With the start of the opening Friday practice session for the 2017 Japanese
Grand Prix there would be a mix of tyres been used as drivers completed
their installation laps. Both Williams drivers would use the soft tyre for
this run. Hamilton would set a 1m:31.544 with Bottas second followed by
Ricciardo and Verstappen. Both Red Bull cars were on the super soft tyre as
drivers aimed to get as much track time in case it started to rain.
Verstappen would move up to second with a 1m:31.435 while Hamilton improved
with a 1m:31.072. Bottas would go quickest with a 1m:30.517 to be 0.5 ahead
of Hamilton. But Hamilton would improve with a 1m:30.042 to again move to
the top of the times.
Vettel was now third behind Bottas. The top three times were all set on the
soft tyre while in fourth and fifth Verstappen and Ricciardo were on the
super soft tyre. On the soft tyre Raikkonen would move up to third ahead of
Vettel. After their first series of laps the Williams drivers were eleventh
and sixteenth. The top ten was Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Vettel,
Verstappen, Ricciardo, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Vandoorne, and Perez. At the front
Ricciardo would go quickest with a 1m:29.541 using a new set of super soft
tyres. Both Williams drivers would continue to improve with the pair now
tenth and fourteenth with an hour remaining with both drivers on long runs
on the soft tyre. Alonso had moved into seventh as both Mercedes cars came
out on the super soft tyre. Bottas would improved but remained third while
Hamilton would set a 1m:29.377 to be quickest but only by 0.164.
On the soft tyre Vettel would move up to second with a 1m:29.419 to be 0.042
behind Hamilton. But the session would be red flagged as Sainz would crash
his car at the exit of the hairpin. This would see both Williams drivers
having to pit not been able to set times on the super soft tyre. Sainz would
spin across the track going head on into the barriers. This would see a lot
of debris across the track. The order was Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo,
Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Vandoorne, Alonso and Magnussen
in tenth. With the restart of the session light rain would start to fall.
The track was very busy with the only driver not to come out was Magnussen.
Vettel would go quickest in the first sector running on the super soft tyre.
He would finish his lap going fastest with a 1m:29.166 with Hamilton second
and Ricciardo third. After their super soft tyre runs the Williams drivers
were well down the order in fourteenth and sixteenth.
The rain would start to increase seeing the track empty quite quickly as
there was only a few minutes remaining. Vettel was still quickest followed
by Hamilton, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Ocon, Hulkenberg,
Grosjean and Vandoorne tenth. For Williams Lance would finish ahead of
Felipe with the pair fourteenth and sixteenth. Not a great start to the
weekend and very similar to Malaysia. But on their initial performance it is
again looking to be another difficult Grand Prix for the Williams team.
Felipe would be first out for
Williams for his installation run coming out on the soft tyre. After a short
stop Felipe would return again coming out on a new set of soft tyres. Felipe
would set a 1m:32.878 to be tenth behind Vandoorne. Felipe would improve
with a 1m:32.301. His next timed lap was a 1m:32.224 but he was now
eleventh. A 1m:31.920 would see Felipe now tenth. Felipe would pit currently
eleventh after an eleven lap run on the soft tyre. He would drop to twelfth
behind Hulkenberg. With forty minutes remaining Felipe was back out on the
super soft tyre currently fourteenth. Felipe would have to pit with a red
flag. Felipe would follow his team-mate out also on the super soft tyre.
Felipe had been on a quicker lap but would come on the radio saying that he
had gone off the track slightly ruining his lap. He was now sixteenth behind
his team-mate and would pit. After a quick stop Felipe would return but
would pit as the rain started to fall ending his session.
Lance would also complete his installation lap also using the soft tyre.
Lance would follow his team-mate out also on a new set of soft tyres. Lance
would set a 1m:34.045 to be fifteenth but it should be remembered that this
was his first time at the Suzuka track. Lance would set a 1m:33.301 to be
sixteenth. A 1m:32.811 saw him now fifteenth but he was on the radio saying
that the rears were starting to go away. But Lance would again improve with
a 1m:32.426 to be fourteenth. Lance would also pit briefly currently
sixteenth. Lance would also come out for his super soft tyre run currently
seventeenth. Lance was also forced to pit with a red flag. As the circuit
went green Lance was back out on the super soft tyre. He would improve with
a 1m:31.889 to be fifteenth. Lance would complain of a lot of bouncing of
the rear of his car. Lance would also pit briefly also coming back out. He
would also pit with the rain falling ending his session.