Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas complete Mercedes dominated Friday practice in Japan
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News October 5, 2018 Updated: 3:18 AM PT
SUZUKA, Japan — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton backed up his morning performance by taking the top spot in the afternoon practice session ahead of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished the afternoon with a 1:28.217 on the super-soft (red stripe) tire, just 0.461s ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas who also ran his fastest time on the super-soft tire.
Title rival Sebastian Vettel, also running his fastest time on the super-soft tire, finished 0.833s behind Hamilton in third.
“All in all I am satisfied, as I think this Friday has been a smooth one for us, but we aren’t fast enough yet. Today we tried something with the car, which seemed to give a better feeling, so let’s see if we can carry this over tomorrow and find something else, too. Today I think the car slid a little bit too much, thus damaging the tires, but I believe that, overall it was a clean session with no interruptions,” said Vettel.
Red Bull, made the most out of Friday, practice with Daniel Ricciardo finishing third in the morning session, saw teammate Max Verstappen in third in the afternoon with the Dutch driver spending most of his time on the super-soft tire and ending the day 0.207s behind Vettel.
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in sixth in the second Red Bull. Esteban Ocon ended with a positive result for Force India in seventh followed by Haas’ Romain Grosjean in eighth. Marcus Ericsson finished the afternoon practice strong in ninth for Sauber with Brendon Hartley in tenth for Toro Rosso.
Just 0.008s separated Sergio Pérez from eleventh place in the second Force India with Renault Nico Hulkenberg in 12th.
Pierre Gasly ended the afternoon 13th despite spending a majority of the session the in the garage while his team addressed an issue with his car’s fuel cell. A further 0.109s behind was the second Renault of Carlos Sainz in 14th.
All eyes continue to focus on Monégasque driver Charles Leclerc as he prepares to make the move to Ferrari next season to join Sebastian Vettel, the 20 year-old finished 15th ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen in 16th.
McLaren and Williams split one another at the bottom of the order with Fernando Alonso ending the second session 17th ahead of Sergey Sirotkin in 18th followed by Lance Stroll and Stoffel Vandoorne in 19th and 20th.