Japanese GP build-up

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Japanese GP build-up

‘Not great by Magnussen’

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

It was not great driving by Magnussen. He moved too late and too aggressively. He’s done that before.

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Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas take the lead unharmed and away from danger.

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In the Verstappen Raikkonen, shenanigans, Vettel is now fourth.

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Max Verstappen tries to push Kimi Raikkonen off the track, but ends up off himself, with all four of his wheels covered in grass.

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Vettel and Ricciardo have had good starts. Vettel is now in sixth, from ninth. While Ricciardo is now 14th.

Go! Go! Go!

Off we go! 53 laps to go.

‘Mercedes have advantage on softs’

Japanese Grand Prix (06:10 BST)

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

It’s about tyres today. The tyre wear here seems a little higher than in recent races. The teams are angling for a one-stop race, but it’s going to be difficult. That’s where Mercedes have an advantage on the soft tyres. We’re going to see a lot of tyre blistering during this race.

Two minutes until the race starts…

Copyright: BBC Sport

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BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Jack, Jolyon and Jennie are live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

‘It is like in 2012’ – Alonso

Japanese Grand Prix (06:10 BST)

Andrew Benson

BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer at Suzuka

Copyright: Getty Images

McLaren.
What can you say? Slowest car of all. That has to be a first, apart from the
very early days of Honda, since the early races of 2009.

Fernando Alonso, who
is 18th, said he believed he had done a superb lap, “Probably has been one of
the best laps I did in my life at Suzuka,” he said. “I saw the onboard in the
engineers’ room. If you have a chance, watch it, because there is not 1mm in
any corner, on entry, on exit, on the kerb. It was maximum risk and I think it
was the maximum today.”

It’s not the first time Alonso has said something like
that, and there is a kind of weary resignation in the paddock about his talking
up of himself. But McLaren say that it was actually a very good lap, and
team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne – half a second adrift – described it as “probably
perfect”.

Despite McLaren’s uncompetitiveness, Alonso is remarkably still
only three points off the lead of the ‘B-class championship’ behind the top
three teams.

“Unbelievable, huh?” he said. “It is like in 2012,” a reference to
his finest season, when he competed for the title in the fourth fastest car.
But he said it “means nothing” to him to finish seventh in the championship.

“My only plan is to finish in the constructors’ championship as
high as possible with McLaren,” he said.

“We have now a strong position. We
have maybe no hopes to catch Renault and Haas but the gap between us and
Force India and Sauber is reducing every race because they are very strong now
and we will not let them catch us before Abu Dhabi. The drivers’ championship,
really not too interested.”

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