Apart from those involved in the shunts - Caterham, Red Bull and Sauber - everyone got the majority of their programmes completed. The biggest concerns for the frontrunners? Mercedes’ mighty pace, and the impending arrival of Typhoon Phanfone, currently forecast to land after Sunday's Grand Prix. We take a team-by-team look at the early progress at Suzuka...
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 35.612s, P2/1m 35.078s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 35.461s, P1/1m 35.318s, P2
Mercedes had two trouble-free sessions and ended the day so far ahead that even they were surprised at the domination of the F1 W05 Hybrids. Needless to say, both drivers were very happy.
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 36.576s, P4/1m 36.279s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 38.012s, P11/1m 37.700s, P14
Bottas was very chuffed with his FW36’s pace and the way in which new aero upgrades worked, but Massa said he had a problem with grip on his car in both sessions and was well down the order as a result.
Jenson Button, 1m 37.649s, P8/1m 36.409s, P4
Kevin Magnussen, 1m 37.327s, P6/1m 36.714s, P8
Button was pleased with some further upgrades which made McLaren very strong in FP2, and Magnussen said he was also encouraged by them.
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 37.686s, P9/1m 36.436s, P5
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 37.466s, P7/1m 37.186s, P10
Vettel believes that Red Bull can do better than fifth, but admitted that Williams, Ferrari and McLaren were strong. Ricciardo said he made a mistake in letting his tyres cool too much while slowing down at the end of the lap to try and avoid a yellow flag further round the track, then getting on the power too hard. He damaged his RB10’s left-front suspension and front wing when he crashed into the outer wall in the last corner, and the first red flag came out subsequently when track workers moved the stricken car to a place of safety.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 37.187s, P5/1m 36.529s, P6
Fernando Alonso, 1m 36.037s, P3/1m 36.637s, P7
Ferrari reported no major problems with either of their cars as they looked to ensure they have set-up solutions for the F14 T which will suit the varied conditions expected to descend on Suzuka over the remainder of the weekend.
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 37.714s, P10/1m 36.943s, P9
Jean-Eric Vergne (pm only), 1m 37.219s, P11
Max Verstappen (am only), 1m 38.157s, P12
Kvyat said he struggled with his STR9’s balance but was otherwise happy, while Verstappen was pleased with a performance that saw him lap only 0.433s slower than the Russian on his first FP1 outing which made him the youngest driver, at 17 years three days, to participate in an official Grand Prix meeting. The Dutchman said he drove within his limits, and was satisfied with what he achieved. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken exhaust valve at the end of the session which affected Vergne in the afternoon, as the Frenchman twice stopped with associated fuel pump issues and thus had a fragmented session.
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 38.582s, P14/1m 37.504s, P12
Sergio Perez, 1m 38.324s, P13/1m 37.786s, P15
Hulkenberg was reasonably happy with what he achieved in both sessions, and said it gave the team direction for FP3. Perez lost a lot of time - 65 minutes - in FP2 with a gearbox electronic control problem, but bounced back well to lap only two-tenths slower than his team mate.
Romain Grosjean, 1m 38.851s, P15/1m 37.563s, P13
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 39.097s, P17/1m 37.798s, P16
Lotus were mighty relieved to get 105 laps under the wheels of the E22, and generally both drivers were encouraged by the day’s performance.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 39.046s, P16/1m 38.010s, P17
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 39.318s, P18/1m 38.365s, P18
Both drivers struggled with their C33s’ balance and tyre warming, and Sutil said a lot of their problems were also down to the power unit. Gutierrez got into trouble entering the Spoon Curve in FP2 and put his car gently into the tyre wall.
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 40.031s, P19/1m 39.069s, P19
Kamui Kobayashi (pm only), 1m 42.760s, P22
Roberto Merhi (am only), 1m 41.472s, P20
Ericsson was Caterham’s star, as Merhi again did a decent job in FP1, but local hero Kobayashi got caught out at the top of the Esses on his fourth lap and put his CT05 into the wall in FP2 hard enough to tear off the front wing and damage the left-rear suspension.
Jules Bianchi, 1m 41.580s, P21/1m 39.306s, P20
Max Chilton, 1m 41.757s, P22/1m 39.333s, P21
Bianchi had an undisclosed reliability problem which hampered him a little in FP1, but he and Chilton proved remarkably well matched all day.