Japanese Grand Prix – Practice

It’s less than a week since the Singapore Grand Prix and we’re already into the Japanese GP weekend.

Fastest in the first (and wet) practice session was Kovalainen (1:40.356) followed by Nakajima, Sutil, Fisichella, Buemi, Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen. Timo Glock was under the weather so Toyota’s third driver, Kamui Kobayashi, took his place but TG is expected to resume his seat for qualifying.

My notes from the second practice session are after the cut
It’s another wet session; air temperature 22°C; track temp 23°C; 97% humidity; pressure 1002.6mBar
The forecast for qualifying is for more rain but the predict a dry race

SB & JA are first on track
Kamui Kobayashi is standing in for TG again
JA aquaplanes but manages to stay on the track
JA pits, as does SB
It’s going to be a quiet practice session, although they’ll need to prepare their setup in case qualifying (and even the race) is wet
15mins into the 90min session and so far we’ve had a total of 2 laps (1 for each of JA & SB)
Hopefully I’m not staying up to 2:30am just to see a couple of laps, but it’s still raining quite hard and there’s standing water in parts of the track

30mins gone = 60mins left
I can hear an engine being fired up – maybe someone’s going to venture out and see how bad it is?
No, false alarm – engine’s off again
It’s clear the rain isn’t getting any lighter, and the teams’ weather info shows they’re in the middle of a storm that’s not moving away anytime soon 🙁
45mins = halfway through the session
Some joker’s made a little paper boat and it’s sailing down the pit lane 🙂

60mins gone, 30mins left, and still only 2 laps completed – glad I didn’t pay for a ticket! … and with that, Renault fire up FA’s car
FA heads out of the garage and onto the swimming pool … errr, track
JA’s on track too
FA heads back into the pits, as expected – it was just to assess the state of the track
Looks like JA’s going for a timed lap
Pit-car from JA – he tells the team that there’s less rain but more standing water
JA 1:56.848
RG on track too now … but he only does an installation lap
FA heads out again

15mins left; the rain is easing off but the track is still soaked
FA starts a timed lap; posts 1:48.693 – that’s over 8secs slower than Kovalainen in the first practice session (1:40.356) which was also wet
RG, NH & KN are on track now too; with 10mins left, people are starting to dip a toe in the water
(RG P2, 1:50.436)
(NH P3, 1:50.848)
7mins left and only half the field have braved the elements so far
5mins left; 13 cars on track
(KN P2)
4mins left; only HK and the 2 Brawns (JB + RB) staying in the dry
JT runs wide onto the grass – he did well to get the Toyota back on the track
SB 1:48.691
KN 1:48.058
LH 1:47.983
AS 1:47.261
AS runs wide, finds the escape road and gets the Force India back on the black stuff
Chequered flag falls; only HK, HB & RB didn’t set a lap time
Speed commentators report that some weather forecasts say qualifying will be wet and other say it’ll be dry
(SV P2)
Fastest in Practice 2 was AS (1:47.261) followed by SV, VL, LH, KN, SB, FA & JT.

Qualifying is 2pm local time / 1am EST tomorrow. Regardless of the weather, there’ll be a lot more action!

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