Japanese Grand Prix: Friday Practice RecapSeptember 22, 2023
Round 17 of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship commenced with practice on Friday as teams prepared for Sunday 53-lap Japanese Grand Prix.
FP1 started out with Kevin Magnussen running Pirelli’s prototype Yellow medium C2 compound – each driver with the opportunity to sample two sets of this tire across Friday’s running as part of the Italian tire manufacturer’s 2024 development program.
The Dane then took on a set of Red softs before finishing his run plan on a standard set of the medium rubber. A best lap of 1:33.975 on the softs placed Magnussen P18 on the timesheet. Hulkenberg utilized both the White hard tire and a set of Red’s to start his morning – the German recording a best time of 1:33.448 on the softer tire to place P14.
Nico Hulkenberg went one better in FP2 finishing the afternoon session in P13 having logged a 1:31.797 on Red rubber. Like his teammate earlier in the day, Hulkenberg ran a stint on the prototype medium to start before switching to softs for a Quali sim – finishing with a high-fuel run on the standard mediums. Magnussen wrapped up Friday in P17 with a soft run of 1:32.169.
The session ended with a red flag just a handful of minutes from the checkered – Alpine’s Pierre Gasly caught out at the exit of the Degner Two corner and into the barriers – the Frenchman unharmed but the incident bringing the day to an early close.
Magnussen and Hulkenberg ran a combined total of 94 laps on Friday.
“It’s not the best track for us. For the weakness of our car, it’s the type of corners that this track has many of – those long entry and exit combined – that we don’t like so much. It’s going to be a difficult weekend but as I always say, we’ll try to do our best anyway.”
“It was a good Friday still, but it’s complex. The characteristics of this track are that it’s very fast, very flowing with long corners, and that’s not been a strength for us. It exposes the weaknesses of the car, but we’ll be working hard overnight to see what we can achieve tomorrow.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal:
“In general, it was a good day today. Obviously, performance-wise we don’t know where we stack-up but it is what it is on that side, otherwise we went through our test program. I think the guys got the best out of the car we’ve got, and that’s the most important thing at the moment, to have solid practice sessions to get us prepared as best as possible.”
Event: Free Practice 1 & 2 for the Japanese Grand Prix – Friday September 22
Location: Suzuka International Circuit, Suzuka
Layout: 5.807-kilometer (3.608-mile), 18-turn circuit
FP1 & FP2 Weather: Mostly Cloudy
Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg & Kevin Magnussen
Free Practice 1 (FP1) Rundown:
Hulkenberg: 14th overall (1:33.448), 24 laps completed
Magnussen: 18th overall (1:33.975), 23 laps completed
Fastest: Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing (1:31.647)
Free Practice 2 (FP2) Rundown:
Hulkenberg: 13th overall (1:31.797), 24 laps completed
Magnussen: 17th overall (1:32.169), 23 laps completed
Fastest: Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing (1:30.688)