Japanese GP 2016

OCTOBER 7, 2016

Practice 2 Report - Dry Runs

Nico Rosberg, Japanese GP 2016
© Active Pictures


By Dan Knutson in Suzuka

Rain is predicted on Saturday and Sunday at the Suzuka circuit, so the Free Practice sessions on Friday might be the last dry runs the drivers get on the circuit. Rosberg ran the fastest in FP2, beating out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.072 of a second.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Centigrade.)

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

Rosberg had set the quickest time in FP1 - a 1:32.341 - using the soft compound Pirellis. It had been team-by-team in FP1 with Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Force India setting times in that order.

Grosjean, who had had brake problems in the morning session, was the first out in the afternoon session. Vettel set the early first fast time with a 1:34.150 on the hard Pirelli slicks.

"Teams will start assessing the different tires with different fuel loads to work out optimal race strategies and assess wear and deg rates," Pirelli tweeted.

Magnussen had the first off, heading for the dirt at Turn 11 before rejoining the track. Kvyat spun in the final bend but managed to avoid hitting anything.

Thirteen minutes into the session, Rosberg did a run on the mediums and clocked a 1:33.758. Hamilton then beat that with a 1:33.475 on the hard tires.

Just before the 30-minute mark, Vettel used the soft tires to set a 1:33.103, and Perez on the same compound moved into third with a 1:33.570.

Just after the 30-minute mark, Rosberg used the soft tires to set a 1:32.250, so he was a full 0.85 of a second quicker than Vettel on the same tires. Raikkonen was faster than his teammate as he turned a 1:32.573, but he lost second place to Hamilton who put in a 1:32.322.

The order, 40 minutes into FP2, was now Rosberg, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Perez, Verstappen and Hulkenberg. All but Verstappen had set their times on the soft tires.

The problems for the Haas team continued as Gutierrez parked his car alongside the track. "Something broke," he radioed. It turned out to be the turbo charger.

The Virtual Safety Car was deployed, and that wrecked the fast laps of Verstappen and Ricciardo. Just past the halfway mark, with the VSC period over, Verstappen had another go at a qualifying lap simulation on the now used soft Pirellis. He took over fourth place.

The line-up was now: Rosberg, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Vettel, Perez, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Bottas and Sainz.

It was busy on track with almost all the drivers in action doing long runs as FP2 moved into the final 30 minutes.

"With more or less everyone out on track it's a matter of finding some free air," Mercedes tweeted.

The top 10 remained unchanged as the dry FP2 session wound down.