This year, the Japanese Grand Prix turned into an emergency – the country is approaching the strongest Typhoon, so the end of the race weekend is in danger of disruption. However, on Friday the weather conditions at Suzuka were normal, and free practice sessions were held as usual.
The Mercedes drivers were the fastest during Friday in Japan. And the best time in both sessions was showed by Valtteri Bottas. At the end of the day he was ahead of Lewis Hamilton exactly one tenth.
"It's been a very positive day for us. It's always so much fun to drive these cars on this track. I'm very happy with the car in general, it felt good from the beginning. I think we can still make some small tweaks to improve the balance of the car, but overall it felt good both on the short and the long runs," – the Finn told.
Talking about Sunday race the driver noted that the qualifying and race will almost follow each other, what will complicate the work of all teams. Also an unexpected weather can add some surprises, so the team needs to push.
"We expect Sunday to be close in both qualifying and the race, so we need to keep pushing. We got an unexpected day off tomorrow but I'm sure the team will keep me busy; we'll be digging into the data and make the most out of it," – Valtteri said.
Lewis Hamilton who has four victories over 5 last years at Suzuka, ended the day in second place. Lewis told that despite the strong performance on the track today, the team still has a lot of work to do.
"It's pretty amazing driving this track – we got a headwind through the esses in the first sector which has been great. It's been a good day overall, we got through our programme but it's a work in progress - there's always time to find at this track, there's always areas that you can improve," – Lewis explained.
Also the Briton found an explanation for the speed of his teammate.
"Valtteri caught a great slipstream on a fast lap, played about half a second on the back straight. So it's always interesting here: in the first sector you don't want to be behind anyone, because there you need clean air. But if you get slipstream then you're lucky," – the driver said.