The Straits Times
Published on Oct 05, 2012

Button tops first practice for F1 Japan Grand Prix


SUZUKA (REUTERS) - McLaren limbered up for the Japanese Grand Prix weekend with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton one-two at the top of the timesheets after Friday's first free practice in the Suzuka sunshine.

Button, last year's race winner who has a five place grid penalty for Sunday's 15th round of the season due to a gearbox change, lapped with a best time of one minute 34.507 seconds with Hamilton 0.233 seconds slower.

Title contenders McLaren will be chasing a fifth successive pole position on Saturday, the team's best run of qualifying form since 1999 when Finland's Mika Hakkinen chalked up five in a row.

Australian Mark Webber was the third fastest for champions Red Bull around the classic figure-of-eight circuit in an incident-free session at one of the fastest and most demanding tracks.