FP2: Hamilton fastest again, Ferrari struggle to keep up

Published on 05 Oct 2018 08:30

Lewis Hamilton continued where he left off from this morning's session in Japan by topping the second practice session. The Briton set a 1:28.217 on his qualifying simulation run, which was almost half a second quicker than what anyone else managed to do.

Mercedes look to be in the strongest shape following the opening day of running at the Suzuka Circuit. Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was second, as he was following the first session this morning.

Ferrari failed to stay with Mercedes during FP1 and appeared to struggle once again in the afternoon. Sebastian Vettel ended the session in third place, but was over eight-tenths of a second behind championship rival Hamilton.

Max Verstappen managed to slot his Red Bull in between the two Ferrari cars. The Dutchman was fourth, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who trailed the 21-year-old by two-tenths of a second.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth, but was only very marginally slower than Raikkonen. Behind the Australian, Esteban Ocon claimed the 'best of the rest' position in his Force India as question marks surround the future of the Frenchman.

Romain Grosjean, whose contract was recently renewed with Haas for 2019, was eighth place, only just getting the better of Marcus Ericsson in ninth. Running with an updated Honda engine, Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley rounded out the top ten.

The day wasn't completely smooth for the Red Bull junior squad, as Pierre Gasly only left the garage with 15 minutes remaining. Toro Rosso mechanics uncovered a fuel issue before the session got the green light, causing Gasly to miss out on a lot of running.

Tucked in between the two Toro Rosso's were Sergio Perez and his former teammate Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg's teammate Carlos Sainz was fifteenth, indicating that Renault is perhaps down on pace this weekend as it aims to hold onto fourth in the constructor's standings.

Charles Leclerc was fifteenth, heading Kevin Magnussen. Fernando Alonso followed while the two Williams's of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were eighteenth and nineteenth respectively. Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the timesheet after missing the morning session.

05 October 2018 - Grand Prix of Japan - Free practice 2
  Driver Team Time Difference #
1. GB Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.217 31
2. FI Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:28.678 +0.461 30
3. DE Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:29.050 +0.833 36
4. NL Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:29.257 +1.040 32
5. FI Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:29.498 +1.281 33
6. AU Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:29.513 +1.296 27
7. FR Esteban Ocon Racing Point Force India 1:30.035 +1.818 32
8. FR Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1:30.440 +2.223 32
9. SE Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:30.478 +2.261 33
10. NZ Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:30.502 +2.285 27
11. MX Sergio Perez Racing Point Force India 1:30.510 +2.293 28
12. DE Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:30.644 +2.427 36
13. FR Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:30.795 +2.578 10
14. ES Carlos Sainz jr Renault 1:30.904 +2.687 31
15. MC Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:30.906 +2.689 26
16. DK Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 1:30.956 +2.739 25
17. ES Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:30.988 +2.771 34
18. RU Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:31.087 +2.870 39
19. CA Lance Stroll Williams 1:31.215 +2.998 32
20. BE Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:31.981 +3.764 32
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