Japanese GP: Hamilton tops second practice washout

Japanese GP: Hamilton tops second practice washout:

Second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix was a near-washout following heavy rain, with Lewis Hamilton the quickest of the five drivers to set a timed lap.

Rain started falling just before the start of FP2 and soon intensified, leading to race control choosing to delay the start of the session.

Rivers formed around the undulating Suzuka circuit, with teams entertaining the crowd by creating miniature rafts and boats and sailing them down the pitlane.

The rain finally stopped and with just over 45 minutes of the session to go, running got under way, Kimi Raikkonen the first driver to venture out on full wets.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer followed suit on the same rubber, but the trio only completed an installation lap before returning to the pits.

Some teams were keen to save fresh sets of the full wets for later in the weekend and therefore chose not to go out as conditions did not improve enough for intermediates.

Force India was not one of them, with Sergio Perez the first to complete a timed lap with a 1m51.345s, before being usurped by teammate Esteban Ocon.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton pumped in a 1m48.719s to go quickest, 0.799s ahead of Ocon.

The Williams of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were the only others to set a timed lap with six drivers – Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas – failing to head out at all.

Stroll had a moment at Turn 1, running through the gravel but just missing the barriers before rejoining the track unscathed.

Toro Rosso did an impressive job to repair Carlos Sainz’s car, following his crash in first practice, to get out for an installation lap with around 20 minutes to go.