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Japanese GP: FP1 sees ROKiT Williams evaluate new parts


By Andrew Hooper
October 11 2019

The opening Friday practice session for the 2019 Japanese GP would see the ROKiT Williams Team focus their time on the evaluation of a new front wing. Both drivers Robert Kubica and George Russell would run the new wing as they completed several runs on the soft tyre. The pair would finish in 18th and 19th. George's car would be seen with flow viz covering the whole front of the car as the team tried to understand the new front wing. The sessions importance became apparaent after it was announced that there would be no Saturday running due to the presence of a typhoon in the area.

 
 ROKiT Williams Japanese GP Friday 1st Practice
 
Kubica
 

Team Summary:
The opening Friday practice for the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix would see a rush of drivers coming out. The first moment would come when Sainz would leave the pit lane but would stop shortly after. It had been announced that with a typhoon likely to hit the area that all sessions on Saturday would be cancelled. Qualifying would move to Sunday morning. There would be a mix of soft and medium tyres in use as drivers completed installation laps. As they recovered Sainz's car the Virtual Safety Car would be deployed. With the lack of running on Saturday drivers would quickly start to return. Hamilton on the medium would go quickest with a 1m:31.723 with Bottas second. He would improve with a 1m:30.881. With fifteen minutes completed the track was not very busy as Norris went third and Giovinazzi fourth. Grosjean would move into fourth as Giovinazzi pitted with an issue. Hamilton had improved again with a 1m:30.832.

Stroll on the soft tyre was up to fifth becoming sixth as Albon went third. The Haas cars were in fifth and seventh while Gasly replacement Yamamoto was tenth. At the front Verstappen was now third followed by Leclerc and Vettel. Albon was now sixth followed by Perez, Norris, Stroll, and Grosjean tenth. The Williams drivers were down in 18th and 19th. Bottas had improved with a 1m:30.524 to be quickest from Hamilton, Leclerc, Verstappen, Vettel and Albon. But it would all change with just over half an hour remaining as Vettel went quickest with a 1m:29.720 with Leclerc now second. Hamilton was able to use the soft tyre to go quicker than Vettel with a 1m:28.807. But Bottas would also use the soft tyre to good effect going quickest with a 1m:28.731.

With twenty minutes remaining the order was Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc, Verstappen, Albon, Perez, Stroll, Sainz and Grosjean tenth. But Sainz would improve to be seventh. With ten minutes remaining the track would become very busy with both Williams drivers out running on longer runs on the soft tyre. The session would end with Bottas fastest from Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc, Verstappen, Albon, Sainz, Perez, Stroll, and Norris tenth. The Williams drivers would remain in 18th and 19th in what was a session that saw the team spending a lot of time evaluating the new front wing.

Robert Kubica:
Robert would be the first out for Williams running on the medium tyre for his single installation lap in the opening Friday practice. Robert would quickly return aiming to get as much track time as possible. He was again on the medium tyre. Robert would be running the new front wing and would pit after a single lap. With an hour and ten minutes remaining Robert would return this time on the soft tyre. Robert would set a 1m:35.637 but he would improve significantly with a 1m:33.935. Robert would pit after a five lap run returning on a new set of soft tyres. He would pit after a single lap. With just over forty minutes remaining Robert would return again on the soft tyre. Robert would improve with a 1m:33.484 to be 18th. He would drop to 19th. Robert would also return again on the soft tyre. Robert would complete a seven lap run and would pit returning to the track for a single lap and then pitting again as the session ended.

George Russell:
George would come out for his first run but on the hard tyre. He would puit after a single lap. With just over an hour remaining George would return running on the soft tyre. George would set a 1m:33.891 pitting after a four lap run. George would return on a new set of soft tyres pitting after a single lap. The new front wing would be moved to his car and he would return again on the soft tyre. George would set a 1m:32.800 to be 15th. He would drop to 17th and would pit after a six lap run. He would drop to 18th. With fifteen minutes remaining George would return again on the soft tyre. He would pit after a six lap run. He would complete a practice pit stop returning to complete one lap prior to pitting again. His car was seen running with flow viz all over the front of the car as the team still evaluated the new front wing.

 
Russell
 
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m28.731s - 26
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.807s 0.076s 25
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m29.720s 0.989s 26
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m29.912s 1.181s 20
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m30.046s 1.315s 22
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m30.375s 1.644s 24
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m30.702s 1.971s 21
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m30.810s 2.079s 21
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m30.959s 2.228s 27
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m31.001s 2.270s 24
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m31.283s 2.552s 25
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m31.307s 2.576s 27
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m31.426s 2.695s 29
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m31.563s 2.832s 25
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m31.785s 3.054s 22
16 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m31.920s 3.189s 23
17 Naoki Yamamoto Toro Rosso-Honda 1m32.018s 3.287s 30
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m32.800s 4.069s 23
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m33.484s 4.753s 27
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m36.887s 8.156s 4
 
Russell
 

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Japanese GP: FP1 sees ROKiT Williams evaluate new parts
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