Hamilton leads FP2 washout at Suzuka, Mercedes wins boat battle

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Lewis Hamilton topped a rain-soaked second Formula 1 practice for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday afternoon as just five drivers set a time at Suzuka.

Rain had been forecast all day at Suzuka, arriving towards the end of first practice before growing in intensity through the afternoon, leading to the start of FP2 being delayed indefinitely.

The rain stopped around 35 minutes after the session had been due to begin, with safety car driver Bernd Maylander soon deeming the track to be dry enough for safe running.

Despite the green flag coming out with 45 minutes to go, it took another five minutes before a car appeared on-track, with Kimi Raikkonen being the first to brave the conditions.

The majority of drivers ventured out for at least one installation lap, but only five decided to post a lap time, with Hamilton ultimately finishing P1 with a lap of 1:48.719.

Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez followed in P2 and P3, while Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were fourth and fifth for Williams. Stroll was fortunate not to crash, though, aquaplaning at the first corner and narrowly keeping his car out of the wall.

The real highlight of the session came during the rain delay as teams took advantage of the wet weather to send makeshift boats down the river in the pit lane, as made famous in 2010.