Japanese Grand Prix 2017 Live Stream ESPN looks ahead to the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, the 16th race of the 2017 season, and what Sebastian Vettel has to do to cut the gap to Lewis Hamilton in the championship fight.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 6
Sun, Oct 6-8 1: 00a ET (NBCS)
Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect
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The German was 0.211 seconds quicker than Hamilton, who leads Vettel by 34 points with five races remaining.Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest, 0.375secs off the pace.The session was stopped for 16 minutes after a big crash for Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, who lost ontrol and smashed into the wall. He was unhurt.
Sebastian Vettel had been two tenths of a second in clear in the often-experimental Friday morning session but all three of the front teams were evenly matched.
But Hamilton’s 29 laps in the morning proved to be the majority of the running possible on the first day of practice as a deluge delayed the start of FP2.
Cars were eventually allowed out on track in soaking conditions but few chose to set a lap with the majority instead electing to spend one lap investigating the water on track and then returning to the pits.
The Brit, one of the best drivers in the wet, set the fastest lap of anyone but only the two Williams and two Force India drivers chose to set a time.
The Belgian, fresh from an impressive Malaysian Grand Prix, was again quicker than team-mate Fernando Alonso, who was 12th fastest, 0.033secs behind Vandoorne.
At the front, Vettel’s pace was a worrying sign for Hamilton and Mercedes, who in theory were expected to be the quickest combination in Japan.
The track’s long corners and sensitivity to engine power should mean it suits the Mercedes, whereas other tracks in the closing stages of the season are expected to favour Ferrari.
So if Vettel can be competitive or even beat Hamilton at Suzuka, it underlines why Hamilton was concerned about Mercedes’ form even as he extended his lead with second place behind Verstappen in Malaysia last weekend.