Valtteri Bottas edged out
Bottas finished 0.100 seconds clear of Hamilton with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third.
This could even decide the grid positions if qualifying is wiped out. As it stands it is due to take place four hours before the race on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton (above) was edged out by Valtteri Bottas in practice for the Japanese GP
The Mercedes cars have led the way in Japan in recent seasons, winning every race at Suzuka since 2014.
Bottas and Hamilton, who will win the world title in Mexico in a fortnight’s time if he outscores his team-mate by five points over the next two rounds, enjoyed a comfortable advantage over the rest of the field, dominating the first running here.
All of Saturday’s action has been cancelled with Super Typhoon Hagibis approaching
Earlier, F1 bosses and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, announced the Suzuka circuit would be closed on Saturday due to the typhoon.
The move came a day after England’s Rugby World Cup match against France on Saturday was cancelled in response to the approaching storm.
A statement issued by the FIA read: ‘As a result of the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis on the 2019 FIA Formula One Japanese Grand Prix, Mobilityland and the Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF) have decided to cancel all activities scheduled to take place on Saturday, 12 October.
‘The FIA and Formula One support this decision in the interests of safety for the spectators, competitors, and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit.’
Final practice has been axed, while qualifying will take place four hours before Sunday’s race
The region’s most powerful typhoon of 2019 is set to bring violent winds and heavy rain to the area.
The race in Japan has been hit by bad weather in the past, with qualifying staged on Sunday morning on two occasions, in 2004 and 2010.
Four years ago, qualifying for the US Grand Prix was pushed back a day due to heavy rain.
‘I am happy for them to do that,’ said Hamilton.
‘It is cool when the format changes. You have to enter into two different mindsets, and two different rhythms. It is a different challenge so I like that.
‘It is intense here when it rains, but I love driving in the wet. It doesn’t make a difference to me. It is quite exciting.’