07 OCTOBER 2016
JAPANESE GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE
 
MAX VERSTAPPEN
First Practice Session: 1:34.379, Position: 6, Laps: 26
Second Practice Session: 1:33.061, Position: 4, Laps: 29  
“I think this has been one of the strongest Fridays so far. Everything seemed to work quite well, car set-up was good and we looked quick on both tyres today, even on the Hard. We were hampered by the Virtual Safety Car on our short runs so the tyres lost a bit of temperature, this meant we didn’t show our full potential. After Malaysia we are looking for another good result, this track should suit us and we are close to the top guys at the moment. Ferrari are in the mix, short runs look ok but I’m not sure how their long ones are going, I’m hoping we can handle them though. There are talks of rain for later in the weekend which for us I think will play into our hands, we can’t be sure but if it comes I think we can be even stronger in qualifying and the race.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO
First Practice Session: 1:34.112, Position: 5, Laps: 23
Second Practice Session: 1:34.150, Position: 12, Laps: 29
“It’s good to be back at this circuit, I really like this place. We had a pretty good day today and a positive afternoon. We made some improvements from this morning and the lap we had to abort because of the Virtual Safety Car looked to be in the 32s which was close to Kimi’s time. Our long run pace towards the end of FP2 on the hard tyre looked pretty solid as well. If we can hook the car up for quali, we can be close to Mercedes and probably be ahead of the Ferraris, we can definitely squeeze a bit more out of the car tomorrow. There have been improvements from our side and the Ferraris so we expect the rest of the season to be tighter. If it rains for quali, it won’t hurt us and we might even be able to get on the front row. I’m ready either way, this place is fun in both wet and dry conditions.”
Ends
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Six astounding and fairly odd facts about Japan
Japan – we love it. An endlessly fascinating mix of high culture and pop culture, deep history and future focused tech wizardry it’s one of our favourite places on the planet. It’s also completely crackers – but in a really good way. Here are a few oddities that make Japan the king of crazy cool.
1. Japan has 5.52m vending machines. It’s fairly obvious that Japan is in love with the vending machine. They’re everywhere. In fact so much do they love them that there are rough 5.52 million of them dotted across the nation. That’s roughly one machine for every 23 citizens. According to Japan Tourism each a year these machines earn about 6.95 trillion yen – an astronomical US$67 billion. The range of stuff you can buy from vending machines is… eclectic to say the least. As well as standard stuff such as hot and cold drinks, noodles and beer, you can also buy flower arrangements, umbrellas, rice (polished or unpolished), bananas, eggs, and ties (should a salaryman spill his vending machine noodles).
2. The biggest selling manga title in Japan so far in 2016 is… a comic book called One Piece, a series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It follows the adventures of 17-year-old Monkey D Luffy, who gains the properties of rubber after accidentally eating a supernatural fruit. Yep, you read that right, supernatural fruit. He then travels the oceans in search of treasure along with a weird selection of pirates, named the Straw Hats. It’s been published since early 1997 and in tankōbon, or complete book form, since later the same year.
3. 2016 is the year of Shin-Godzilla – After a 12-year screen hiatus Japan’s favourite giant, aquatic, radioactive, dinosaur is back. Yep, old atom-breath, Godzilla is returning to the movies in an all-new, all-stomping, all-metropolis-crushing extravaganza, called Shin-Godzilla. What’s the fact here? Well this is the 30th Japanese Godzilla film. The first movie emerged from the depths in 1954, which makes Godzilla the world’s longest-lived cinema franchise. Previous titles have included King Kong vs. Godzilla, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Godzilla 2000: Millennium. In this new version they’ve dumped the man-in-a-rubber-suit monster in favour of high-tech CGI designed to make Godzilla look like a computer-generated image of a guy in a rubber suit. Roaaaar.
4. Metal Goddesses – The highest charting Japanese band of all time in the UK is bonkers J-Pop/Idol Band/Heavy Metal crossover outfit Baby Metal. The band, made up of Suzuka Nakamoto as ‘Su-metal’, Yui Mizuno as ‘Yuimetal’, and Moa Kikuchi as ‘Moametal’, released their sophomore album ‘Metal Resistance’ in April this year and on the back of previous belters such as the awesome ‘Gimme Chocolate!’, ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ and ‘Headbanger’ they debuted at number 15 on the UK chart. According to the Official UK Chart, the previous record stretches all the way back to 1975, when Japanese synth-twiddler Tomita reached number 17 with ‘Snowflakes Are Dancing’. ‘Metal Resistance’ even cracked the US charts, debuting at number 38 on the Billboard 200. You can find the barking mad but brilliant ‘Gimme Chocolate!’ here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIKqgE4BwAY and the less brilliant Tomita album here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9QNKINVJvw
5. Gone Fishing – Good sushi is never the most budget-friendly dining experience but in Japan they take sushi very seriously indeed and are willing to pay the price. In January this year, Sushi Zanmai, a Japanese restaurant chain paid $117,000 for a 441-pound bluefin tuna – that’s $265 per pound. The fish was the prize catch in the New Year auction at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market which is about to be relocated. “It was a little more expensive than expected,” said restaurant chief Kiyoshi Kimura.
6. Bosozoku Blitz – Japan is famous for giving rise to drifting and the street racer culture that went with it but it’s also birthed an even more extreme form of motor modifying – Bosozoku. Literally translated as ‘violent running gang’ Bosozoku involves taking old Japanese cars – particularly those dating from the late 1970s and early ‘80s – and turning them into the ultimate blinged-up cruising machines by lowering them, adding hugely flared fenders and wildly extravagant exhaust systems. How wild are they? Well, just ask Daniel and Max, who this week went Bosozoku crazy in Tokyo with a fully decked out Kaido racer car. Check out the video here: http://www.redbullracing.com/video/kaido-riders-ready