Rain played a role in the final practice session in Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix but Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton led the way still from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Before it rained midway in the session, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen led the way from Vettel at the top of the timesheet with Hamilton sitting last after he couldn’t set a lap time in the first part of the session.
But as rain subsided, it was Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton starting the proceedings as others followed them. After nearly 10 laps, Hamilton managed to eke out his and the session’s best time of 1m29.599s to topple Vettel.
The German clocked a good 1m29.715s lap time as well with Raikkonen (1m30.054s) rounding out the Top 3 in a better show from Ferrari. The session ended under red flag condition after a heavy shunt for Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
The German ran on the kerb and went off track at the S Curves in Turn 5 with big rear damage. He finished 15th (1m32.224s) with teammate Carlos Sainz (1m31.513s) putting Renault in the Top 10.
Behind Raikkonen was Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen (1m30.304s) who pipped Bottas (1m39.422s) late in the session with Daniel Ricciardo (1m30.474s) slotting in sixth from the two Racing Point Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.
The Frenchman did a 1m31.088s to the Mexican’s 1m31.483s to showcase solid pace with Sainz and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m31.521s) completing the Top 10 from teammate Romain Grosjean (1m31.636s).
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc (1m31.760s) slotted himself in 12th from Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley (1m32.030s) with another improved run from Williams of Lance Stroll (1m32.201s) saw him finish in 14th.
Hulkenberg (1m32.224s) was next from Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (1m32.442s), followed by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (1m32.608s) who set his time on the soft compound like Stoffel Vandoorne (1m33.034s) in 19th.
Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin (1m32.631s) was 18th with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly (1m33.105s) in 20th as the Frenchman was unable to set a quick lap time in the interrupted session.