George Russell led Lewis Hamilton to a Mercedes one-two on a rainy Friday during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Russell outpaced Hamilton by 0.235 seconds, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez of the Red Bulls finishing third and fourth, 0.8 seconds back.
Fifth place went to Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, ahead of Carlos Sainz of Ferrari and Fernando Alonso of Alpine.
Due to the bad weather, there were no lessons about the weekend’s competitive landscape.
The weekend is anticipated to be dry.
After being removed from the calendar for the previous two years due to the pandemic. F1 cars haven’t been in Japan since 2019.
Verstappen and Perez did not use intermediate tires when setting their times; the Mercedes drivers did.
The fastest driver over one lap on balance this season, Charles Leclerc, was down in 11th after a troubled session and complained of issues with his left front wheel.
The only other drivers still mathematically in contention for the championship are Leclerc and Perez.
However, if Verstappen wins the race at Suzuka on Sunday with the fastest lap. He will automatically win his second world championship.
Even though Leclerc and Perez are 104 and 106 points behind him, with a maximum of 138 still up for grabs. He may be able to do so in other circumstances.
The first session ended with Mick Schumacher’s Haas in the wall after the German lost control on his way back to the pits after a practice start. There were no significant incidents in the second session.
Haas changed his chassis as a precaution after the incident, so Schumacher could not participate in the second session.
Alonso set the pace from the Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc in the first session, which was also wet.