Practice report

F1 Japanese GP: Verstappen on top again in FP2 as Gasly crashes late on

Max Verstappen completed a clean sweep of Friday's Formula 1 practice sessions after topping FP2, 0.320 seconds clear of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The Dutchman punched in a 1m30.688s to stand atop the timing boards, having been bumped off the top following his opening run on soft tyres as the rest of the front-running pack waited until later in the session to clock their first times on softs.

Verstappen had originally gone quickest with a 1m31.377s on his first timed run, going early on soft tyres as the majority of the field used the early part of the session to explore Pirelli's prototype tyre compound.

But his lap was knocked off the top by Lando Norris, who switched to a set of the red-walled tyre and set a 1m31.152s to underline McLaren's pace on the technical and flowing Suzuka course.

Leclerc then moved above the Briton with a 1m31.008s, as Ferrari looked to retain its advantage over the other teams chasing second in the constructors' championship from Singapore. Last weekend's winner Carlos Sainz continued to demonstrate Ferrari's strong package by slotting into third, behind Norris.

After Red Bull had been widely tipped for a resurgence over the Japanese GP weekend, Verstappen proved that hypothesis further having logged the first time below the 1m31s bracket - going just over three-tenths ahead of Leclerc's earlier headliner.

As this preceded the customary long-run simulations as the teams sought to assess tyre performance and degradation in preparation for Sunday's race, Verstappen's time remained untouched in the final 20 minutes and the Dutch driver remained clear of Leclerc for the remainder of the session.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

This was put beyond doubt when Pierre Gasly crashed at the end of the session with two minutes left on the clock, having dropped his car at Turn 9 to put his car in the wall just before the overpass.

The Alpine driver came out of the second Degner corner with too much speed, and locked up to skitter across the gravel.

Norris remained third after Verstappen's lap as Sainz managed to grab fourth overall, while Mercedes' George Russell had moved into fifth place and appeared to suffer with high levels of degradation as he continued to gather mileage on the soft tyre.

Fernando Alonso found sixth overall ahead of Williams' Alex Albon, who impressed to set a time a tenth clear of Oscar Piastri.

Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10, the Finn just 0.03s clear of the returning Lance Stroll's best lap after the Canadian missed the Singapore race.

Alpine's struggles continued as Esteban Ocon was the French team's best-placed driver in 12th, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and an out-of-sorts Lewis Hamilton.

Liam Lawson was 15th fastest, clear of Zhou Guanyu, Kevin Magnussen, and the Kiwi's team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

Gasly was only 19th fastest, over Logan Sargeant - who propped up the field despite setting the best final sector.

F1 Japanese GP FP2 Results

Driver Info
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 19 1'30.688   230.517
2 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari 23 +0.320 0.320 229.707
3 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 22 +0.464 0.144 229.344
4 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari 22 +0.549 0.085 229.130
5 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes 22 +0.640 0.091 228.902
6 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes 22 +0.804 0.164 228.492
7 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 23 +0.867 0.063 228.334
8 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 22 +0.974 0.107 228.068
9 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull 24 +1.022 0.048 227.948
10 Finland V. Bottas Alfa Romeo 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari 22 +1.051 0.029 227.876
11 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes 22 +1.083 0.032 227.797
12 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault 22 +1.106 0.023 227.740
13 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari 24 +1.109 0.003 227.732
14 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 21 +1.141 0.032 227.653
15 New Zealand L. Lawson AlphaTauri 40 AlphaTauri Red Bull 23 +1.453 0.312 226.882
16 China Z. Guanyu Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari 16 +1.477 0.024 226.823
17 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari 23 +1.481 0.004 226.813
18 Japan Y. Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 AlphaTauri Red Bull 26 +1.490 0.009 226.791
19 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault 22 +1.491 0.001 226.789
20 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes 25 +1.632 0.141 226.442
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