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REPORT: Lewis Quickest at Washed-out Suzuka

REPORT: Lewis Quickest at Washed-out Suzuka

Lewis Hamilton ended Friday in Suzuka fastest after second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix was a near-washout.

Lewis was the fastest of the five drivers to brave a timed lap in FP2, clocking a 1:48.719s to end the session 0.799s ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon.

The three-time World Champion was second quickest in the morning, narrowly missing out on the top spot to title rival Sebastian Vettel. Lewis set the pace for much of the session, running the team's latest aerodynamic package introduced in Malaysia.

"It's been an interesting day, the car is feeling much better than it was in Malaysia," said Lewis. "I'm glad that we had the dry session for FP1.

"In FP2, there was a lot of rain, but it felt really important to go out and assess the track and see how the car was feeling as the car was not good in the wet in Malaysia. The car feels back to normal, so I'm ready to race.

"The fans are pretty special here - to be out there in the rain, waiting for us to go out through the whole of FP2. That's also another reason I wanted to go out and at least give them a little bit of a show. So hopefully at least they got to see something as not many cars went out." 

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest in the morning, but did not set a time in the afternoon.

"We didn't really run in FP2, so it's a shame for the fans out there who were waiting to see us running," said Valtteri.

"In practice one, the car did feel better than it did in Malaysia, but we still need to work on things to make the car quicker. As a starting point for the weekend, it definitely feels better than a week ago.

"My run with the Soft tyres was good, but with the SuperSoft, I didn't really gain any grip. So the main thing for me is to understand the SuperSoft performance. The long runs actually weren't too bad, and hopefully we'll see better weather tomorrow."

Despite the inconvenience of a washed-out FP2, Silver Arrows Technical Director James Allison was pleased with the team's day, especially with the work pumped into the busy morning session.

"The weather forecasts for today were actually pretty unpromising from quite a long way out," said James.

"We weren't expecting much useful running at all in either of the sessions. So it was something of a blessing when we managed to get a largely dry FP1. We focused all our programme around trying to get as much race preparation as we could into that single programme.

"Although that may be an unusual session, it was actually quite a good one. Both cars getting their laps done, getting a feel for the car on high and low fuel and we were reasonably pleased with the initial balance and performance that the car is showing.

"Obviously after losing all of FP2 the rest of the weekend is still going to be something of a scramble, but at least we go into tomorrow knowing how we ought to set the car up for both qualifying and race."

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