(Motorsport-Total.com) – Fernando Alonso has set the first best time of the weekend during Formula 1 practice in Japan. Taking full advantage of the best conditions during the rainy session, the Alpine driver took 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 session officially ended
Many may have wondered whether the session can be run at all, but unlike a week ago in Singapore, race management released the practice session and pit lane on time.
And indeed, a few cars dared to get out, including local hero Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri). Mick Schumacher had set the first best time, but the riders soon noticed that it might already be dry enough for intermediates. However, only halfway through the session did the first pilots bet on the intermediates.
First it was the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who clearly undercut the previously set full-wet times – even if it was the first timed laps for both. The Dutchman finished sixth.
The drivers were able to improve their laps for a few minutes before it started to rain again towards the end, so that there was hardly any driving in the last ten minutes.
For Mick Schumacher, however, the session ended badly: after the time had already expired and the drivers had completed their starting exercises, the German flew away in the fast left turn at the end of the Esses and hit the crash barriers quite hard. “I had a lot of trouble with aquaplaning,” he reported.
The Haas driver, who was unharmed, had previously set seventh (+1.513 seconds), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) was only 20th and last, 5.842 seconds behind. The times shouldn’t be worth much.
Schumacher’s accident was the only one in very difficult circumstances. Previously, only Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Charles Leclerc were found in the gravel bed, from which they were able to free themselves.
At 8 a.m. 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 slicks before 2023. But because the track will still be wet, nothing comes of the plan.