The Australian Oscar Piastri drove the fastest lap in his McLaren in the hardly meaningful second Formula 1 training session before the Japanese Grand Prix.

Rain and a resulting wet track in Suzuka meant that almost the entire practice session was not driven normally. Many teams only decided to let their pilots onto the course with three minutes to go. World champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Sergio Peréz decided not to go out quickly and, like five other drivers, remained without an official lap time.

Piastri was fastest in 1:34.725 minutes and was around half a second ahead of record world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was already more than four seconds behind in third place. Nico Hülkenberg drove his Haas racing car to eighth place, more than 20 seconds behind the leaders. In relatively difficult conditions, initially no team wanted to risk damage and protect the tires. But it was never uncontrollable with only light rain. In the first training session, Verstappen confidently set the fastest time in the dry.

Before the fourth round of the season on Sunday (7:00 a.m./Sky), Verstappen leads the World Cup standings with 51 points, just ahead of Leclerc (47) and Peréz (46). Verstappen did not finish in the last race in Australia due to a technical defect, but is also the big favorite on the traditional track in Japan. He has won the Grand Prix in each of the past two years.