Fernando Alonso tops wet opening practice of Japanese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso tops wet opening practice of Japanese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time during the opening practice for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix was hampered by rain.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso finished first in Suzuka’s first practice session, leading fellow Spaniard and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz in a session where lap times were mostly insignificant.

The hour-long session was the first Formula 1 track activity at Suzuka since 2019 after the 2020 and 2021 rounds were postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eastern Japan experienced heavy rain throughout the morning, but it stopped just in time for the session to begin. Drivers eventually run on the full Wet tyres.

Mick Schumacher recorded the first timed lap, and Leclerc opined that with the emergence of a few dry lines all over the course, the intermediate tyre was now the best choice.

Sainz and Leclerc had taken the lead at the beginning thirty minutes in, but Esteban Ocon and Verstappen soon broke their best times, setting a new benchmark for the Ferrari drivers. With the exception of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and the two Mercedes drivers, everyone had set a timed lap at that moment.

Fernando Alonso and the Ferrari drivers moved to the top by effectively utilizing the inters, but when the rain started to fall again, the wash once more became prominent.

Around the halfway mark of the practice, drivers were able to switch to the Intermediate rubber, and as track conditions steadily improved, the benchmark times began to fall.

Before the rain became more intense with 15 minutes left in the session and prevented drivers from improving their speeds, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso had managed to finish first with a time of 1:42.248s as Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc came in second and third respectively.

Alonso’s teammate Esteban Ocon finished in fourth place, followed by Kevin Magnussen with reigning world champion Max Verstappen finishing sixth dividing the Haas duo as Mick Schumacher ranked seventh. After doing his practice start, Schumacher had an unusual way of ending the session as he crashed into Dunlop.

Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez completed the rest of the top-10 order for McLaren, Alfa Romeo and Red Bull respectively.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and fellow Mercedes teammate George Russell both finished in 13th and 18th place respectively. Local hero Yuki Tsunoda finished 19th for AlphaTauri, with Sebastian Vettel, a four-time winner of the Japanese Grand Prix, being the slowest of all in his Aston Martin.


1Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1m42.248s
2Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m42.563s
3Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m42.634s
4Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m43.022s
5Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1m43.258s
6Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m43.362s
7Mick Schumacher GERHaas F1 Team1m43.761s
8Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m43.889s
9Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m43.969s
10Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1m44.234s
11Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m44.429s
12Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m44.486s
13Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m44.558s
14Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m44.570s
15Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m44.791s
16Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1m44.878s
17Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m45.424s
18George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m46.103s
19Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m46.192s
20Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m48.090s

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