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FP3: Hamilton tops final session as rain arrives

  • Published on 06 Oct 2018 06:00
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  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton has topped the final practice session in Japan after setting a 1:29.599. The session started in dry conditions before the rain began to fall. However, it ceased towards the end of the session allowing the cars to come back out and get in the final preparations before qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel followed his championship rival home in P2, ending the session just over a tenth of a second behind. The gap between Mercedes and Ferrari looks to be a lot less than it was on Friday, where the Italian marque was eight-tenths behind.

The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen trailed teammate Vettel in third place. Max Verstappen managed to jump his car into fourth place, getting ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas who was fifth.

The rain didn't delay too much of the action at Suzuka, however the unpredictable conditions are set to stay around for the qualifying, which gets underway at 15:00 local time.

Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in sixth place but couldn't quite get in front of Bottas. The Australian spoke on Friday about his poor qualifying form against his teammate this year which he is hoping to turn around starting this weekend.

Not all drivers escaped the punishing Suzuka Circuit unscathed. Towards the end of the session, Nico Hulkenberg brought out a red flag after he crashed going through the 'Esses' of sector one. The Renault hit the barriers rearwards, making it likely that the German will receive a gearbox change.

Renault managed to get one car inside the top ten, which it failed to do on Friday, Carlos Sainz came home in ninth place, behind the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in seventh and eighth respectively.

Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top ten as Haas aims to make further inroads this weekend on Renault for fourth in the constructor's standings. His teammate Romain Grosjean followed him home in P11, just failing to make it inside the top ten.

JP Circuit Suzuka - 06 October 2018

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