Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat was second quick with Nico Rosberg third for Mercedes. “We let the bosses worry about all the other stuff”. Verstappen improved to a 1:51.640. Verstappen returned to P1 with a lap of 1:50.940.
“Of course, returning to Suzuka also means we will have Jules in our thoughts and I’ll be sending out strength to his family”, Hamilton said.
“In the corners in the wet the chassis has always been quite good”, said Kvyat after the session.
FORMULA ONE ace Lewis Hamilton has insisted that he is still confident in his Mercedes team despite an underwhelming weekend in Singapore.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, a dominant victor in Singapore, was only eighth, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fifth.
Fernando Alonso had to wait for McLaren to switch his engine after Honda mechanics discovered a problem after the morning practice.
The forecast is for dry running for the remainder of the weekend making Friday’s times, in front of the fanatical Japanese fans, largely irrelevant.
Hamilton remains the odds-on favourite to secure consecutive titles despite Vettel’s victory in Singapore last Sunday.
A number of drivers stayed in the garage.
Felipe Massa expressed his reservations after his Williams slid into the gravel approaching the hairpin, while Kvyat’s seemingly reasonable query about his brakes not working was met by a terse: “Try to be more positive!” Alonso, dressed in street clothes, watched the action from the McLaren hospitality unit.
“He is a threat and we are keeping an eye on him and Ferrari in general because they have been very strong at times this year”, said Rosberg.
As such, both sessions offer next to no indication about what might prevail later this weekend.
“I don’t even know where we are so we will find out tomorrow”, Hamilton added.
Just after half an hour Kvyat then marginally eclipsed the benchmark set by Rosberg, posting a time of 1:48.277.
For the second consecutive day members of the cash-strapped outfit, who are due in the High Court on Monday over an unpaid tax bill, have seeked refuge elsewhere with the drivers forced to dine with rival teams in the paddock.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was closest to the Mercedes in third ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
With the Constructors Championship surely out of reach barring several miracles, Ferrari’s only chance at some first place championship glory is with Vettel and his unlikely bid.