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Japanese GP FP2: Rain stops play

Japanese GP FP2: Rain stops play

Japanese GP FP2: Rain stops play

The second practice for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix was ruined by rain as teams and drivers remained in their garages aside for a few exceptions.

The rain started between FP1 and FP2 and while it settled a bit at the start of the second session, its intensity soon increased.

Thus the teams decided against any running, as it seems the forecast for the race changed from wet to dry, which makes any wet FP2 running pointless.

In the end, it was just a handful of drivers that made it out on track, and in the end, it was McLaren’s Oscar Piastri that posted the fastest time. A meaningless time that is.

Seven-time Formula 1 Champion Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in the Mercedes, while Charles Leclerc was third fastest in the Ferrari.

A disappointing session for the fans, but this means qualifying and the race should be interesting as the teams head into them with not enough data registered.

Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo were fourth and fifth. Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were sixth and seventh.

Buildup towards FP2

Max Verstappen and Red Bull restored the F1 order after the first practice session for the 2024 Japanese GP as the Dutchman and teammate Perez were the fastest ahead of the Ferrari of Sainz.

Other than the crash of Logan Sargeant that gave the Williams pit wall some nervous moments – given they still do not have a spare chassis – with the nightmare of Melbourne still fresh and the worry that the chassis would be damaged.

Ricciardo will be back in his car for FP2 after he made way for Japanese rookie Ayumu Iwasa, which would definitely put the Honey Badger on the back foot as he is already struggling to perform and probably needs every minute available in the car.

Ricciardo revealed ahead of FP1 that he will be given a new chassis for the next race in China in an attempt to find a solution for the Aussie’s performance troubles.

Four drivers are having new power units this weekend, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Tsunoda, and Esteban Ocon. None will get a penalty though.

Hamilton’s power unit failed during the Australian GP, and Mercedes confirmed it couldn’t be saved, the team confirming the failure was due to a “quality process issue” and not a “specific design problem.

Just ahead of FP2, Williams announced that Sargeant will not take part in the session, as the team would not be able to re-build his car on time.

FP1 Session Highlights

The heavens opened in between sessions, and the rain continued as FP2 was given the green light, with track temperature at 17 degrees Celsius, with air temperature at 14 degrees.

The pitlane was open and the session green-lighted, but no cars emerged from their garages, as most drivers were not even in their cars.

It seems the weather forecast for the race on Sunday changed from rain to dry conditions, which means any FP2 running in the wet would be pointless.

With 13 minutes gone, Hamilton was the first driver to head out on track with Medium tyres bolted to his W15. An out lap and the seven-time F1 Champ was back in the pits.

Ricciardo, who missed FP1, was eager for some running, and reported that the rain was increasing. He was also running on Medium tyres.

The rain soon became worse as the skies darkened up more. 20 minutes gone and not action other than the couple of laps from Hamilton and Ricciardo.

Halfway into the session Piastri made his way onto the track, and reported that the track is not that wet.

Soon Ricciardo and Tsunoda were out on track on Intermediate tyres and soon Alex Albon followed in the Williams. Tsunoda set the fastest time and kept on going and improving.

The Saubers soon join the action but return just after an out lap as the teams continue to be reluctant to do any running, saving tyres.

With ten minutes remaining, Zhou Guanyu made his way out on track for a second time and was soon joined by teammate Valtteri Bottas. The Saubers pitted after an out lap.

TV footage showed the other team garages having a relaxed time, chatting and just chilling as it was obvious they had no plans whatsoever to hit the track.

But soon, and with six minutes remaining, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg went on with Soft tyres bolted to their cars.

Albon in the Williams, reported after an out lap that the track was ready for slicks and soon Piastri was out again, on Softs in the final three minutes.

Hamilton soon joins the action as well, in the final minute with Softs as well bolted to the Mercedes, as Leclerc also tried a lap on the Softs. Sainz Also ventured out.

Replay showed Norris losing his McLaren at Turn 2 in the dying moments of the session, as drivers soon did some practice starts.

Japanese GP FP2 Classification