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Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 07:53 UK

Japanese GP practice as it happened

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By Mark Orlovac

0746: As I'm about to doze off at this keyboard, I'm signing off. Thanks very much for your comments and for keeping me company throughout the night. The report is now up. Have a read over brekkie why don't you. If you fancy a bit of Suzuka action in the rain then I suggest you join me at 0230 BST tomorrow for FP3 and then qualifying. That's technically a lie-in right? Brilliant. Have a good day, rest well, and I'll see you later.

Twitter
Ferrari on Twitter: "Today long runs were more important as tomorrow rain is expected in Q so Sunday, if there is a dry track, you can choose the type of tyres."

Twitter
McLarenFan_Jamm on Twitter: "I think its safe to say Lewis' title hunt is over. His mind seems to have gone. I, for one, am gutted."

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC F1 analyst Maurice Hamilton: "I don't know how anybody can get close to the Red Bulls. They are looking so good and they have done from the very beginning. McLaren are really on the back foot and the last thing they will want to see tomorrow is rain and that is what they are probably going to get."

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson on Lewis Hamilton: "The lap times were not important there for Lewis, it was about getting a feeling for the car and relaying that to the team. Are the upgrades working and what is the balance of the car like? At least they have the other driver now to bounce ideas off, to see if they are going in the right direction. McLaren lost more time than I thought they would. It has not been a great start to the weekend for them but it can all turn around."

Chequered flag
0730: That's your lot. Hamilton improves to 13th with a 1:33.481. Vettel leads the way (1:31.465) with Webber (1:31.860), Kubica (1:32.200), Alonso (1:32.362) and Massa (1:32.519) following in behind.

0729: Hamilton's car is sounding like a tractor at times. "Horrible," says Maurice Hamilton. His best is a 1:34.542 which is enough for 18th.

0725: Rubens Barrichello's practice session is over. Holly Samos reports that he has an engine issue and is out of his Williams.

0723: Hamilton begins his first timed lap of the session. "The pressure is on," says BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson. "His car seems to have a quiet a bit of fuel in it. They are just letting him get up to speed."

0721: Welcome to the party Lewis, Hamilton leaves the garage and is on the track. Nine minutes left.

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From Craig in Worcester via text: "Surely the rain will favour Button! We have seen what he can do in these conditions!"

0716: That Degner corner is as problematic as a teething two-year-old today. This time it is Michael Schumacher who goes wide at the first curve, bumps over the rumble strips Jenson Button did earlier and ploughs into the gravel. He doesn't reach the barrier, though, and can continue.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC F1 analyst Maurice Hamilton on Lewis Hamilton: "This will hurt him very badly, especially if the forecast is right and it is wet tomorrow. Lewis needs to find out what the new modifications to the car are like for himself. He has a lot of work to do."

0712: McLaren news - Hamilton is in his car!!! McLaren mechanics are still busy working around him though and the car doesn't look that ready. I wonder how many laps he'll get in. Five?

0708: There has been a bit of chat on the Red Button about how the Spoon Curve got its name. Well Stefan has texted in with an answer. "Spoon is a Honda tuning company." So there we are. Vettel improves to a 1:31.465, Webber has a 1:31.860 then it's Kubica with a 1:32.200. Alonso is fourth with team-mate Massa in fifth.

Twitter
basoomen on Twitter: "Red Bull is looking very solid, but who's the smartest in the rain tomorrow?"

0706: Hamilton has his helmet on. Apparently.

Twitter
BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard on Twitter: "Hamilton still in the garage with less than half an hour to go. Likely to be only dry running before the race. Heavy rain due tomorrow."

0701: And it does. Vettel is held up a little by Lucas di Grassi's Virgin but that doesn't seem to matter as he posts a 1:31.712. After that lap a colleague looks up and comments 'this is race is over'. It certainly looks very good for the Red Bulls. Can anyone stop them?

0700: Button crosses the line and that's fourth for him. Alonso fifth. Webber sets a 1:31.860 to go fastest... but here's Vettel. This could change again.

0655: Still no sign of Hamilton. He's the only driver not to have posted a time in this session. Holly Samos says there was a problem with the rear right of his car but that he is getting himself together to go out. Schumacher is up to fifth after a 1:32.831. Button, Webber and Alonso also on the option tyre. Let's see what happens to the times.

0651: Big moment for Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi at Dunlop. I haven't seen a replay yet, although I do know that he spun into the gravel. BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson suggests that Buemi is under pressure at the team. This is not going to help his cause is it? Massa, on the options, moves up to third with a 1:32.519.

0647: Robert Kubica is back out and he is on the same tyres he had on when he spun earlier. Vettel is in the garage and it looks like he is going to go out on the softer 'option' tyres soon.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "Those drivers who are well-and-truly out of the title race have begun offering their opinions on who they reckon will be crowned champion. Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher again tipped fellow German Sebastian Vettel explaining: 'It has been an exceptional year but I'm good friends with Sebastian so my fingers are crossed for him.' Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg, who has been linked with a future move to Ferrari, plumped for Fernando Alonso. Why? 'He's very good under pressure. He's the most complete driver right now and has a killer instinct - and he's been in that situation twice before.' And Renault's Robert Kubica, himself a contender in 2008, was asked whether he favoured Mark Webber or Alonso for the title and dead-panned back: 'Lewis Hamilton.'"

0643: Holly Samos is being drowned out by a cacophony of noise from the McLaren garage. She says Hamilton's car is now off the jacks but that it will be another 15 minutes before we see him. Hamilton really has lost a lot of time today.

0641: There's a wonderful camera shot down the side of Jenson Button's car as he guides his McLaren down the pit lane. He's ninth fastest with a best of 1:33.523. Vettel is out and about but he cannot improve on his best time.

Twitter
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson on Twitter: "Virgin F1 boss John Booth tells BBC the team's hope is to be one-two seconds faster next year and regularly in Q2. 'Not easy,' says Anthony Davidson."

Twitter
Renault F1 on Twitter: "All good on Robert's car, he will head out for another run soon. Vitaly is just leaving the garage."

0635: Vettel is down to a 1:32.210 by the way, as Hispania's Sakon Yamamoto runs wide onto the run-off road at Spoon. Massa is up to sixth with a 1:33.335.

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Matthew Thompson via text: "What is going on with Hamilton? Three crashes in a row is not like the old Hamilton that took the world title in 2008."

0631: Renault's Robert Kubica spins off and is in the gravel at the Dunlop Curve, the left hander after the Esses. He gets back on the black stuff, though, and crawls home to the garage.

0627: More news from Holly Samos. She reports that Nico Rosberg is out of his car and is having trouble with his radio and his helmet. Mercedes have not brought any upgrades to Suzuka while Force India have their new specification blown diffuser - which increases downforce - on both of their cars during FP2. Only Adrian Sutil had it in FP1.

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Tessa Virtue via text: "People are saying Schumacher is not what he was because of how he is compared to Rosberg but I think people underestimate Rosberg. He's getting close to Massa in the championship and I hope that Rosberg gets the chance to race in a championship winning car one day."

0623: Lewis Hamilton fans, there's some news. He is in his racing gear and BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos says he will be out in around 15 minutes.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "Red Bull are looking strong at the moment. I was watching Mark Webber and he was absolutely perfect, he used all the track. The car looks amazing with how much grip it has got. As soon as they turn in it does it for them. They are mighty."

0620: Webber is not going to be top for long... Vettel's flying... and he's fastest with a 1:32.501. Hmmm, those Red Bull boys are looking pretty handy.

0617: Just as I begin to type: 'The Red Bulls have not yet set a time', I see Mark Webber having a blast... and he's quickest. It's a 1:32.574. Bosh. Now it's Vettel... and he's third with a 1:33.152.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "I've been talking to the drivers about just what it is like to drive around Suzuka, famous for its figure-of-eight layout and flowing sequence of curves and straights. Nico Hulkenberg is one of four drivers who are getting to grips with it for the first time in first practice on Friday. The Williams driver says: 'I've driven 30 or 40 laps in the simulator but you have to be out on the track to learn it properly. I had a moment in the simulator at [Degner 1] - very interesting. It's going to be fun to drive, I can see from the simulator it is awesome.'"

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "The Ferrari looks a different animal in this session compared to the last session. There's definitely more there for Alonso now."

BBC commentator Jonathan Legard: "There are worried faces in the paddock, particularly among the championship contenders, over Saturday's weather forecast. The teams believe there is a tropical rainstorm heading for Suzuka, which could seriously disrupt qualifying. Weather has always been an obsession for F1 teams and Ferrari and McLaren will remember this year's Malaysian Grand Prix when Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa failed to progress from first qualifying when they were caught out by the conditions."

0611: What's this? Up pops Michael Schumacher with a 1:33.299 - he's second. Nico Hulkenberg (1:33.370) is fourth, Kubica (1:33.489) fifth. Alonso improves to a 1:33.119.

0607: Ferrari were a little quiet this morning as they went about their business but here's Fernando Alonso - and he's quickest with a 1:33.159. Renault's Vitaly Petrov - is he going to be in that seat next season? - is second with a 1:33.305 then it's Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "Things were pretty hectic in the McLaren garage between the practice sessions, with the mechanics busy repairing Lewis Hamilton's car after his crash. Hamilton expects to be back out on track but faces a bit of a wait. I also had a quick chat with team boss Martin Whitmarsh who explained Hamilton's accident as 'experimenting too early in the weekend'. He revealed that Hamilton was much happier with the car than team-mate Jenson Button and that probably led to him pushing too hard, too soon. The team are running a series of updates in Suzuka but Whitmarsh said they were not affecting the car's balance and that they would be sticking with them. He did add, however, that Hamilton would not be running the new rear wing in P2 and would have to wait for Saturday for a new one."

0604: A bit of an early detour for Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi. The Japanese driver goes over the grass as he gets out of shape through the Esses. He doesn't connect with anything though and is soon on his way.

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Dan in Perth via text: "I've got a feeling this is going to be Webber's weekend... it's all over for Hamilton this season."

0600: Green light and 90 minutes of fun and games is under way. About half of the field are out early on for their installation laps.

aka_robyn on Twitter: "Comforting to know I'm not alone in losing sleep to watch Friday practice! P2 starts at 1am for us on the US east coast... "

Twitter
McLaren on Twitter: "Lewis's mechanics are busy fixing his car. It's unlikely to be ready for the start of P2, but will hopefully be out soon after... "

0555: Coverage is now up and running on the Red Button and in the stream at the top of this page. That is a blessed relief to your F1 team here I can tell you as our pictures were accompanied by some horrendous lift music.

0553: F1 presenter Lee McKenzie has been speaking with title challenger Sebastian Vettel ahead of Sunday's race. Here's what the German had to say about the run-in: "It is tight and it's the next couple of races that will decide. It's very important that you finish those races and get the optimum out of yourself. It's not over yet."

Twitter
BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard on Twitter: "McLaren hoping that Lewis won't need new tub. Told that new rear wing working - some good news."

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Thom in Basingstoke via text: "Gutted to see Lewis in the wall. Stayed up especially to watch him and Jenson and both had a bit of a disaster. I can see Jenson sticking with old setup and Lewis going with the new package - my money is still on Lewis for the victory!"

0549: Amazing as it sounds, we are not the only live sport taking place at this hour. The Commonwealth Games are also up and running and Jonathan Stevenson is the man to take you through all the action from Delhi. Remember that over here on the F1 channel, second practice starts at 0600 BST with coverage on the Red Button and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 0555 BST. Ace.

foggyfoy on Twitter: "Who is your money on to win this weekend? I'm going for Vettel as he always pulls a win out of the bag when he mostly has to."
Apart from a memorable result at Spa, my record this season has been poor to say the least. I'd ask someone else if I were you! How about Fernando Alonso to claim a hat-trick of wins?

0545: It certainly was a disappointing morning/night (?) for McLaren, who are trying out modified front and rear wings, as Hamilton bust the front left of his car after careering into a tyre wall when going wide at Degner Two. No word as yet as to when he will be back out. Team-mate Jenson Button almost followed him at the same corner a bit later but he just ran into the gravel and was able to continue.

0542: Just in case you weren't with us for FP1 - and I can't imagine what else you'd be doing, sleeping perhaps - well it certainly was advantage Red Bull at Suzuka. Sebastian Vettel set the benchmark time of 1:32.585 with team-mate Mark Webber second fastest. They were half-a-second-clear of Robert Kubica with Force India's Adrian Sutil in fourth. Oh, and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton crashed after only completing nine laps.

A celeb has been spotted
0537: Well my break was as exciting as I could expect from one at this hour of the morning. The highlights? Well, I saw bubbly weathergirl Carol Kirkwood arrive for her shift at BBC Towers - is there actually anyone cheerier than Carol? - while I made a round of tea from a kettle that makes the water look like a snow shaker. That's good for you right? How did you spend your morning? Bet it wasn't as glamorous as that. Let me know on Twitter or by text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with FORMULA 1 before your message.

0533: Welcome back, to those who have stuck with it and to those who have just entered the land of the living. I can assure you that we are all very much awake for the start of second free practice at 0600 BST. No really we are. Promise.


Twitter
BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard on Twitter: "Long faces at McLaren - looks like a heavy lunchtime meeting to plan the recovery. Very serious Lewis Hamilton marched past into the garage."

0345: I think this is a good time to desperately find some caffeine... I mean sign off. Take a look at the report as well as our story on Hamilton's crash while you are waiting for second practice. Now you've done very well to stick with it this morning, so I reckon you can keep going through to the bitter end. We'll resume at 0530 BST and I'll be taking a register. Who's with me?

Twitter
Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "No dramas on either car, drivers saying balance OK. Tried lower downforce with Heikki [Kovalainen] but not the way to go."

Twitter
Criztian on Twitter: "Well that couldn't have gone worse for McLaren... Red Bull looks like once again they're throwing down the gauntlet."

0337: Outside of the top 10, the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were 11th and 13th, with Jenson Button in 12th. Rosberg only completed nine laps, the same as Hamilton, I wonder what was up with that Mercedes of his?

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Anon via text: "I disagree Andrew in Singapore, Lewis is having his rough patch at perhaps the worst time, but he'll pull through. He tends to come back stronger after situations like this."

Chequered flag
0330: That's your lot for FP1. The Red Bulls, as predicted beforehand, are looking strong. Vettel tops the lists with a 1:32.585 with Webber 0.048 seconds behind. Kubica is third, over half a second slower than Vettel's best. Then it's Sutil (1:33.639), Hamilton (1:33.643), Barrichello (1:33.677), The Hulk (1:33.707), Schumacher (1:33.739), Heidfeld (1:33.791) and Rosberg (1:33.831).

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "We will see if McLaren stick with all these new bits they have or whether they will stick with what they know."

0327: Oh dear, another McLaren and another problem at Degner. Jenson Button runs over the rumble strips and bounces around. The car lifts up into the air before spinning into the gravel in the same place Hamilton came off. Button is able to get out of it though and immediately heads towards the pits. Lots of work in the McLaren during the break methinks.

0322: A quick time update. It's still Vettel and Webber at the top, with Kubica, Sutil and Hamilton making up the top five. Rubens Barrichello in the Williams is sixth with team-mate Hulkenberg close behind. Schumacher, Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg complete the top 10. In the Mercedes garage, Rosberg's car is now up on the jacks and mechanics are frantically working on it.

Twitter
stuartrood on Twitter: "Loving the early morning F1, not looking forward to going to work after it."

BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "I had a quick word with [McLaren boss] Martin Whitmarsh and he said that Lewis is fine and 'don't worry'. But how much is this going to affect his head after two crashes in the last two races? There are only four races left and the last thing he wants to do is to destroy the side of his car."

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Andrew in Singapore via text: "Watching Hamilton is like watching Newcastle under Kevin Keegan, a fantastic attacking team in with a chance of winning the championship, everyone loves to watch the exciting way they attack and play all out to win, but secretly know they won't win as they make too many mistakes in defence."

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Lewis Hamilton has not appeared in the McLaren garage or on the pit wall. He has snuck into the back of the paddock and has managed to give all the photographers the slip."

Twitter
JJDyson on Twitter: "My first early morning/late night practice and I'm very much enjoying it. Hoping for a British win."

BBC Sport presenter Lee McKenzie: "I'm very excited to be filling in for Jake Humphrey this weekend as he is covering the Commonwealth Games. I know I've got a big job on my hands - and that's not including trying to control EJ and David! But I've still found time to get out and about to catch up with the drivers. Just before the start of practice, the Sauber garage of Japan's Kamui Kobayashi was completely surrounded by cameramen and photographers but Kamui was looking cool as he waved at them before pulling on his newly-designed helmet in the style of the Japanese flag. We will be following Kobayashi over the weekend and you can see the story on Sunday's BBC One programme which begins at 0600 BST."

0305: It's a Red Bull one-two as Mark Webber posts a 1:33.137. That should please Nicola in Inverurie (see earlier text). Vettel improves to a 1:32.585, then Webber posts a 1:32.633. Can anyone beat these boys this weekend?

0303: Renault's Robert Kubica is up to second with a 1:33.380. During the week, the Polish driver predicted that the end of the season will be tricky as the team have abandoned development work on this year's car to concentrate on 2011.

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Ramster, Luton via text: "What a performance by Sutil, nice to see Force India in the top three."

Twitter
Mark7319 on Twitter: "Well Lewis did say he was going to keep taking risks but maybe wait till the race next time."

McLaren test driver Gary Paffet on the Red Button speaking about Hamilton's crash: "It's not the best thing to do because obviously you lose dry testing time but Lewis looked pretty fast before he crashed and he'll be encouraged by that."

0255: Well that was a bit of excitement. A penny for Hamilton's thoughts right now. Anyway, Vettel now leads the way with a 1:33.157, then it's Force India's Adrian Sutil (1:133.639).

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson on Lewis Hamilton: "It's not a great position to be in. Lewis has to get himself out of this downward spiral. As a racing driver you can get yourself worked up and it can become a vicious circle. But he's made mistakes like this before and he's picked himself up. I am sure he will do that again. If you're going to make a mistake, get it out of the way in first practice, when it doesn't matter so much - but it does put you on the back foot at the start of the weekend."

0249: We've got a replay of that incident now. Hamilton runs a little wide coming out of Degner Two and carries on into the tyre wall. The left front wheel is severely bashed and Hamilton is standing underneath the bridge ruefully shaking his head.

0245: Whoops, there's a McLaren crashing into a wall. It's Hamilton's. Oh dear. That does not look good. What on earth happened there?

0241: And Hamilton does indeed set the fastest time so far, a 1:33.643. Ted Kravitz has an update on the new helmets sported by Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel today. Button has the logo of his triathlon team while Vettel, somewhat disappointingly, has Red Bull's 'Gives You Wings' strapline on the top of his.

0238: The Hulk now tops the timing screens with a 1:34.035. Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, a six-time winner of the Japanese Grand Prix, is second with a 1:34.251. Hang though... Hamilton is on a flier.

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Nicola in Inverurie, Scotland via text: "I think Mark Webber should get extra points in the championship just because he's the most handsome driver on the grid."

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Kieran Turner via text: "Been up late in Gloucester organising for an aid convoy to Gaza leaving on Sunday. Biggest concern? Who's taping the race for me!"

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "One of the McLaren updates here in Japan is to the rear wing, and Jenson Button was saying on Thursday that the reason he was slower than Lewis Hamilton in Singapore was that they had a new front wing there, which gave more downforce, but not this new rear wing and revised F-duct that was designed to go with it. In that spec, he found the car to oversteery - and we know how Jenson hates oversteer, he just can't drive around it."

0232: Lots of times are being posted now. Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, who will have Mexican Sergio Perez as a team-mate next year, posts the quickest of 1:34.271. Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg, whose future has been the subject of much speculation, is second with a 1:35.789.

0227: And we have a time. Take a bow Sakon Yamamoto. He posts a 1:42.950.

Twitter
Renault F1 on Twitter: "Weather forecast suggests rain for tomorrow, while it is still nice today we can feel the weather's changing, not as warm as yesterday."

Twitter
MclarenGP10 on Twitter: "Working on nights... looking forward to practice, quali and the race. My money is on Hamilton win this weekend..."

BBC commentator Jonathan Legard: "I've been talking to rival engineers in the paddock who noticed stacks of boxes containing new parts arriving at McLaren and at Red Bull. A McLaren engineer confirmed that one assignment was due at the Suzuka track as late as 10pm last night. The team are setting great store by their new rear wing which both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are due to try out in the first session of practice. I'm told Red Bull have minor aerodynamic updates."

0218: Hamilton is out and about, let's see if this is a timed lap... oh no it isn't. He dives back into the pits. Anyway, Belgian Jerome D'Ambrosio is driving for Virgin Racing in first practice. Lucas di Grassi fans, don't worry, he'll be back for the second session.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Lewis Hamilton was very downbeat when he spoke to us yesterday. He said he felt it wasn't acceptable within himself to have crashed out in the way he did in Monza and Singapore."

Twitter
Adelzairi on Twitter: "Finally having insomnia comes to good use! Looking forward to this practice!"

0206: Lots of chat on the Red Button early doors about Lewis Hamilton and his recent performances. He did not finish in Monza and then retired in Singapore after a collision with Red Bull's title rival Mark Webber. Here's BBC 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "Lewis has a championship to try to win and he is in an inferior car at the moment. I hope Lewis does not change his style, I like seeing him race and the fans love it as well." Meanwhile, on the track, there are no times on the board at present although everyone has completed an installation lap.

BBC 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "It really is one of the best tracks on the calendar and I can't believe how many fans there are here already. It's great to be here - what an atmosphere."

Twitter
ramSez6 on Twitter: "I'm glad that I can catch it! No one seems to be interested in F1 here in the US!"

0200: There's the green light and we are off. Sakon Yamamoto is back for Hispania, by the way, after his food poisoning incident in Singapore.

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Anon via text: "I have stayed up on only four hours sleep for F1 whilst ill at uni. Shout out to court two Lincoln University!!"

Twitter
keshav201090 on Twitter: "A victory for Mark this weekend !! Sorry Mark Orlovac, I meant Mark Webber!!"

0151: Aah, there we are, some moving telly pictures from Japan and it is dry. For now. Apparently there will be some downpours on Saturday which should spice up qualifying. Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne has just tweeted that "over 50mm of rain" is forecast for Saturday. For more, take a look at the blog from our weather guru Ian Fergusson. Lovely.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "Konnichiwa insomniacs! Thanks for staying up/setting your alarms super-early for the first taste of F1 action from Japan. It is just another Friday morning here in the industrial city of Suzuka, with rice and fish for breakfast and schoolchildren cycling to classes as we made our way to the famous figure-of-eight circuit. A cluster of fans were gathered at the gates - one dressed in a kimono in the turquoise and yellow colours of Spanish region Asturias in support of Fernando Alonso - to greet the drivers and seemed more than satisfied to engulf Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi as he made his entrance. There's no doubt the five remaining protagonists are the centre of attention in the Suzuka paddock. Alonso, winner of the last two races, was typically cool and confident as he took his turn to face the media and accepted the title favourite's tag with a shrug while, down the road at Red Bull HQ, championship leader Mark Webber propped his sunglasses on his head as he refused to talk up his chances."

0144: Now remember that I can't do this all on my own and I want, and need, your chat to keep me company this morning. There's a variety of ways to get in touch so don't be shy. Let me know your thoughts on the title race and you can also tell me what on earth you are doing up at this ungodly time of the day. You can use Twitter or text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with FORMULA 1 before your message.

0140: Here's a summary of what time everything gets going this morning. First practice begins at 0200 BST with the second session starting at 0600 BST. Coverage is on the Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and in the console at the top of this page from 0155 BST. And there's little old me tapping away on here for the rest of you poor souls. Sorry about that.

Twitter
Lotus Racing on Twitter: "Weather update - dry today, rain coming in overnight, and MASSIVE rain tomorrow... all day... we love a wet quali so bring it on!"

0135: And a very good morning/evening to you. Welcome to first and second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. Well done for staying up/waking up early. Yep, the championship run-in is certainly hotting up and there's more mind games going on in the F1 paddock than in the Apprentice boardroom. Thankfully though, none of the drivers has actually said: "Everything I touch turns to sold." Which is a relief.

0130: Five drivers, one world championship and there's only four races left. A time for shrinking violets? Not on your nelly. Here's Lewis Hamilton: "I need a strong result to get my title hopes back on track, and that will be my complete focus from the moment I first sit in the cockpit on Friday morning. Now is not the time to hold back; now is the time to fight."



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Results

After 56 of 56 laps
Position Driver Team

Race completed. Highlights are on BBC1 at 14:30.

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes
3 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
4 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
6 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
7 Finland V Bottas Williams
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Mexico S Perez Force India
10 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
11 Great Britain J Button McLaren
12 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
13 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
14 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
15 Brazil F Massa Williams
16 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber
17 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham
18 France J Bianchi Marussia
19 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
20 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
21 France R Grosjean (ret.) Lotus
22 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber

see also
Next two races critical - Vettel
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton suffers practice crash
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull on top in Japan practice
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso declares himself favourite
07 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton eyes championship charge
07 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren duo 'still in title hunt'
06 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hard part still to come - Alonso
04 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Japanese GP practice photos
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1


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