Hello and welcome to ESPN's coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix from Suzuka!
Early news from Marussia. It looks like Will Stevens' paperwork didn't clear in time for him to take Max Chilton's seat for this session, meaning Chilton will drive in this session.
@Pete: It's not as bad as feared quite yet. It's overcast, but not raining. In terms of the typhoon that doesn't mean much, however, they can be completely unpredictable so expect the teams to have one eye on the weather radar today.
All eyes will be on young Max Verstappen today. The 17 (and three days) year old is of course taking JEV's seat for this session. You get the feeling he will be judged heavily no matter how he does in this session, even though practice times can be largely misleading as a rule of thumb.
Quite a remarkable 17th birthday present for Verstappen. I remember getting FIFA 2006
for mine. *sigh*
Roberto Merhi in at Caterham this morning, too. He takes Marcus Ericsson's seat for this session.
@RohanMehta: Morning Rohan!
Vettel has returned to his browny, chrome helmet from earlier in the season. Looks like it's been welded together.
Button has a variation of his Pink for Papa helmet, with some white on the sides and some Japanese symbols. Button of course a big fan of Japan, with links to Honda and his girlfriend.
@mfbull: Two or three people, actually. I still cracked under the pressure.
@mfbull: When you are compared to Ayrton Senna without having completed a lap of an F1 car, you've got to say the expectations are a little high.
The lights are green and this session is go.
Daniel Ricciardo leads out Fernando Alonso onto the track, with a trail of cars trickling out behind him.
Verstappen heads out on track.
@SahilShah: At the moment, it's all going ahead as planned. Likely the FIA will monitor the Typhoon today before making any decision like that.
If I were Helmut Marko, I'd have told Toro Rosso to send Max Verstappen on a low-fuel run late in this session to bump him up the order. Gives the media even more fuel to talk about both teams and the Red Bull brand. See, I've got my business cap on today.
Ricciardo the first man to return to the pits after completing his installation lap.
Verstappen tells Toro Rosso "it's not working at third gear", but is likely talking about one of the procedures he has to do on his installation lap.
@mfbull: Yep. Hard not to feel for JEV this year. Deserves a drive elsewhere.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton is also on track to complete his own installation run.
After how long it's taken Hamilton to get back into the lead of the championship, and given the vein of form he's in, I'd say this is his best chance of really laying down a marker for this championship.
So far only Chilton is yet to complete an installation lap.
@neilfarnell: It's what the drivers do to work through settings on the car, go through certain functions which gets the car "track-ready" for later in the session. When you watch on boards of an installation lap, much of it is spent with the driver tweaking buttons on his steering wheel.
Ricciardo has gone back out on track, so we should see our first timed lap soon.
Oh, no, Ricciardo was just completing a second installation lap and he heads back into the garage.
Button tells McLaren his pit limiter is giving him some problems.