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Formula 1

Japanese GP practice two washout leaves F1 guessing

by Josh Suttill
2 min read

McLaren's Oscar Piastri ended Friday practice day on top at Formula 1's Japanese Grand Prix as rain limited running in FP2.

Key moments:

  • Mileage minimal
  • Piastri fastest with late lap
  • Sargeant misses FP2 after FP1 crash

Light rain at Suzuka made the track too wet for slicks and too dry for intermediates for much of the session.

It means teams will have little in the way of a clear idea of how they stack up compared to their rivals coming into Friday, particularly on long runs - as FP1 running earlier in the day took place with wildly varied estimated fuel levels.

The RB drivers - including Daniel Ricciardo back in his VCARB01 after Ayumu Iwasa drove it in FP1 - were one of few to venture out on intermediate tyres.

That left an unusual RB 1-2 on the timesheet for much of the second half of FP2, with Yuki Tsunoda fastest on a 1m40.946s, nine tenths clear of his team-mate.

But the track dried out just enough in the final minutes of the session to allow some slick-tyre running.

Piastri was the fastest of those who went out on slicks and smashed Tsunoda's benchmark, first by four seconds before he lowered the bar even further to a 1m34.725s.

Lewis Hamilton also popped in a last-minute lap to go second, half a second adrift of Piastri.

Charles Leclerc was four seconds off the pace but that was still good enough for third.

Tsunoda fell to fourth by the chequered flag, while Ricciardo in fifth completed more laps (nine) than any other driver.

McLaren's Lando Norris was sixth ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine). Kevin Magnussen was the only other driver to set a 'laptime', one 55s slower than Piastri's.

Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, the sole Williams in FP2 of Alex Albon and the Saubers of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas all took to the track but didn't post a time on the leaderboard.

Six drivers - including both Red Bulls - didn't even go out on track during FP2.

Logan Sargeant was always going to sit out the session after his FP1 crash caused significant damage to his car, including cracking his gearbox.

His chassis remains intact, meaning a spare-less Williams avoids a repeat of its Australian GP nightmare (for now).

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