(Motorsport-Total.com) – Fernando Alonso secured the first fastest time of the weekend in Formula 1 free practice in Japan. The Alpine driver made the most of the window of best conditions in the rainy session and finished in first place ahead of the two Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. However, the training was heavily influenced by the rain.
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Mick Schumacher had an accident after the official end of the session
Many may have wondered if the session could be driven, but unlike a week ago in Singapore, race control released the free practice session and pit lane on time.
And indeed, some cars have dared to come out, including local hero Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri). Mick Schumacher had set the first fastest time, but the riders quickly noticed that he could already be dry enough for the intermediates. However, it was only halfway through the session that the first drivers placed their bets on the intermediates.
First it was the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who were able to clearly cut the previously set fully wet times, even if they were the first timed laps for both. The Dutchman finished sixth.
The drivers managed to significantly improve their laps for a few minutes before the rain resumed towards the end, so much so that there was hardly any driving activity in the last ten minutes.
For Mick Schumacher, however, the session ended badly: after the time had already expired and the pilots had finished the starting exercises, the German flew away in the fast left-hander at the end of the Esses and hit the barriers quite hard. . “I did a lot of aquaplaning,” he said.
The unharmed Haas driver had previously set the seventh fastest time (+1.513 seconds), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) was only 20th and last, at 5.842 seconds. Timing shouldn’t be of much value.
Schumacher’s accident was the only one in very difficult conditions. Previously, only Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Charles Leclerc were found in the gravel bed, from which they managed to free themselves.
At 8:00 CEST, the second training session on Friday is still on the agenda. This will be extended from 60 to 90 minutes because Pirelli actually wanted to test new slick tires for 2023. But as the track will still be wet, nothing will come out of the plan.