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Japanese GP: FP3 encouraging for Williams Martini

By Andrew Hooper
October 6 2018

The final practice session for the 2018 Japanese GP would see Williams Martini drivers finish in 14th and 18th. Both drivers would run on the soft tyre early in the session but a period of rain would see their track time limited. Lance Stroll was able to return and set a time using the supersoft tyre that would see him 14th but for Sergey Sirotkin his run on this tyre was ended by a red flag that would see him fail to improve and was 18th. Despite this it was a slightly encouraging session for the Williams team.

 Williams Martini Japanese GP Saturday Practice

Team Summary:
The Saturday practice session would see a few drops of rain falling plus quite high winds. The first time would come from Hulkenberg with a 1m:32.563 on the soft tyre but Raikkonen would go ahead on the supersoft tyre with a 1m:30.054. Vettel was second followed by Bottas, Ricciardo, Verstappen, and Leclerc sixth. Rain was been reported by drivers with ten minutes of the session completed. With the rain falling heavier the track would empty with the order Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Sainz, Grosjean, Ericsson, and Hulkenberg tenth. Of the top ten the top three had all set supersoft times as well as Grosjean. The Williams drivers were 14th and 15th after their soft tyre runs.

With thirty minutes remaining the track was still empty as the teams waited for the rain to pass. With twenty five minutes remaining both Mercedes cars were back out running on the supersoft tyre. Both Ferrari's had also returned running on used supersoft tyres. Both Mercedes pitted but more drivers were coming out. With under twenty minutes remaining the track was now busy. Both Ferrari's would have moments that saw them off the track but they were able to continue, Raikkonen at the Esses and Vettel at the Degner curves. After their supersoft tyre runs the Williams drivers were 15th and 17th with Sergey ahead of Lance. At the front Hamilton was now quickest with a 1m:29.599 to be 0.116 ahead of Vettel. Six minutes left in the session and the top ten was Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Grosjean, Leclerc and Sainz in tenth. The only team yet to run on the supersoft tyre was McLaren.

Both Williams drivers were out for a second run on the supersoft tyre but only Lance would set an improved time while Sergey would see his run ended by a red flag as a result of a crash by Hulkenberg. With more supersoft tyre runs the top ten would change to be Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Perez, Sainz and Magnussen now tenth. For the Williams team the session was a little bit more encouraging with Lance finishing in 14th and there was every likelihood that Sergey would have improved as well seeing both Williams driver s away from the bottom of the times.

Lance Stroll:
Lance would take to the track running on the soft tyre. Lance would be told by his engineer that they would be staying on the option tyre. Lance would set a 1m:32.984 to be second but would quickly drop down to eleventh. This would become 13th as other drivers completed supersoft tyre runs. Lance would run wide at the Degner curves taking to the Astroturf on the side of the track. Grosjean would go ahead of Lance on a supersoft tyre run seeing Lance 14th. Lance had pitted after a six lap run. With twenty minutes remaining Lance would return for a run on new supersoft tyres. Lance would start his flying lap with a personal best in sector one. But he would not improve in sector two and three and would not improve his lap time. Lance had dropped to 16th and was now behind Hartley. Lance would pit after a not very productive four lap run. In the pits he would drop to 17th. Lance would again come back out on a set of new supersoft tyres. Lance would set a 1m:32.201 to now be 14th and he would end the session in this position.

Sergey Sirotkin:
Sergey would also come out on the soft tyre for his first run in Saturday practice. Sergey would set a 1m:32.855 to be currently tenth having dropped down the times. Sergey would drop to 12th now behind Perez. Ocon would go ahead of Sergey seeing him now 14th and he would pit after a six lap run. Sergey would also come out for a supersoft tyre run. Sergey was now on his flying lap and would not improve despite been on the softer tyre. But after a cool down lap Sergey would set a 1m:32.631 to be 13th dropping to 14th as he pitted. In the pits he would drop to 16th. But with five minutes remaining Sergey was back out on a set of new supersoft tyres. For Sergey he would not complete his flying lap as the session was red flagged. So Sergey would finish his session in 18th.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.599s - 13
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m29.715s 0.116s 14
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.054s 0.455s 13
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m30.304s 0.705s 13
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m30.422s 0.823s 13
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.474s 0.875s 10
7 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m31.088s 1.489s 12
8 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.483s 1.884s 12
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m31.513s 1.914s 14
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m31.521s 1.922s 13
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m31.636s 2.037s 14
12 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.760s 2.161s 14
13 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m32.030s 2.431s 13
14 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m32.201s 2.602s 14
15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m32.224s 2.625s 12
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.442s 2.843s 10
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m32.608s 3.009s 14
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m32.631s 3.032s 14
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m33.034s 3.435s 13
20 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m33.105s 3.506s 10

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Japanese GP: FP3 encouraging for Williams Martini
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06/10/2018 05:04
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