Every Formula One driver is fast, but is the race winner really the fastest? Since 2007 DHL has defined a new standard of speed with the 'DHL Fastest Lap Award'. One driver sets the fastest lap at each race - the award will go to the man who sets the most over the season. To win will require pure speed - something DHL, as the world's leading logistics provider and Official Logistics Partner of Formula 1, uses to achieve its goals, shortening international routes, facilitiating global trade and making the world a smaller place.
Suzuka International Racing Course
Fastest Lap Video
Lewis Hamilton clocks DHL Fastest Lap in Japan
Five-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is well on his way to securing both his sixth World Championship title and the DHL Fastest Lap Award in 2019. Once again, the Mercedes driver posted the fastest race lap in the Japanese GP on Suzuka's world-famous circuit.
As a result, the British driver has taken the new bonus point introduced in 2019 in three of the last four races. Overall this season, Hamilton has now posted five DHL Fastest Laps. If he can set the fastest lap once more at the next GP in Mexico, then his closest rival, Max Verstappen (3 DHL Fastest Laps), can only draw level with him in the remaining three fixtures of the season.
Strategy helped Hamilton set the fastest lap at Suzuka. Mercedes called him in on Lap 42 for a late pit stop and bolted soft tires on the ace driver's car for one final sprint. Three laps later, Hamilton used the soft Pirelli tires mounted on a car which was by now very light to burn a 1:30.983 into the asphalt.
Hamilton's fabulous time enabled him to set a new lap record for the Suzuka International Racing Course, breaking Kimi Räikkönen's previous best which had stood for 14 years. In 2005, the Iceman, who was still with McLaren back then, drove to victory from grid slot 17, posting a 1:31.540 on the way. Hamilton was thus more than half-a-second faster and beat the second-fastest driver over a lap, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc (+ 0.628 secs), by a big margin.
In the overall standings, Hamilton now has five fastest race laps to his name and leads from Max Verstappen with three. Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel (all with 2) have only a slim chance on paper of winning the 2019 DHL Fastest Lap Award.
|Season||Driver||Team||DHL Fastest Laps|
|2013||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||7|
|2012||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||6|
|2011||Mark Webber||Red Bull||7|
|2009||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||3|