Under sunny Japanese skies with the grandstands only sporting a sprinkling of fans, the 22 Formula One drivers took to the Suzuka Circuit for the opening ninety minute free practice session of the weekend.
By the time the chequered flag fell, it was the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg at the top of the leader board ahead of his triple world champion teammate, Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel was third quickest for Ferrari followed by his Finnish teammate, Kimi Raikkonen in fourth. Vettel had a few hairy moments during the session, but overall no real damage was done.
Following behind the two Mercedes and the two Ferrari’s were the two Red Bulls, with Malaysian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo leading his young Dutch teammate in sixth place.
Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Force India with teammate Ser4gia Perez eighth followed by the two Honda’s of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
The biggest off of the session went to Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who went into the tyre barrier after complaining that the ‘brake wouldn’t brake!’ Thankfully the driver was uninjured in the shunt. Jolyon Palmer also had an issue and was forced to sit out most of the session.