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Bottas fastest but crashes in incident-filled final practice – FP3 Report

Japanese Grand Prix – Valtteri Bottas was fastest in final practice but his session ended early with a crash at Spoon Curve.

The Finn had set a 1:29.055 on the soft tyre to go 0.014s clear of his team mate on the same tyre, but he ran onto the damp kerb on the exit of Spoon which pulled him onto the grass and into the barriers bringing out the red flags.

This left him with floor damage and needing a complete rebuild on his right-rear corner, meaning he was unable to put in a qualifying simulation on the supersoft tyre.

Bottas already has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Hamilton remained second as he caught traffic when he attempted a supersoft tyre run at the end of the session, meaning neither Mercedes did a qualifying simulation.

A second red flag came almost immediately after Bottas’ incident was cleared brought out by Kimi Raikkonen, who hit the tyre barriers after losing the back end of his Ferrari at Degner 2.

Sebastian Vettel was third, three tenths off but on the quicker supersoft tyre. He escaped his team mates’ fate earlier in the session with a brief run through the gravel at the second Degner.

He was ahead of the two Red Bulls who are still balancing their downforce set-up, with Max Verstappen running without the T-wing in the session. He was fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

Force Indias’ Esteban Ocon was sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg for Renault and Fernando Alonso, who has picked up at 35-place grid penalty for a new turbo, energy store, control electronics, MGU-K and MGU-H.

He will share the back row of the grid with Carlos Sainz Jr who has a 20-place grid penalty for power unit element changes.

FP3 results.


Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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