Vettel is the fastest in Free Practice 1 on Pirelli supersoft tires; in Free Practice 2 Hamilton was the quickest on full wet tires
Vettel’s fastest time beats last year’s pole by more than a second and is just 0.2 seconds off all-time Suzuka record
The lap time gap between Pirelli’s soft tire and supersoft tire is around 0.7 seconds
The Japanese Grand Prix free practice sessions at the Suzuka circuit were interrupted twice: first by a red flag in Free Practice 1 (FP1), and then again by heavy rain in Free Practice 2 (FP2), which severely affected the duration of the session. However, Ferrari’s Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel proved the potential pace of this year’s race by setting a time in FP1 that was nearly three seconds faster than the equivalent time last year, and more than a second faster than the 2016 pole.
The German driver achieved this time despite imperfect conditions, with traffic and some humidity affecting the track. Although there was a red flag that interrupted FP1, the teams were still able to complete some runs on Pirelli’s soft and supersoft tire compounds, which are currently separated by about 0.7 seconds per lap in terms of pace. Only the full wet tire was used in the heavy rain this afternoon for a limited number of laps. The weather conditions for the rest of the weekend are expected to be mixed: wet for some of Saturday and then dry on Sunday.
MARIO ISOLA – PIRELLI’S HEAD OF CAR RACING
“FP1 lap times were much faster than we’ve seen in the past once again, both because of the new regulations with wider tires and a softer tire nomination for Japan than we have had in the past. As the Suzuka circuit is used often during the year, there was already some rubber on the track that enabled the cars to be quick straight away this morning. The Pirelli supersoft tire worked very well right away. With the red flag in FP1 and the rain in FP2 – which meant that no cars took to the track for the first 45 minutes of the session – the running time on track was of course severely limited, but the race pace potential is already clear to see”.
FREE PRACTICE 1 – TOP 3 TIMES
FREE PRACTICE 2 – TOP 3 TIMES
FP1 – BEST TIME BY TIRE COMPOUND
FP2 – BEST TIME BY TIRE COMPOUND
MOST LAPS BY TIRE COMPOUND SO FAR
|MEDIUM||Alonso, Hulkenberg, Palmer, Sainz||2|
|SUPERSOFT||Bottas, Ericsson, Hamilton||17|
TIRE STATISTICS OF THE DAY
* The above number gives the total amount of miles driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined.
** Per tire compound, all drivers combined.
MINIMUM PRESCRIBED TIRE PRESSURES
|22.5 psi (fronts) – 20.5 psi (rears)|
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