Hamilton edges Vettel in red-flagged final practice – FP3 Report

Japanese Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton completed a free practice hat-trick by topping a rain-affected final free practice session ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

The session initially started off dry, but light, patchy rain created a greasy surface which prompted a period of no track action in the middle of the session.

Due to the Ferraris being able to get their first supersoft runs in early, they led the opening stages, with Kimi Raikkonen’s time of 1:30.054 enough to top most of the session.

It was only in the final ten minutes that times started falling again. Vettel took three tenths out of his team-mate’s benchmark, before Hamilton registered a 1:29.599 to take top spot.

The session was red-flagged in the final few minutes due to a crash for Nico Hulkenberg ending the chances of any drivers improving in the final few minutes. The Renault driver edged onto the grass on the exit of turn six and lost control of his car, hitting the tyre barrier with the rear of his car on the outside of turn seven.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished his lap prior to the red flag, setting a time several tenths away from Hamilton, whilst Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo were in close company.

The two Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez took seventh and eighth, with Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen completing the top ten.

To view the full results of the session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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