Jenson Button set the fastest time of the Friday morning session in Suzuka, beating his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton by a couple of tenths, with Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber third, a tenth behind Lewis. Nico Rosberg was fourth, but half a second slower than Button’s best – and his car broken down at the end of the session. Michael Schumacher was fifth ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, Felipe Massa, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado.
Fernando Alonso was 11th ahead of Sergio Perez, the two Lotuses of Kimi Raikkon and Romain Grosjean and the Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. Sebastian Vettel was 17th with the rear end of the timesheet featuring William’s third driver Valtteri Bottas, Timo Glock, Vitaly Petrov, Charles Pic, Narain Karthikeyan, Caterham’s third driver Giedo Van der Garde and Pedro de la Rosa.