Kvyat quickest as the rain continues


Ahead of today's second practice session the air temperature is 22 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 24 degrees. Thankfully it has stopped raining but it remains wet. The sky is grey and filled with cloud and more rain is sure to follow. Indeed, there is a 60% chance of rain.

Tyre choices this weekend are hard and medium, though earlier we only saw the full wets and Inters. Also, there is just one DRS zone and that's on the main pit straight.

The fact that only twelve drivers posted times in FP1 tells you all you need to know, Carlos Sainz was the pace-setter, ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Nico Rosberg. Though conditions improved towards the end allowing some running on the Inters, the rain began falling again in the moments before the end.

Though there were a number of incidents, some of them hairier than others, thankfully nobody came to grief.

The lights go green but despite the improved conditions - compared to FP1 - there is no mad rush to hit the track.

After several minutes, Kvyat finally gets things underway. A giant rooster tail following Russian for almost the entire length of the track, he stays out for a timed lap. On Inters, Kvyat is joined by Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Ericsson and Raikkonen, the Mercedes driver on full wets. Kvyat posts 1:49.374.

As Rosberg pits, telling his team "definite inters", Raikkonen stays out, the Finn subsequently posting 50.319. Hulkenberg goes third with a 51.883.

One by one more drivers head down the pitlane, all on the inters. "I'm losing the front tyres," complains Perez.

Nasr goes third (51.435) but Rosberg and Ricciardo are on hot laps. The German posts 48.300 and the Australian 49.171 to go first and second. Elsewhere, Raikkonen gets it wrong at the chicane.

Hamilton can only manage 51.859 to go eighth, but subsequently improves to second with a 48.853.

"I hear a strange noise coming from the rear of the car," warns Sainz, "from the engine."

Maldonado - who else - goes cross country in T2, while Vettel goes extremely wide in T1.

"All OK with the engine, all OK with the noise," Sainz is asked. "No, it's still there," comes the reply.

Ericsson is advised that more rain is expected in ten minutes. This comes at a time when nobody is improving.

After 14 laps, Massa complains that his inters are starting to grain. He subsequently posts a PB in S1. Maintaining the pace in S2, he finally crosses the line 52.765 to go fourteenth.

Kvyat is advised that rain is approaching Turns 8, 9 and 1, but that conditions are no worse than at the beginning of the session.

Having improved to tenth with a 51.672, Verstappen runs wide in T16, the youngster subsequently complaining of "massive understeer".

Kvyat raises the bar with a 48.277 as Button posts 51.861 to go twelfth. The Briton complains of "lots of understeer".

Raincoat activity in the stands suggests the rain has returned. "The rain has picked up again," confirms Hulkenberg.

Verstappen ploughs through the gravel having gone wide at Spoon.

Massa and Bottas watch the action from the pit-wall, clearly neither sees any point in being on track at this time.

Ricciardo gets it wrong at the chicane.

"There's quite a lot more rain," says Vettel. "OK, don't take risks," he is told.

"Not what the drivers want to hear 'Forecast looks like it's only going to get wetter, you're free to hop out for now'" tweets Mercedes.

At 'half-time', it's: Kvyat, Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Vettel, Raikkonen, Sainz, Verstappen, Nasr and Maldonado.

Vettel and Nasr have the track to themselves. After running wide at Spoon, Vettel heads back to the pits. With Nasr also stopping, after a nasty wobble in T7, the circuit falls quiet.

Ericsson breaks the silence and heads down the pitlane. The Swede, on full wets, is almost caught out by the same puddle that almost claimed his teammate.

"The rain is out of order now," says Ericsson, the Swede subsequently told to pit.

"Half an hour to go with the rain falling harder and it looks like that's probably most people done for this session," says Pirelli.

At which point Alonso heads out, the Spaniard having had no previous running so far as the team changed his engine after FP1. The two-time world champion has wobbles at spoon and 130R as he posts a 57.087.

With the track to himself, Alonso continues, improving to 55.239.

With 16:30 remaining, Rosberg heads down the pitlane and performs a practice start. The German, like Alonso, is on the full wets.

Rosberg heads back to the pits, which is clearly the signal for teammate Hamilton to head out. The Briton is followed by Vettel.

As Hamilton is warned to watch the rivers, Vettel reports that it is very wet.

"I'm aquaplaning on the straight," reveals Button. The Briton is told to continue as the team is measuring fuel flow. "Is it safe to stay out," he is asked. "Only if I'm pottering around."

TV cameras pick out a couple of fans sporting models of the McLaren rear wing on their heads, said fans only too happy to show the DRS in action. Only in Japan.

The session ends with Kvyat quickest, ahead of Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Vettel, Raikkonen, Sainz, Verstappen, Nasr and Maldonado.

Hulkenberg is eleventh, ahead of Button, Ericsson, Perez, Grosjean, Massa, Alonso, Stevens and Rossi. Bottas failing to post a time.

Hopefully, we'll have improved conditions tomorrow nonetheless, it's worth noting that Vettel completed the most laps (19), ahead of Raikkonen (16), Ericsson (12) and Hulkenberg (11).

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 25/09/2015
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