Lewis Hamilton admits that it won’t be easy to find a way to beat team mate and pole man Nico Rosberg at Suzuka – unless he can get past at the start.
A lack of overtaking opportunities means that Rosberg will be able to control the race and also the first call on strategy.
“That’s the million dollar question!,” said Hamilton when asked how he could win. “Same as every time it’s like that, you have a chance at the start. There’s not a very big chance on the strategy, but it’s not impossible. You could potentially offset your tyres, maybe. But at the moment, I don’t really know, I haven’t figured that part out. Generally there are not many exciting races, because you can’t overtake, so it would just be a train, and you’d just be following the whole time.
“You can’t overtake here, pretty much, it doesn’t matter how good you are, because you can’t get close enough. The guy in front is going to have the clean air, and it doesn’t matter how good you are at overtaking, you can’t get close enough. These cars do not allow us to get close enough.
“Basically the closer you get, the more disadvantage you get. Any advantage you do have, it disappears, due to the loss of downforce.”
Hamilton also admitted that Suzuka has traditionally not been his best circuit.
“I don’t know, it’s just never been a comfortable circuit for me. I love the circuit, but I just never felt comfortable on it. Today I did, on my final lap I was working on perhaps the best lap I’ve ever done here. Obviously I didn’t get to finish it. Set-up has never really come together, I guess.
“It’s me. Sometimes I haven’t had the car, but generally it’s me. It’s just a track I haven’t felt comfortable on, it’s a weird sensation. Today I felt I’d overcome a large part of that, and last year in the wet I did also. As long as it rains from now on it won’t be a problem!”