George Russell fastest in the second practice of Japanese Grand Prix

George Russell fastest in the second practice of Japanese Grand Prix

In the second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, George Russell outperformed Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes one-two finish.

As F1 made its return to Japan, George Russell set the quickest time of the day, demonstrating how well-suited the Mercedes were to driving in wet conditions.

The W13 handled the intermediate tyres significantly better than competitors Red Bull and Ferrari, which allowed the times to fall when the abrasive Suzuka surface dried out after a soggy start. The British duo displayed excellent pace on these tires.

Russell set a lap time of one minute 41.935 seconds, two tenths quicker than his teammate but eight tenths quicker than Max Verstappen, who finished third, as Sergio Perez finished fourth in the sister Red Bull car.

Pirelli was supposed to test their 2023 prototype tyres during the second practice of the Japanese Grand Prix, which was originally planned to last an extra 90 minutes. However, due to the wet track, the test was postponed, although for some reason, the extra time would still be recorded.

Mick Schumacher aquaplaned into the wall and would not be participating in the session following his practice start at the conclusion of FP1. Unfortunately for him, his car would need a chassis upgrade, but Haas didn’t have enough time to do it. As a result, they would only have Kevin Magnussen’s car participating in FP2.

Five minutes into the practice, Nicholas Latifi of Williams headed out onto the circuit while cameras followed Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas as they walked around the pit lane wearing raincoats. The Canadian reported that most of the track was in intermediate tyre zone.

Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, and Alex Albon joined the Canadian on the track as he recorded the first time, a 1:56.471. The Ferrari driver’s time on the track was 1:49.615 seconds.

At the conclusion of the first half hour of running, the Mercedes cars took to the track, with George Russell driving on the green-ringed intermediates and Lewis Hamilton on the wet tires. Before Russell set a 1:46.891 to indicate that it was unquestionably time for the inters, Hamilton cut a few tenths off Sainz’ time.

With just over 50 minutes left, Charles Leclerc and the Red Bulls made their first appearance as the track became increasingly busier. Leclerc didn’t have the best of out laps; at T11, he slid into the gravel, but he was able to avoid the wall and recover his Ferrari. The Monesgague told his team over the radio that his front left tire felt damaged from the start.

Max Verstappen and the two Mercedes were trading places atop the time sheets at that point, but Russell took the lead back with a 1:42.968 at the 45-minute mark. After that, the top drivers quickly changed to new pairs of intermediate tires in the pits and resumed recording faster speeds.

Leclerc completed four laps on his tires despite earlier reporting that anything was wrong with them, but he could only record a best time of 1:44.8 before turning around and returning to the pits. Just before the 35-minute mark, everyone but the Red Bulls joined the Ferrari driver after a brief period of relative tranquillity on the circuit.

The Monegasque driver reportedly had brake problems, and despite spending a lot of time in the pits to try to fix them, he claimed that when he returned to the track, the problem persisted but he would work to make it better.

McLaren concluded their day when they had finished FP2 with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in P16 and P17, respectively, with times of 1:45.8 and 1:46.0. This was despite having 90 minutes to play with. 

Given the late cancellation of the tire test and the scarcity of wet weather tires for the weekend, it appeared that McLaren wasn’t the only team to complete their work ahead of schedule.

Hamilton finished FP2 in P2 just over two tenths slower than his teammate’s time and was the only other driver to set a time quicker than Fernando Alonso’s best from FP1. Russell continued to be the only driver to set a sub-1:42 lap, with a 1:41.935 as the best of the day.

Verstappen was only slightly quicker than Sergio Perez as the two Red Bulls finished more than eight tenths of a second behind the Mercedes. Magnussen moved up into the top 10 with a late fast lap with the Haas driver taking P5, just 0.017 ahead of Sainz.

The remaining 10 positions were filled by the Alpines and Alfa Romeos. Alonso, who had set the pace in FP1, was unable to replicate his performance from the earlier session and placed seventh with a timing of 1:43.533. 

Zhou Guanyu finished in 10th place, 2.590 seconds behind Russell, while Valtteri Bottas took P8 ahead of Esteban Ocon.


1George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m41.935s
2Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m42.170s
3Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m42.786s
4Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1m42.834s
5Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1m43.187s
6Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m43.204s
7Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1m43.533s
8Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m43.733s
9Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m43.884s
10Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m44.525s
11Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m44.709s
12Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m44.962s
13Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m45.039s
14Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m45.257s
15Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m45.261s
16Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m45.885s
17Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m46.030s
18Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m46.776s
19Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1m47.109s
20Mick Schumacher GERHaas F1 TeamNo Time Set

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