2022 FP1 Japanese Grand Prix report and highlights: Alonso leads Sainz and Leclerc in soaking wet first practice at Suzuka

Fernando Alonso set the pace in a wet opening practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, putting his Alpine ahead of Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

As F1 returns to Suzuka for the first time since 2019, heavy rain greeted the drivers ahead of the first 60-minute session. Although there was a break in conditions at the start of the action, Pirelli wet and intermediate tires were used throughout.

READ MORE: Verstappen on the brink of history as Formula 1 returns to Suzuka

Kevin Magnussen and local favorite Yuki Tsunoda were the first to emerge when the green light came on at the end of pit lane, with half the field soon joining them to rack up early mileage on the wet tires and connect.

However, after a few laps Leclerc signaled that the track was ready for the intermediates and about half an hour later the drivers switched to green marked rubber. A 10 minute window of improvements followed, before another downpour arrived and soaked the track again.

1


Fernando
Alonso
Hello
Alpine

1:42.248

2


carlos
sainz
SAI
Ferrari

+0.315s

3


Charles
Leclerc
LEC
Ferrari

+0.386s

4


Esteban
Ocon
OCO
Alpine

+0.774s

5


Kevin
Magnussen
GAM
Haas F1 Team

+1.010s

In the end, Alonso finished FP1 in the lead with a time of 1m 42.248s, finishing three tenths behind Sainz, with Leclerc – surviving a late gravel trip – just under a tenth further in third. position.

Esteban Ocon joined team-mate Alonso in the top four in wet conditions as Alpine look to bounce back from losing P4 in the constructors’ standings to rivals McLaren last time out in Singapore.

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First man out, Magnussen was fifth quickest for Haas, one second behind Alonso’s benchmark time, closely followed by Max Verstappen after the Red Bull driver dropped straight to the intermediates halfway through.

Mick Schumacher expressed his frustration on the radio after being ‘massively blocked’ by Alonso in the final sector as he took seventh place, only to throw him off the road at Turn 7 after the checkered flag and take away the front wing of his Haas.

FP1 Highlights: Japanese Grand Prix

McLaren driver Lando Norris reported an engine problem en route to eighth place, while Alfa Romeo duo Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu sandwiched Sergio Perez’s other Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) was another driver to have an off-track excursion in 12th, the Australian ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who was the Mercedes leader in a quiet session for the Silver Arrows – team-mate George Russell in 18th.

READ MORE: ‘We need a perfect weekend’ – Verstappen assesses title chances on return to Suzuka

Lance Stroll took 14th for Aston Martin, followed by Alex Albon (Williams), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – via a run through the gravel – and the aforementioned Russell.

AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda started his home Grand Prix weekend in 19th, with Sebastian Vettel cut adrift at the back of the pack in the other Aston Martin.

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