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Live Reporting

Lawrence Barretto

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    Max Verstappen

    Lewis Hamilton finished on top of the pile but it was 17-year-old Max Verstappen who stole the headlines with an impressive performance on his grand prix weekend debut. The Dutchman will be back in the car in two races' time in Austin, Texas.

    For now, the focus will switch back to the title battle between the two Mercedes drivers and the debate as to whether the race will move because of the heavy rain which is forecast.

    Until tomorrow, it's good morning from me.

  2. Post update

    It's another early start if you want to watch the next session with final practice kicking off at 03:00 BST.

    Qualifying follows at 06:00, with the build-up show starting at 05:00 on BBC One.

    For those who can't face an early start on a Saturday morning, you can catch the repeat on 13:00 on BBC One.

  3. Post update

    Here's Andrew Benson's second practice report. Stay tuned for video highlights plus all the news and analysis from the Suzuka paddock online and via @bbcf1.

    And don't forget Lewis Hamilton's latest column which talks about his love for Japan, determination to win at Suzuka and the title battle. Find it on the F1 pages.

  4. Post update

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso: FP2. Keep pushing! Dry or wet on Sunday? Any guess?

  5. Post update

    japanese gp

    It's not often that you see a Red Bull in this state. But that's what the reigning world champions have to deal with after Daniel Ricciardo made a very uncharacteristic mistake.

  6. Get involved


    Kayleigh Gray: Rather exciting session. Good result for Bottas and Jenson Button.

    Jonathan Hutchinson: Really hope #typhoonphanfone doesn't affect race other than SOME (not lots) of rain. Think we're in for a cracking race.

    Andrew Priestley: Hope this expected typhoon doesn't materialise on Sunday, but a bit of rain would certainly suit Hamilton more than it would Rosberg.

  7. Post update

    Fernando Alonso

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson reports that Fernando Alonso will not take an engine penalty for changing the control electronics on his car because the parts used are within his allocation.

  8. Second practice results

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Valtteri Bottas 4) Jenson Button 5) Sebastian Vettel 6) Kimi Raikkonen 7) Fernando Alonso 8) Kevin Magnussen 9) Daniil Kvyat 10) Daniel Ricciardo 11) Jean-Eric Vergne

    12) Nico Hulkenberg 13) Romain Grosjean 14) Felipe Massa 15) Sergio Perez 16) Pastor Maldonado 17) Adrian Sutil 18) Esteban Gutierrez 19) Marcus Ericsson 20) Jules Bianchi 21) Max Chilton 22) Kamui Kobayashi

  9. Chequered flag

    Lewis Hamilton

    Race control say the session will not be restarted which means Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

  10. Post update

    It looks like this session is going to finish under red flag conditions.

  11. RED FLAG

    japanese gp

    There is smoke oozing out of the rear of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso. It's been a miserable day for the Frenchman who now pulls to the side of the track, bringing out the red flag.

  12. Team radio

    Nico Rosberg's race engineer: "Rain looks like it is holding off a bit Nico so you've got enough time for six more timed laps."

  13. Post update

    Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who has won at Suzuka in four of the last five years, gets out of shape at Spoon corner, running wide onto the artificial grass before rejoining.

  14. Post update

    nigel mansell

    Britain's 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, who crashed heavily at Suzuka's S Curves in 1987, is having a snoop down at Williams.

  15. Post update

    Weather map of the Japanese Grand Prix

    Kevin Magnussen's race engineer tells his charge that they expect the rain to get heavier but that he should stay out while they are still able to learn something.

  16. Post update

    Sergio Perez reports that it's drizzling at Turn 11. The rain is not ideal as it will disrupt the team's race simulations.

  17. Get involved


    William A: Good to see drivers getting punished (for mistakes) in #f1 for a change. Got to keep these classic circuits classic!

    Janine Pingree: I hope my all time fave Japanese driver Ukyo Katayama makes an appearance this weekend. Miss his smiley face.

  18. Post update

    Umbrellas are starting to pop up around Suzuka...

  19. Post update

    Ferrari are busy fitting a new rear wing to Kimi Raikkonen's car. The Finn is currently one tenth quicker than his double world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso.

  20. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton leads the way with a time of 1:35.078, 0.240 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    Here's the top 10 as it stands with just over 20 minutes to go: 1) Ham 2) Ros 3) Bot 4) But 5) Vet 6) Rai 7) Alo 8) Mag 9) Kvy 10) Ric

  21. Post update

    Jean-Eric Vergne's race engineer reports that the team are expecting rain in the next five minutes. Drivers are currently working on long runs in order to gather data for Sunday's race.

  22. Post update

    japanese gp

    This marshal has a cool £150,000's worth of F1 memorabilia in his hands. Though after that crash, it's probably worth a bit less.

  23. Post update

    "I was enjoying it a lot - that was the main thing," says a very cool and calm Max Verstappen, 17, who became the youngest driver to take part in a grand prix weekend when he took part in first practice. "I think in the end, I did quite a good job."

  24. Get involved


    Ben: I really am not enjoying this radio silence. It used to be so fascinating to hear the engineers talking to the cars. Bad move.

    Will Wren: Can they give this advice - Don't crash the car?

  25. Post update

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson reports that Felipe Massa is complaining about understeer on both tyre compounds. The Brazilian is currently 13th, while his Williams team-mate is up in third.

  26. Post update

    Sergio Perez is the only driver who has yet to complete a lap time. The Mexican's Force India is stuck in gear and the team are still working on resolving the issue.

  27. Post update

    The artificial grass down at Spoon, which has been spray painted bright green, needs attending to after McLaren's Kevin Magnussen rips off a sheet after running wide.

  28. Post update

    japanese gp

    There are some ugly looking clouds on the horizon, but for now it remains dry and bright at Suzuka.

  29. Post update

    Mercedes: A little drift and lift there from @LewisHamilton *Nothing to see here*

  30. Post update

    Nico Rosberg locks up at the chicane again. The German crosses the line second quickest, just over two tenths off the pace.

  31. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton improves to a 1:35.078 on the medium tyres, the Mercedes driver holding a 1.2-second advantage over Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.

  32. Post update

    Lotus: Awesome drifting demo by @LewisHamilton there. What are you testing out @MERCEDESAMGF1?

  33. Team radio

    Lewis Hamilton: "How was that first sector?" His engineer replies: "Unfortunately I can't say, Lewis".

    Why? Because of F1's new rules on driver coaching over team radio.

  34. Post update

    Heart-in-mouth moment for Lewis Hamilton, who catches a huge tankslapper moment after running wide onto the kerbs at Degner. Super save.

  35. Post update

    Good work from Toro Rosso who look to have resolved the issue on Jean-Eric Vergne. The Frenchman is back in his car and preparing to head back out on track.

  36. Get involved


    Viv Pike: If ANY manufacturer makes a return to #F1 it should be #BMWMotorSport even if just to show #Mercedes who is boss :)

    Shaun Botterill: Wing mirrors - with the tech available they could install a camera and in place of the mirror screens could be fitted = less crashes

  37. Post update

    Kimi Raikkonen goes second, one second off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton. Still 46 minutes to go.

    1) Ham 2) Rai 3) Ros 4) Ric 5) Mag 6) Bot 7) Vet 8) Gro 9) Kvy 10) Mas

  38. Post update

    Replays show that Gutierrez, who was on the medium 'option' tyres lost the rear end going into Spoon and hit the barriers sideways.

  39. Crash!


    Another bites the dust. This time, it's Esteban Gutierrez who has ended up in the barriers down at Spoon corner. Sauber have had 12 retirements this season and have yet to score a point.

  40. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton goes quickest with a 1:35.432, 1.4 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. However, replays show Rosberg locked up at the final chicane, which explains some of that deficit.

  41. Go! Go! Go!

    We're back under way at Suzuka!

  42. Post update

    Ron Dennis

    McLaren have yet to announce their driver line-up for next season, leaving Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button twiddling their thumbs.

    "I understand they would like to feel more comfortable, but it's not necessary for us to make a decision right now," says McLaren chief Ron Dennis.

    When asked if the team are you talking to Fernando Alonso, Dennis replies: "We talk to everybody."

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson then asks about rumours that Dennis is going to be replaced by Gerhard Berger. "I don't think it's worth much breath."

  43. Get involved


    Lewis Duncan: I think Ricciardo's crash just goes to show that these cars are still difficult to drive.

    Janine Pingree: I love the Japanese GP - it actually fits in with my weird body clock!!

    Marshalls remove the wrecked car belonging to Daniel Ricciardo
  44. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo's damaged Red Bull has been left on the side of the track and as a result, it seems organisers have decided to halt the session while it is removed.

  45. Red flag

    We've got a red flag, though it's not known immediately as to why...

  46. Post update

    "I don't really know what happened," says Kamui Kobayashi following his crash earlier in the session. "All of a sudden I lost the rear left and that was the end. We still have tomorrow."

  47. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Caterham boss Manfredo Ravetto says he is "very confident" the team will survive to the end of the season and beyond. Bailiffs visited Caterham this week and seized some parts, which Ravetto dismissed as "memorabilia".

    "Asked what were the chances of the team seeing out the season, he said: "I did not provide a bank guarantee we will be here to the end of the season or next year. "But who can do this? I am very much confident. We are quite relaxed."

  48. Post update

    Valtteri Bottas goes third quickest, one tenth off the pace. "I think Williams are looking in good shape," says BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish.

  49. Post update

    japanese gp

    Before his crash, Daniel Ricciardo, who is third in the drivers' standings, had just gone fastest. Replays show the Australian locked up and went straight into the gravel, damaging the front left corner of the car.

  50. Crash!

    japanese gp

    It's all happening at Suzuka as Daniel Ricciardo is now in the wall at the final corner. That's probably the Australian's first mistake of the year. "Is Daniel OK," asks his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel. "Yes he is fine," comes the reply.

  51. Get involved


    Matthew: Keep the race on schedule, postpone till Monday if necessary. I'd rather Russia be cancelled than Japan; think many would agree!

    David Dalton: I don't see Toyota coming back to F1 but BMW I'd like to see back on the Sauber, not a massive fan of the colour of the car.

    Byron: Just witnessed the mean nature of that #JapaneseGP circuit. Kobayashi seemed to take the corner perfectly but lost the car.

  52. Mechanical

    japanese gp

    Misery for Jean-Eric Vergne who rolls to a stop at Turn Seven. The Frenchman, who missed this morning's session because Max Verstappen was in his Toro Rosso, had only just got out on track after the team did a super job to change the engine between sessions.

  53. FP1 highlights

    If you missed first practice this morning, you can watch three minutes and 13 seconds of video highlights here on in the video console at the top of the page as 17-year-old Max Verstappen became the youngest driver to take part in a grand prix weekend.

  54. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Jenson Button has had to field the latest round of what have become very familiar questions here this weekend, with continuing - and intensifying - speculation that Fernando Alonso will move to McLaren in 2015. Button has handled the inquiries with good grace, admitting he does not know what he will be doing next year and answering a question about whether this will be his last F1 race at Suzuka with a clever: 'It definitely won't be my last race in Japan.'

    "He added: 'I am just doing my job, enjoying racing, especially on Sundays when it counts. And off-circuit I am doing exactly what I am asked to do and I feel a lot more. Whatever happens, I wouldn't feel sorry for me.'" Having spent 15 years in F1, won a world championship, 15 grands prix and banked many, many millions along the way, you can see what he means, even if F1 as a sport would miss his class, on track and off."

  55. Post update

    McLaren's Kevin Magnussen sets the early pace, the Dane clocking a 1:37.278. His team-mate Jenson Button, meanwhile, reports an issue with his DRS overtaking aid.

  56. Post update

    japanese gp

    It's not ideal for Kobayashi, who was only confirmed in the race seat on Wednesday and missed the first session this morning because the team's reserve driver Roberto Merhi was in the car.

    On arrival back in the garage, a mechanic jokes: "Corner arrive too soon did it?" Kobayashi smiles.

  57. Crash!

    japanese gp

    The fans have come in their thousands to support home favourite Kamui Kobayashi. Unfortunately, they're not going to see much of him because he's just binned it at Turn Three.

  58. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Felipe Massa

    "There has been a fair bit of talk this year about the new F1 cars being 'easy' to drive. The debate tends to be a bit foggy, with people often conflating the fact that they are less physically demanding than, say, 10 years ago because they have less downforce and less power, with the fact that they remain technically difficult to control. On both points, Williams's Felipe Massa has been outspoken this weekend.

    "'People talk a lot without knowing,' the Brazilian said. 'The car is not easy to drive. I remember in the past Niki Lauda said even a monkey could drive the car, he drove it and couldn't do three corners. People think F1 is easy because we have the downforce, the electronics, the power steering. The car is not easy to drive. You need to be a good driver otherwise you cannot do it. Maybe people don't have something to do and they just talk. We could do things to improve, making wider tyres, more mechanical grip and less aerodynamic, but people should not say F1 is too easy and we need to make it harder. It is still physically tough. You saw in the last race people saying they cannot carry on.'"

  59. Post update

    Marussia's Max Chilton is the first driver to come out on track, followed by Romain Grosjean in the Lotus.

  60. Get involved


    kaspars Kevin ozols: Bring on P2 up all night in UK

    John McEnerney: The 4 Weetabix milked & kettle on! I hope that young MV lad had his Bix for his brekkie! Let's get it on!

  61. Go! Go! Go!

    Here we go, then. It's time for second practice.

  62. Post update

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "I've just spoken to the FIA who say the eye of storm is due to hit Suzuka at 12 noon on Monday with about 100mm of rain. To bring the race forward to Saturday, they say the eye of storm has to hit on Sunday. I don't think we're going to see that so no plans for a Saturday race."

  63. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton leads the way in the drivers' standings after winning the the Singapore Grand Prix last time out. He holds a three-point lead over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with Daniel Ricciardo 57 points further back.

  64. Post update

    We'll have moving pictures on your screens in under three minutes on BBC Two and in the video console at the top of the page.

    It's a bright and sunny day at Suzuka with the air temperatures currently 28C and the track up at 44C.

  65. Post update

    Max Verstappen

    All eyes were on Max Verstappen this morning as the Dutchman became the youngest driver to take part in a grand prix weekend.

    The 17-year-old gave a very good account of himself, finishing 12th fastest, just four tenths slower than Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

    He was pretty pleased tweeting: "Happy boy at the moment :) not bad speed at all :)"

  66. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Kamui Kobayashi

    "The Japanese fans don't need a home hero to persuade them turn up in their 10s of thousands at Suzuka for the grand prix, but there must have been some sighs of relief when it emerged on the eve of the race that Kamui Kobayashi was keeping his seat at Caterham for at least one more weekend. The Japanese's position in the struggling team has been in doubt ever since they went into new ownership in July, but so far he has hung on and only missed one race - when sportscar ace Andre Lotterer replaced him in Belgium.

    "Kobayashi is clearly relieved he is getting to drive in front of his home fans again, the financial support of whom was partly what enabled him to get a seat this year. 'I've been waiting for this race for over a year,' he said. 'I am able to come back to Suzuka thanks to the support I received from my fans. This means a lot to me and I would like to thank them all once again. I only have positive feelings going into this weekend.' This may be his last chance to race in F1 at home, so he will be savouring every second."

  67. Post update

    Japanese gp

    These are just a few of some pretty cool Manga-inspired cardboard cut-outs by Japanese fans which are dotted around the paddock.

  68. Post update

    Nico Rosberg

    Mercedes on Twitter: COMING SOON to a @bbcf1 screen near you; @nico_rosberg in Kendo fighting culture special!

  69. Post update

    Kimi Raikkonen heads out of the Ferrari hospitality unit, signs two autographs for a group of awaiting fans and then raises his hand to signal that he's had enough before diving into the garage.

  70. Post update

    Dutch orange chicken

    What's cooking over at Sauber? Chicken a l'Orange, according to reserve driver Giedo van der Garde. Yum.

  71. Post update

    Pastor Maldonado

    Pastor Maldonado is already facing an uphill battle this weekend after being slapped with a 10-place grid penalty after using his sixth engine of the season in first practice.

    Drivers can use no more than five of any of the six power unit components over the course of the season. Should the Venezuelan qualify too far down the grid for the full 10-place penalty to be applied, it will be carried over to the next race in Sochi, Russia.

  72. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Daniel Ricciardo

    "Daniel Ricciardo is just about the last person you would think needed any spiritual calming, so chilled out is the Red Bull driver most of the time. But the Australian prepared for the Japanese Grand Prix with a traditional experience in Tokyo on Wednesday, including a visit to the Asakusa Shrine to take part in a traditional Shinto prayer, do some meditating and receive a blessing from a priest.

    "He said: 'The Zen meditation was another new experience for me. It's something I can use in my sport and my racing. It teaches you to control your emotions and understand how your body and mind work together, so it was nice to learn some new techniques.'"

  73. Post update

    All the talk in the build up to this weekend has been about Typhoon Phanfone, as pictured below, which is on course to hit Suzuka on Sunday - which is, of course, race day.

    If that happens, it's unlikely the race will be able to go ahead because of the conditions. There is also a concern that teams will not be able to ship out their equipment to Sochi, which hosts next weekend's Russian Grand Prix, as planned.

    Will organisers move the race back to Saturday, running it straight after qualifying?

  74. Post update

    A satellite image of the typhoon near Japan

    Fernando Alonso on Twitter: Mmmmm...

  75. Post update

    Nico Rosberg

    Welcome back to those who joined us for first practice and morning to those just waking up. To recap, Nico Rosberg topped the times in first practice, the German finishing just over a tenth quicker than Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

  76. Post update

    Hello. Anyone there? Anyone? Lovely stuff.

    Get that bacon under the grill, the eggs on the boil and the bread in the toaster. I've got another 90 minutes of Formula 1 practice coming up for you shortly.

  77. Post update

    Right then, it's time for me to get a fresh cuppa and you to get some sleep before second practice gets under way. Set your alarms for 05:30 BST as that's when I'll be back. See you in a bit.

  78. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "Clearly there has been a momentum that has gone in Lewis Hamilton's favour in the last two races and Nico Rosberg has to stop that.

    "It's only 0.1secs between them - that's the sort of margin we have seen all year."

  79. Post update

    Fernando Alonso's future at Ferrari was once again the talk of the paddock on Thursday when the Spaniard refused to rule out laving the team before the end of his contract, which runs until 2016.

    Alonso was asked at the Japanese Grand Prix whether he could say definitively that he would not be at McLaren or Red Bull in 2015 or 2016. "That's a very difficult question to answer," he replied. "I will do the best for Ferrari."

  80. Post update

    Fernando Alonso

    Fernando Alonso on Twitter: FP1. Only Friday, but good sign. So nice track Suzuka, every year still enjoying more and more.

  81. Post update

    japanese gp

    Daniel Ricciardo's side of the Red Bull garage looks like a relaxed place as he messes around with his mechanics.

  82. Get involved


    Alan: JEV is more unlucky than Webber and Massa put together, I must say. Engine failure for V-Max.

    Byron: Nico Rosberg tops #FP1. This is going to be an interesting weekend.

  83. Post update

    The Toro Rosso mechanics will be busy over the next couple of hours as they battle to change the engine in Max Verstappen's car so that Jean-Eric Vergne can get out in second practice.

  84. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    Max Verstappen looks on with his helmet on

    "Max Verstappen was very clean and tidy to be only four tenths of a second behind Daniil Kvyat. He has been very impressive. Max knows he has a seat on the grid next year so he was able to enter the session in a relaxed manner. He'll be very happy - I know his father Jos was."

  85. First practice results

    1) Nico Rosberg 2) Lewis Hamilton 3) Fernando Alonso 4) Valtteri Bottas 5) Kimi Raikkonen 6) Kevin Magnussen 7) Daniel Ricciardo 8) Jenson Button 9) Sebastian Vettel 10) Daniil Kvyat 11) Felipe Massa

    12) Max Verstappen 13) Sergio Perez 14) Nico Hulkenberg 15) Romain Grosjean 16) Adrian Sutil 17) Pastor Maldonado 18) Esteban Gutierrez 19) Marcus Ericsson 20) Roberto Merhi 21) Jules Bianchi 22) Max Chilton

  86. Post update

    As expected, Mercedes dominate first practice with Nico Rosberg heading team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari and Williams are leading the chase.


    Nico Rosberg of Germany

    Nico Rosberg finishes fastest in first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

  88. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "This will be an interesting weekend for Kimi Raikkonen, who finally in Singapore last time out offered some serious opposition to team-mate Fernando Alonso in qualifying. 'In Singapore, we finally had the speed to put together a quick single flying lap in qualifying, as the car behaved the way I'd been hoping for,' the Finn said.

    "'It was just a shame we could not maximise the performance of the car because of a minor issue before the last flying lap. It meant we could not do much in the race, as I was stuck in traffic and couldn't exploit my pace. But for me, the positive thing that weekend was I finally had a good feeling from the car, something I had been waiting for a long time this year.' There have been false dawns for Raikkonen before this year and he will be looking to carry over that momentum to a track where he has always gone well."

  89. Team radio

    Max Verstappen: "I have smoke out of the engine - what do I have to do?" His engineer replies: "Stop the car."

  90. Mechanical

    Japanese GP

    It's a disappointing end to what has been a very impressive debut for Max Verstappen as his Toro Rosso's engine has expires. The Dutchman pulls off the track at Turn Six.

  91. Post update

    Lots of drivers going of at Spoon, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean the corner's latest victim.

  92. Get involved


    James Green: Late night studying + #bbcf1 live text = perennial procrastination.

    George Thoupi: I find it funny that I always get up for F1, but I always press snooze when I have school.

    Gerard: Can't sleep so watching FP1 from the Japanese GP, and Max Verstappen's showing aged just 17 is ridiculously good.

    Lissie: Sneakily following FP1 BBC F1 text alerts at my desk. It's 10am here. Go @nico_rosberg @JensonButton @alo_oficial

  93. Post update

    japanese gp

    Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull is sparking as the German flies through the iconic 130R corner. The four-time world champion is currently ninth fastest, 2.2 seconds off the pace.

  94. Post update

    McLaren's Kevin Magnussen overcooks it at Spoon, missing the apex and running wide on the acres of run-off.

  95. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel

    At 17 and three days, Max Verstappen is the youngest driver to take part in a Formula 1 race weekend, surpassing the record set by Sebastian Vettel, who was 19 years and 53 days when he ran for BMW Sauber in free practice in Turkey in 2006.

  96. Post update

    With 20 minutes to go, Nico Rosberg leads the way from Lewis Hamilton.

    Here's the top 10: 1) Ros 2) Ham 3) Alo 4) Bot 5) Rai 6) Mag 7) Mag 8) But 9) Vet 10) Kvy

  97. Post update

    The rear end of Nico Hulkenberg's Force India snaps as he comes out of spoon and he follows that up with a big lock-up into the chicane. Unsurprisingly, he reports "quite a big flat-spot".

  98. Post update

    japanese gp

    "The first lap I was a bit nervous, but now I'm calm," says Jos Verstappen of his son Max, who is making his grand prix race weekend debut. "What he is doing now is more than enough. He has to drive as much as he can. I am very proud."

  99. Get involved


    David Taylor: Raikkonen isn't interested any more & hasn't been for a while. Time he vacated the seat for someone else.

    Dave Sharples: Keeping up to date on events at Suzuka from my hotel in Borneo. No early morning needed here. Go Lewis.

    John Richardson: Unable to sleep, thank god for early morning free practice at Suzuka GP.

  100. Post update

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen goes fifth quickest with a 1:37.187 with Kevin Magnussen slotting into sixth in his McLaren.

  101. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP runs off the track

    Lewis Hamilton explores the outer-limits of the track before rejoining. The orange-walled hard compounds are still the tyres of choice at the moment.

  102. Post update

    Anyone still awake? Good. You've only got just over half an hour to go before you can grab a two-hour power nap. Hang in there!

  103. Post update

    Max Verstappen is making good progress in the Toro Rosso. He's up to 11th, with a best time of 1:38.157. Rather more impressively, he's only four tenths of a second slower than team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

  104. Post update

    Nico Rosberg improves to a 1:35.461, just over a tenth clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso has put the grapes down and back in the car, moving into third, half a second adrift of Rosberg.

  105. Post update

    Japanese GP fans

    Fans always deliver pretty impressive headwear for the Japanese Grand Prix.

  106. Get involved


    Thomas: The quali score (including Monaco) between Hamilton and Rosberg is 6-6, excluding reliability...

    Phillippa Gillett: Love that @alo_oficial is going around his side of his garage offering his mechanics a grape...

  107. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel, who has won four of the last five races at Suzuka, nips out in his Red Bull and goes fifth fastest, 1.4 seconds off the pace set by Nico Rosberg.

    1) Ros 2) Ham 3) Bot 4) Alo 5) Vet 6) Kvy 7) But 8) Rai 9) Mas 10) Ric

  108. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Marussia had told Max Chilton ahead of the Japanese race that he would be missing first practice with Will Stevens taking his place. However, Marussia were not able to complete the required paperwork in time, blaming industrial action in Germany for preventing them getting the paperwork to F1's contract recognition board, an organisation that oversees deals in the event of disputes between teams and drivers."

  109. Post update

    Japanese GP

    Fernando Alonso is handing out grapes to guests and mechanics in the Ferrari garage which is, I'm sure you'll agree, rather an odd thing to be doing during first practice.

  110. Post update

    Max Verstappen on the track

    Max Verstappen is 13th fastest, 2.8 seconds off the pace, having completed eight laps. The 17-year-old 1.2 secs adrift of his Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

  111. Post update


    The most unique feature about Suzuka is that it has its own theme park - Motopia.

    Fans can pop over and ride the huge ferris wheel or dodgems as well as a whole range of race-themed activities, including building and test driving a go-kart.

    The circuit grounds also contain a swimming pool, hot springs and tennis courts. Which is nice.

  112. Post update

    It's all gone quiet as the first 30 minutes of the session - where teams get an extra set of tyres which they must then hand back - is over.

    1) Ros 2) Ham 3) Bot 4) Alo 5) Kvy 6) But 7) Rai 8) Mas 9) Ric 10) Hul

  113. Post update

    japanese gp

    Lewis Hamilton runs off-track, too, but he keeps it out of the gravel before rejoining.

  114. Post update

    japanese gp

    Not sure about those glasses Esteban. The Mexican runs wide and into the gravel at Degner One before rejoining.

  115. Post update

    Nico Rosberg is the early pace-setter at Suzuka, the German clocking a 1:36.244 in his Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton is second, a couple of tenths off the pace with Valtteri Bottas third in the Williams.

  116. Post update

    Esteban Gutiérrez in the pits

    It's not often you see a driver wearing specs in the car, but that's exactly what Esteban Gutierrez is doing as he inspects the data screens in the Sauber garage.

  117. Post update

    "We tried to get all the paperwork sorted in time, but unfortunately it was just a bit too late," says Will Stevens as he explains to Lee McKenzie why he is not driving the Marussia in this session as planned. "The plan is to get in car as soon as possible and I'm sure that will happen in the next few races."

  118. Post update

    Sauber F1 Team

    Sauber on Twitter: Have you seen Adrian's new helmet yet? Special design for the #JapaneseGP

  119. Spin!

    japanese gp

    Roberto Merhi, who has taken Kamui Kobayashi's seat at Caterham for this session in what I'm sure will be an unpopular decision with the fans, causes a scene at Spoon corner when he spins. Valtteri Bottas has to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the Spaniard.

  120. Post update

    No laps times as yet but everyone except for Max Chilton has completed an installation lap.

  121. Get involved


    Jay McMahon: 150pts remaining, 5 races left, and only 3pts separating top 2 drivers with a Brit involved. Sleep can wait.

    Michael James: A lot of pressure on Max Verstappen here. Let's see how he handles it.

    Martin Brochard: Stayed awake especially for @MaxVerstappen3

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    Max Verstappen

    Max Verstappen, 17, makes history as he pops out for an installation lap before returning to the pits to become the youngest driver to take part at a grand prix weekend.

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    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is the first man out on track, while the Mercedes drivers are warned to be careful on the kerbs as there are still a few damp patches out there.

  124. Go! Go! Go!

    The pit lane doors swing open and we're under way!

  125. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Amazingly, this is only the second race this season at which Lewis Hamilton arrives as world championship leader. The only previous one - Monaco - did not end well, with the controversy over Nico Rosberg's 'mistake' in qualifying consigning Hamilton to second place in the race, and putting the German back on top on points, too. Hamilton is determined for that not to happen again.

    "For one, he describes victory this weekend as 'a serious target', simply because he has never had that good a result in Japan - the only time he has had a winning car here was in 2011, when his personal meltdown as a result of his break-up with Nicole Scherzinger spilled over into his on-track form as well - and he wants to put that right, as he sees it. And because having made up the substantial points deficit he had to Rosberg with victory in Singapore, he does not want to slip behind again."

  126. Post update

    British driver Will Stevens was expected to drive for Marussia in first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday. But that is no longer the case.

    He has been announced as a reserve driver with the statement saying "he will take part in a number of Free Practice 1 sessions during the remainder of the season".

  127. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton has never won at Suzuka, never qualified on the front row here and has not even been on the podium at this circuit in this decade - although he did win a very wet Japanese GP at Fuji in 2007.

  128. Post update

    A bike with very small wheels

    Lewis Hamilton on Twitter: In #Tokyo, laughing hard. Look how small his wheels are, just imagining him pedalling so fast to work. #foldupbike

  129. Post update

    Jennie Gow

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "When I was 17, I got L-plates for my birthday. Max Verstappen was 17 three days ago and he has been given a Toro Formula 1 car for the morning. Verstappen will be racing for the team in 2015, and this is the latest in a series of steps in getting him ready. He seems undaunted, describing the chance as 'really nice'.

    On it being at Suzuka, arguably the toughest circuit on the calendar, he said: 'It is not making it easier. But I don't mind. I am not here to break any records. I am just here to get a first taste of the car. I am quite relaxed and I think I will enjoy it.' Among the many things putting Verstappen's promotion into perspective was Sebastian Vettel, who was himself only 19 when he first drove an F1 car and went on to break a number of 'youngest ever' records, the first of which Verstappen is about to smash. 'One of the biggest differences is that I was able to drive myself from the hotel to the track - which I think he isn't,' Vettel said. 'He doesn't have a driver's licence.'"

  130. Post update

    Max Verstappen

    It's a big day for Max Verstappen. The 17-year-old Dutchman will make history when he becomes the youngest driver ever to take part in a grand prix weekend when he takes to the wheel of a Toro Rosso in first practice, in place of Jean-Eric Vergne.

  131. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Suzuka does not always produce the greatest of races - some of Sebastian Vettel's run of recent wins have been dull in the extreme - but as an event it is a true highlight of any grand prix season. Arguably, no other circuit in the world matches its unique set of demands and every driver to a man relishes the risk-reward ratio, which is as high as anywhere.

    "'It is the best circuit in the world,' said Jenson Button, who said his 2011 victory holding off Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel was a career highlight. 'It has such a nice flow to it. It's unforgiving. It's a roller-coaster. It's very special.' Rain threatens not only for Friday practice but more worryingly on Sunday, by which time it remains uncertain whether typhoon Phanfone will quite have reached the Japanese coast. Button says he would prefer it to be dry, 'because this is one of those tracks where you can really feel what an F1 car is capable of.'"

  132. Post update

    First practice kicks off at 02:00 BST with live coverage on BBC Two. The second session follows at 06:00, so you'll have around two hours sleep in between sessions.

  133. Post update

    Morning all and thanks for joining me in the early hours ahead of first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

    Whether you've woken up especially or didn't bother going to sleep at all, I'll do my very best to keep you entertained over the course of the next couple of hours.

  134. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Umbrellas did the job on Thursday as Suzuka was dusted with a sprinkling of rain. But they won't stand a chance come race day on Sunday if Typhoon Phanfone, which has formed over the Pacific Ocean, hits the Japanese Grand Prix venue.