Mercedes and Ferrari, so not a bad day". We are hopeful from what we have seen so far this weekend, that this one will not fall into that category and that we will put up a decent fight.
"The last three years I think we were competitive but not competitive enough to win", he said on Thursday, referring to Ferrari's past form in Japan.
Hamilton and Bottas both used the Soft and SuperSoft compound tyre in first practice.
Renault yesterday said that they have signed former F1 technical chief Marcin Budkowski as their new executive director, sparking a row over possible data leaks.
On the other hand, the German driver Vettel had to face a rough time in Malaysia, as he had to deal with a power unit issues with his Ferrari and failed to clock time in the qualifiers.
"They are a bit up and down, last week they weren't very quick, this race back to normal".
Again I expect things to be very tight at the top and our customers have again been backing the front two front runners of Hamilton and Vettel for the win.
"We focused all our programme around trying to get as much race preparation as we could into that single programme".
In between Malaysia and Japan, there has been much gossip going on outside the Williams garage.
"It has worked out better this time and my knowledge of the vehicle is better than it was before, which has enabled me to go out and do the job".
Title hopes aside, the Japanese race is made all-the-more exciting thanks to the Suzuka Circuit, originally a test track for Honda, it is a high-speed circuit famous for its figure-of-eight layout formed by a total of eighteen corners.
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