Vettel denies personal breakthrough led to Suzuka pole

Sebastian Vettel says there was no personal resurgence on his part that allowed him to secure pole at Suzuka, the Ferrari driver insisting his performance was simply the result of a “clean session”.

Charles Leclerc’s recent string of four consecutive pole positions between Spa and Sochi positioned the Monegasque as the Scuderia’s fastest driver on Saturday afternoons.

But in Japan, Vettel finally responded with a couple of hot laps of his own in Q3, outpacing his teammate and both Mercedes drivers to lead the grid on Sunday afternoon.

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Asked whether the feat was perhaps linked to a personal breakthrough, the four-time world champion denied any sudden personal gains.

“No not really, I think it was just a clean session,” Vettel said.

“I don’t think there was a particular problem. Obviously, we’ve been improving the car, especially since Singapore, the update helped us. It certainly helped me in areas where I struggled before.

“Overall, I think qualifying sessions on my side haven’t gone entirely smoothly, so maybe that one just went quite smooth.

“Both laps were clean, no issues preparing the lap and so on. I’m obviously happy with that.”