Max Verstappen manages only four laps in Japanese Grand Prix first practice before torrential rain turned the Suzuka racetrack into a river… but Fernando Alonso puts in a masterful drive to set the pace

Max Verstappen managed just four laps in a soaking wet first practice that was to prove a masterclass by Fernando Alonso. Verstappen, who can win his second world title this weekend with a race win and the fastest lap, unsurprisingly was in no mood to take risks – why would he?. Both Sainz and Leclerc did continue to push as the session wound down but they soon saw the hazards that came with it as they both found themselves running off track. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell managed 10 laps combined, with Hamilton 13th quickest, more than 2.3 seconds off the pace, and Russell down in 18th.

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