Geroge Russell set the fastest time of the day during FP2 of the Japanese GP ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton on a wet Suzuka Circuit.
The Brit completed the circuit in 1:41.935 seconds, 0.235 seconds faster than his teammate in second as Mercedes laid down the early marker on wet and cold track which proved to be tricky for some teams to deal with.
Topping the charts will be a massive boost to Mercedes’ confidence after Russell and Hamilton finished 18th and 13th on the timesheets in the opening session led by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
Championship leader Max Verstappen also improved his times massively in the FP2 of the Japanese GP after only managing the sixth quickest time in the first practice but was still +0.851s off the leader’s pace.
The Dutchman heads into the weekend with a 104-point advantage over Charles Leclerc in the overall standings and will be hoping to seal his second successive championship if he manages to leave Japan with a difference of 112 points.
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, fresh from his win at the Singapore GP, improved from 10th to 4th followed by Kevin Magnussen in his Haas.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, second quickest behind FP1 leader Fernando Alonso in first practice, was sixth fastest in the afternoon ahead of the double-world champion with Valtteri Bottas Esteban Ocon and Zhou Guanyu rounding out the top 10.
Leclerc finished 11th for Ferrari.
The second session ran for 90 minutes instead of the usual one hour to allow drivers to conduct a test of new dry-weather tyres but the rain meant the test had to be abandoned.