Nico Rosberg set the pace today at a bright and beautiful Suzuka circuit with a lap time of 1:32.431 two tenths up on Lewis Hamilton’s time of 1:32.646 both well ahead of Sebastian Vettel in P3 with a time of 1:33.525
Romain Grosjean was the first car on track today shortly followed by Daniel Ricciardo who was trialing a new front wing Aero package with sensors mounted to feed data to the team back in the pits.
Felipe Massa started his flying lap but was a short lived effort as the Williams runs wide at turn 2 and his lap was over, Fernando Alonso locks the front and spins off slamming his rear wing at Spoon curve. The damage initially looked severe but Alonso was able to nurse the wounded Mclaren Honda back to the pits.
Shortly after Kimi Raikkonen locks up and goes off at Hairpin turns 10-11.
Today was Force India’s Sergio Perez’s turn to try out the Halo safety device.
Around 30 minuets into FP1 Max Verstappen voices some complaints over team radio regarding both up and down shifting, his Engineer asked Max “where” to which he replied “Everywhere”.
The reigning champion also voiced issues over Team radio saying that he was struggling for power but his lap times didn’t seem to be affected.
The rear wing of Fernando Alonso’s Mclaren Honda was swiftly replaced but the car stayed for a new titanium skid block before all drivers coming back into the puts for some fresh rubber.
After 40 minuets of FP1 Nico Rosberg was fastest with a lap time of 1:33.75 with fastest sector 2 and 3 Sebastian Vettel had the fastest sector 1 time of 33.603.
Vettel then sets a fastest lap splitting the two Mercedes but only for a matter of seconds when Rosberg sets a lap time of 1:32.431 over a second faster than the Ferrari.
Romain Grosjean Haas goes off dramatically at Degner 2 curve and over team radio conveys “the breaks don’t break” he manages to keep the car running and limps back to the pits with a broken wing and debris everywhere.
Max Verstappen’s red bull had flow visualization paint on during the session, this can give the team some great info on how the air is moving with new Aero packages. The Flow visualization paint was also visible on the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in the later stages of FP1
Danill Kvyat had rubber stuck to the Pitot tubes by his ariel and refers to it as an “octopus” over team radio.
Perez had team radio message there may be some gravel on the track at turn 9 and to take caution.
With only minuets to go Max verstappen continued to test the limits going wide at spoon but managing to get back on track swiftly.
One thing to remember about this practice session is Red Bull only used the Hard and Medium Pirelli tyres so there lap times should improve dramatically in P2.
1. N Rosberg 1.32.431
2. L Hamilton 1:32.646
3. S Vettel 1:33.525
4. K Raikkonen 1:33.817
5. D Ricciardo 1:34.112
6. M Verstappen 1:34.379
7. N Hulkenberg 1:34.530
8. S Perez 1:34.767
9. F Alonso 1:35.003
10. V Bottas 1:35.381
11. D Kvyat 1:35.446
12. C Sainz 1:35.672
13. J Button 1:35.677
14. R Grosjean 1:35.688
15. F Nasr 1:35.967
16. F Massa 1:36.169
17. E Gutierrez 1:36.219
18. M Ericsson 1:36.294
19. K Magnussen 1:36.822
20. E Ocon 1:37.797
21. P Wehrlein 1:37.966
22. J Palmer 1:37.992
Let’s see if Red Bull can up the pace in P2 and can Lewis come back at Nico ? We shall see.
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