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2017 Japanese GP: Free Practice Round Up

It was a mixed Friday during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix after a busy Free Practice 1 where Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel emerged the fastest, and a rainy Free Practice 2 resulted in very limited running during which Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time.

Free Practice 1

With rain forecast for later in the afternoon the teams were eager to get out on track and get their setup niggles sorted out. Sebastian Vettel finished off the session fastest with a best lap of 1:29.166.

Vettel’s lap time came after the session was restarted when Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz crashed on the run to Turn 12. Sainz got a wheel on to the grass which spun the Toro Rosso around and into the barrier just before Turn 12. The red flags were brought out for the stewards to clear the stricken Toro Rosso and the debris.

Lewis Hamilton was 0.211s off Vettel’s time with a second fastest session time of 1:29.377. Hamilton, after the session, said he felt that Mercedes has returned to normal after feeling comfortable with the car after the session compared to last week in Malaysia.

The rest of the top 6 consisted of the usual suspects with Daniel Ricciardo finishing 3rd fastest ahead in the Red Bull ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in 4th.

Valtteri Bottas finished 5th fastest with Max Verstappen in 6th. Verstappen had a bit of an off track excursion across the gravel at Spoon on his super first timed lap on the super softs. A second attempt by the Dutchman was curtailed by charging issues on his ERS.

Esteban Ocon continued with his good practice form by finishing 7th fastest setting a session best time of 1:30.899 for Force India while Nico Hulkenberg popped his Renault into 8th.

Romain Grosjean managed to get the Haas into 9th ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne in 10th.

Free Practice 2

The session was delayed indefinitely from the start as the heavy rain did not let up. Eventually the session got underway 45mins after the scheduled start time.

Drivers were not keen to head out but a few ventured out for installation laps.

Few more drivers headed out for installation laps but it was the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon that were the first to set times for the session.

At the end of the session just 6 drivers set times with Lewis Hamilton topping the time sheets with a 1:48.719, 0.799s faster than 2nd fastest man, Ocon who set a time of 1:49.518.

Perez was 3rd fastest setting a session best time of 1:51.345.

Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll finished 4th and 5th respectively more than 3 second off Hamilton’s time.

More rain is expected tomorrow for Free Practice 3 an qualifying.

About Ritesh K Bhana

Ritesh likes to think he is a true Tifosi, but he still remains fair to other teams. He supports two other teams which are not Red Bull and McLaren. Follow Ritesh on twitter @Humanshield_1

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