FP2: Verstappen edges out Leclerc in second practice

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Japan, Circuit Suzukajp

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.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:30.68819
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:31.008+0.320s23
34Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:31.152+0.464s22
455Carlos SainzFerrari1:31.237+0.549s22
563George RussellMercedes1:31.328+0.640s22
614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:31.492+0.804s22
723Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:31.555+0.867s23
881Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:31.662+0.974s22
911Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:31.710+1.022s24
1077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.739+1.051s22
1118Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:31.771+1.083s22
1231Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:31.794+1.106s22
1327Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:31.797+1.109s24
1444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:31.829+1.141s21
1540Liam LawsonAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:32.141+1.453s23
1624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:32.165+1.477s16
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:32.169+1.481s23
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:32.178+1.490s26
1910Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:32.179+1.491s22
202Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:32.320+1.632s25