Formula 1

F1 Japan: Bottas Tops Final Practice Despite Crash

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Credit: Steve Etherington

Valtteri Bottas topped the final practice session at the Suzuka International Racing Course on Saturday morning, but ended his session after getting damage after hitting the wall.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer had set a time of 1:29.055s to head the session, but ran wide coming out of Spoon, taking to the grass and brushing the barrier with both of his right-hand wheels.

He was able to recover to the pits, but the damage to the car was enough to end his session with only nine laps completed, but he was not the only Finn to crash, as Kimi Raikkonen also ended his session with an incident, this time with a more severe crash into the tyre wall at Degner 2.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver had been concentrating early on during the session on his long run pace, and his crash left him languishing at the very bottom of the time sheets as his mistake, which saw him run across the gravel trap and into the barriers, was made on his first planned qualifying simulation on the Supersoft tyre.

Bottas’ best lap, set on the Soft compound, saw him finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton by just 0.014 seconds, while Sebastian Vettel ended third fastest for Ferrari, with the German the only one from either Mercedes or Ferrari to get a representative run on the Supersoft tyre, which is the quicker tyre to have this weekend in Japan.

Last weekend’s race winner in Malaysia, Max Verstappen, ended up fourth fastest, but the Red Bull Racing driver was 0.855 seconds off the pace, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo a further 0.108 seconds back in fifth.

Esteban Ocon was sixth for the Sahara Force India F1 Team, just ahead of Nico Hülkenberg, with the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team racer 1.260 seconds off the pace in seventh.

Fernando Alonso was McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team’s only representative inside the top ten in eighth, just ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez, with Jolyon Palmer completing the top ten for Renault, although Felipe Massa’s best time for Williams Martini Racing was identical to the thousandth of a second of the British racer.

Stoffel Vandoorne put the second McLaren into twelfth ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in the leading Scuderia Toro Rosso, with Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll in between him and his team-mate Pierre Gasly, while Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein and Raikkonen brought up the rear of the field.

Suzuka International Racing Course Free Practice 3 Result

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