The Finn completed 19 laps, while the Spaniard did 26.
Suzuka, 3 October–Kimi Raikkonen ended the second free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix having set the sixth fastest time of 1.36.529 this afternoon. Fernando Alonso was right behind him with a 1.36.637. The Finn completed 19 laps, while the Spaniard did 26.
Both Ferrari men did their quickest laps on the Medium tyre, which Pirelli has matched this weekend with the Hard. The afternoon saw Kimi and Fernando continue with the work of setting up the car, keen to acquire as much data as possible on a track that has proved yet again to be tricky and difficult to tackle, with several drivers going off the track.
Fastest was Lewis Hamilton with a 1.35.078, two and a half tenths quicker than Mercedes team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg. Next up was Valtteri Bottas (Williams,) followed by Jenson Button (McLaren) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull.)
Free practice 3 gets underway tomorrow at 11 am (04h00 CET) with qualifying at 2pm (07h00.)
Fernando Alonso: “It’s always nice running at Suzuka, as it’s one of the circuits that provides the most driving pleasure and where the enthusiasm of the fans is really fantastic. Despite the many interruptions to the second session, today we managed to complete almost our entire planned programme without any problems, working on race set-up for both dry and wet conditions. At the moment, the uncertain weather forecast makes it impossible to take any decision, even when it comes to tyre choice. Here, compared to other tracks, the difference between the two compounds is minimal and their performance level is very similar.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today wasn’t easy and the lack of grip from the track surface, especially in the morning, didn’t help. This is a fast and tough track, very demanding for both car and driver. In the first practice session, on the Hard tyres, we concentrated on testing different set-ups aimed at qualifying and the race, then in the afternoon, we made some changes which brought a partial improvement to the handling of the car. But because of the yellow flags and a technical glitch, I only managed to complete just one good run on the Medium tyres. Now we have a full night’s work ahead of us in order to find a set-up that will allow us to get the car to suit any sort of condition.”
Pat Fry: “Suzuka is one of the nicest and most complex circuits on the Formula 1 calendar, with every corner representing a challenge. Therefore it’s very important to find a set-up that gives the drivers as much confidence as possible. In the first session, we worked on the balance of the car, trying to adapt to the low grip levels, while the second session was spoiled by several yellow and red flags and we didn’t manage to make the most of the time available to work on our programme.
Suzuka is also one of the most demanding tracks for the tyres, which are put under a lot of pressure by the series of consecutive corners and the heavy lateral loads which never allow for a moment’s rest, from Spoon to the 130R. Today, it’s difficult to assess the order behind the two Mercedes, but we will have to pay very close attention to the weather, because the forecast is changing all the time and at the moment it seems it’s going to play its part.”