Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets today in the first practice session, followed by teammate Lewis Hamilton, 0.2s behind, as Mercedes showed their dominance.
Ferrai were Mercedes’ closest rivals today at Suzuka, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finishing third and fourth, however were still a second off the pace, as Red Bull followed, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen several tenths further back.
Ricciardo trialled a new front wing on his car, and was well-rewarded with downforce on this figure of eight track.
There were also several incidents, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso surviving a brush with the barriers at the Spoon curve, as Haas’ Romain Grosjean made contact with the barriers at Degner after a lock up.
It was revealed that the collision was due to more braking woes with his car, a problem that has followed Grosjean this season.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer’s session was brought to an early end following electrical issues, abandoning him at the bottom of the timesheets.
Although managing to keep themselves out of the wall, Rosberg and Hamilton also had complaints, the Brit reporting of “low power” early in the session, whilst the German suffered understeer and reported engine cuts.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg managed to hold off teammate Lewis Hamilton yet again in the second practice session in Suzuka, as the Brit trailed in less in a tenth of a second behind.
Despite the fact they remained in front, Mercedes’ dominance seemed to have shrunk in the second practice session, with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen just 0.3s behind Rosberg.
Romain Grosjean maintained his complaints about his Haas over the radio, largely about the brakes, after a stream of problems have prevented him completing previous races this season.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat had a hairy moment during the session, sending his car into a 360 degree spin emerging out of the final corner as he touched the grass.
After his first win of the season in Malaysia, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo only managed to get up to 12th on the timesheets as his best lap was ruined following a Virtual Safety Car as Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas came to a halt on track, due to a suspected electronics issue.