Vettel and Hamilton quickest in rain interrupted Japanese GP Practice

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton were the two quickest drivers at Suzuka, in what was a rainy afternoon for the teams during Friday practice.

Vettel managed to set the quickest time late in the first session of a 1m26.166s, two tenths ahead of Hamilton who found some pace with the new aero updates that he opted not to use last weekend.

He finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, both setting their lap times early on in the session on the Super Soft tyre.

The Ferrari driver also set his quickest time amid speculation that he might be taking a grid penalty this weekend, after his post-race crash with Stroll in Malaysia. Ferrari are adamant that the gearbox did survive the incident and will run it tomorrow morning, although it seems it will be Valtteri Bottas who will take a gearbox penalty this weekend.

Max Verstappen was due to set a lap on the Super Soft, however a crash by Carlos Sainz coming out of the spoon hairpin caused the session to be red flagged and ended that run with just 15 minutes of the session to run.

Sainz was able to climb out of the car unaided, however the front end looked worse for wear as he walked off the track and made his way back to the pits.

Romain Grosjean was one of the only drivers along with Vettel to improve his time after that to go ninth fastest in the dying moments of the session, while team mate Kevin Magnussen who finished 11th quickest suffered from engine problems which ended his session with a handful of minutes left to run.

In the afternoon part of the session only five drivers ended up setting times after the opening minutes were delayed due to the track conditions.

Only Hamilton, Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa set lap times, the Williams of Lance Stroll having a small moment due to the standing water down at Turn 1 which momentarily spat him off the track.

Toro Rosso were also able to repair Sainz’s car to get him out for an installation run on wet tyres, along with a few other drivers who also ventured out on the wets before settling to stay in the pits for the rest of the afternoon.

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