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Friday images from the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix

F1: Silver Arrows ready for Suzuka showdown

Oct 062017

Lewis Hamilton might look like he is sitting pretty at the top of the Formula One driver's championship - but that's not how it feels for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team driver.

Lewis has built up a 34-point lead over Sebastian Vettel in the points table - but that is also partly thanks to some bad luck falling the Ferrari driver's way during the last two races in Singapore and Malaysia. Although Lewis capitalised with a victory in Sepang and was second in Malaysia, Lewis is preparing himself for a fight at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Suzuka is thrilling circuit which is always highly-rated by F1 drivers, however, it could also prove to be a stiff test for the Silver Arrows, with Red Bull and Ferrari both expected to be strong. And with 125 points still on offer before the end of the season, Lewis knows that preparation is key and says he is fully focused on making sure he stays in front in the championship.

"All I've got to do is make sure I'm fit, healthy, focused, there on time, at the meeting, understood the car and I've done my study. Basically prepare for war. That's what I try and do, make sure every weekend I'm the best prepared I can be.


"I am under no illusion. I might have the nail a little bit in, but I need to keep hammering it. It is not done until there is no more to push it in. There are so many points available and you have seen other years where things swing. The pendulum can swing. I am hoping if it starts to swing the other way we have enough force to push it back to where it should be."


While Lewis has been enjoying the podium, it has been a frustrating couple of races for his teammate, Valtteri Bottas. The likeable Finn admitted going into this weekend that he was in one of the most difficult moments of his F1 career as he plans to turn around his dip in form to reflect the excellent start to the season.

"The only thing I want to do is perform, to try and meet my goals and I definitely haven't been achieving those lately. That's why the feeling wasn't so positive after Malaysia.


"It's tricky because now, having such a good car, and with the potential for good results, the pressure is on me to perform. I think Lewis has been able to extract a bit more, sometimes with the set-up, sometimes with the driving style. It always makes a difference to understand those. It's not massive things it's small things, it's all about details.


“Changing things in your own driving can sometimes be a bit of a challenge and that way, the driving doesn't feel natural at times, but that's how it is. But I still feel positive because from all those difficult weekends we've had, there's been so much to learn from, so much to get better from."


Qualifying goes live at 3pm Japanese local time (7am GMT / 8am CET), while the main event on Sunday 8th October is set for lights-out at 2pm local (6am GMT / 7am CET).