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Japanese GP, Practice Two: Lewis Hamilton on top at rain-soaked Suzuka

Practice Two at the Japanese GP was a near total washout as only five drivers posted a time in the treacherous conditions, with Lewis Hamilton setting the pace.

A torrential downpour in between Friday’s practice sessions meant running was extremely limited as rivers formed on track and FP2 was cut to just 45 minutes due to the wet weather.

Fourteen drivers ventured out of the sodden pits for installation laps but only five posted times, with Hamilton topping the timesheets with a 1:48.719 on the full wet tyres.

In fact, Hamilton was the only driver from Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull to set a time in the session.

Drivers were unsurprisingly extremely cautious when it came to pushing their cars to the limit in the conditions, though Lance Stroll had an off at Turn One and narrowly avoided a major shunt with the barriers after driving through the gravel.

And the rain could also play havoc with teams’ setup for the weekend, with more showers expected for Saturday’s final practice session. Qualifying and the race should be mainly dry.

In the more suitable conditions in Practice One, Sebastian Vettel – a four-time winner at Suzuka – was fastest for Ferrari, though championship rival Hamitlon was just 0.2s behind as Mercedes improved on their Malaysia GP pace.

“We had an extremely good debrief on Sunday night in Kuala Lumpur where a lot of things came to the surface,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted to Sky F1.

“There was good interaction between the drivers and the engineers in order to asses the problems and that is the first step to change them.”

Japanese GP Practice Two Timesheet

Driver Team Time
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.211
Esteban Ocon Force India +0.799
Sergio Perez Force India +2.626
Felipe Massa Williams +3.427
Lance Stroll Williams +3.624
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari No time set
Nico Hulkenberg Renault No time set
Jolyon Palmer Renault No time set
Marcus Ericsson Sauber No time set
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari No time set
Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda No time set
Pascal Wehrlein Sauber No time set
Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso No time set
Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda No time set
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull No time set
Romain Grosjean Haas No time set
Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso No time set
Kevin Magnussen Haas No time set
Max Verstappen Red Bull No time set
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes No time set

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