Double world champion Max Verstappen topped the second practice at the Japanese Grand Prix with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc ending up second fastest in the one-hour session.
Following a difficult Singapore weekend last time out, Verstappen appeared to return to top form, dominating the opening practice earlier today. The Dutchman continued this trend in the second one-hour session, setting a time of 1m30.688s on Pirelli's soft tyres.
Ferrari was expected to struggle in the elongated corners of the Suzuka International Circuit, but they are looking fairly competitive at the moment. Charles Leclerc took second three tenths of a second adrift of Verstappen while his team-mate Carlos Sainz ended up fourth quickest.
Mercedes endured a low-key opening day at Suzuka. George Russell posted a lap time quick enough for fifth position, though team mate Lewis Hamilton had a difficult session on his way to 14th, having asked the team to check his floor early on.
Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest for Aston Martin, eight tenths of a second slower than Verstappen's benchmark. His team-mate Lance Stroll returned to action after his horrific crash that he sustained during qualifying in Singapore. The Canadian had a smooth day, completing 22 laps in Free Practice 2 with his best effort good enough for P11.
Sergio Perez could only manage the ninth fastest time, 1.022s off his Red Bull teammate, although he only used one set of soft tyres. The Mexican complained about the balance of his car in the opening session, but said that "things are certainly looking much better than they did last weekend, which is positive."
Alpine started its Japanese Grand Prix weekend with a challenging Friday Practice at Suzuka with Esteban Ocon ending twelfth and Pierre nineteenth on the leaderboard.
After displaying a strong showing in the opening session, home hero Yuki Tsunoda was 18th. His team-mate Liam Lawson continued to impress by ending the session three places higher up on the order, 0.037s quicker than his Japanese team-mate.
However, Gasly had a difficult end to his session as he caused a late red flag when he locked up at the second Degner Corner and crashed his Alpine into the walls.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:30.688||19|
|3||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:31.152||+0.464s||22|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:31.492||+0.804s||22|
|7||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:31.555||+0.867s||23|
|8||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:31.662||+0.974s||22|
|9||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:31.710||+1.022s||24|
|10||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:31.739||+1.051s||22|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:31.771||+1.083s||22|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:31.794||+1.106s||22|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:31.797||+1.109s||24|
|15||40||Liam Lawson||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:32.141||+1.453s||23|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:32.165||+1.477s||16|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:32.169||+1.481s||23|
|18||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:32.178||+1.490s||26|
|19||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:32.179||+1.491s||22|
|20||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:32.320||+1.632s||25|