Japanese Formula One fans braved the wet weather to see limited running and just 12 timed laps set in treacherous conditions at Suzuka.
Heavy overnight rain lashed the circuit and persistent drizzle kept conditions difficult throughout the morning, giving teams and driver no opportunity for useful running.
It took an hour for the first timed lap to be set after the weather cleared somewhat, with the 12 laps coming in a 20-minute burst after one hour of installation laps.
Some drivers sampled the intermediate tyres — which Saturday’s fickle forecast suggests might have an outside chance of being used — but a number of hairy moments, though undoubtedly entertaining for the fans, confined most drivers to the garage shortly thereafter, after which the rain intensified once again.
At the end of the session Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz emerged quickest with a time 1 minute 49.434 seconds set on Pirelli’s intermediate green-coloured tyre, ahead of Red Bull Racings’ Daniil Kvyat, half a second slower.
More entertaining, however, were the Japanese fans huddled together in the rain waving to the McLaren cars, powered by circuit owner Honda, as they circulated, with the track conditions masking the team’s expected lack of pace.
JAPANESE GRAND PRIX: FREE PRACTICE ONE RESULTS
|1||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:49.434|
|2||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:49.938|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:50.940|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault|
|14||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes|