Happy Hamilton completes emphatic Friday practice sweep | 2018 Japanese Grand Prix second practice

“I’m having the best day” declared Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes extended their advantage over their rivals in second practice.

Hamilton was on top for the second session in a row but this time had more than eight-tenths of a second in hand over Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. None of Mercedes’ other rivals got within a second of them.

“This track is awesome,” laughed Hamilton on the radio early on in the second 90 minutes of running. “I’m having the best day.” Not even his team mate could get close to his pace: Valtteri Bottas was almost half a second slower and took the opportunity to do a second lap on his super-softs, when most driver found they gave better grip. Hamilton decided he didn’t need the extra lap.

There was little consolation for Ferrari in the long runs at the end of the session either. Vettel reported blistering on both rear tyres during his run on the super-softs, which Ferrari have brought more sets of than any team.

The Red Bulls were in among the Ferraris. Max Verstappen set fourth-quickest time, two-tenths off Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen, who had a near-missed when he ran wide at the exit of the final corner, and Daniel Ricciardo were within a tenth of each other in fifth and sixth.

Just one of the Honda-powered Toro Rossos made it into top ten, in Brendon Hartley’s hands. However Esteban Ocon’s Force India, Romain Grosjean’s Haas and Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber were all quicker. Pierre Gasly only managed a brief run at the end of the session in his Toro Rosso after being delayed by a sensor problem.

The widely forecast rain stayed away again and the session stayed dry throughout.

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Second practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’28.217

+0.461 Valtteri Bottas – 1’28.678

+0.833 Sebastian Vettel – 1’29.050

+1.040 Max Verstappen – 1’29.257

+1.281 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’29.498

+1.296 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’29.513

+1.818 Esteban Ocon – 1’30.035

+2.223 Romain Grosjean – 1’30.440

+2.261 Marcus Ericsson – 1’30.478

+2.285 Brendon Hartley – 1’30.502

+2.293 Sergio Perez – 1’30.510

+2.427 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’30.644

+2.578 Pierre Gasly – 1’30.795

+2.687 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’30.904

+2.689 Charles Leclerc – 1’30.906

+2.739 Kevin Magnussen – 1’30.956

+2.771 Fernando Alonso – 1’30.988

+2.870 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’31.087

+2.998 Lance Stroll – 1’31.215

+3.764 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’31.981

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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