Mercedes’ George Russell is happy with “decent improvement” across Friday Practice at 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.
Rain greeted F1 on its return to Suzuka, Japan after a three-year absence but it proved to be difficult for Russell as he finished 3.855 seconds off the pace in FP1, after registering just four laps but rebounded in FP2 to top the timesheet in a more productive session with 23 laps.
Speaking post-FP2, Russell admitted that he was happy with his progress as he said: “It is always nice to end the day top of the time sheets, and it was a decent improvement from FP1 when we were pretty much at the bottom.”
Dry weather conditions however are forecast for FP3 and Qualifying whilst showers are forecast for conclusion of the race on Sunday, but Russell is enthusiastic about the experience as he described their running as “a good learning opportunity for the future” in terms of tyre data.
With dry conditions forecast for Qualifying, Russell refused to be drawn on expectations as he concluded: “I’ve no idea what to expect tomorrow in the dry – we will be battling for the top six positions, and hopefully we have a shot at something better than that. Let’s wait and see.”
Lewis Hamilton meanwhile finished 13th in FP1 after registering six laps but improved to second in FP2 in which he put 22 laps on the board.
Hamilton though like Russell has vowed to take the positives from this weekend amidst drier running for rest of weekend, as he insisted that the team can always learn “something useful” in terms of wet “set-up, tyre wear and temperatures,” plus evolving the car balance between sessions.
After struggling with tyre temperature in wet conditions in Singapore last weekend, Hamilton has admitted that a big “positive” is that he was able to switch his wet tyres on in the working temperature window in Suzuka
Hamilton like Russell refused to be drawn on how Mercedes could fare in the dry conditions across FP3 and Qualifying, as he concluded: “Looking to tomorrow, I don’t really know what to expect. I guess Ferrari and Red Bull will be rapid, and I hope that we are fast too – like I do each week!”