Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat had the quickest lap in a wet second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, edging Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Kvyat clocked 1 minute, 49.277 seconds around the Suzuka circuit, 0.02 seconds ahead of Rosberg, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton half a second back in third.
With rain falling, several drivers complained about aquaplaning.
“It is slippery, wet and there was also aquaplaning; not the most exciting conditions,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t want to take too many risks today, as there is no point in damaging the car or the gearbox.”
Kvyat’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was fourth followed by the Ferrari pair of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Rain also hit the morning session, when Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr had the fastest time.
Sainz was seventh in the afternoon session followed by teammate Max Verstappen. Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado completed the top 10.
Because of the rain, only 12 of the 20 drivers posted a timed lap by the end of the 90-minute session.
Jenson Button waited 27 minutes before heading out from the garage and finished 12th, 3.584 seconds off the pace.
Hamilton will be looking to get his pursuit of the championship back on track in Japan after a rare setback in Singapore.
An engine-clamp failure that took away boost power forced Hamilton out of the Singapore night race last weekend for his first retirement of the season.
Hamilton’s lead over Rosberg, who finished fourth in Singapore, was trimmed from 53 to 41 points with six races left.
Vettel, who won at Marina Bay, is a further eight points back.
Mercedes were surprisingly off the pace in Singapore, but expect to return to dominance on the higher-speed Suzuka circuit where Hamilton won last year ahead of Rosberg and Vettel.
Verstappen yesterday explained his petulant outburst in Singapore last week by saying his dad would have given him a “kick in the nuts” if he had meekly obeyed team orders.
Verstappen refused to let Sainz through during the final laps, despite the team repeatedly asking him to do so, as he barked “No!” into the cockpit radio.
Sainz denied there was any tension between the pair before this weekend’s race, although he took a sly dig at the 17-year-old Dutchman, accusing him of acting like a rebel.
“He likes to play a bit more maybe the bad boy role, and I kind of knew it, but he has now demonstrated this. It will not change,” Sainz said.
Verstappen joked that his father and manager, former F1 driver Jos, would have kicked him where it hurts had he obeyed team orders at Marine Bay.
“Yep, he told me if I had let him past he would have kicked me in the nuts!” he said. “If you’re one lap down and you manage to be back in the points as the leading Toro Rosso, then for me there is no reason to switch positions.”
“After the second time I made it quite clear I didn’t want to do it, and at the end they told me it was the right decision. I’ve spoken to [Sainz] a little bit — there’s no problem,” he said.
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