Low cloud has forced organisers to delay the start of the third and final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, restricting that amount of track time available to drivers as they look to hone their set-up.

The cloud rolled in minutes before the hour-long Saturday morning session was due to begin, settling over the circuit and preventing the medical helicopter from becoming operational. The session was initially delayed for 15 minutes, and reduced to 45 minutes as a result, but as conditions refused to improve, another delay was called and the session reduced to half its original length.

The delays will have an extra knock-on effect for the 22 drivers as the session would have provided a first chance to try the revamped Fuji Speedway circuit in the wet after persistent drizzle ensured that the track remains damp.

Qualifying is due to start two hours after the end of practice but, should the weather refuse to play ball, the timed session could also be postponed - to the point that it could take place on race day, as it did at Suzuka when the previous home of the Japanese GP was threatened by a typhoon.

 

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