Japanese F1 Grand Prix 2019 Qualifying: Results, Times from Friday's Practice

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 11, 2019

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 10: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP looks on during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 10, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets during practice ahead of the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, putting Mercedes in the driving seat with a fastest lap of one minute, 27.785 seconds

Bottas led team-mate Lewis Hamilton to a Mercedes one-two in each of Friday's two practice sessions. Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc ended first practice in third and fourth, respectively, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen improved in the second session to round out the top three.

Formula One posted a breakdown of the classification from P2:

Formula 1 @F1

CLASSIFICATION: END OF FP2 Valtteri Bottas takes P1 once again, in another @MercedesAMGF1 1-2! Max Verstappen takes P3, ahead of the Ferraris #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #F1 https://t.co/oy8y28EDzr

Officials announced all Formula One activities scheduled for Saturday had been suspended due to Typhoon Hagibis, per BBC Sport's Andrew Benson. As a result, qualifying will take place before the race on Sunday morning at 2 a.m. BST.

The order from P2 will decide the starting grid if qualifying isn't able to go ahead as planned on Sunday, per Benson:

Andrew Benson @andrewbensonf1

In the event of not being able to run qualifying on Sunday morning, the stewards have decided that the grid will be set on the classification at the end of this afternoon’s second practice session at the Japanese Grand Prix https://t.co/zyZFUX7QAY

Every driver in the field participated in the session and recorded at least 20 laps in a bid to get a fast time on the board as early as possible in anticipation of any further disruptions.

The threat of further session cancellations created a sense of urgency among drivers during practice, though a rain-free second practice granted some relief from the weather warnings.

Standings leader Hamilton has won at Suzuka Circuit in each of the past two Japanese Grands Prix—the Briton has won four of the past five races at this venue—and returns eyeing his third in a row.

The likes of Bottas and Verstappen each shared hairy moments during a second practice session featuring several yellow-flag warnings:

Formula 1 @F1

Valtteri Bottas spins as he winds up to start his flying lap! Lewis Hamilton has to slow down as a result, too! #Japanese 🇯🇵 #F1 https://t.co/X7l2OkX9pT

Formula 1 @F1

😲 @Max33Verstappen #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #F1 https://t.co/GROSAwTY7b

Ferrari star Leclerc has clinched pole in the past four races this season, and the Monaco native finished strongly to pip team-mate Vettel to fourth place at the end of Friday's activity.

Mercedes will likely be content with the current starting order in the event Sunday's qualifying is cancelled prior to the Grand Prix, with their two stars spearheading in first and second.

Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate, Alexander Albon, finished sixth in both Friday's sessions and will hope for improvements come Sunday, as will Vettel following his fall to fifth.

Renault will also be out to do a lot better following car troubles during P1 and P2, with drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen settling for 17th and 16th place, respectively.