FP3: Verstappen tops final practice as McLaren emerge as best of the rest

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Japan, Circuit Suzukajp

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.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:30.26712
24Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:30.507+0.240s16
381Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:30.555+0.288s15
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:31.004+0.737s12
516Charles LeclercFerrari1:31.022+0.755s20
655Carlos SainzFerrari1:31.137+0.870s20
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:31.159+0.892s13
863George RussellMercedes1:31.505+1.238s9
914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:31.549+1.282s16
1024Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.668+1.401s15
1177Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.699+1.432s15
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:31.880+1.613s16
1331Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:31.924+1.657s13
1422Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:31.951+1.684s18
1527Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:31.979+1.712s13
162Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:32.002+1.735s13
1740Liam LawsonAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:32.048+1.781s18
1823Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:32.113+1.846s12
1918Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:32.154+1.887s19
2010Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:32.199+1.932s15