Max Verstappen tops the final practice for the Japanese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen tops the final practice for the Japanese Grand Prix

In the third practice session at Suzuka, Max Verstappen finished first, with the two Ferrari drivers following closely behind.

In dry Formula 1 conditions at Suzuka, Max Verstappen set the fastest time during the third and final practice session prior to the Japanese Grand Prix.

Verstappen instantly set a 1m:32.050s record on the Soft tyres as soon as the competitors took to the track for the only dry running before qualifying later this afternoon after both Friday sessions were impacted by rain.

His final time was a 1m:30.671, which put him in first place, some three tenths ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari cars. Sergio Perez, George Russell, and Lewis Hamilton followed Alpine’s Fernando Alonso who finished fourth.

There was no time to waste in the garages today as the final practice took place on a circuit that was completely dry after the two practices on Friday were completed in wet conditions. George Russell, driving a Mercedes, was first to leave the pit lane and posted the fastest time at the track so far this weekend with a 1:37.969 on the medium compound.

After the first round of times were logged, Russell’s time was swiftly dropped, and the top three times were shared by the two Red Bulls, the McLarens, and the AlphaTauris. At that point, Max Verstappen’s 1:32.050 on the softs was the benchmark time for the grid to beat.

The majority of the drivers concentrated on finishing some longer runs during the first thirty minutes of practice, with few notable time changes, but there were many complaints about the windy track conditions.

The two Mercedes, on new soft tires, surged into the top four just before the 30-minute mark, with Russell separating the two Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton in P4 slightly ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who had also improved and dropped the McLarens.

With majority of the teams now running on fresh rubber, the times began to fluctuate, and Ferrari eventually topped the standings with both cars shaving off huge amounts of time from Verstappen’s initial effort. However, Carlos Sainz had the faster time at that point with a time of 1:30.965.

Verstappen regained control of the top spot on the time charts in the closing moments of the practice, knocking a few tenths off Sainz’s record to set a 1:30.671 despite veering slightly wide in the final sector.

P6 and P7 went to the Mercedes cars, with Russell finishing just a few hundredths ahead of Hamilton. Lando Norris managed to keep one of the McLarens in the top 10 despite posting a time that was 1.076 seconds slower than Verstappen’s.

Esteban Ocon, driving the second Alpine, finished ninth with a time of 1:31.750, and Lance Stroll, driving an Aston Martin rounded out the top ten with a time that was just under a tenth slower than Ocon’s.


1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m30.671s
2 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m30.965s
3 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m30.980s
4 Fernando Alonso ESP BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m31.320s
5 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m31.514s
6 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1m31.530s
7 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1m31.589s
8 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m31.747s
9 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m31.750s
10 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m31.838s
11 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m31.860s
12 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m31.946s
13 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m31.971s
14 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m32.222s
15 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 1m32.290s
16 Mick Schumacher  GER Haas F1 Team 1m32.366s
17 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri  1m32.377s
18 Zhou Guanyu CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m32.385s
19 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m32.868s
20 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m32.881s


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