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FP3: Verstappen leads Perez and Russell during final practice session in Japan

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 06: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen set the pace in the third and final practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, as the world champion led the way from Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez.

With the late rain on Friday having led to very limited running in FP2, several drivers were quick to hit the track as Saturday’s practice hour got under way in drier conditions.

FP2: Piastri sets fastest time as rain leads to limited running during second practice in Japan

There was an early moment for Kevin Magnussen, who suffered a spin that led to a brief visit to the gravel, while Daniel Ricciardo was another name to run off circuit after losing the rear into Turn 2, with the RB doing a 360-degree turn.

After teams had experimented with different tyre compounds during the session, it was Verstappen who went fastest of all as focus switched to the the qualifying simulation laps on the soft tyre. The Dutchman pumped in a lap of 1m 29.563s, putting him 0.269s ahead of Perez.

Japan 2024

Practice 3 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:29.563
2PER+0.269s
3RUS+0.355s
4HAM+0.474s
5ALO+0.519s
View Full Results

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton slotted in for Mercedes in third and fourth respectively, with both drivers having spoken positively about the pace of the W15 seen in FP1. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso – his car now fitted with the updates that team mate Lance Stroll ran on Friday – was fifth, followed by the McLaren of Lando Norris, who was forced to abort a late fast lap after taking too much kerb.

Australia race winner Carlos Sainz set the seventh-quickest time, with Oscar Piastri – who celebrates his 23rd birthday today – going eighth for McLaren, while RB’s Yuki Tsunoda went ninth at his home track and Charles Leclerc rounded out the top 10 in the Ferrari.

PRACTICE DEBRIEF: Why Ferrari and Mercedes can take positives as they look to close in on Red Bull in Japan

Alex Albon was the lead Williams in 11th, though had reported having “zero confidence in the car” earlier in the session, with the Kick Sauber of Valtteri Bottas in 12th ahead of Ricciardo in 13th.

On a weekend where Alpine are running their first updates, Esteban Ocon put his A524 in P14. Zhou Guanyu was 15th, while the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg was 16th.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 06: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on

Piastri is celebrating his 23rd birthday on qualifying day at the Japanese Grand Prix

Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll were P17 and P18 respectively, with Logan Sargeant – who returned to action after missing FP2 following his crash in Friday’s first practice hour – P19.

Kevin Magnussen brought up the rear in P20, suggesting Haas may struggle to replicate their double points-scoring form of Australia this weekend.

READ MORE: Vowles admits Sargeant’s mistake for FP1 crash was ‘frustrating’ but insists confidence not the issue in Japan

All eyes will now turn to qualifying, which will take place later today at 1500 local time.

2024 Japanese GP FP3: Ricciardo takes to the grass after double spin in third practice

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