Valtteri Bottas set the pace for Mercedes in opening practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Friday, edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton by just seven-hundredths of a second.

Following news that Saturday's running at Suzuka would be cancelled due to the approach of super typhoon Hagibis, teams entered FP1 looking to rack up as much mileage as possible in the dry conditions that may not return until the start of qualifying on Sunday morning.

Bottas was able to turn in a fastest lap time of 1m28.731s to finish 0.076 seconds clear of teammate Hamilton as Mercedes finished the opening session well clear of the field.

Sebastian Vettel wound up third for Ferrari, but finished a distant nine-tenths of a second off Bottas' benchmark time. Teammate Charles Leclerc took fourth, a further 0.2 seconds off the pace.

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon slipped into fifth and sixth place respectively, more than 1.3 seconds off the pace in a quiet start to engine partner Honda's home race weekend at Suzuka.

Carlos Sainz managed to head up the midfield for McLaren, taking seventh ahead of the Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. Lando Norris completed the top 10 in the second McLaren.

Naoki Yamamoto impressed through his maiden grand prix weekend appearance, finishing within one-tenth of a second of Toro Rosso regular Daniil Kvyat's time. Yamamoto thanked the Toro Rosso team profusely over team radio after completing the session, having taken Pierre Gasly's seat for FP1.

Second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix gets underway at 1400 local time (0600 BST).

 

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