Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton leads crash-strewn Suzuka practice

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in a crash-strewn second Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton leads crash-strewn Suzuka practice

The Mercedes driver outpaced team-mate and 2014 F1 title rival Nico Rosberg by 0.240 seconds when both went for quick runs on the faster medium-compound Pirellis shortly after the halfway mark of the 90-minute session.

Best of the rest was Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, who was 1.201s slower than Hamilton, with McLaren driver and 2011 Japanese GP winner Jenson Button fourth quickest.

Sebastian Vettel was the fastest of the two Red Bulls, just under 1.4s slower than Hamilton, although team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was down in 10th after his session came to a premature end.

The Australian had set the pace early on before a crash at the final right-hand kink led to him hitting the wall head-on.

His Red Bull suffered significant front-left damage and was initially dragged up the hill towards the chicane by the recovery crew.

But after it was left near the chicane, the red flags were deployed to allow it to be cleared up properly, with the delay lasting eight minutes.

Ahead of Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen was the faster of the Ferrari drivers, less than a tenth quicker than Fernando Alonso in seventh pace.

Kevin Magnussen, who had a wide moment at Spoon Curve and tore up some artificial grass, and Daniil Kvyat separated the Ferraris from Ricciardo.

Another driver who hit trouble during the session, Jean-Eric Vergne, was 11th fastest.

The Frenchman had sat out the morning session to allow Max Verstappen to make his F1 weekend debut, with the Dutchman suffering an engine failure in the closing minutes of practice one.

Vergne was slightly late joining second practice and then stopped on track before he could set a time.

He was able to return to action later in the session and ended up classified ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Force India in 11th.

But the Frenchman had a second problem with four minutes remaining, coming to a halt on the run out of Spoon Curve and triggering a second red flag that brought practice to an early conclusion.

Japanese GP weekend in pictures

Romain Grosjean was 13th in the stronger of the two Lotus-Renaults ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa, the Brazilian unable to set a competitive fast lap to join Bottas near the front as red flag timings and understeer hampered him.

Sauber had a difficult session, with Adrian Sutil 17th fastest and Esteban Gutierrez just behind him despite crashing.

This happened four minutes after the restart following the red flag, when Gutierrez lost it entering Spoon Curve while on what was set to be his fastest lap of the session.

Kamui Kobayashi ended the session slowest of those who completed a flying lap after crashing on his fourth lap of the session.

The rear-end of his Caterham stepped out at Turn 4, and in attempting to correct, the car spun the other way and he backed into the barrier.

Spots of rain late in the session meant that several drivers had brief moments in the closing stages, with Raikkonen and Hulkenberg both having minor offs and Rosberg suffering a big lock up at the hairpin while on a long run.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.078s - 28
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.318s 0.240s 27
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m36.279s 1.201s 24
4 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1m36.409s 1.331s 28
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1m36.436s 1.358s 24
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.529s 1.451s 19
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.637s 1.559s 26
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m36.714s 1.636s 31
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m36.943s 1.865s 27
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m37.186s 2.108s 3
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1m37.219s 2.141s 19
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m37.504s 2.426s 16
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m37.563s 2.485s 31
14 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m37.700s 2.622s 18
15 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m37.786s 2.708s 8
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1m37.798s 2.720s 27
17 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1m38.010s 2.932s 25
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1m38.365s 3.287s 9
19 Marcus Ericsson Caterham/Renault 1m39.069s 3.991s 22
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia/Ferrari 1m39.306s 4.228s 20
21 Max Chilton Marussia/Ferrari 1m39.333s 4.255s 24
22 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault 1m42.760s 7.682s 3

shares
comments
Caterham F1 team says keeping Leafield base a mistake

Previous article

Caterham F1 team says keeping Leafield base a mistake

Next article

F1 rookie Max Verstappen 'not even close to limit' on debut

F1 rookie Max Verstappen 'not even close to limit' on debut
Load comments
How Ferrari has brought the best from F1’s smooth operator Plus

How Ferrari has brought the best from F1’s smooth operator

As a young boy, Carlos Sainz was schooled by his father in the special folklore surrounding Ferrari in Formula 1. Now an established grand prix ace – and a Ferrari driver to boot – Sainz opens up to BEN ANDERSON about driving for the team of his childhood hero, and of his own boyhood dreams

How Hungarian GP thriller sounded alarm bell for F1 2022 cars Plus

How Hungarian GP thriller sounded alarm bell for F1 2022 cars

OPINION: The 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix may not have been a thrill-a-minute overtaking fest, but it's a race that will live long in the memory as one of the best of the current era of Formula 1. And as F1 moves to regulations in 2022 aimed at boosting overtaking, Hungary showed the balance it must strike with its new machinery as not to deny similarly tense spectacles

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1? Plus

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1?

OPINION: Different perspectives had Lewis Hamilton’s solo second standing start in Formula 1’s 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix as fabulous or farcical. But did it make the championship appear too silly for the sake of a moment of high-charged sporting drama?

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2021
Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver Plus

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2021
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph Plus

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021