The sprint to the finish in the 2016 Formula 1 season continues apace.
Just five days after the chequered flag was waved at the Malaysian Grand Prix, free practice for the next race in Japan gets underway on Friday.
Since the start of the Hybrid Power Unit era in the 2014 season, Suzuka has been a happy hunting ground for the Silver Arrows: one-two victories on both occasions, two pole positions, two front row lockouts and two fastest laps.
Both victories in the last two years went to Lewis Hamilton who has won no fewer than three times on the figure-of-eight Formula 1 circuit. By contrast, the last two pole positions were set by his team-mate Nico Rosberg
After his massive disappointment in Malaysia last weekend when his Mercedes engine failed while he was dominating the race, Lewis is keen to put the past in the past and focus on the upcoming weekend and making it three from three….
“Of course, last weekend was a massive disappointment. Not just for me personally but for the whole team. But there's no use dwelling on these things. That's just negative energy. All we can do is focus on the next race, taking things one step at a time and doing the best job we can,” he said. “There's no substitute for hard work and I've never been afraid of that.”
“The guys are hurting from what happened too and I know they'll be working just as hard to get things right next time. It's not the lowest point I've had. There have been lower moments for sure. Regardless, I will find strength from within to fight back over these next five race weekends. If I can perform like I did last weekend and the car holds together, then good things can still come my way.”
“I love the Suzuka circuit and I've been quick there for the past two years, so hopefully that trend will continue. I know I'll have some fantastic support in the grandstands to lift me up and give me that extra boost.”
“The energy from the fans in Malaysia was the best I've ever seen there and now we're going to Japan, where they just seem to find another level every year. It's insane how crazy they go for the sport and I get a real buzz out of that. Fingers crossed I can make it happen to pay them back for all the love and strength they send my way.”