Mercedes in front of Ferrari and Red Bull in FP3

Mercedes in front of Ferrari and Red Bull in FP3

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Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

The Mercedes drivers were the fastest in the last free practice before qualifying for the Japanese Grand prix. Valtteri Bottas overtook his teammate Lewis Hamilton with 0.014 seconds but crashed during the session. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) was third, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fourth and fifth.

The weather was better than yesterday when heavy rain hindered FP2. The air temperature was 22 degrees, that of the track – 28.

Fernando Alonso immediately started work after the session began. His team, McLaren, broke curfew on Friday for the second time this season, as it was necessary to change the power unit in the Spaniard#s car. Because of the new components, Alonso will get a 35 grid penalty.

Pierre Gasly recorded the first time for the session – 1:33.030min. Hamilton immediately took it 3.3sec down of this achievement (with soft tyres). Ferrari’s drivers were with different versions of the rear wing, with Kimi Raikkonen generating more downforce. Their Red Bull rivals also had different set-ups. Ricciardo carried the T-wing, unlike his teammate.

Bottas came second, at 0.460sec behind Hamilton. The Finn has a 5 places grid penalty due to a gearbox change from Friday. With another quick lap, he went to the top of the standings by 1:29.055.

Vettel entered a racing simulation during but he flew off the circuit at Degner 2. Ricciardo went out of the Spoon track as the Mercedes drivers came out with supersoft tyres. Bottas recorded the best first sector, then hit his car in the barriers on the exit of Spoon. The session was stopped so the marshals could gather the pieces of his car and repair the peeled pieces of artificial grass.

The Mercedes drivers were the fastest in the last free practice before qualifying for the Japanese Grand prix

The red flag appeared when Hamilton was in a quick lap. The Englishman had the best first and second and estimation showed he was on the way to a 1:28.7min lap.

Two more minutes after the session’s restart a new incident happened – Kimi Raikkonen crashed at Degner 2 – and FP3 stopped again.

At the end, Vettel became third, while Verstappen and Ricciardo took fourth and fifth. The Mercedes’ drivers best laps were on softs. Everyone else gave their best laps on supersoft tyres.

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