F1 Japanese Grand Prix 2024 Free Practice 1 highlights – Verstappen sets early pace

Follow all the action on the Total Motorsport liveblog as teams and drivers hit the Suzuka Circuit for FP1 at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix

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Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com live blog for Free Practice 1 at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, coming to you directly from the paddock at the Suzuka Circuit

As the Formula 1 season continues in the Land of the Rising Sun, join us for real-time updates, expert commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights into every thrilling moment of the action from FP1 in Suzuka

The Japanese GP, renowned for its complex figure-eight layout, promises to deliver thrilling action, with every corner testing the limits of the F1 machinery and the skill of the drivers. 

Today, we’ll witness the initial on-track action, setting the tone for the weekend. Keep this page refreshed for live updates, lap times, and insights as FP1 unfolds, marking the start of what is sure to be an electrifying weekend of motorsport in Japan.

F1 2024 Japanese GP – FP1 Highlights


We’ll be back in two hours for the second practice session. Make sure and join the Total Motorsport live blog for FP2 from the 2024 Japanese GP, and don’t miss out on any of the action.

FP1 Report

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the pace in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, with teammate Sergio Perez finishing close behind. The session was briefly halted due to a significant crash by Williams’ Logan Sargeant at the Dunlop Curve, challenging the team with another quick turnaround ahead of FP2.

As drivers explored the limits on both medium and hard compound tyres, Verstappen led the field, before switching to soft C3 tyres to further lower his time to 1m 30.056s. Sargeant’s incident brought out the red flags, reflecting Williams’ recent struggles with chassis availability.

Upon resuming, performance runs saw Carlos Sainz slot into third, showcasing a promising start for the Australian Grand Prix winner, with Mercedes’ duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton trailing and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc not far behind. Alonso was the leading Aston Martin in seventh, with home favourite Yuki Tsunoda squeezing into the top ten, amidst a tightly contested session.

CHEQUERED FLAG

That’s FP1 over with a few surprises, other than Max Verstappen being fastest. Perez second and Sainz in third. 

Two minutes to go

The final laps in the session coming up. Red Bull are top two just now, followed by Sainz in the Ferrari. Iwasa in the RB has been getting faster as the session has gone on, and is currently 15th. Interestingly, Fernando Alonso is in seventh, and is running the old spec of Aston Martin car, Stroll with the upgrades is 17th. 

Bradley Lord, Mercedes Communications Director: “[Hamilton’s Australia Power Unit] is out of the pool and he is onto his second Power Unit of the season.”

Verstappen goes fastest 

The top teams have all done soft tyre runs and it’s Verstappen who is fastest of them all so far. The Dutchman sets a 1m 30.056s and is 0.181s ahead of Red Bull teammate Perez. Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari is two tenths adrift. 

GREEN LIGHT!

The queue of cars at the end of the pit lane is now free to go out on track. Lots of traffic and jostling for position at Suzuka as the teams keen to get some flying laps done before the session ends. 

Session will resume at 12:11 local time

Hamilton fastest

Hamilton did get his lap in before the red flag came out. Here is how the Top 10 looks with the session stopped.

PosDriverTeamTime
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:30.543
2Max VerstappenRed Bull+0.920
3Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.238
4Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+1.238
5Sergio PerezRed Bull+1.270
6George RussellMercedes+1.282
7Charles LeclercFerrari+1.370
8Carlos SainzFerrari+1.370
9Yuki TsunodaRB+1.769
10Valtteri BottasKick Sauber+1.860

RED FLAG!!

Logan Sargeant has gone off at Turn 7 and has hit the barriers. Williams will be hoping that the damage isn’t too bad as they don’t have a spare car – as in Australia. Sargeant confirms he’s ok. It should be remembered that the chassis Sargeant is running, is the same one, albeit repaired, that Albon wrecked in Melbourne.

Soft tyre time 

With 30 minutes left to go in FP1 a number of drivers – Hamilton, Piastri, Hulkenberg, Sargeant, Norris, Gasly and Magnussen – have all gone out on soft tyres. And Hamilton sets the fastest time. 

Top 10 so far in FP1

Pos.Driver NameTeamTime
1Lando NorrisMcLaren1:31.781
2Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.000
3Sergio PerezRed Bull+0.032
4George RussellMercedes+0.044
5Charles LeclercFerrari+0.132
6Carlos SainzFerrari+0.132
7Max VerstappenRed Bull+0.166
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.267
9Yuki TsunodaRB+0.531
10Guanyu ZhouKick Sauber+0.875

Aston Martin upgrades 

Lance Stroll has a large aero rake on the rear of his Aston Martin with the team bringing a significant upgrade package to Japan. The Floor Body, Floor Edge and Floor Fences, as well as the Diffuser all being modified. 

Verstappen on track 

The Red Bull driver complete with some upgrades takes to Suzuka and can only manage ninth fastest on his opening lap, just over 0.8s behind Norris. Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez is second on the timesheet 0.032s behind the McLaren. 

Norris sets early pace 

With most of the drivers out on track, it’s Lando Norris who sets the fastest time at 1m 31.781s. 

GREEN LIGHT 

The FP1 session is go! And Iwasa is first out on the track. 

Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa and Yuki Tsunoda of Visa Cash App RB ahead of 2024 Japanese GP practice | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa and Yuki Tsunoda of Visa Cash App RB ahead of 2024 Japanese GP practice | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

No Daniel Ricciardo

RB fans won’t be seeing Daniel Ricciardo in FP1 with Ayumu Iwasa taking his place for the opening practice session. Anther Japanese driver for the home fans to cheer on. 

FP1 Weather

And with the Japanese GP being held in spring, the weather in Suzuka is a lot more changeable. Cloudy skies are expected in FP1, with temperatures of around 59°F (15°C). The chance of rain in the session is around 40%. 

Spring in Japan 

Round 4 of the 2024 F1 season signals a landmark change for the Japanese GP which is usual help towards the end of the campaign, and for the first time ever it’s being held in the springtime. 

Upgrades 

Red Bull have made four upgrades to their car for the weekend with the Sidepod Inlet, Floor, Floor Edge and  Front Corner  receiving some treatment. Ferrari meanwhile, have made changes to their Rear Wing and Rear Suspension. 

Good Morning!

Good morning and welcome to Total Motorsport’s live coverage of the FP1 session at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix! Stick the kettle on because as you know, the time difference means it’s a very early start for viewers in the UK and Europe.

2024 Japanese GP Session Times and Dates

The F1 season continues with the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix. Below, find the complete schedule for the race weekend, including session times for F1 fans in the USA, the UK, Canada, as well as in Australia.

SessionUK (BST)USA (ET)USA (PT)Aus. (AEST)
Friday, April 5
Practice 103:3022:30 (Apr 4)19:30 (Apr 4)13:30
Practice 207:0002:0023:00 (Apr 4)17:00
Saturday, April 6
Practice 303:3022:30 (Apr 5)19:30 (Apr 5)13:30
Qualifying07:0002:0023:00 (Apr 5)17:00
Sunday, April 7
Race06:0001:0022:00 (Apr 6)16:00
Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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