Valtteri Bottas was fastest in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix later today. He was narrowly faster than Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton, with both driver having a reasonable margin over the competition.
Hamilton already claimed on Friday that his Mercedes felt like it should again, and his and Bottas's performances seem to confirm that the silver arrows were back on form. Sebastian Vettel was the closest challenger and limited the deficit to 3 tenths.
The Red Bull duo were fourth and fifth fastest, but nearly a second down on the Mercedes. Ocon, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Perez nad Palmer were all more than a full second down as they completed the top 10.
Raikkonen was the most notable driver absent from that top 10, due to an error at Degner 2. Going into the corner slightly too quickly, he oversteered and went sideways into the barriers. Ferrari would later announced they would change the gearbox on the Finn's car, resulting in a 5-place grid penalty, just like his fellow countryman Bottas.
Bottas on his behalf also had a bit of a moment, as he went too wide on the exit of Spoon, ending up going through the grass and ruining his front wing, along with causing a right rear puncture. It was extremely clumsy and very unlike the Finn.
|4||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:29.910||+0.855s||15|
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:30.018||+0.963s||13|
|6||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||1:30.109||+1.054s||12|
|8||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||1:30.424||+1.369s||13|
|9||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:30.563||+1.508s||12|
|11||19||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:30.764||+1.709s||21|
|12||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Honda||1:30.770||+1.715s||18|
|13||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:30.799||+1.744s||23|
|14||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:30.982||+1.927s||12|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||1:31.011||+1.956s||20|
|16||10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:31.353||+2.298s||25|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:31.459||+2.404s||13|
|18||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:32.579||+3.524s||22|
|19||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber Ferrari||1:32.698||+3.643s||21|