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FP2: Piastri sets fastest time as rain leads to limited running during second practice in Japan

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McLaren's Australian driver Oscar Piastri drives during the second practice session ahead of the

Oscar Piastri set the best timed lap in a rain-affected Free Practice 2 session at the Japanese Grand Prix, with limited running until a late burst of action as conditions dried in the final moments.

It was a quiet start to the hour as the entire field opted to stay in their garages while the rain fell at Suzuka, perhaps mindful of preserving their intermediate tyres should there be further showers throughout the weekend.

READ MORE: FP1: Verstappen fastest during first practice at Suzuka as Sargeant crashes out heavily

However, nearly 15 minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton kicked things off by heading out for an exploratory lap around the circuit on the medium compound. While the Mercedes driver was initially happy with the conditions, he soon returned to the pits as more rain looked to be looming on the forecast.

Daniel Ricciardo – who missed FP1 as rookie Ayumu Iwasa was given a run in the RB – also made a brief appearance, before reporting that the rainfall had indeed increased, leading to another lull in the action while the fans waited patiently in the grandstands.

Japan 2024

Practice 2 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1PIA1:34.725
2HAM+0.501s
3LEC+4.035s
4TSU+6.221s
5RIC+7.188s
View Full Results

As the FP2 clock ticked down towards the halfway point, Piastri bolted on the intermediate tyres to head out on track, followed by a few other drivers on the same compound as the conditions became drier – but still too damp on the circuit for slicks.

Amongst these was Alex Albon, acting as the sole Williams in the session as the team worked to fix Logan Sargeant’s car following his heavy crash out of Free Practice 1 earlier in the day.

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While most of the drivers who had headed out did so for just an exploratory lap, Yuki Tsunoda gained slightly more mileage and was the first to put a timed lap on the board in front of his home crowd with a time of 1m 40.946s, nearly one second clear of the only other lap set by team mate Ricciardo.

Valtteri Bottas hit the track as conditions continued to dry in the last 10 minutes, followed by others including the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, who tried out the soft tyres. Magnussen then reported that the circuit was still too wet for slicks.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 05: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW46 Mercedes it

Albon took to the track in FP2, with team mate Sargeant remaining in the garage following his crash in FP1

Piastri ended the hour with the best timed lap of 1m 34.725s on the soft compound in the final moments, as a late flurry saw several drivers take to the circuit including the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon.

Hamilton went second fastest, followed by Leclerc in third, and Tsunoda and Ricciardo’s earlier times were pushed down to fourth and fifth respectively. There were a total of 13 timed laps on the board, though many were ultimately unrepresentative.

NEED TO KNOW: The most important facts, stats and trivia ahead of the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix

World champion Max Verstappen did not make an appearance during the session, nor did Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez, the Aston Martin pair of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and the Mercedes of George Russell, along with the aforementioned Sargeant.

After a quiet end to Friday’s track action at Suzuka, the teams will now look over the data from the day before Free Practice 3 kicks off on Saturday at 1130 local time, prior to qualifying later on.

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