After a three-year hiatus, the Formula 1 paddock returns to the land of the rising sun for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix. With the World Championship up for grabs and a native driver set to start his first race on home soil, we’re surely in for a race weekend like no other. Join us as we look through the first two practice sessions this weekend around the 5.807 Kilometer long Suzuka International Racing Course.
It was a return to the glory days for a former 2-time winner around Suzuka, as Alpine’s Fernando Alonso put in a blisteringly fast lap that shot him to the top of the timing sheets at the end of the first free practice session. The Ferraris also seemed quicker around the circuit. However, both drivers had trouble sticking to the circuit as they went off at various points of the circuit. The same was true for Nicholas Latifi, who will start the race 5 races down the grid as the stewards have deemed him responsible for causing a crash during the last race.
Elsewhere, Mick Schumacher was lucky to walk away from a heavy crash as his Haas aquaplaned off the rain-soaked circuit. This crash adds to the doubtfulness over the German driver’s future in F1, as he still doesn’t have a confirmed seat for next year.
Yuki Tsunoda was wearing a special helmet decorated with cherry blossoms for his first outing as an F1 driver on his home circuit. The 22-year-old would be hoping for a great result this weekend in front of his home crowd.
The second free practice session was extended by 30 minutes as the teams got the chance to test out the proposed 2023 spec Pirelli tires. Mercedes showed glimmers of their former glory, as Russell and Hamilton secured the top 2 spots on the timing chart. The silver arrows would be hoping for a great result here, as they have won all Japanese Grand Prix held since 2014.
If MAx Verstappen wins tomorrow’s race and scores he fastest lap, he can secure his second consecutive World Championship with a handful of races to spare. The Dutchman looked all set today as well, as he breezed his way to P3 on the charts.
Mick Schumacher was unable to attend this session as the damage from his FP1 crash required a chassis change. Nicholas Latifi had an embarrassing moment, as he made a wrong turn, seemingly mistaking a trackside road as part of the circuit.
With Verstappen on his way to a second title and both Ferrari and Mercedes in form, it sure to be an exciting return to F1 racing in Japan. Be sure to join us tomorrow for a full review of the final practice and qualifying sessions. In the meantime, we invite you to check out some of our previous F1 race coverages on our website and social media pages.
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