First Practice Session: Position: 9, Best Time: 1:37.686, Laps: 26
Second Practice Session: Position: 5, Best Time: 1:36.436, Laps: 23
“I think we can definitely do better than fifth, but we may hit the limit when we get to third! Mercedes seem to be very quick around here but I think we can improve, especially on a short run. It would be nice to fight the Mercedes in the race, who knows if it rains, but otherwise we will be against Williams, McLaren, who seem stronger here, and Ferrari.”
First Practice Session: Position: 7, Best Time: 1:37.466, Laps: 27
Second Practice Session: Position: 10, Best Time: 1:37.186, Laps: 3
“I made a mistake in FP2. I did a quick lap and then I was trying to get a good exit to start the next one. We were trying to cool the tyres and there was a yellow flag so I was trying to go slow enough to miss it at the start of the lap, but I think the tyres cooled too much and I was too hard on the throttle for the situation and lost the car. It’s of course not what I wanted in the first ten minutes of the second session, but I’ll learn from it. It’s not ideal as we missed running this afternoon, but Sebastian did a full session so we will be able to see his data. The Mercs were really quick today, we think we’re there but then they pull a gap. I think we should be able to be third on the grid.”
Sebastian Vettel’s 10 Reasons to Love Suzuka
Always one of the most popular and keenly-anticipated races of the year, the Japanese Grand Prix has an extra special resonance for Sebastian Vettel. So, as we continue to look back at our 10 seasons in F1, here are Seb’s 10 personal salutes to the majesty of Suzuka.
1. Win #1 (2009) – A great race. I remember shouting with happiness on the radio at the end. The previous few races that season had been up and down but finally we made it to the top again in Suzuka. It was a great place to do that.
2. Win #2 (2010) – We had quali and the race on Sunday because a typhoon was close by, which is quite common it seems! After all of that it was actually quite a controlled race. Mark (Webber) pushed me quite hard early on but having track position made things a bit easier. I was behind Jenson at the beginning of the second stint but we were waiting for his stop and I controlled the gap and managed the race to the flag.
3. Championship #2 (2011) – A fantastic experience. A lot of people expected us to win the title but you never know and you have to take it one step at a time, not getting complacent, not taking your eye off the ball. We did that and I can’t think of a better place to win the title than Suzuka. Totally unforgettable.
4. Victory #3 (2012) – The car was incredible. It had been great in qualifying and in the race the balance was perfect. There were a lot of collisions at the start, I think Fernando and Mark were unlucky, but I avoided that and we had the pace to control the race.
5. Victory #4 (2013) – A horrible start. I started second and I think I was behind Romain in third almost immediately. I went long in the first stint and got past him. From there it was again about managing the race, looking after the tyres and staying focused.
6. The Suzuka Atmosphere – The atmosphere is, in a positive way, crazy! The grandstands are full, the crowd is passionate about Formula One and the drivers’ parade is amazing.
7. The Fans – They’re very special. No matter how late you leave the circuit, a lot of fans are still standing there and waiting for us. That is completely unique – in no other country do fans behave like this.
8. 130R – The Japanese Eau Rouge. It requires tons of courage. It has become a little bit easier over the years, I am told, because of the improved the asphalt and therefore better grip, but it is still a huge challenge.
9. The Esses – This section is second to none, offering the most driving pleasure. But it’s also one of the most frustrating, because if you get it wrong at the start then it is very hard to correct later on. It’s like a rollercoaster up to turn 7 and all of it is done while accelerating, left-right, left-right… I can only imagine how it must have been more than 20 years ago when you had to take away your hand from the steering wheel to shift gears.
10. John Hugenholtz’s grand design – It’s a breathtaking circuit as a whole. Fast, flowing, it rises and falls; it’s an extremely challenging place. The only comparable circuit is Spa.