Reigning champion Max Verstappen set the pace once again in the final free practice session at the Japanese Grand Prix as McLaren racers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri emerged as the fastest drivers in the chasing pack.
After topping the opening practice sessions on Friday, Max Verstappen continued to impress in the final one-hour practice. The Dutchman used two sets of Pirelli's soft tyres to set the best time of the weekend with a time of 1m30.267s.
McLaren looked strong yesterday, and they managed to edge even closer to the reining champion in the final practice with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri finishing just over two tenths of a second behind in P2 and P3 respectively.
Sergio Perez finished fourth, but considering his car's speed around the Suzuka International Circuit, he appears to struggle for pace over a single flying lap.
Ferrari drivers were the first ones to hit the track today, using two sets of fresh red-banded softs in the 60-minute session. After suffering from balance issues in Monza and Singapore, Charles Leclerc appears to emerge as the faster Ferrari driver as he beat his team-mate Carlos Sainz once again with the pair taking fifth and sixth.
The Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell followed the Ferrari drivers – with both drivers looking more comfortable today after what Hamilton described as a "tough" Friday.
Fernando Alonso was ninth fastest with his Aston Martin continuing to lack one-lap pace. Zhou Guanyu completed the top 10 for Alfa Romeo, less than a tenth ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
After AlphaTauri confirmed him as one of their racing drivers once again in 2024, Yuki Tsunoda put his car in P14 on home soil, three places higher up than his new team-mate Liam Lawson. However, the pair was separated by less than a tenth of a second with the fight in the Q2 and Q3 qualifying sessions set to turn out extremely exciting and tight.
Lance Stroll was 19th for Aston Martin, while Pierre Gasly – recovering from his session ending crash in FP2 – brought up the rear of the field for Alpine in 20th.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:30.267||12|
|2||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:30.507||+0.240s||16|
|3||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:30.555||+0.288s||15|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:31.004||+0.737s||12|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:31.549||+1.282s||16|
|10||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:31.668||+1.401s||15|
|11||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:31.699||+1.432s||15|
|12||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:31.880||+1.613s||16|
|13||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:31.924||+1.657s||13|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:31.951||+1.684s||18|
|15||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:31.979||+1.712s||13|
|16||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:32.002||+1.735s||13|
|17||40||Liam Lawson||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:32.048||+1.781s||18|
|18||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:32.113||+1.846s||12|
|19||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:32.154||+1.887s||19|
|20||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:32.199||+1.932s||15|