Lewis Hamilton continued remained on top in the second practice session of Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix to keep a Mercedes 1-2 with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton asserted his dominance at Suzuka in FP2 as well with a 1m28.217s to head his teammate Bottas (1m28.678s) in a Mercedes 1-2 with Vettel (1m29.050s) completing the Top 3 with Ferrari down by more than half a second on Mercedes.
While it looked fine for Mercedes but there were blisters on the tyres of both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen during their long-runs which could make it tricky for the Italian manufacturer with Red Bull Racing seemingly in the mix.
Max Verstappen (1m29.257s) slotted himself in between Vettel and Raikkonen (1m29.498s) in fourth with Daniel Ricciardo (1m29.513s) in sixth. It was once again Racing Point Force India’s Estenban Ocon as the best of the rest in seventh.
The Frenchman (1m30.035s) headed fellow countryman Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m30.440s) like in FP1 with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (1m30.478s) doing well to be in ninth, same way with Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley (1m30.502s) in the Top 10.
Force India’s Sergio Perez (1m30.510s) was 11th from Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m30.644s) as Pierre Gasly (1m30.795s) slotted in 13th. Gasly only got out with 15 minutes remaining after a fuel cell issue kept him in the garage for majority of the session.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz (1m30/904s) was 14th from Sauber’s Charles Leclerc (1m30.906s), who had a difficult time along with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in 16th (1m30.956s). McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (1m30.988s) was 17th but didn’t do a quick lap on the supersoft tyre.
The two Williams of Sergey Sirotkin (1m31.087s) and Lance Stroll (1m31.215s) finished 18th and 19th respectively with McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne (1m31.981s) returned to the cockpit to be 20th only.
There were minor off for multiple drivers including Bottas, Sirotkin, Leclerc, Verstappen and Raikkonen in the session.