The rain returned ahead of Friday afternoon practice ensuring that the second 90-minute practice session was a frustrating affair resulting in very limited mileage for the 20 runners. With just three sets of intermediate and four sets of full wet tyres permitted over the weekend,
most opted to stay dry in the pits rather than lapping the Suzuka circuit.
Only Jaime Alguersuari and Toro Rosso Ferrari team-mate Sebastien Buemi completed an installation lap in the first hour of the session before Fernando Alonso
and Alguersuari took top the circuit with 30 minutes remaining. “If we had more tyres, I think people would be going out and doing more running,” admitted morning pace-setter Heikki Kovalainen who opted not to run at all.
The final 15 minutes saw most complete a short stint of a few timed laps on the full wet tyres. Adrian Sutil set the pace as the chequered flag flew with a best lap of 1:47.231s, seven seconds off Heikki Kovalainen’s best lap in the dryer morning session.
With so little running, the times and order mean very little at the end of the first day of the grand prix weekend.
For the record; Sebastian Vettel vaulted second fastest right at the end of the session in his Red Bull Renault ahead of Tonio Liuzzi in the second Force India. Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest in his McLaren ahead of Kazuki Nakajima in his Williams. Sebastien Buemi was next ahead of Alonso, Jarno Trulli
, Alguersuari and Robert Kubica. Kimi Raikkonen
was 11th in his Ferrari ahead of Kamui Kobayashi who made his grand prix debut today with Toyota in place of Timo Glock who hopes to be back in action on Saturday. Mark Webber was 13th ahead of Romain Grosjean, Giancarlo Fisichella
, Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld
Championship leader Jenson Button
and title rival Rubens Barrichello
joined Kovalainen in not taking part in the session.
The teams will be playing catch-up - assuming conditions improve on Saturday - but the first day of action at Suzuka was a very damp squib…