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Hamilton positive as Mercedes overcome season-long issue in Japan

Lewis Hamilton was positive as Mercedes topped FP2 at the Japanese Grand Prix as they overcome a season-long battle.

Lewis Hamilton was left feeling "positive" after a wet Japanese Grand Prix Friday as Mercedes seemingly cured a season-long Formula 1 problem. In the second practice session, Hamilton was second as teammate George Russell took P1, nearly 0.8s clear of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. The two Silver Arrows traded lap-times at Suzuka while Verstappen complained of "overheating" his tyres during the long runs. While Mercedes did use more sets of the Inters than Red Bull, their tendency to be kind on its tyres helped them in the rain, although this has had an adverse affect of not firing the tyres up, especially in Qualifying. The ability to get heat into the Pirelli rubber on Friday at Suzuka left Hamilton feeling impressed.

"It's been pretty dull today, it's just grey and wet," the seven-time World Champion told media after the day's running. "We got through a bit of running, but I think it is going be dry for the rest of the weekend (Saturday is forecast to be dry, but Sunday could be mixed). "It's been very chilled. "There's always things to be taken onboard, like tyre wear, temperatures, and the balance that we've been moving around between sessions. "There's also data on downforce levels and what wing levels everyone else is on. "On the positive side, we were able to switch our tyres on today, so we didn't look slow. "If we get to dry [conditions], I imagine the Ferrari's and Red Bulls will be quite quick, but I'm very happy. I hope that we're fast. That's a hope that continues to be the case each weekend."

Hamilton in awe of Suzuka

F1 returns to Suzuka for the first time since 2019 this weekend, with four-time winner Hamilton in awe of the circuit. "It's just always special," he said. "When you do your first lap out, you think of all the legends and you come up to the last chicane, you think about Ayrton [Senna] and [Alain] Prost crashing [in 1989] and in Turn 1 [in 1990] and you just think that you are driving through a space, a point on the circuit with so much history. "In that moment, you think of the time before and how privileged you are to be in the position. "It's cool to see the fans here and, and the track is just beautiful to drive. It is still fun. It's just not as fun as when it's dry, so hopefully we'll see some dry running."

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