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Hamilton explains Suzuka deficit to Bottas

Hamilton explains Suzuka deficit to Bottas

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Hamilton explains Suzuka deficit to Bottas

Hamilton explains Suzuka deficit to Bottas

Lewis Hamilton brushed off being beaten by Valtteri Bottas in both of Friday's practice sessions at the Japanese Grand Prix, claiming his Mercedes team-mate was boosted by a significant slipstream in FP2.

Bottas ended Friday a tenth quicker than his team-mate, effectively putting him on provisional pole – should Sunday's rescheduled qualifying session not go ahead.

However, Hamilton says the gap between them is perhaps not representative of their outright pace.

"There's always time to find at this track, there's always areas that you're weak at. This is not, I would say, my strongest of circuits, and there's always areas you can improve," Hamilton said.

"Valtteri got a massive tow on his fastest lap, he gained like half a second on the back straight.

"So it's an interesting dynamic, because you don't want to be behind someone through the first part, because you need clean air, but if you're lucky and you get a slipstream late on it's perfect."

With Hamilton certain he has more time in hand, Bottas will not have much time to rest as Formula 1 takes a surprise break on Saturday to allow Typhoon Hagibis to pass.

"We expect Sunday to be close in both qualifying and the race, so we need to keep pushing," the Finn said.

"We got an unexpected day off tomorrow but I'm sure the team will keep me busy; we'll be digging into the data and make the most out of it."

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