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2016 Japanese Grand Prix -
Practice Sessions

ALL THREE TYPES OF TYRE USED ON QUITE A SLIPPERY SURFACE 
AT SUZUKA DURING FRIDAY FREE PRACTICE

NICO ROSBERG SETS FASTEST TIME FOR MERCEDES 
IN BOTH SESSIONS ON THE SOFT COMPOUND

POSSIBILITY OF RAIN TOMORROW THROWS ANOTHER VARIABLE
INTO STRATEGY CALCULATIONS

Suzuka, October 7, 2016 – At the very start of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, Suzuka is usually ‘green’ and slippery: today was no exception as the drivers got to grips with the three nominated compounds at one of the most demanding venues of the year.

There was very little rubber on the track during FP1, where Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg led home his team mate Lewis Hamilton on the soft tyre. The same pattern was repeated in FP2 with Rosberg getting his time down to 1m32.250s.

The afternoon session took place in track temperatures of 33 degrees, with the teams using each session to assess their long-run pace on different tyres and fuel loads, as well as carrying out qualifying simulations. So far, around 1.5 seconds seems to be the performance gap between the medium tyre and the soft tyre.

One variable in the strategy calculations could come from the weather, with rain predicted for tomorrow. If it does rain during the weekend, the work carried out today might be less relevant, with teams having to extrapolate strategies for qualifying and the race according to the prevailing conditions.

In order to have a read of all the compounds, in case rain limits dry running tomorrow, it was important for the teams to try every tyre today. The high working range hard tyre in particular proved especially suited to the demands of Suzuka.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The drivers experienced quite slippery conditions at the beginning of free practice. This improved as more rubber was laid on the surface. Continuing the pattern that we have seen frequently this season, last year’s pole time was already beaten in FP1, but with rain due tomorrow, we are likely to see a different type of challenge in qualifying. Today there was a lot of work on the hard compound, which seems to be a very good race tyre in these conditions. However if we experience cooler conditions on Sunday, then the track could swing back towards the medium compound.”

FP1 - TIMES    
Rosberg     1m32.431s     Soft New
Hamilton    1m32.646s    Soft New
Vettel         1m33.525s     Soft Used

FP2 – TIMES
Rosberg     1m32.250s     Soft New
Hamilton    1m32.322s     Soft New
Raikkonen  1m32.573s     Soft New

FP1 - BEST TIME PER COMPOUND
Hard           Ricciardo      1m35.299s    
Medium      Ricciardo      1m34.112s
Soft            Rosberg        1m32.431s    

FP2 - BEST TIME PER COMPOUND
Hard           Hamilton       1m33.475s
Medium      Rosberg        1m33.758s
Soft            Rosberg         1m32.250s    

MOST LAPS BY COMPOUND 
Hard           Sainz              24 laps
Medium      Palmer           24
Soft            Kyvat              22
                   Magnussen    22

Tyre statistics of the day:
                                                 Hard        Medium       Soft
kms driven *                             1898         2426           2548
sets used overall **                   25            32               36
highest number of laps **        24             24               22

* The above number gives the total amount of kilometres driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined.
           ** Per compound, all drivers combined.

Minimum prescribed tyre pressures: 22.5 psi (fronts); 21 psi (rears)

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