Japanese Grand Prix: Practice Sessions
For the second race in succession, Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat emerged fastest overall from the two Friday free practice sessions with a time of 1m48.277s, but the entire day in Suzuka was affected by rain that varied in intensity from light to heavy.
As a result, all the drivers used Cinturato Blue wet and Cinturato Green intermediate tires only, lapping around 15 seconds off the usual dry weather pace. In the morning free practice session, Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz was quickest for the first time of his F1 career.
Tomorrow’s track conditions are expected to be generally a bit drier, although the threat of rain remains. This made it extremely difficult for the teams to judge whether or not the wet conditions and standing water seen today would be representative of the rest of the weekend, or how useful any data captured now would be.
Many of the teams limited their running to avoid unnecessary risks, steering clear of the periods of particularly heavy rain. Nonetheless, they were still able to gain some useful information about the potential of the circuit and their cars in wet conditions, in case the intermediates or wets are still needed in the remaining sessions.
Paul Hembery: “For the drivers and fans, it was a slightly frustrating and inconclusive pair of free practice sessions, but the weather certainly did not dampen the enthusiasm of the amazing Japanese public. The drivers got the chance to use both intermediate and wet tires, which meant that teams were able to assess the crossover points: in other words the point at which it becomes quicker to switch from intermediate to full wet tires and vice versa. The interrupted nature of these sessions today means that FP3 tomorrow will take on particular significance, as teams try to pack in as much dry running as they can in the single hour available before qualifying.”