Max sixth fastest in Suzuka FP1
Published on 07 October 2022 by Stefan Meens
Max Verstappen opened his Japanese Grand Prix weekend with P6 in the first Friday practice session. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso was quickest round the Suzuka circuit with the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc completing the top three. Max’ Oracle Red Bull Racing team mate Sergio Perez was tenth quickest.
At the start of the session, it is raining, meaning the teams are hesitant to do any early running. Nevertheless, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen end AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda brave the conditions after a couple of minutes. Both return to the pits swiftly with Tsunoda telling his team that are ‘a few small rivers in sector one’.
It is not until fifteen minutes into practice that the first lap is clocked. The honour goes to Mick Schumacher in his Haas on the full-wet Pirelli tyres. Soon after, the two Ferraris have joined the track and continue to trade fastest laps as the circuit and lap times improve.
At the halfway point of the hour-long session, Max steers the RB18 out of the garage on intermediates and instantly goes quickest as the conditions improve by every lap. Soon after, the reigning champion returns to the team and with seventeen minutes to go, the Dutchman hops out of his car to call it a day for FP1.
Meanwhile, the lap times continue to improve with Fernando Alonso setting the pace ahead of the two Ferraris. The Alpine ace holds on to P1 as the rain intensifies in the closing stages. Apart from a Zhou Guanyu lap, nobody is on track in the remaining ten minutes until several drivers head out for practice start at the very end of FP1.
On his way back to the pit after practicing his start, and officially after the end of the session, Mick Schumacher crashes and heavily damages his Haas.
|1||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Alpine Renault||1:42.248||7|
|4||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:43.022||+0.774s||5|
|5||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:43.258||+1.010s||15|
|6||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing RBPT||1:43.362||+1.114s||4|
|7||Mick Schumacher||MSC||Haas Ferrari||1:43.761||+1.513s||13|
|8||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:43.889||+1.641s||7|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:43.969||+1.721s||13|
|10||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing RBPT||1:44.234||+1.986s||4|
|11||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:44.429||+2.181s||15|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||McLaren Mercedes||1:44.486||+2.238s||8|
|14||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:44.570||+2.322s||10|
|15||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:44.791||+2.543s||9|
|16||Pierre Gasly||GAS||AlphaTauri RBPT||1:44.878||+2.630s||12|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||LAT||Williams Mercedes||1:45.424||+3.176s||11|
|19||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri RBPT||1:46.192||+3.944s||16|
|20||Sebastian Vettel||VET||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:48.090||+5.842s||8|