Mercedes scares in Suzuka

Bottas led Hamilton followed with a second lead over the Ferrari. Sainz, solid seventh to three tenths of the second Red Bull.

The red traffic light went out and the 'virtual safety car' came out: Carlos Sainz, stopped at the end of the 'pit lane' with a sudden loss of power. But no, nothing more than a scare for a power failure quickly solved in the garage, it was not going to be one of those uphill Fridays that McLaren has already starred in this season. Solid Madrid, seventh in the time table commanding the middle zone in a pilot circuit, "that punishes error", and car, which requires aerodynamics and engine in equal parts. For both reasons the Mercedes stands out.

Boottas was the fastest of the first session of the GP of Japan with 76 thousandths advantage over Hamilton and a second margin over the Ferrari, which failed to demand the maximum of the soft compound discharged from gasoline. The difference should not be so great, but it does seem considerable considering how the last races of the season were reached.

Red Bull Honda does not seem in a position to fight for victory if its second and a half disadvantage is due exclusively to the performance of the car. Behind them, McLaren and Racing Point and the amalgam of the middle zone, somewhat more distanced than normal with Renault away in their first tests of the new wing. In the queue the two Toro Rosso, with a worthy Naoki Yamamoto piloting the second in free training (finished a tenth of Kvyat), and the Williams. Giovinazzi had mechanical problems and barely completed four laps.

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