Carlos Sainz set the pace at wet Suzuka on Friday morning, with a personal best time on intermediate tires of 1:49.434. He was half a second quicker than Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
Only 12 out of 20 drivers set a time during what was a bit of a quiet session at the Suzuka Circuit. Rain, though, did not stop the incredible Japanese fans from attending the track.
Drivers set out for installation laps, but it was until the latter part of the session when lap times really started to come in. Conditions gradually improved, until the very best.
Amongst driver errors and cars running wide, it was the famous Spoon Curve which proved the most tricky. We’ll see whether it remains during the course of the weekend.
Lotus test driver Jolyon Palmer, and Manor newly-signed American Alexander Rossi were behind the wheel during the practice. Rossi is set to race the rest of the season except for Russia and Abu Dhabi.
1. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:49.434
2. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:49.938
3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:50.077
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:50.519
5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:50.722
6. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:50.940
7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:51.212
8. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:52.288
9. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:53.820
10. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:53.964
11. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:54.013
12. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:55.678