Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) used Bridgestone's soft compound Potenza F1 tyre to set the fastest lap time on the first day of running at Mount Fuji for the Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton completed his fastest lap, a 1min 18.734secs, early in...
Hamilton completed his fastest lap, a 1min 18.734secs, early in the afternoon's 90 minute practice session. He was two tenths faster than team-mate Fernando Alonso, who also set his fastest time on the soft compound.
The morning practice session saw Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) fastest, setting a 1min 19.119secs lap on the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza. All of the top four fastest drivers used the medium compound to set their fastest laps in this session.
Today was the first opportunity for Formula One cars to compete on the modified Mount Fuji circuit, the track being very different from when it was last on the F1 calendar 30 years ago.
The longest straight in Formula One presented teams with a set-up challenge as the rest of the track is very twisty, meaning set-up is a compromise, and the lower the level of downforce used, the greater the reliance on mechanical grip from the tyres.
Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development:
"Our performance here on the first day of running at Fuji Speedway has surprised me as we saw less graining than we predicted. In the morning session we did see graining, as expected, on the left front tyres, but in the afternoon it was not an issue."
"So far we have seen a lap time difference between the medium and soft compounds of an average of half a second, with the soft the faster of the two. Both compounds provide consistent lap times, but this consistency depends on the nature of the cars, the driving style and the set-ups used as the teams learn this new circuit. It was certainly good to see Formula One cars back here after so many years away."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 1350 laps
Average number of laps per driver: 61 laps
Most laps by a driver: 73 - Tonio Liuzzi
Fastest lap: 1min 18.734secs - Hamilton (FP2)
Compounds used: Medium and soft