Event: Japanese Grand Prix
Track: Suzuka Circuit

Weather: dry  17.0°C
Tarmac: dry  25.0°C
Humidity : 42.0%
Wind : 3.9 km/h South

Suzuka Sets the Stage for an Electrifying Start to the Japanese Grand Prix Weekend

As the Formula 1 circus pitched its tents at the historic Suzuka circuit for the fourth round of the exhilarating 2024 season, the air was charged with anticipation and the promise of high-speed drama. This weekend marks a significant shift in the racing calendar, with Japan welcoming the F1 entourage in the blossoming throes of spring rather than the autumnal farewell of seasons past. This early-season visit has injected a fresh zest into the paddock, with drivers and teams alike reveling in the novelty of competing on this legendary track at a different time of year.

Friday's opening practice session did not disappoint, offering a compelling narrative of speed, strategy, and the occasional spin. Reigning world champion, Max Verstappen, underlined his and Red Bull Racing's credentials by topping the time sheets with a blistering lap of 1m 30.056s, signaling his intent to reassert dominance after a stumble in Australia. The session was also notable for the performance of the Mercedes pair, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton placing fourth and fifth, respectively, defying expectations on a track not predicted to play to their strengths.

However, the session was not without its casualties. Williams' Logan Sargeant experienced an early end to his practice after a crash that would see his team facing a race against time to ready the car for the afternoon session. Similarly, Ayumu Iwasa's debut session for Red Bull, while a milestone for the young driver, was more about gaining experience than setting the time sheets alight.

As the teams dissect the data from FP1, several narratives are beginning to unfold. Aston Martin's decision to run split set-ups between Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll hints at an exploratory approach to unlocking performance, while Ferrari and McLaren's competitive showings suggest a tight battle ahead. Mercedes' unexpectedly strong start will also be under scrutiny; can they maintain this momentum through to Saturday, or will the specter of their recent "Saturday dip" haunt them once more?

Off the track, the paddock buzzes with speculation. Carlos Sainz's stunning victory in Melbourne continues to echo, with eyes now firmly on Ferrari's potential in Japan. McLaren, buoyed by memories of last year's success here, remain quietly confident, even as they acknowledge the stiff competition from their rivals.

As we look ahead to FP2, the possibility of changing weather conditions adds another layer of intrigue. Teams and drivers will need to be nimble in their strategies, with the threat of rain potentially upending the conventional wisdom gleaned from the morning's dry session.

In sum, the stage is set for a weekend of high drama in Suzuka. With the championship still in its early days, every lap, every decision, and every second lost or gained could have far-reaching implications in the title race. As the paddock readies itself for the next chapter in this captivating season, the only certainty is the promise of more thrills, spills, and heart-stopping action on one of F1's most revered stages.

1:31,647 min was the quickest lap time in FP1 of the last year set by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull RB19.

FP1 Times Table 2024 Japanese GP

P No Driver Team Time 1st Gap Laps Tyres
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:30,056 18 S
2 11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:30,237 +0,181s 18 S
3 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:30,269 +0,213s 20 S
4 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:30,530 +0,474s 18 S
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30,543 +0,487s 23 S
6 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30,558 +0,502s 18 S
7 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:30,599 +0,543s 20 S
8 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:31,165 +1,109s 23 S
9 22 Yuki Tsunoda Racing Bulls 1:31,230 +1,174s 20 S
10 4 Lando Norris McLaren 1:31,240 +1,184s 22 S
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:31,935 +1,879s 19 S
12 23 Alex Albon Williams 1:31,943 +1,887s 18 S
13 27 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:31,958 +1,902s 19 S
14 77 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:32,054 +1,998s 17 M
15 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:32,055 +1,999s 17 S
16 40 Ayumu Iwasa Racing Bulls 1:32,103 +2,047s 22 S
17 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:32,277 +2,221s 23 S
18 24 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:32,638 +2,582s 18 M
19 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32,803 +2,747s 21 S
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:33,204 +3,148s 10 M

✅ Check out our 2024 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix preview.

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One F1 fan comment on “First Free Practice Results 2024 Japanese F1 Grand Prix

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    Logan got lucky his unnecessary risk-taking at Dunlop didn't cause monocoque damage.
    Fortunately, only the front wing & a bit of rear wing got damaged, but letting the car go wide enough to touch the gravel was still a pointless risk.


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