Hamilton: Mercedes can't match Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes are simply unable to compete with Ferrari‘s pace, with the Scuderia having locked out the front row for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton qualified fourth, behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas, as well as the pole-sitting Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes had appeared to have the pace in Friday practice, with Bottas quickest in both sessions, but the red cars took over in Sunday morning’s qualifying.

Hamilton said: “It could have gone better but it is what it is and it’s a beautiful day, everyone’s safe, so hopefully we have a good race today.

“The car was fine, they [Ferrari] obviously turn up and go to another level which we can’t really compete with, power-wise.

“But the car was feeling good and just… Q2 run one was really solid, the second run was not so great and then the next two were just so-so.”

Kevin Magnussen and Robert Kubica face a wait to see if they will take part in the race, having crashed in Q1 heading onto the pit straight – an area Hamilton pinpointed as being made trickier by the high winds at the circuit.

He said: “It’s super gusty out there so just picking your point where place the car, it makes it a little bit trickier where you want to place the car.

“You have to back off at some places but you can push more at others so it definitely is very tricky out there particularly the last corner.”