Max third after Suzuka Friday practice: 'Always great to be here'
Published on 07 October 2022 by Stefan Meens
Max Verstappen was third fastest in the final Friday practice session of the Japanese Grand Prix. George Russell was quickest at Suzuka, with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in second place. Max’ Oracle Red Bull Racing team mate Sergio Perez was fourth fastest.
“I wish the conditions had been a bit more representative”, said Max after FP2. “But it’s always great to be here. Luckily, the weather wasn’t a complete disaster and we were able to do some laps.”
Although qualifying on Saturday is set to be contested in dry conditions, Sunday’s race looks likely to be affected by the rain. “For the race, we were able to do some basic preparations, but no more than that. That’s why I’m looking forward to see how things are tomorrow on a dry track. We all start from scratch in the dry and I don’t think that will lead to massive differences.”
At the start of the session, which is scheduled to last 90 instead of 60 minutes due to a planned tyre test at the end, Haas announce that Mick Schumacher will not take part in FP2 following the damage his car sustained in his first practice crash. The American outfit has to change the chassis, which requires too much work to be completed by the start of the session.
When the pit-lane opens, it is still wet on track, prompting the Pirelli tyre test to be postponed to Mexico. Nevertheless, race control opt to keep the session 90 minutes long.
Nicolas Latifi is the first driver on track, soon joined by Williams team mate Alex Albon, Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren). The quartet all lap the Suzuka circuit on full-wet Pirellis tyres.
Soon after, Max prepares for his first outing during FP2. On his first timed lap, Max is quickest, followed by the Dutchman and Hamilton trading fastest laps before Russell joins the world champions by going fastest. The two Mercedes and Max continue to fight over top spot on the timing sheets, but ultimately it is Russell that sets the quickest lap of the session ahead of Hamilton and Max.
At the halfway mark, the track has become quieter as the rain intensifies. Nevertheless, with twenty minutes to go, several cars head back out, including Max, but the lap times are not bettered through the remainder of the session as the circuit is getting wetter and the team being reluctant to send their cars out more than necessary.
|3||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing RBPT||1:42.786||+0.851s||23|
|4||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing RBPT||1:42.834||+0.899s||26|
|5||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:43.187||+1.252s||16|
|7||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Alpine Renault||1:43.533||+1.598s||14|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:43.733||+1.798s||20|
|9||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:43.884||+1.949s||12|
|10||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:44.525||+2.590s||16|
|12||Nicholas Latifi||LAT||Williams Mercedes||1:44.962||+3.027s||16|
|13||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:45.039||+3.104s||15|
|14||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri RBPT||1:45.257||+3.322s||26|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||VET||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:45.261||+3.326s||23|
|16||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:45.885||+3.950s||11|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||McLaren Mercedes||1:46.030||+4.095s||9|
|18||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:46.776||+4.841s||20|
|19||Pierre Gasly||GAS||AlphaTauri RBPT||1:47.109||+5.174s||13|