Nico Rosberg topped the Friday sessions at the Suzuka International Circuit with Lewis Hamilton on P2. The English driver was only 0.072 sec slower in the afternoon session.
Both drivers ran the hard and the soft compound tyres in the morning session. Nico ran the medium and the soft tyre in the afternoon, whilst Lewis ran the hard and the soft tyre
It’s been a case of finding my way today. It began with quite a lot of under-steer. We had to work through the setup in order to find a better balance on the car. In the afternoon, the medium tyre didn’t seem as strong as the hard as we saw in Malaysia. However, on the soft tyre we showed strong one-lap pace. The balance felt good and the track was really exciting to drive. It looks like we’r e ahead of the Ferraris but it remains to be seen as to where we are compared to the Red Bulls.
It’s been a really good day with no problems on the car which is great. We managed to get plenty of laps. But there’s still some work to be done overnight in order to find more pace. That’s a work in progress and hopefully we’ll be going into Sunday in good shape. It’s great to be here in Japan and I’m excited to get out on track again for qualifying tomorrow.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
It’s great to be back here at this fantastic circuit with all the amazing and enthusiastic fans at every turn. It was nice to get some dry weather which we didn’t get last year and it allowed us to run through our programme and execute to plan, looking at all three tyres on both single and long-run pace. At this stage, our strategy for Sunday still remains wide open and we need to go through all the data overnight in order to start making plans for the race.
Ricciardo: “There have been improvements from our side and the Ferraris so we expect the rest of the season to be tighter”
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third in FP2 in front of Max Verstappen and his teammate Sebastian Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo from the Milton Keynes team was only 12th but was sure Red Bull could better its performance in the next days.
“It’s good to be back at this circuit. I really like this place. We made some improvements from this morning. The lap we had to abort because of the Virtual Safety Car looked to be in the 32s which was close to Kimi’s time. Our long run pace towards the end of FP2 on the hard tyre looked pretty solid as well. If we can hook the car up for quali, we can be close to Mercedes and probably be ahead of the Ferraris. We can definitely squeeze a bit more out of the car tomorrow.”
“There have been improvements from our side and the Ferraris so we expect the rest of the season to be tighter. If it rains for quali, it won’t hurt us and we might even be able to get on the front row. I’m ready either way, this place is fun in both wet and dry conditions”, Ricciardo said.
— Formula 1 (@F1) 7 October 2016