Lewis Hamilton emerged as the quickest driver of a rain-shortened second practice session in Japan as just five drivers set times.
The rain started just as the second practice session was about to begin and conditions quickly worsened from a light shower into a steady, heavy downpour that resulted in the session being indefinitely delayed.
Over the next 40 minutes the safety car undertook regular reconnaissance tours of the circuit and eventually the rain abated to the degree that the track was deemed driveable at 1445 local time.
Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkonen was the first driver to venture out on full wets with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer following soon after on the same compound. However the three drivers were soon back in the pits with only a brief tour to assess the tracks conditions under the belts.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was the first driver to complete a timed lap, with the Mexican logging a lap of 1:51.345s. He was soon demoted to second place by team-mate Esteban Ocon, who improved to 1:49.518. Hamilton then delivered a lap of 1:48.719s to claim first place on the timesheet, 0.799s ahead of Ocon.
And that was pretty much the extent of running. Williams duo Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were the only other driver to record a timed lap. A number of others completed installation laps but with six men – Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas – elected to sit tight in their garages, saving full wet tyres.
2017 Japanese Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 4 1:48.719
2 Esteban Ocon Force India 3 1:49.518 0.799
3 Sergio Perez Force India 3 1:51.345 2.626
4 Felipe Massa Williams 3 1:52.146 3.427
5 Lance Stroll Williams 4 1:52.343 3.624
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1
8 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 3
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 2
12 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 2
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1