George Russell, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2022

Russell leads Mercedes one-two in rainy, extended second practice

2022 Japanese Grand Prix second practice

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George Russell was the fastest driver ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton in a wet second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

The Mercedes pair went quickest in the 90-minute afternoon session, ahead of the two Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

After opening practice had been run entirely in wet conditions, the circuit was still fully wet for the second of the two Friday sessions. Unusually, half an hour was added to its duration as F1 originally planned to use the additional 30 minutes to conduct testing of Pirelli’s 2023 prototype tyres. Due to the wet weather, those plans were abandoned, although the session remained an extended 90 minutes.

Having crashed after the chequered flag in the opening session, Mick Schumacher was unable to participate in second practice as damage left him in need of a chassis change with his Haas team unsure whether it had been cracked in the accident.

When the session began, Nicholas Latifi was the first driver out on the track. He was soon joined by Carlos Sainz Jnr, who showed how tricky the track was when he ran off onto the gravel at the Degner corners, before setting the early fastest time with a 1’49.615 on wet tyres.

Latifi made a bizarre error when he appeared to turn off the track approaching the chicane and onto a road linking the west side of the circuit, rather than taking the chicane itself. The Williams driver had to awkwardly spin his car around to return to the actual race track.

After the first half hour was completed with drivers all on wet tyres, the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell headed out on the intermediate tyres. Hamilton jumped to the top of the times with a 1’44.298, while Russell went into second almost a quarter of a second slower than his team mate.

The rest of the field started to switch over onto the intermediates, but grip was still at a premium around the wet circuit. Yuki Tsunoda ran off track at the Degners, bouncing lightly over the gravel, while Charles Leclerc raised heart rates at Ferrari when he slipped off the track at the hairpin and into the gravel. Luckily for Leclerc, he safely reversed out of the gravel trap and rejoined the circuit.

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Lando Norris, McLaren, Suzuka, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Japanese Grand Prix practice in pictures
Verstappen moved to the top of the times with a 1’43.571 to go ahead of the Mercedes, before Russell and Hamilton both improved to go over half a second quicker than the Red Bull and retake the top two positions. Sergio Perez moved into fourth, just under half a tenth slower than his team mate, but ran off the circuit at the hairpin before rejoining in almost identical fashion to Leclerc before him.

With around half an hour of the session remaining, some drivers began to report the rain was increasing in intensity. However, unlike the first practice session, the conditions remained relatively consistent and a healthy number of cars continued to circulate as the light levels began to fade into the evening.

There were no notable improvements at the top of the times for the final phase of the session, however, leaving Russell as the fastest driver at the end of a wet first day of practice. Hamilton was second in the session, almost a quarter of a second behind his team mate, with Verstappen third for Red Bull another six tenths further back.

Perez ended the day fourth, ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the sole Haas and Carlos Sainz Jnr. Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon and Zhou Guanyu completed the top ten.

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2022 Japanese Grand Prix second practice result

163George RussellMercedesW131’41.93523
244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’42.1700.23522
31Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’42.7860.85124
411Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’42.8340.89926
520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’43.1871.25217
655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’43.2041.26923
714Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’43.5331.59814
877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’43.7331.79820
931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’43.8841.94913
1024Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’44.5252.59017
1116Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’44.7092.77410
126Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’44.9623.02716
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’45.0393.10415
1422Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’45.2573.32226
155Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’45.2613.32623
164Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’45.8853.95011
173Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’46.0304.0959
1818Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’46.7764.84121
1910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’47.1095.17413
2047Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-22No time0

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2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “Russell leads Mercedes one-two in rainy, extended second practice”

  1. Why are the number 2 drivers identified with fluoro yellow usually slower their team mates?

    1. The flouro yellow is for visual reference.
      The speed difference is (mostly) for intra-team political reasons.

      1. My post went over the top of your head……..

    2. Is Hamilton the number two driver now? ;-)

  2. Tommy Scragend
    7th October 2022, 10:21

    I wonder if Latifi will now be asking the stewards to invite him to explain why he went the wrong way on the track. Maybe it was the service road’s fault for being there.

  3. Mastercard Lola, Ide, Raghunathan, Maldonado, De Cesaris, Trullitrain, Grosjean, Latifi. Racining series don’t need this kind of “comedy” but in the end these things make it a bit more enjoyable.

    1. I’ve only seen the YouTube highlights – did he actually mistake the exit of the truncated circuit for the entry to the chicane? Surely not? I’ve been watching F1 for nearly thirty years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that.

      1. I’ve always been surprised it doesn’t happen more often, especially at places like Paul Ricard. It’s the sort of dumb thing I would do in an F1 game!

        1. @f1hornet Okay: Paul Ricard is a very good example of confusion, I imagine the first FP1 back there it was a case of follow what the guy in front does – they could even have done that thing they do in marathons where they have marshals pointing out to the runners which way to go when approaching a junction.

          At Suzuka, other than the pit entry (maybe that was what he was aiming for) not much has changed in 30 years of Suzuka. And Latifi wasn’t even born then.

          I think it’s just one of those things you have to laugh off in life, we all make mistakes, blaming it on the car was never going to pass though. I hope he doesn’t get called to the stewards – he might get another grid drop for track limits.

          1. It was just a mistake imho, like back then when Lewis stopped at his former box. Those things happen every now and then, and its nothing but a funny freaky mistake.

            Nobody got hurt, no harm was done – so laugh about it. Vettel probably would have asked, who has built guardrails at the pit-entry.

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