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2017-10-06 09:34

Image: AFP / Toshifumi Kitamura

Suzuka, Japan - Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest lap in a rain-hit second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday, when only five drivers set a timed lap.

After a lengthy delay, Mercedes driver Hamilton went quickest in the afternoon practice with a lap of 1 minute, 48.719 seconds, .799 seconds ahead of Esteban Ocon for Force India.

Rain-lashed circuit

Ocon's teammate Sergio Perez and the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were the only other drivers to get in a timed lap in the abbreviated afternoon session.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the morning practice, which was dry until a light rain started to fall near the end of the session.

As it happened: 2017 Japanese GP - 2nd Practice

With five GP races remaining, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the driver championship.

Closer to third F1 title

Hamilton has won twice before in Suzuka, in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up to former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in last year's race.

A win in Suzuka would move Hamilton a step closer to a third F1 title in four years with Mercedes and his fourth overall.

Vettel, who had a new engine for the previous race in Malaysia, is a four-time winner in Japan.

Rain is also forecast for Saturday's qualifying but clear skies are expected for Sunday's GP.


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