Nico, Lewis and Kimi head Sunday’s pack

2016 Japanese Grand Prix, Saturday

The facial expressions say it all. And yes, I know Kimi never smiles…


You’ve got to hand it to Nico Rosberg. He keeps on delivering.

Today he took his 30th career pole position – his 3rd in a row at the Suzuka Circuit and 8th of the 2016 season so far. Lewis Hamilton – who really has to beat Rosberg tomorrow – completed a 10th Silver Arrows front row lock-out of the season in P2. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 (medium), a single run in Q2 (soft) and two runs in Q3 (soft/soft).

Nico Rosberg: “I’ve been feeling great all weekend, having felt incredibly comfortable in the car. It gave me the confidence to push even harder at the end of Q3 which meant I pulled out a great lap to recover pole from Lewis.

“Suzuka is a really difficult circuit because of the varying corners which means it’s even more difficult to get the car set up just right. It’s great to start from P1, but as we’ve realised, it’s not the most important thing this year as you also need to get the start and the race strategy spot on.

“Lewis will push hard and so will the Ferraris and the Red Bulls. It’s clear that both these teams looked very strong on the high fuel. It will be an exciting race tomorrow in front of Suzuka’s amazing fans. I’m definitely looking forward to it!”

I bet you are Nico. Clearly, his head’s in the right place, and he’s the one to beat now.

Meanwhile, this is what Lewis Hamilton had to say: “This weekend has not been that easy. I’d been veering one way with the set-up of the car and then had to shuffle back going into qualifying and it felt like I was in no-mans-land as we approached Q1.

“With that in mind, I’m extremely happy that I was able to bring it back to that kind of gap. Of course, starting on pole is always a good thing but let’s hope the work we’ve been doing on the starts pays off. It’s also still hard to know at this stage what the weather is going to do but I’ll do the best I can tomorrow.”

Brief, and to the point. Tomorrow’s going to be a cracker.

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