Bottas fastest in 1st practice for Japanese GP

SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas clocked the fastest lap in Friday's first practice session for the typhoon-hit Japanese Grand Prix.

Organizers of the Formula One race canceled Saturday's qualifying session because of the powerful typhoon that is heading for Japan's main island this weekend. They say they plan to go ahead with the race as scheduled on Sunday afternoon with qualifying held earlier that day.

Bottas had a lap of 1 minute, 28.731 seconds at the 5.807-kilometer (3.608-mile) Suzuka circuit, 0.076 seconds ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton who holds a 73-point lead over Bottas in the drivers' standings with five races left.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was third-fastest followed by teammate Charles Leclerc.

Typhoon Hagibis is expected to hit western and eastern Japan between Saturday and Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It has urged people to take precautions with the storm approaching.

Qualifying will move to Sunday morning, when the weather is set to have cleared, with the race taking place at 2 p.m. local time, as planned. Saturday's third practice session will not be rescheduled.

The decision means the teams and drivers will have just two practice sessions, both on Friday.

While qualifying is scheduled for Sunday, race stewards reserve the right to use the classification from the second practice on Friday for Sunday's grid positions.


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