Back to back for Formula 1, that landed in Suzuka immediately after the Signapore GP, on a circuit that came back on the calendar after 3 years and which could be the decisive race to decide the world champion in advance. To win the title already in Japan, Max Verstappen should earn eight points over Leclerc and six points over team mate Sergio Perez.
After Alonso's best performance - followed by compatriot Sainz and Leclerc's other Ferrari - in FP1, Russell was the fastest in the second session, followed by his teammate, Lewis Haimilton, and Max Verstappen.
The session lasted 90 minutes, with 30 minutes more than usual, scheduled to allow the teams to test next year's Pirelli tyres on their cars. Due to the rain it was not possible to carry out the test, which will take place in Austin in two weeks.
The second free practice session started at 15:00 (local time) on a rainy track. No one went out for the first 5 minutes.
The first driver to go out was Latifi with with full wet tyres on his Williams – setting a time of 1:56.471 – immediately behind him: Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo with the same compound.
Sainz set the best time, ahead of Latifi by almost 3 seconds, while Russell, Albon, Norris and Magnussen hit the track. No action for Verstappen and Leclerc until that moment.
20 minutes into the second free practice session and just six drivers set a lap time.
Quite heavy rain on track, but it was important for the teams to set some lap times. It seems that tomorrow during qualifying the weather won’t be that bad, buti t might rain again on Sunday, so we could have a wet race.
1 hour left and Lewis Hamiltom went out, followed by Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. The Englishman suggested on team radio that was almost time for intermediates and his teammate was the first one to go on track with that compound. Hamilton did the same and they set the first two best lap times.
50 minutes to go and Leclerc caused a yellow flag in the second sector. He explained that he felt that the left front wing a bit weird as soon as he went out of the garage. No damage on his car though.
Also Verstappen hit the track and set the best lap time in 1:43.571 on the first attempt, while Leclerc set the 12th time.
Perez went out, set the 15th lap time and decided to box again. 37 minutes to go and he hit the track again on intermediates and climbed to the 5th and then the 4th position, behind Verstappen, Hamilton and Russell.
Leclerc continued to address a problem on his left front tyre. He could not finding the right feeling. And closed his lap in 1: 44.803, almost 3 seconds behind George Russell.
20 minutes to go and the drivers started the race pace simulation, given that on Sunday there’s high chance of rain.
Many drivers went out in advance, and the session ended with both Mercedes in the lead, followed by Verstappen.