F1 Japan GP Verstappen tops final practice

F1 Japan GP: Verstappen tops final practice


In an action-packed FP3 at the Japanese GP, F1 teams hustled to dial in their cars for the looming qualifying and race.

Following an initial day of minimal productivity due to a red flag in FP1 and rain in FP2, F1 drivers were eager to hit the track for the Japanese Grand Prix’s FP3 on Saturday morning, aiming to prepare for the qualifying and the race.

Aston Martin F1 revealed comparisons of car performances between Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, who was testing new upgrades, during the first day. With this confirmation, the team worked overnight, breaking a curfew to install these upgrades on the Spaniard’s car.

Thus, both cars hit the track with the upgraded versions from Saturday onwards. In contrast, Williams saw Logan Sargeant revert to the previous specification after his accident. With more work ahead, drivers eagerly took to the track as the lights turned green.

Max Verstappen set the initial benchmark on medium tires with a time of 1’30″265, ahead of Sergio Pérez and Charles Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton immediately outpaced the trio with a time of 1’30″065 on soft tires in his Mercedes.

Verstappen later improved, closing within 0″128 of Hamilton, still on medium tires. Kevin Magnussen entered a hairpin too quickly, initiating a spin in the gravel, albeit without consequence.

Charles Leclerc improved to less than half a second behind, still on medium tires. Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou positioned themselves just behind the Ferrari drivers, on soft tires.

Yuki Tsunoda secured the eighth fastest time on soft tires, while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo achieved the ninth provisional time. Pérez repeatedly expressed concerns over the handling of his Red Bull RB20, especially in slow corners.

Ricciardo spun in the Esses after losing the rear of his RB VCARB 01 at the exit of the first long curve. It was a dramatic but harmless moment for the Australian. Sargeant, meanwhile, worried about not having a good feeling at the rear of the car.

McLaren F1 drivers took to the track on soft tires, with Lando Norris securing third place 0″134 behind Hamilton, and Oscar Piastri taking fourth time 0″295 off the session leader.

Verstappen Leads FP3 as Teams Tackle Qualifying Prep

Drivers focused on race simulations, testing long-run solutions before switching back to a performance program towards the session’s end. Verstappen clocked a time of 1’29″563 on soft tires, leading the session despite expressing some dissatisfaction, and Pérez took second place 0″269 behind.

Russell beat Hamilton’s time, who had slightly improved himself, to take third place, and Alonso positioned himself in fifth, ahead of the McLarens. In the session’s final moments, the Ferrari drivers attempted a fast lap on soft tires.

Norris couldn’t improve beyond his sixth-fastest time, with Sainz slotting between the British driver and Piastri. Leclerc ended up with the tenth fastest time behind Tsunoda. The Red Bull drivers, unchallenged on times, both complained of mirror vibration issues, which were new this weekend.

Red Bull thus secured a one-two finish ahead of the qualifying, with Mercedes showing surprising strength, followed by Alonso, then the McLarens, Ferraris, and an ever-competitive Tsunoda. Notably, Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly finished 14th and 17th, respectively.

Leclerc expressed frustration at the end of FP3 over limited track time: “Honestly, what are we doing staying in the garage? We did two fast laps, two laps. We need to get on with it, let’s go.”

2024 F1 Japanese Grand Prix – Final Practice Results

01Max VerstappenRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:29.56323
02Sergio PérezRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:29.83225
03George RussellMercedes W151:29.91824
04Lewis HamiltonMercedes W151:30.03721
05Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:30.08224
06Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:30.13714
07Carlos SainzFerrari SF-241:30.17127
08Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:30.22619
09Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:30.34121
10Charles LeclercFerrari SF-241:30.38325
11Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes FW461:30.53323
12Valtteri BottasStake F1 Kick Sauber C441:30.54626
13Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:30.68224
14Esteban OconAlpine Renault A5241:31.02218
15Guanyu ZhouStake F1 Kick Sauber C441:31.06716
16Nico HülkenbergHaas Ferrari VF-241:31.13921
17Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault A5241:31.14119
18Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:31.34223
19Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes FW461:31.45220
20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari VF-241:31.46222

F1 Japan GP: Verstappen tops final practice. F1 Japan GP: Verstappen tops final practice

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