Japanese Grand Prix: George Russell leads Mercedes one-two in wet practice

Russell and Hamilton both used a fresh set of intermediate tyres to set their fastest times in the driest part of the second session, while Verstappen did not. Mercedes struggled in the first session, which was also wet, but Hamilton said they had managed to get their tyres up to temperature in the second – a problem the world champions have been struggling with all season. Hamilton said he had “no clue” where Mercedes were in competitiveness. Verstappen will clinch his second world title at Suzuka on Sunday if he wins the race with fastest lap, regardless of the results of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, the only two other drivers still in with a mathematical chance of the championship. Verstappen said: “I would have liked that it was a little more representative. There were no major incidents in the second session, after the first ended with Mick Schumacher’s Haas in the wall.

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