Lewis Hamilton maintained a substantial buffer over his Formula 1 opponents during the second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton headed a Mercedes 1-2 during first practice and those positions were replicated during the afternoon running, as he posted a 1:28.217 on Supersoft tyres.
Valtteri Bottas again finished second to his team-mate though this time their laps came on the same compound, having diverged in FP1, with his quickest effort 0.461s down on Hamilton’s benchmark.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to finish within a second of Hamilton, though he was 0.833s adrift of his title rival, as he bids to overturn the Briton’s sizeable 50-point advantage. Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull, in front of Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull). Esteban Ocon again led the midfield contingent, 1.8s behind Hamilton but four0tenths ahead of Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
Marcus Ericsson and Brendon Hartley both showed an impressive turn of pace as they rounded out the top 10 for Sauber and Toro Rosso respectively. Force India’s Sergio Perez and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg were left up, while Pierre Gasly was side-lined for most of the session by a fuel pump problem, before joining the action and placing 13th.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was 14th for Renault, while neither Charles Leclerc nor Kevin Magnussen were able to match the efforts of their respective team-mates. McLaren and Williams continued their difficult form as the two teams rounded out the runners. Fernando Alonso was 17th, though used the slower Soft tyre for his best time, with Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll 18th and 19th respectively. Stoffel Vandoorne, having sat out the first session while Lando Norris ran, was seven-tenths off the pace at the rear of the 20-car field as his miserable run continued.
Saturday’s one-hour third practice session will begin at 11:00 local time.
Japan – Practice 2
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:29.457||1.240||32|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:29.513||1.296||27|
|7||Esteban Ocon||RP Force India||1:30.035||1.818||32|
|10||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1:30.502||2.285||27|
|11||Sergio Perez||RP Force India||1:05.10_||23.207||28|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:30.795||2.578||10|