Free practice two will get under way in just under two and a half hours, so be sure to join us again for that.
Free Practice 1
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The Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber came in next, with Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso fifth and sixth. Lotus pair Romain Grosjean finished seventh and eighth with McLaren's Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo completing the top 10.
Mercedes pace the session, with Lewis Hamilton quickest and Nico Rosberg second.
And there we have it, the chequered flag is out and the session draws to a close.
Chilton spins at the clock ticks down, but the Marussia exits in better fettle than that of his team-mate Bianchi.
Ricciardo's Toro Rosso breaks up the neat-looking top 10 by slotting into 10th with a lap of 1m35.635s.
Button on team radio: "Traffic from the Mercedes, traffic from Lewis."
With just over five minutes to go, the track is busy with every car with the exception of Gutierrez and Raikkonen - and of course Bianchi - out there for the closing stages of the first practice session.
The two Ferraris, the two Lotuses and the two McLarens follow.
So, after that little bit of excitement, it's still Hamilton topping the timesheets, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Rosberg and the Red Bull duo of Vettel and Webber.
And that crash involving Bianchi appears to have taken its toll on the Frenchman - he's currently sat in the Marussia hospitality unit with his left elbow resting on a pack of ice.
Meanwhile, Van der Garde's Caterham appears to have escaped the damage that Bianchi's Marussia sustained in a similar incident earlier on.
Fortunately Maldonado was able to pull over without losing total control of his three-wheeled Williams.
Van der Garde on team radio: “The rev (reverse) is not working, I went off.”
Van der Garde is the next to go off at Degner, while Maldonado loses a wheel!
That was a good decision to stay out by Hamilton as the Briton further improves with a time of 1m34.157s.
And Rosberg heads back to the Mercedes garage, while Hamilton stays out for another lap.
Rosberg on team radio: “Too much oversteer at the moment.”
Hamilton is getting better as he lowers his own benchmark with a time of 1m34.178s to pull away from Mercedes team-mate Rosberg in second.
Hamilton is the latest to taste the rarefied air at the top of the timesheets as the Mercedes man posts a time of 1m34.251s.
Just Grosjean and Di Resta yet to get a time on the board today.
Hamilton moves up to third, behind pacesetter Rosberg and Vettel.
Rosberg goes fastest again with a lap of 1m34.495s.
Hamilton finally sets a time - a 1m37.157s - to slip into 14th.
Kovalainen on team radio: “Braking stability is OK, only little issue is last corner. High speed feels a little bit nervous, but it’s quite stable through 13 & 14. It’s reasonably well balanced if anything. Traction is average out of slow speed corners.”
Massa brings in his Ferrari, which has overheated and is smoking a bit.
Rosberg goes even quicker with a 1m34.864s to set a new benchmark.
Massa now takes over at the top of the timesheets with an effort of 1m35.126s.
Van der Garde on team radio: “Balance of car is not too bad, on the edge of oversteer. The car is struggling a lot with turn-in at Turn 13.”
Vettel slips into second behind his Red Bull team-mate Webber with a timed lap of 1m35.217s.
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are yet to complete a lap time, but Vettel could post one soon.
Massa and Button are lurking inside the top five now.
Another big gun with one of the day's quickest times - Raikkonen moves second with a 1m35.364s.
Hulkenberg on team radio: “Quite a weak rear end, it’s very loose in medium- and low-speed corners. I don’t have any understeer. Aero balance seems to be on the high side again, the car is very draggy on the straight with DRS.”
Here goes Webber - top of the list in his Red Bull with a time of 1m35.208s. That's the benchmark to beat at the moment, delivered by the Australian.
Raikkonen into third with an effort of 1m35.968s
Ricciardo on team radio: “Messed up the first sector.”
And then Vergne joins the fray in fourth after an effort of 1m36.250s.
Webber slips into second spot, behind early pacesetter Perez, with a lap of 1m35.586s.
The entire front left of Bianchi's Marussia has been ripped off and marshals are now clearing away the car.
Bianchi hits the wall at the second Degner corner with some force and reports over team radio: "I'm out, I'm out".
Perez hits the top of the timesheets with nearly half and hour gone with a lap of 1m35.871s.
Suzuka's undulating 3.6-mile layout has remains largely unchanged from its original state in 1962, when it was built as a test track for Honda.
Maldonado betters his best with a lap of 1m36.178s.
And the McLaren driver slots in second fastest.
Sergio Perez joins the fray on hard tyres for the first time.
Bianchi also clocks a timed lap - 1m39.268s is the Frenchman's effort.
And it's Maldonado who set this weekend's first time with a 1m36.969s.
Pastor Maldonado breaks the silence and heads out onto the track.
Hamilton heads back into the pits for his team to analyse his car's data and the track falls silent for a moment. Plenty going on in the various garages though.
Vergne on team radio: “No problems to report. The tyre takes quite a while to warm-up. Mainly understeer."
Force India: "First installation lap for Paul and Adrian, heading out for the first time in the weekend. Orange hard tyres on both cars."
Lewis Hamilton gets out on track for the first time this weekend.
As ever, there's a great crowd in the stands at Suzuka.
Vettel joins his Red Bull team-mate on track as others file out - Ricciardo, Maldonado, Bottas and Vergne are all in the midst of their installation laps.
Webber leads out the first cars, including Raikkonen, Bianchi and Chilton.
One thing to note before we really get started: Heikki Kovalainen has replaced Charles Pic for Caterham in this morning's session.
Here we go then! The race weekend is under way!
The forecast is good for the whole day with sunshine expected throughout.
Caterham: "When the sun shines life is always better. Multiply that by 130 when you're also in Suzuka!"
Should Vettel triumph in Sunday's race, and nearest rival Fernando Alonso finished ninth or lower, Vettel would secure his fourth straight title.
The bad news for majority of the field is that Sebastian Vettel loves this place - he's won three of the last four Grands Prix in Japan and another victory this year could even land him the drivers' title come the end of the weekend.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, starting with the first of two practice sessions at Suzuka.