It's McLaren vs Red Bull all over again

It's McLaren vs Red Bull all over again

Lewis Hamilton and McLaren have been the combination to beat in recent races, but as Mark Hughes uncovers the Briton's plan of winning race by race could be scuppered by the pace of Red Bull at Suzuka

Asked if he'd been doing the maths of the championship battle, Lewis Hamilton was very clear. "No," he replied. "I'm just going to try to win race by race. I'm not thinking beyond one race at a time."

But looking at the apparent patterns from the Friday long runs at Suzuka, it appears as if Hamilton may have a serious challenge on his hands, from Red Bull in particular. Mark Webber topped the low-fuel qualifying-simulation times, 0.3s ahead of second-fastest Hamilton, while Sebastian Vettel did a 10-lap long run on the option (soft) tyres that averaged around 0.4s faster than a similar-duration run from Hamilton.

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