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Wet conditions curtail Jolyon Palmer's running in Japanese FP1

Friday, September 25 2015

Jolyon Palmer was unable to complete any meaningful running in Friday's (25 September) Free Practice One in Japan as wet conditions limited the Lotus F1 Team Third and Reserve Driver to just one installation lap in the 90-minute session. Only 12 of the 20 drivers set a lap time as the weather put paid to any significant on-track action in what was Jolyon's ninth Free Practice appearance of the season for the Enstone-based team.

The 24-year-old left the pits within 10 minutes of the session getting underway to complete an initial tour of the 3.6-mile Suzuka circuit to ensure all systems on the E23 Hybrid were working correctly. He returned to the garage without setting a lap time, where the Southwater driver would remain for the rest of FP1, as the rain continued to fall.

Due to the conditions, no lap times were set in the first half of the session as each team waited for an improved track surface. With just over half-an-hour left on the clock, Max Verstappen set the first lap time of the weekend with a 1m51.741s. Mercedes Nico Rosberg soon lowered that benchmark, improving the fastest overall time to a 1m51.117s as only a handful of cars circulated in the difficult conditions.

The Toro Rosso pairing of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen persevered for a number of laps and the Spaniard eventually set a lap time of 1m49.434s, which would prove good enough for top spot in the session ahead of Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat. With 10 minutes remaining in FP1, the rain began to fall harder and that put an end to any improvement in lap times.

Jolyon said: "It was frustrating that the weather meant I couldn't do any proper running. I did an install lap to make sure the car was ok but, as it is meant to be dry for qualifying and the race, there wasn't much point in risking anything in the wet conditions. It's frustrating but there's nothing you can do about it sometimes!"

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director for Lotus F1 Team, said: "There's not much we can say about this morning's session. Suzuka is a challenging circuit at the best of times, so in wet conditions like we saw today we were understandably cautious in only completing installation laps with both Jolyon and Pastor. These laps were completed using Pirelli's full wet weather tyres and there was a lot of spray out there. Jolyon did everything expected of him."

Japanese Grand Prix - Free Practice One - Result

1. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1m49.434s
2. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, +0.504s
3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, +0.643s
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +1.085s
5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +1.288s
6. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, +1.506s
7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +1.778s
8. Felipe Massa, Williams, +2.854s
9. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +4.386s
10. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, +4.530s
11. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, +4.579s
12. Jenson Button, McLaren, +6.244s
13. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, No time set
14. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, No time set
15. Sergio Perez, Force India, No time set
16. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, No time set
17. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team, No time set
18. Jolyon Palmer, Lotus F1 Team, No time set
19. Will Stevens, Manor, No time set
20. Alexander Rossi, Manor, No time set