Japanese GP: Qualifying team notes – Pirelli

In mixed conditions, which even prompted some intermediate tyre running in Q3, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position on the supersoft. As the rain fell harder, the times set on the first Q3 runs with the slick tyres proved to be quickest.

The Mercedes drivers got through Q2 on the soft tyre and so will start on this compound from first and second tomorrow. The only other driver in the top 10 of the grid who will start on the soft tyre is Haas‘s Romain Grosjean.

As usual, the teams will aim to one-stop tomorrow. However, with conditions expected to be much warmer and drier, race circumstances might lead to a two-stopper being quicker.

For the first time, the Pirelli Pole Position Award was presented by a local fan, chosen via a social media poll.

Mario Isola: “In this mixed wet and dry session, it was never easy to make the right calls: in the end the times early in Q3 on the supersoft turned out to be the decisive ones. For the race tomorrow, the forecast is for conditions that are quite different. This throws a few question marks on the strategy, with the teams always looking to get through the race with just one stop if they can. However, the track and weather conditions may not make this possible. With three cars in the top 10 of the grid starting on the soft tyre – including first and second – we should see an interesting mix of strategies, with all three slick compounds having a potential role to play in the race. It was a complicated qualifying session today, but at least the teams obtained plenty of dry running data yesterday.”