Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. has topped a rain-affected first practice in Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. Daniil Kvyat was second quickest for Red Bull Racing followed by Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
The rain hit the Suzuka circuit before practice had even started, which meant the track was well and truly wet before any of the cars had a chance to run on it. The opening half an hour only saw teams send their drivers out to complete their installation runs before returning back to the pits.
It took 50 minutes for the first timed lap to be set by Max Verstappen, who set a time of 1:51.741 on the full wet tyres.
Lewis Hamilton completed just the six laps in the 90-minute session to finish in fifth position, 1.2 seconds off the pace set by Sainz. Although, given the wet nature of the track, it’s too early to tell whether Mercedes are still struggling for performance as they were in Singapore.
The Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were the first to venture out onto the track on the intermediate tyres, although were probably ten minutes too early as both struggled to keep the car on track.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen clocked up the most amount of mileage during the practice session with a total of 27 laps between the two drivers. Vettel finished the session half a second off Rosberg’s time while teammate Räikkönen was down in seventh.
As many drivers attempted to get to grip with the challenging wet circuit, several decided not to bother setting a lap time. Singapore Grand Prix runner-up Daniel Ricciardo was one driver who only completed the single installation lap, figuring there wouldn’t have been much to learn running on a wet track.
Both Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer (filling in for Romain Grosjean) also completed the single installation lap, although their lack of running may have been due to their financial situation. It would have been too risky to send the drivers out in slippery conditions and risk damaging the car.
The two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr finished in ninth and eleventhth respectively, while Jenson Button rounded out the timed-lap drivers in twelfth position in his McLaren Honda.
|2015 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:49.434||10|
|2.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:49.938||+ 0.504||7|
|3.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:50.077||+ 0.643||14|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:50.519||+ 1.085||12|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:50.722||+ 1.288||6|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:50.940||+ 1.506||10|
|7.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:51.212||+ 1.778||15|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:52.288||+ 2.854||12|
|9.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:53.820||+ 4.386||12|
|10.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:53.964||+ 4.530||14|
|11.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:54.013||+ 4.579||9|
|12.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:55.678||+ 6.244||6|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||no time||1|
|14.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||no time||4|
|15.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||no time||3|
|16.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||no time||5|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||no time||1|
|18.||Jolyon Palmer||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||no time||1|
|19.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||no time||3|
|20.||Alexander Rossi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||no time||4|
Image via Red Bull Content Pool