Japanese GP: Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Valtteri Bottas set the pace as Mercedes dominated the opening practice session for Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Japanese GP: Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP1

Bottas edged his teammate Lewis Hamilton by less than a tenth, with Sebastian Vettel the best of the Ferraris but almost one second off the pace in third.

Mercedes started the session with a seven-lap run on medium tyres as most teams sought to make the most of the dry track running.

Saturday’s final hour-long practice and qualifying sessions have been cancelled out of precaution amid the threat of Typhoon Hagibis. That has left teams with only Friday’s 90-minute sessions to prepare, and FP2 is at risk of being compromised by rain.

Read Also:

Hamilton set the early pace on the initial runs on mediums, posting a 1m30.832s, although by the halfway point of the session Bottas had moved to the front on a 1m30.524s.

In the second half of FP1 teams switched to soft-tyre running, with Ferrari the first to do so.
That allowed Vettel to hold top spot, briefly, but his 1m29.720s was quickly eclipsed by both Mercedes drivers.

Hamilton toppled Vettel with a 1m28.807s before Bottas went even faster, setting a 1m28.731s.
No further improvements left the Mercedes duo well clear as only Vettel managed a time within a second of the leader.

Charles Leclerc was fourth-fastest in the other Ferrari, just under two tenths slower than Vettel and a similar margin clear of Max Verstappen in the lead Red Bull.

Verstappen’s early pace was not as strong as expected for the home race of Red Bull engine partner Honda, with teammate Alex Albon three tenths slower in sixth.

They were not far clear of the leading midfield cars, which were headed by Carlos Sainz. The McLaren driver finished the session seventh, 1.9s slower than Bottas, and just ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez.

Lance Stroll backed up teammate Perez in ninth, with Lando Norris completing the top 10 in the second McLaren.

Nico Hulkenberg was only 13th in the best of the upgraded Renaults, which were completing aero assessments through FP1.

Read Also:

F1 debutant Naoki Yamamoto was a solid 17th and only 0.1s slower than regular Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.

The Honda-backed reigning Super Formula and SUPER GT champion completed 30 laps, more than anyone, on his maiden grand prix weekend appearance at his home race. Pierre Gasly will reclaim his Toro Rosso seat for FP2. 

Session results:

Cla # Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes Mercedes 26 1'28.731
2 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Mercedes 25 1'28.807 0.076
3 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari Ferrari 26 1'29.720 0.989
4 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari Ferrari 20 1'29.912 1.181
5 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull Honda 22 1'30.046 1.315
6 23 Thailand Alex Albon
Red Bull Honda 24 1'30.375 1.644
7 55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren Renault 21 1'30.702 1.971
8 11 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point Mercedes 21 1'30.810 2.079
9 18 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point Mercedes 27 1'30.959 2.228
10 4 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren Renault 24 1'31.001 2.270
11 8 France Romain Grosjean
Haas Ferrari 25 1'31.283 2.552
12 7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo Ferrari 27 1'31.307 2.576
13 27 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault Renault 29 1'31.426 2.695
14 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault Renault 25 1'31.563 2.832
15 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas Ferrari 22 1'31.785 3.054
16 26 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso Honda 23 1'31.920 3.189
17 38 Japan Naoki Yamamoto
Toro Rosso Honda 30 1'32.018 3.287
18 63 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams Mercedes 23 1'32.80 4.069
19 88 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams Mercedes 27 1'33.484 4.753
20 99 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo Ferrari 4 1'36.887 8.156
shares
comments
Steiner summoned by stewards for Russia outburst

Previous article

Steiner summoned by stewards for Russia outburst

Next article

Japanese GP grid could be set by FP2 times

Japanese GP grid could be set by FP2 times
Load comments
Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph Prime

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021