Mercedes’ George Russell topped a wet Friday Practice for 2022 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Circuit, Japan.
Heavy rain affected both sessions amidst fair-sized windows of damp conditions between showers which enabled the track to dry enough for intermediates, which enabled Fernando Alonso to top FP1 but Russell set the fastest overall time across both sessions in FP2 to top the day.
Pirelli meanwhile saw their planned slick prototype tyre test cancelled due to the wet conditions on a frustrating day for the entire paddock with limited running, due to FP3 and Qualifying both being forecast to be dry tomorrow (8 October) ahead of possible showers for the race on Sunday.
Now, here is a full roundup of all the action across FP1 and FP2.
Wet conditions greeted drivers for the first F1 session at Suzuka since 2019 Japanese GP with nobody opting to head straight out onto the circuit, until Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda ventured out in the fifth minute only to quickly retreat to the pits.
Nicholas Latifi soon afterwards did the same although Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll stayed out for a flier after his installation lap, only to pit at the end of his flying lap as the rain came to a halt.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was the first driver to set a benchmark lap time of 1m 49.952 on full wet tyres, yet he was quickly bettered by teammate – Leclerc who went fastest with 1m 48.104, although Sainz fell 0.534 seconds short on his next flier.
Sainz in the 26th minute went fastest with 1m 47.758 to head Leclerc and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo at the halfway mark of FP1.
Track conditions however soon began to improve which led to a flurry of lap times as everyone scrambled to post a lap time on intermediate tyres, with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso ultimately topping the session with 1m 42.248 ahead of Sainz and Leclerc.
Heavy rain however quickly returned soon afterwards which prevented further improvement as everyone retreated back to the pits, until Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou ventured out in the closing minutes to explore conditions on wet tyres with several drivers soon following suit to gather data.
Post-session, Haas’ Mick Schumacher hit a river running across Dunlop Curve unsighted which caused him to spin and consequently broke his chassis, in turn ruling him out of FP2 due to the severity of damage.
|1||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||1m 42.248|
|2||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.315|
|3||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.386|
|4||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.774|
|5||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.010|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1.114|
|7||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 1.513|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.641|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.721|
|10||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.986|
|11||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.181|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 2.238|
|13||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 2.310|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 2.322|
|15||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 2.543|
|16||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 2.630|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 3.176|
|18||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 3.855|
|19||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 3.944|
|20||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 5.842|
This now rare extended 90 minute FP2 session was originally meant to be a 2023 prototype tyre test on behalf of Pirelli but continued rainfall necessitated its cancellation, due to Pirelli having brought slick prototype tyres with the test now scheduled to be conducted across US and Mexico rounds.
FIA Stewards however decided to retain the 90 minute length of the session but nobody was eager to head out onto a damp circuit, until Williams’ Nicholas Latifi took the plunge five minutes into the session and he proceeded to set the benchmark time of 1m 56.471 on full wet tyres.
Latifi then found 4.238s on his next lap but Sainz then went fastest with 1m 49.615 on his first flier and led until the 29th minute, when Lewis Hamilton went top with 1m 49.489 prior to intermediate tyre runs, but the Brit was displaced by George Russell two minutes later with 1m 46.891 to go top.
Russell then found 1.694s across his next two fliers to lower his benchmark time to 1m 45.197 as he found himself scrapping with Hamilton and Verstappen over the quickest lap time, with Russell sat fastest at the halfway mark of session.
Verstappen then displaced Russell in the 50th minute with 1m 42.786 but was immediately displaced by Hamilton who went 0.616s faster, only for Russell to set the quickest time of session just seconds later as the ex Williams driver posted 1m 41.935 to finish fastest.
Hamilton settled for second ahead of Verstappen who was third quickest ahead of; Sergio Perez and Magnussen who rounded out the top five.
|1||George Russell||Mercedes||1m 41.935|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.235|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.851|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.899|
|5||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.252|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.269|
|7||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.598|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.798|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.949|
|10||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.590|
|11||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 2.774|
|12||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 3.027|
|13||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 3,104|
|14||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 3.322|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 3.326|
|16||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 3.950|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 4.095|
|18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 4.841|
|19||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 5.174|
|20||Mick Schumacher||Haas||No Time Set|