Valtteri Bottas edges Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes dominates opening session

Valtteri Bottas in action at the Japanese Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas edged Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes drivers finished comfortably clear of the chasing pack during opening practice in Japan.

With final practice cancelled, and qualifying shifted to Sunday due to the impending arrival of Typhoon Hagibis, it placed a greater importance than usual on the opening session.

All the teams undertook several runs on various compounds, with Bottas winding up on a time of 1:28.731s, as he finished 0.076s clear of team-mate Hamilton.

Only Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel got within a second of Bottas’ best effort, lapping the figure-of-eight circuit 0.989s slower than the Mercedes driver.

Charles Leclerc was a further two-tenths back in fourth place, while Red Bull took fifth and sixth respectively, Max Verstappen three-tenths in front of Alexander Albon.

An electrical issue stranded Carlos Sainz Jr. on the pit straight on his installation lap but McLaren quickly rectified the setback and he continued his programme, placing seventh.

Racing Point displayed encouraging pace as Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll classified eighth and ninth respectively, leaving Lando Norris to round out the top 10 for McLaren.

Romain Grosjean was next up for Haas, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and the Renault pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, with Kevin Magnussen 15th.

Toro Rosso handed a first Formula 1 outing to reigning Super Formula and Super GT champion Naoki Yamamoto, who has had a lengthy relationship with Honda.

Yamamoto finished 17th, just a tenth of a second behind Toro Rosso counterpart Daniil Kvyat, as he completed 30 laps in the STR14, albeit with Kvyat's best effort coming on Mediums.

He became the first Japanese driver to participate in an official Formula 1 session since Kamui Kobayashi’s final outing in 2014.

Williams was 18th and 19th, with George Russell seven-tenths of a second ahead of Robert Kubica, while a suspected hydraulics problem limited Antonio Giovinazzi to just four laps.

Second practice at Suzuka is scheduled for 14:00 local time

Japan - Practice 1

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:28.731 26
2 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.807 0.076 25
3 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:29.720 0.989 26
4 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:29.912 1.181 20
5 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:30.046 1.315 22
6 Flag   Alexander Albon Red Bull 1:30.375 1.644 24
7 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:30.702 1.971 21
8 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:30.810 2.079 21
9 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:30.959 2.228 27
10 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren 1:31.001 2.270 24
11 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas 1:31.283 2.552 25
12 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:31.307 2.576 27
13 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:31.426 2.695 29
14 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:31.563 2.832 25
15 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:31.785 3.054 22
16 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:31.920 3.189 23
17 Flag   Naoki Yamamoto Toro Rosso 1:32.018 3.287 30
18 Flag   George Russell Williams 1:32.800 4.069 23
19 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams 1:33.484 4.753 27
20 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:36.887 8.156 4