Suzuka (Japan) (AFP)
The F1 paddock remained at the hotel on Saturday, the time that typhoon Hagibis passes, before returning to the track Sunday for a busy day, the qualifications of the Japanese GP having been postponed four hours before the race.
With rain all day and wind gusts up to 90 km / h in the evening, the Suzuka region was spared the worst of the storm but the time was not to be less a car outside.
The program for pilots, rest, sports, the assembly of a model of F1 and a Japanese lunch for the French Romain Grosjean or a tournament of the FIFA football video game for the Dutchman Max Verstappen, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr, the Mexican Sergio Pérez or the British Lando Norris and George Russell.
And for them and their teams, a little more time to analyze the data collected in free practice on Friday and prepare the qualifications at 10:00 local (03:00 French) Sunday and GP at 14:10 (07:10).
The holding of the "qualifiers", however, remained conditional on the expected fallout of the wind. If they were to be canceled, the classification of the second and final free practice session, dominated Friday by the Mercedes of Finland's Valtteri Bottas and Briton Lewis Hamilton, would determine the starting grid.
The race, however, has never been threatened.
Particularly swift from the first laps, the Silver Arrows are favorites on a circuit where they are undefeated in qualifying and in the race since the switch to the hybrid powertrain in 2014.
After four GPs to race after Ferrari, the developments this weekend to the single-seaters of Bottas and Hamilton seem to bear fruit.
- Title manufacturers in sight for Mercedes -
"I can already feel the progress we've made with the car," said the Finn on Friday night, "I'm very happy with it, there are of course some things to balance in terms of balance but the fast turns long relays are good. "
"I still have a little bit of work," Hamilton said, pointing at 1/10 of his teammate, "and he still has some time to find on this track that is not among my strongest."
On Friday, the silver arrows preceded Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Monaco's Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel of Germany (Ferrari) and Alexander Albon of Thailand (Red Bull).
"It was not a perfect day for us and we can get a little more out of the car," said Vettel, "but you have to be honest, the Mercedes were very fast every time they took the track and the Red Bull looked a bit more comfortable, so it's going to be tight, and I expect both to be very strong on Sunday morning. "
As a reminder, the French Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) and Romain Grosjean (Haas) have signed the 9th and 13th time of free practice 2.
At the time of the 17th round of 21, the mass is almost said in the Championship.
In the constructors, the Silver Arrows can be crowned Sunday if they score 14 points more than the Scuderia.
In the race for the title drivers, Hamilton can eliminate him Leclerc, Verstappen and Vettel. Bottas would remain mathematically his only competitor, but team orders have already brought the Finn to the rank of adjutant at the end of the season.
© 2019 AFP