Hamilton clocked the best lap in the free practice of the Grand prix of Japan
Photo: Kiyoshi Ota Agence France-Presse
The practice sessions were disrupted by rain on Friday.
Lewis Hamilton, the current leader in the championship, has signed the best lap of the second free practice session at the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Japan, greatly disturbed by the rain and during which only five drivers have recorded a timed lap.
After a long delay, the driver of Mercedes was the fastest of the afternoon session, finishing a lap of 1 m 48,719 s, 799 thousandths of a second in front of Esteban Ake Force India.
In spite of the victory of Hamilton on a wet track in Singapore and a second place at Sepang, Mercedes has recently struggled to keep pace with its main rivals, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“It has been an interesting day, said Hamilton. The car is much better than in Malaysia. I am happy to have been able to ride in the dry during the first practice session. In the second, there has been a lot of rain, but it was important that we went out to see how the car behaves, because it has not been very successful in the rain in Malaysia. “
Hamilton has used the new update aerodynamics on his Mercedes for the Friday practice and, after finishing second behind Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari on the dry in the morning, he felt that his car was again competitive.
The team-mate of Ake, Sergio Perez (1 m 51,345 s), and the duo of Williams formed of Felipe Massa (1 m 52,146 s) and Lance Stroll (1 m 52,343 s) were the only other drivers to complete a timed lap during the session was shortened.
“The pace on soft tires was encouraging [during the first practice session],” said the technical director of Williams, Paddy Lowe. Unfortunately for our two cars, their trials gums ultratendres have been interrupted by the red flag of [Carlos] Sainz, so we were not able to get the maximum information. The second session has almost completely been canceled by the rain, although we managed to complete one or two laps with our cars in rain tires, which has enabled us to perform some experiments and to obtain valuable information. “
“It was a good day,” said the Quebecers 18 years of age. It was also very positive during the first practice session […] but we were not able to turn as much as we’d hoped during the second session, as it is always difficult to determine the limits of the car in such conditions. “
With five races to go, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the drivers ‘ championship.
Hamilton won twice at Suzuka in 2014 and 2015, and he finished second behind his team-mate Nico Rosberg last year.
Rain is also forecast for Saturday for the qualifying, but we are expecting clear skies for Sunday’s race. Stroll, who is known for his skills in the rain, did not hide that he was looking forward to returning to the track.
“It is a track that is very special, you know, pointed out Stroll. We feel this type of sensation on a few rare circuits during the season, including Silverstone. This track is very fast, especially the first sector, which is really spectacular, and it is equipped with braking very supported. So, come rain or shine, I think this will be fun, this weekend. “
Lewis Hamilton leads a session disrupted by rain at the Japanese Grand Prix