SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had the fastest lap in Friday's opening practice session for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, edging teammate Nico Rosberg and championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton's time of 1 minute, 34.157 seconds around the Suzuka circuit was just 0.330 seconds faster than Rosberg. Vettel drove was third-fastest with a time of 1:34.768.
Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber was fourth, followed by Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.
Vettel has won eight of 14 races this season and will be aiming to clinch his fourth successive title in Sunday's race. The German needs to win and have nearest rival Alonso finish worse than eighth.
Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen finished the morning session sixth and seventh, respectively.