2014 JAPANESE GP: LEWIS HAMILTON SET FASTEST TIME ON FRIDAY PRACTICES

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton recorded the fastest time in second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, taking over from team-mate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets after the German had set the pace in the morning session. Hamilton's best time, a lap of 1:35.078, came just after the halfway mark of the 90-minute afternoon session at the Suzuka circuit and left him 0.240 seconds clear of Rosberg. Williams' Valtteri Bottas was third fastest, though the Williams driver was more than a second adrift of Hamilton’s time. Jenson Button was fourth fastest for McLaren.

Sebastian Vettel set the afternoon’s fifth fastest time with a lap 1.3s down on Hamilton’s benchmark. He was followed the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrnando Alonso and then by the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Tenth place in the session went to Daniel Ricciardo, though the Red Bull Racing brought out the red flags when he crashed as he prepared to start a quick lap.

His wasn’t the only crash of the afternoon. Local favourite Kamui Kobayashi was the first out, the Caterham driver losing control of his CT05 out of the Esses after just four laps. He spun backwards into the barriers, causing damage to the rear suspension and front wing. Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez was the next to get caught out. The Mexican switched to the medium tyres but lost control and went into the barriers on the outside of the Spoon Curve. Finally, the red flag again appeared with three minutes left in the session when Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso was forced to stop his car at the exit of Spoon Curve. It was his second problem during the session after an early fuel pump issue. Vergne had sat out the morning session in favour of Max Verstappen but the Dutch teenager suffered an engine failure later in the session, leading to a rapid swap to ready the car for Vergne in the afternoon. With the Frenchman’s car stranded on the track, race officials elected to end the session one minute early.

Nico Rosberg went quickest in opening practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, but while the Mercedes driver narrowly outpaced championship-leading team-mate Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second all eyes were on 17-year-old Max Verstappen, who was making his grand prix weekend with Toro Rosso. When the Dutchman drove out of the Italian squad’s garage became Formula One’s youngest ever driver, at 17 years of age, more two years younger than previous record-holder Sebastian Vettel, who made his debut at the 2006 German Grand Prix.

The son of former Benetton and Arrows driver Jos had an early problem with third gear that required him to return to the garage but once back on track he rose to 12th place in the standings, two behind future team-mate Daniil Kvyat and just over four tenths behind the Russian. However, with six minutes left on the clock in 90-minute session his session ended abruptly as an engine failure cut his running short and he was forced to pull over at the side of the track.



SECOND FREE PRACTICE
DRIVER TEAM TIME GAP LAPS
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:35.078 28
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG 1:35.318 + 0.240 27
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:36.279 + 1.201 24
4. Jenson Button McLaren 1:36.409 + 1.331 28
5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:36.436 + 1.358 24
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:36.529 + 1.451 19
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.637 + 1.559 26
8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:36.714 + 1.636 31
9. Daniil Kvyat Торо Росо 1:36.943 + 1.865 27
10. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:37.186 + 2.108 3
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:37.219 + 2.141 19
12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:37.504 + 2.426 16
13. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:37.563 + 2.485 31
14. Felipe Massa Williams 1:37.700 + 2.622 18
15. Sergio Peres Force India 1:37.786 + 2.708 8
16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:37.798 + 2.720 27
17. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:38.010 + 2.932 25
18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:38.365 + 3.287 9
19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:39.069 + 3.991 22
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:39.306 + 4.228 20
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1:39.333 + 4.255 24
22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:42.760 + 7.682 3

 

FIRST FREE PRACTICE
DRIVER TEAM TIME GAP LAPS
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG 1:35.461 27
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:35.612 + 0.151 26
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.037 + 0.576 19
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:36.576 + 1.115 25
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:37.187 + 1.726 19
6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:37.327 + 1.866 24
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:37.466 + 2.005 27
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1:37.649 + 2.188 24
9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:37.686 + 2.225 26
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:37.714 + 2.253 26
11. Felipe Massa Williams 1:38.012 + 2.551 22
12. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:38.157 + 2.696 22
13. Sergio Perez Force India 1:38.324 + 2.863 10
14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:38.582 + 3.121 9
15. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:38.851 + 3.390 21
16. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:39.046 + 3.585 19
17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:39.097 + 3.636 26
18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:39.318 + 3.857 18
19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:40.031 + 4.570 18
20. Roberto Merhi Caterham 1:41.472 + 6.011 24
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:41.580 + 6.119 10
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1:41.757 + 6.296 15