07 OCTOBER 2017
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 4th*, 1:28.306 (Practice 3 – Position 5th, 1:30.018)
“Once again it was pretty close between myself and Max today. I got the half a tenth on Max this time and he’d had it on me in Qualifying in the last few races. It was pretty important to be ahead and I will start third now because of Bottas’ penalty which puts me on the cleaner side of the grid, so thank you Valtteri. I will take everything I can for now and I’m happy with that result. I had a slightly different set-up from Max today and chose to remove some downforce which I hope will help me in the race. I haven’t seen Lewis’ lap yet but I’ve seen his time and we can’t quite do that, I think we feel we got pretty much everything out of the car today and we definitely couldn’t find a second. We will see what tomorrow brings but I think if we can stay in a podium position we will be leaving here pretty happy. The start will be really important for us, it’s a pretty tricky track to overtake on and strategy is likely to play in to it but if I can get them on the start then hopefully that will be where I stay. I hope I get my first Suzuka podium, it’s always been a fun track but I’ve never stood on the podium so that’s my target.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 5th**, 1:28.332 (Practice 3 – Position: 4th, 1:29,910)
“It wasn’t an ideal Qualifying session for me, Q1 and Q2 went well but then we tried a few changes for Q3 which put me out of my rhythm a bit. The time was still ok but I think I could have got a bit more out of it at the end. It was a better second timed lap but I think I could have finished a position higher, it was very tight. The new cars mean higher corner speed which at this track essentially means some corners turn into longer straights, it’s a bit more physical and obviously means faster lap times. This also means it is a tougher track for us than in the years before. I think the Mercedes race pace is quick but we are unsure of how Ferrari are looking, tomorrow will tell. We gain one spot with Bottas’ penalty so all we can do is fight and try to progress from P4. I would like rain but that isn’t going to happen so hopefully with the dry weather we have good degradation and can challenge for a good result. Daniel and I are running different configurations tomorrow so we will have to see how they play come the race. I hope the people in front make Turn 1 interesting tomorrow but not for me. I like sandwiches but not on the track.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A pretty straightforward Qualifying for our guys today. Daniel and Max delivered two very clean laps, trying slightly different set-ups going into the race. With the penalties for Bottas and Raikkonen this results in them lining up in third and fourth on the grid for tomorrow’s grand prix. This circuit presents challenges to our car comparative to some of our competitors, particularly in Qualifying but we will take some confidence going into tomorrow’s race that we can be competitive.”
*Will start the Japanese GP in P3 owing to grid penalties to Car 77
**Will start the Japanese GP in P4 owing to grid penalties to Car 77
Luck of the Draw
Everyone likes to say there’s no such thing as luck in F1 and that outcomes are the result of deep research, intense analysis and careful strategising. As our new quiz reveals that’s a complete load of old rubbish. We present our team personnel with a set of 50 questions, the order of which shifts with each race, they choose 10 and have to answer them, no matter what. Tough, easy, personal and just plain weird, what they get is down to the luck of the draw. This race’s lucky dipper is Mechanic Simon Mickleburgh
1. Aside from your house, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
It would have to be a car, probably my Subaru Impreza. I’ve had it for 18 years now. It’s a WRX STi Type RA. It was a year old when I bought it and it’s only done 21,000 miles. It’s immaculate and hardly ever comes out of the garage to be honest. I bought it with 10,000 miles and have done 11,000 since. I probably put a few thousand on it in the first couple of years but I’ve been careful since.
2. What’s your favourite food?
Ha! Chips. That’s quite funny to be asked that, because that’s what everyone here knows me for, and only yesterday someone was saying ‘what are you going to do if you’re asked that?’ So if there’s ever any chips on offer I’ll be there.
3. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go to?
Probably late 1970s, early ’80s, racing in Formula One. I don’t know why really, I guess probably because there was a bit more danger. I won’t say it was more fun, because it’s lots of fun now, but I think it was probably less political and a lot more focused on just the racing. You could probably get away with more and you might be more involved with things as there would have been less people around.
4. Have you ever stolen anything?
Yeah, probably! Nothing too expensive, nothing I should be put in prison for! Mostly little things when I was a kid. Certainly nothing as an adult. Probably the worst thing was when I worked in a shop, I used to have to open up the shop on my own sometimes. I was 14 or 15 at the time. I used to let my mates come in and take what they wanted! So I was an accomplice.
5. What sort of house do you live in?
A three-bedroom detached house, it’s in a place called Shepshed which is just outside Loughborough in Leicestershire in the UK. We’ve lived there for nine years now. I’ve got some houses I rent out as well so we need to keep an eye on them, so I’m not in a position to move really.
It’s a bit of a commute to work in Milton Keynes. It’s 60 miles to the factory, so a 120-mile round trip each day. On a good day it’s a bit over an hour. It’s fine but sometimes it can be bad. I share a lift with [tyre technician] Chris Gent, who lives in the same village as me, and last week we got stuck for five hours because of a bomb scare on the motorway.
6. What’s your favourite smell?
Probably a nice perfume, when a nice woman walks past, smelling really nice. That’s my wife of course!
7. What’s your guilty pleasure song or band that you secretly love to blast out when no one else is around?
I should say the Spice Girls to keep the boss happy. Sometimes a bit of Pink I suppose, something like ‘Get this Party Started’, any of them really.
8. If you could learn a new skill overnight, what would it be?
How not to be a mechanic! I think it would be building. Because of the houses we have. I love doing stuff with my house anyway, but the only thing I probably wouldn’t try to do is lay bricks. I do everything else. So if I could lay bricks I could do everything I want to do. I could build a house or whatever. All the houses we’ve lived in we’ve always done up before we’ve moved on and rented it out. I always knew I should do something with houses, not as a kid, but later on, it’s money for old rope really! House renovation has always been part of it, except for the last two, which we bought just to rent out. I’ve always felt that I needed an escape plan. I love doing this and I’ll probably get to the point where the plan to get out of it has worked but I won’t want to leave F1, but at least I’ll have the choice. Especially with having a wife and two kids and being away all the time, at least I will have something to fall back on.
9. Do you collect anything?
Cars. I have seven cars. The Subaru, a BMW 320 diesel, which is my wife’s car, a Mark 3 Vauxhall Cavalier SRi and I’ve got four Ford Focuses! I’ve got two Focus estates that are work cars for the commute and I’ve got two Focus track cars – an 1800 Zetec and an ST170 track car. I can’t get away from collecting cars, I’ve always done. There are probably four on the road all the time; I flit between them. I’m trying to get rid of my old track car but I used the ST as my current track car. It’s just track days, no competition. It’s just good fun.
10. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

That’s difficult. A corny one: my kids. My daughter Amber is five and my son Charlie is two.