Lewis Hamilton starts off the Japanese Grand Prix weekend with the fastest time in Free Practice 1.
The championship leader starts the weekend at the Suzuka International Racing Course with a Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport one-two, as the Brit sets a 1m28.691 on the Soft tyres.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was behind him in second, less than half a second behind Hamilton but the Finn set his best time on the Medium compound tyres. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo placed himself in third place on the Supersoft tyres.
The two Scuderia Ferrari‘s followed behind Ricciardo as Kimi Räikkönen leads ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari lie over half a second behind the Mercedes drivers. Max Verstappen ended the session in sixth place.
Esteban Ocon was the best of the rest with seventh place, piping Haas F1 Team‘s Romain Grosjean. The two Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team round off the top ten of the session with Charles Leclerc beating his team-mate Marcus Ericsson. Lando Norris replaced Stoffel Vandoorne for the session in the McLaren F1 Team, who set a time nearly four seconds slower than Hamilton’s time.
The two Red Bull drivers started the session at the top of the time sheets in the opening twenty minutes on a damp track as spots of rain hit the circuit.
Hamilton soon headed out on the track with a set of Medium tyres and went fastest overall, soon before Bottas and Vettel set a faster time on more softer compounds.
The Brit had a scare moment when he had to take avoiding action on Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda‘s Pierre Gasly. The French driver was preparing for a hotlap but caught the Mercedes driver who approached the chicane at high speed. The stewards are investigating the incident.
Fernando Alonso made an error at the entry of Degner 1 by running a wheel on the grass, which sent him off into the gravel trap at the corner. The Spaniard was able to escape the incident unscathed and returned to the pits.
The Mercedes pairing made the jump to the front of the pack, with Hamilton setting a 1m28.691s ahead of team-mate Bottas and Ricciardo. The Ferraris’ headed out on track with the softest tyres allocation but couldn’t improve on their time, leaving them down in fourth and fifth in the session.
Hamilton ended the first session in Japan fastest ahead of Bottas and Ricciardo as the teams prepare for Free Practice 2.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:28.691|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:29.137||0.446|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:29.373||0.682|
|4||7||Kimi Raikkonnen||Scuderia Ferrari||1:29.627||0.936|
|5||5||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||1:29.685||0.994|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:29.841||1.150|
|7||31||Esteban Ocon||Racing Point Force India F1 Team||1:30.591||1.900|
|8||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas-F1 Team||1:30.814||2.123|
|9||16||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||1:30.929||2.238|
|10||9||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||1:31.073||2.382|
|11||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1:31.073||2.382|
|12||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport Formula One Team||1:31.100||2.409|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Force India F1 Team||1:31.272||2.581|
|14||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas-F1 Team||1:31.274||2.583|
|15||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport Formula One Team||1:31.418||2.727|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing||1:31.508||2.817|
|17||28||Brendon Hartley||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1:31.908||3.217|
|18||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Formula 1 Team||1:32.034||3.343|
|19||35||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing||1:32.513||3.822|
|20||47||Lando Norris||McLaren Formula 1 Team||1:32.683||3.992|