Japanese F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Saturday's Results, Times, Final Grid

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2018

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton takes part in the qualifying session for the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on October 6, 2018. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
MARTIN BUREAU/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton will hold pole position at the 2018 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday after going fastest in Saturday's qualifying session at Suzuka, while title rival Sebastian Vettel will start in eighth.

On a day in which there were two red flags and several more incidents caused by wet and windy weather, Vettel went wide on a flying lap in Q3 and was more than four seconds behind Hamilton, who set a time of one minute, 27.760 seconds.

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start behind him in second, while Max Verstappen claimed P3.

Earlier, Hamilton had made it a hat-trick in practice as he topped the third session, having been the fastest on both occasions on Friday.

                       

Qualifying Recap

Here's the classification after Q3:

Vettel set the early benchmark in Q1 but was quickly surpassed by Hamilton.

The German went for a spin, but moments later Marcus Ericsson lost control and crashed his Sauber at Turn 7, leading to the emergence of a red flag for the second time on Saturday:

Ericsson's session was over, and he was eliminated along with Nico Hulkenberg—who, following his crash in FP3, managed to get back out on the track when the session restarted thanks to his mechanics at Renault—Sergey Sirotkin, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

A strong effort from Charles Leclerc saw him secure P6 in Q1, but he could only manage P11 with the single lap he completed in a rain-soaked Q2, which Bottas topped. 

Leclerc failed to make the cut for Q3 with Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll and a frustrated Daniel Ricciardo, whose Red Bull lost power:

Both Toro Rosso's made it through to Q3, and they'll be delighted after Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly secured P6 and P7, respectively.

It was a disaster for Vettel, though. Ferrari gambled by heading out on intermediates—the only team not on dry tyres—but after switching to slicks, Vettel made a costly error on what was his only notable run of Q3.

He finished ninth, but he'll start a place higher after Esteban Ocon was hit with a grid penalty, per BBC Sport's Andrew Benson:

                           

FP3 Recap

Here's the classification from FP3:

F1's official Twitter account shared a look at some of the highlights from the session:

The session was hit by rain and some strong winds early on, forcing the cars back into the pits, but after the weather cleared up, the teams were able to get back out.

The damp track did cause a few problems, though, as Stroll and Leclerc ran wide under the bridge, while Kimi Raikkonen slid off, too.

While they were able to continue, Hulkenberg wasn't so lucky as he spun into the barriers, prompting a red flag to bring the session to a slightly premature close.

Shortly beforehand, Hamilton had topped the standings ahead of his Ferrari rivals.

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