Verstappen wins the first session, the second disrupted by rain

Verstappen wins the first session, the second disrupted by rain

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won the first free practice session of the Japanese Grand Prix, while the second was won by Oscar Piastri (McLaren) but was largely disrupted by rain.

It’s difficult to draw lessons at the end of this first day of testing at Suzuka. For the first time since 1976, the Japanese Grand Prix is ​​held in the spring and not in the fall, and the rain disrupted the day on Friday. This could also be the case until Sunday. Max Verstappen still managed to win the first session in the morning, setting one of his 18 laps in 1’30″056, on a dry but cold track. The Red Bull driver beat his teammate Sergio Perez by 181 thousandths and the winner of the Australian GP Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) by 213 thousandths.

This session was especially marked by a new incident on the Williams side. While Alexander Albon had destroyed his car in Melbourne, this time it was Logan Sargeant who went onto the grass in the Dunlop corner, lost control of his car and hit the barriers, which led to a red flag for around ten minutes. The American escaped unscathed, but his Williams did not, and he was unable to take part in the second session. Esteban Ocon achieved a more than decent eleventh place at the wheel of his Alpine, while his friend Pierre Gasly could not do better than 17th, just behind the Japanese Ayumu Iwasa, who had taken the Racing Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo for this session , the regulations requiring teams to run a young driver during a free practice session twice each season.

Piastri master of the rain

In the second session, Daniel Ricciardo took the wheel again, but for only nine laps. The rain largely disrupted the session, and only thirteen drivers left the pits, and seven signed at least one timed lap. It was Oscar Piastri (McLaren) who did the best on the wet track, but his time of 1’34″725 will not provide any further information. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) finished half a second behind and the other drivers more than four seconds behind. On Saturday, the third session will be held at 4:30 a.m. French time and qualifying at 8:00 a.m.

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