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REPORT | All Mercedes front row in FP2!

REPORT | All Mercedes front row in FP2!

7 October - 08:26 Last update: 09:15

The silver arrows came out firing in a wet FP2, with George Russell leading the team out in Japan. Championship leader Max Verstappen came in to round out the top three. The rain (and subsequently, the damp circuit) remained a prominent feature throughout the session.

Early on

Mick Schumacher was ruled out of taking part in FP2, with a collision in FP1 requiring a change in chassis. With the session previously intended to be a tyre testing session for Pirelli, the rain prevented any of the necessary runs from taking place, but the session duration remained.

It took five minutes into the session to generate some action on track, with William’s Nicholas Latifi gingerly patrolling the circuit on his extreme wet tyres. Some other drivers soon followed suit on the same rubber, slowly pushing the water off the track. After 30 minutes, half of the grid had visited the track to set some laps.

The main runs

With the session initially intended to be a tyre testing session for Pirelli, it was planned that FP2 would hold a one-and-a-half-hour long session. Unfortunately for them, the tyres could not be tested due to the wet conditions, yet the session length remained.

Times started to cascade once the rain held up and the drivers came out on the intermediate tyres. Many drivers started to get into the groove, rhythmically beating around the track and cutting down the lap times as more circuit grip was presented to them

Yuki Tsunoda and Charles Leclerc both pushed hard, running off into the gravel as they searched for grip in their faster laps. Both drivers returned to the circuit without any damage, continuing on with their runs.

Rounding out

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez faced a similar incident to Charles Leclerc, and returned to the track safely. The Monegasque returned to the pits to address the issue with his front-left brakes which may have caused the incident, but the driver seemed to be still uncomfortable with the feeling when coming back out.

McLaren finished their running with 20 minutes to spare, bringing the cars in to wrap up their Friday. Magnussen was brought into the pits for some major setup changes. He later came back out in the final seven minutes for some comparative runs.

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