FP2: Hamilton fastest again, Ferrari struggle to keep up

  • Published on 05 Oct 2018 08:30
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton continued where he left off from this morning's session in Japan by topping the second practice session. The Briton set a 1:28.217 on his qualifying simulation run, which was almost half a second quicker than what anyone else managed to do.

Mercedes look to be in the strongest shape following the opening day of running at the Suzuka Circuit. Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was second, as he was following the first session this morning.

Ferrari failed to stay with Mercedes during FP1 and appeared to struggle once again in the afternoon. Sebastian Vettel ended the session in third place, but was over eight-tenths of a second behind championship rival Hamilton.

Max Verstappen managed to slot his Red Bull in between the two Ferrari cars. The Dutchman was fourth, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who trailed the 21-year-old by two-tenths of a second.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth, but was only very marginally slower than Raikkonen. Behind the Australian, Esteban Ocon claimed the 'best of the rest' position in his Force India as question marks surround the future of the Frenchman.

Romain Grosjean, whose contract was recently renewed with Haas for 2019, was eighth place, only just getting the better of Marcus Ericsson in ninth. Running with an updated Honda engine, Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley rounded out the top ten.

The day wasn't completely smooth for the Red Bull junior squad, as Pierre Gasly only left the garage with 15 minutes remaining. Toro Rosso mechanics uncovered a fuel issue before the session got the green light, causing Gasly to miss out on a lot of running.

Tucked in between the two Toro Rosso's were Sergio Perez and his former teammate Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg's teammate Carlos Sainz was fifteenth, indicating that Renault is perhaps down on pace this weekend as it aims to hold onto fourth in the constructor's standings.

Charles Leclerc was fifteenth, heading Kevin Magnussen. Fernando Alonso followed while the two Williams's of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were eighteenth and nineteenth respectively. Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the timesheet after missing the morning session.

JP Circuit Suzuka - 05 October 2018

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