The opening Friday practice for the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix would see a
rush of drivers coming out. The first moment would come when Sainz would
leave the pit lane but would stop shortly after. It had been announced that
with a typhoon likely to hit the area that all sessions on Saturday would be
cancelled. Qualifying would move to Sunday morning. There would be a mix of
soft and medium tyres in use as drivers completed installation laps. As they
recovered Sainz's car the Virtual Safety Car would be deployed. With the
lack of running on Saturday drivers would quickly start to return. Hamilton
on the medium would go quickest with a 1m:31.723 with Bottas second. He
would improve with a 1m:30.881. With fifteen minutes completed the track was
not very busy as Norris went third and Giovinazzi fourth. Grosjean would
move into fourth as Giovinazzi pitted with an issue. Hamilton had improved
again with a 1m:30.832.
Stroll on the soft tyre was up to fifth becoming sixth as Albon went third.
The Haas cars were in fifth and seventh while Gasly replacement Yamamoto was
tenth. At the front Verstappen was now third followed by Leclerc and Vettel.
Albon was now sixth followed by Perez, Norris, Stroll, and Grosjean tenth.
The Williams drivers were down in 18th and 19th. Bottas had improved with a
1m:30.524 to be quickest from Hamilton, Leclerc, Verstappen, Vettel and
Albon. But it would all change with just over half an hour remaining as
Vettel went quickest with a 1m:29.720 with Leclerc now second. Hamilton was
able to use the soft tyre to go quicker than Vettel with a 1m:28.807. But
Bottas would also use the soft tyre to good effect going quickest with a
With twenty minutes remaining the order was Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel,
Leclerc, Verstappen, Albon, Perez, Stroll, Sainz and Grosjean tenth. But
Sainz would improve to be seventh. With ten minutes remaining the track
would become very busy with both Williams drivers out running on longer runs
on the soft tyre. The session would end with Bottas fastest from Hamilton,
Vettel, Leclerc, Verstappen, Albon, Sainz, Perez, Stroll, and Norris tenth.
The Williams drivers would remain in 18th and 19th in what was a session
that saw the team spending a lot of time evaluating the new front wing.
Robert would be the first out for Williams running on the medium tyre for
his single installation lap in the opening Friday practice. Robert would
quickly return aiming to get as much track time as possible. He was again on
the medium tyre. Robert would be running the new front wing and would pit
after a single lap. With an hour and ten minutes remaining Robert would
return this time on the soft tyre. Robert would set a 1m:35.637 but he would
improve significantly with a 1m:33.935. Robert would pit after a five lap
run returning on a new set of soft tyres. He would pit after a single lap.
With just over forty minutes remaining Robert would return again on the soft
tyre. Robert would improve with a 1m:33.484 to be 18th. He would drop to
19th. Robert would also return again on the soft tyre. Robert would complete
a seven lap run and would pit returning to the track for a single lap and
then pitting again as the session ended.
George would come out for his first run but on the hard tyre. He would puit
after a single lap. With just over an hour remaining George would return
running on the soft tyre. George would set a 1m:33.891 pitting after a four
lap run. George would return on a new set of soft tyres pitting after a
single lap. The new front wing would be moved to his car and he would return
again on the soft tyre. George would set a 1m:32.800 to be 15th. He would
drop to 17th and would pit after a six lap run. He would drop to 18th. With
fifteen minutes remaining George would return again on the soft tyre. He
would pit after a six lap run. He would complete a practice pit stop
returning to complete one lap prior to pitting again. His car was seen
running with flow viz all over the front of the car as the team still
evaluated the new front wing.