F1 Japanese GP | FP3 | Verstappen leads Perez and the two Mercedes drivers in final practice

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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On a cloudy morning at Suzuka, the drivers quickly took to the track after FP2 was basically written off because of the weather.

A 1:30.265 from Max Verstappen kicked things off in FP3 on the mediums, 0.188s ahead of Sergio Perez.

The Haas of Kevin Magnussen got it wrong at the hairpin, losing the rear and taking a spin into the gravel. However, he managed to avoid getting stuck and continued.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton took over at the top as he pumped in a 1:30.065 using the soft compound tyre. The Brit could have gone even faster but got horrible dirty air on the exit of Spoon from an Aston Martin.

Hamilton led Verstappen (+0.128s), Perez (+0.388s), Leclerc (+0.494s), Sainz (+0.919s), Bottas, Alonso, Stroll, Hülkenberg and Magnussen was the top 10 after 10 minutes. The Red Bulls, Ferraris and Haas’ were on mediums, with Hamilton and Bottas on the softs. The Astons were on the hards.

Out of turn 2, Daniel Ricciardo lost the rear of his RB F1 car and went for a spin on the grass before recovering to the track.

The McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri took to the track on softs. Despite the fact the rear of the car did not look bolted to the track, Norris and Piastri split the Red Bulls to go 3rd and 4th.

Hamilton, Verstappen, Norris, Piastri, Perez, Leclerc, Tsunoda, Bottas, Alonso and Sainz was the top 10 at the 20-minute mark.

Teams then started to focus on race simulations as they did not do any long running in second practice on Friday due to the weather.

Oscar Piastri had a huge snap in the second Degner as he got over the kerb and went wide.

After long runs, George Russell was the first driver into the 1:29s, popping in a 1:29.918 with just over 10 minutes to go.

However, Max Verstappen responded to the Brit as a 1:29.563, 0.269s ahead of Sergio Perez. Russell, Hamilton and Alonso completed the top 5 before the Ferraris came out.

In sector 1, Lando Norris set a purple one. Unfortunately for the Brit, he got wide in Degner 2 and had to abandon that attempt.

On their qualifying sims, Ferrari lacked pace. Carlos Sainz could only go 7th, with Leclerc managing an underwhelming P10.

Verstappen led Perez, Russell, Hamilton, Alonso, Norris, Sainz, Piastri, Tsunoda and Leclerc.

Albon, Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Guanyu, Hülkenberg, Gasly, Stroll, Sargeant and Magnussen completed the second half of the timesheets.

Hülkenberg and Stroll both had moments in the second Degner as well as the drivers really got punished for small errors in that corner on their qualifying runs.