Sebastian Vettel was quickest in free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday with the Ferrari driver’s morning effort never coming under threat in a rain-shortened afternoon session that saw only five men complete timed laps.
The opening day of track action at the Suzuka Circuit got underway beneath overcast skies with specks of rain turning into heavy drizzle towards the end of the opening 90 minutes of practice.
Vettel set the pace in that session with a one minute, 29.166 second lap, edging out his Formula One championship rival Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at the top of the timesheets.
“I think we had a decent morning,” said Vettel.
“The results of the last two races were not good, but the car is strong.
“We have every reason to be confident and I am sure that on Sunday we’ll be able to show what we can do.”
The rain became heavier through the afternoon and was lashing the 5.8km circuit by the time the clock ticked down to signal the start of the second 90-minute session.
Originally scheduled to begin at 0500 GMT, the start of the session was delayed by 45 minutes as drains overflowed and rivers of water coursed down inclines at the undulating track.
World championship leader Hamilton went fastest in that session, setting a time of one minute, 48.719 seconds, kicking up a dense mist of spray as he toured the circuit, nearly 20 seconds off Vettel’s morning best on a dry track.
The Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, and Williams duo Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were the only other cars brave enough to attempt a flying lap.
Source: Indian Express
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project and a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.