It might be only the first day in Japan, but the battle at the front of the field looks to be evenly matched between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
In fact, by the end of the second session the Mercedes pairing were just seperated by just under a tenth of second both set on the soft tyre. It was Nico though was the fastest of the two in both sessions, on his assault to claiming his first World Championship.
Once again it was Kimi Raikkonen who was their closest challenger. The Finn was three tenths of a second off the Mercedes time, and is remaining ahead of his four-time World Champion teammate, who has been struggling of late in his Ferrari. Vettel was down in fifth, but half a second down on Raikkonen.
Red Bull were also struggling, although Max Verstappen got his Renault powered car up to fourth, with Daniel Ricciardo down in 12th in the second session. The Dutchman was one of many who had an off in the first session. Others included Fernando Alonso who was in the top ten in both sessions and Romain Grosjean who was still having braking issues in the Haas.
Fernando Alonso’s accident in the first session saw him go off into the tyre barrier and damage the rear wing, also knocking his rear suspension. It wasn’t such a great start to the weekend for Jenson Button though who was rooted to the bottom half of the order. The second session saw an excursion for Kevin Magnussen and a spin for Daniil Kvyat, while Esteban Gutierrez brought out a Virtual Safety Car with a turbo failure in his Haas.