Kvyat Sets The Pace In Free Practice 2 in Japan
Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat set the pace in a wet second practice session at the Suzuka circuit ahead of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix. The Russian set a fastest time of 1m 48.277s completing six laps.
The conditions today were tricky. The track was slippery the more it drizzled and Suzuka is a narrow circuit and there are a few corners where the car had a tendency to aquaplane. We have work to do for tomorrow but I think we are ready. The chassis is handling well, cornering in the wet has always been strong for us but we don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow. For us it would be good if the rain continued, but we will see what happens.
Nico Rosberg was second fastest for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team with a fastest time of 1m 48.300s as the session was rain affected the German only managed to complete eight laps and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
The car felt good in the wet today, we were able to do some laps and find some good settings for wet conditions. But it’s impossible to judge about the real performance level of the field in those conditions. We have to learn a lot in FP3 tomorrow morning because it should be dry Saturday and Sunday, but you never know in Japan.
Lewis Hamilton was third fastest with a fastest time of 1m 48.853s and speaking following the session, the reigning world champion who like his team mate completed eight laps commented by saying:
Today hasn’t been a good day for us in the paddock and for the fans that were sitting there all day in the rain waiting to see the cars. There is nothing we really learned today so everything needs to be done tomorrow. It is slippery, wet and there was also aquaplaning; not the most exciting conditions. We didn’t want to take too many risks today, as there is no point in damaging the car or the gearbox. It wasn’t a very productive day overall. I hope it is dry tomorrow, but we are prepared for all conditions.
Mercedes Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe commented by saying:
The weather has been terrible all day and a great shame for the fans as we haven’t done a lot of running today. We only ran the extreme wet and intermediate tyres, so we haven’t done any of our race preparation on the dry tyre. We’re hoping the rest of the weekend will be dry, so we’ll need to do a lot of testing during FP3 to prepare for qualifying and the race. We managed to complete some practice starts in both sessions and some running on both tyres to look at the balance of the car in the wet conditions. We’ve been running Nico’s engine that was contaminated in Monza, which seems to be working fine so far; a good discovery for the remainder of the season.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in fourth place with a fastest time of 1m 49.097s completing 10 laps having failed to record a time in the opening session this morning. Speaking following the session, the Australian commented by saying:
It was a little difficult to get temperature in the brakes, with the weather and the short runs, but not much else happened today. In the few laps we did, I think we got an understanding of the track conditions and if they remain the same for tomorrow, we know which direction we should take with the set-up. But it doesn’t look like the weather will remain the same! In that case, we will have to work efficiently tomorrow to get the car set up and we won’t have much time to change the balance once we get going but we will see how we go.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest just ahead of team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen ended the session in seventh and eighth place. Felipe Nasr finished the session in ninth place for the Sauber F1 Team and speaking following the session the Brazilian commented by saying:
Although we had wet conditions in both free practice sessions, I am still satisfied I was able to run a few laps. As it is a new circuit for me, it is important to learn it as quickly as possible. We were able to collect some data in the wet, which can be useful in the future for the next sessions. Tomorrow hopefully I will get a first taste of the track in dry conditions. This will be a different experience which I am looking forward to.”
Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top ten with a fastest time of 1m 51.557s completing seven laps and speaking following the session the Venezuelan commented by saying:
A wet Suzuka circuit is a fun place to be, but there’s no point risking the car when there’s not much to be learnt so most of the sessions were spend in the garage. We think the rest of the weekend will be dry, but the car felt pretty stable if we do see rain again.
The Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s Nico Hulkenberg ended the session just outside the top ten in eleventh place with the German completing eleven laps with a fastest time of 1m 51.674s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
We didn’t learn a huge amount today, although we did complete a couple of useful runs on the intermediate tyres this afternoon. Of course, if it’s dry on Saturday and Sunday, the work we’ve done today is not going to be particularly useful. It’s the same situation for everybody because we are all missing the dry tyre information we need to help us prepare for the weekend. However, we have run on the hard and medium compounds at other races and we’ve already got a good understanding of those tyres. If the weather does improve tomorrow we will probably run a bit more than usual in FP3 to try and make up for the lack of mileage today.
McLaren Honda’s Jenson Button finished the session in 12th place with a fastest time of 1m 51.861s completing nine laps and ending the session just ahead of Marcus Ericsson in the second Sauber and speaking following the session the Swedish driver commented by saying:
It was a difficult day because of the rainy weather conditions. We did some running on intermediate as well as wet tyres,
from which we collected some useful information. For the rest of the weekend, according the weather forecast, the conditions seem to be dry.
Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez ended the session in 14th place setting a fastest time of 1m 52.070s completing eight laps and speaking following the session the Mexican commented by saying:
It was wet all day and so we didn’t do a lot of laps, which means we are going into the weekend with quite a few question marks. We need to try and answer them tomorrow in final practice, but it’s the same situation for everybody and we just have to make the best of it. At the moment we expect it to be dry tomorrow, but in Japan you never know for sure. If the rain does come back I think we’ve done enough learning today to have a good direction for our wet weather set-up.
Sahara Force India Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley commented by saying:
Conditions like today’s make for difficult choices. The forecast for the rest of the weekend should be dry, but the weather in Suzuka is notoriously unpredictable, so we used the two sessions to do some work on the intermediate and wet tyres. This is a high tyre-energy circuit so it was important we could get information on those two compounds, but at the same time we had to limit our running to preserve enough sets to account for the possibility of a wet qualifying or race. A wet Friday also means we will have to reassess our priorities for the final session tomorrow morning. Our original programme for today included work on some test items and optimisation of our qualifying and race set-ups, but the latter will take priority tomorrow as we try and learn as much from the limited track time we have available.
The Lotus F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean finished the session in 15th place having sat out the opening session this morning and in the afternoon the Frenchman completed six laps and speaking following the session he said:
We went out and validated that it was wet and slippery then I sat out most of the session as there’s not much to be learn in conditions like we saw today. The car felt okay, but it’s not the time to take risks. Tomorrow will be interesting as we think it should be dry, we have a lot of tyres available and a lot of work to be done
Felipe Massa ended the session in 16th place just ahead of McLaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso while the Manor Marussia pair of Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi completed the time sheets. Valtteri Bottas in the second Williams failed to set a time in the afternoon session.