Strong performance for Racing Point in Japanese GP practices

Racing Point's Mexican driver Sergio Perez competes during the second practice session for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. <i> Image: AFP Behrouz Mehri </i>
Racing Point's Mexican driver Sergio Perez competes during the second practice session for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. <i> Image: AFP Behrouz Mehri </i>

As Typhoon Hagibis bears down on the Suzuka circuit, SportPesa Racing Point F1 team put in a commendable display in the two opening practice sessions. 

Sergio Perez was eighth quickest in both sessions, while Lance Stroll finished in ninth position in the first session and fourteenth fast in the second session. 

Formula 1 organisers announced it had cancelled all racing on the Saturday with qualifying rescheduled to 10am (0100 GMT) Sunday, with the race taking place at 2.10pm local time (7.10am SA time) as originally planned, providing the weather improves.

Sergio Perez: "With the rain due to arrive later tonight, and qualifying cancelled tomorrow, there’s still a chance that qualifying might not take place on Sunday morning. If this happens, then today’s practice results will make up the grid. If that is the case, then eighth place is not a bad place to start the race.

"It’s close in the middle of the grid – with half a second covering about ten cars – so it’s going to be a close battle whatever happens on Sunday," the Mexican driver said. 

Lance Stroll: "There are question marks about whether qualifying will even happen – because we don’t know if the storm will have cleared by Sunday morning. It certainly made things a little bit more interesting in FP2 and we had to think more about qualifying today.

"With everything cancelled tomorrow, it’s quite a strange feeling. There are not a massive amount of things to do in the hotel and we won’t be going outside. So I guess we will hang out and watch some movies until the weather improves", Stroll said. 

"It has been quite an unusual day. The Super Typhoon is closing in on Japan and the organisers took the sensible decision to call off track activities on Saturday. With qualifying and the race taking place on Sunday, it means we lose the final practice session", SportPesa Racing Point F1 team principal Otmar Szanfnauer said.  

'We knew this just as first practice began, so we hastily adjusted our programmes to ensure we completed our qualifying preparations today. Now it’s a case of wait and see what happens when the typhoon hits and how long it takes to clear us. I’m hopeful that we can still have the race on Sunday, but obviously the safety of the fans and everybody involved in the sport will take priority", the German said. 

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