A few minutes before Suzuka's final practice session was due to begin on Saturday morning, the safety car was deployed to check the track conditions.

A few minutes before Suzuka's final practice session was due to begin on Saturday morning, the safety car was deployed to check the track conditions.

The decision was taken as constant rain at the venue became much heavier just before the 60-minute session, amid reports a huge storm will hit the Japanese track between now and qualifying in three hours.

"May be no green light to start the session," predicted Lotus' Mike Gascoyne on Twitter, as a stream of water trickled down the sloped pitlane.

But at 11am, the green light did come on, as the rain eased slightly and drivers began installation laps on the sodden track featuring areas of standing water.

Despite Saturday's gloomy weather forecast, the outlook is still for a dry Japanese grand prix on Sunday.

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Green light for very wet final practice