Friday was challenging, but that was not a new sensation for us in 2023. What is more, there was little to choose between the entire grid at the end of the day's running. In FP2, just one second covered P2 and P14, with seven different teams in the mix and aiming for Q3 come Saturday afternoon.
"We made some changes ahead of FP2 and gathered some useful learnings," said Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin.
"But we're clearly not strong enough in the faster corners," he added.
The positives of not being where you want to be on a Friday are that you have the opportunity to set things in a better direction overnight. Important simulator work from Frederick Vesti and the team back in Brackley set about trying to make the gap to the front smaller. By the time Saturday morning arrived in Japan, that effort looked to have paid some dividends.
"The car felt generally nice to drive today and I felt more confident," said Lewis after qualifying for P7.