Max Verstappen retained top spot in FP3 of F1 Japanese GP ahead of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

It was sunny run in FP3 of F1 Japanese GP at Suzuka as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen kept his top spot with a 1m30.257s lap in a clean run ahead of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, where they jumped the two Ferrari cars pace wise.

In fact, the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez was fourth from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, where the Spaniard had a small moment at Degner 2. In the Mercedes fight, Lewis Hamilton – sporting a special helmet – slotted in seventh.

He pipped teammate George Russell who had right rear wheel shield damage, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in ninth from the Alfa Romeo pair of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas, with the Chinese driver ending up in the Top 10.

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen did well to be 12th in the order. The Dane disrupted AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda lap, who had to go around to be 14th behind the lead Alpine of Esteban Ocon. Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg was 15th from Williams’ Logan Sargeant.

The American managed to set a better lap than teammate Alexander Albon. The Thai racer was 18th behind AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson, with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll only 19th from Alpine’s Pierre Gasly who was 20th after the team fixed his car post the FP2 crash.

In terms of the PU elements, Alpine fitted a new ICE and MGU-K for Ocon ahead of FP3. Also, the sponsor of the Japanese GP revealed details of F1’s first ‘Kiss Me’ trophies that are to be handed out to drivers after the Sunday’s grand prix.

Developed by Lenovo in partnership with Pininfarina, the Kiss Me trophy will illuminate in the colours of the winning driver when he will kiss at a spot on the trophy on the podium. The special trophy will also be used for US GP with Lenovo being the title sponsor.

“As a leading technology company, we challenged ourselves to find a way to embed smarter technology into the trophies in a way that’s never been done before to elevate the podium experience,” said Philip Marchington, Executive Creative Director of Corporate Marketing, Lenovo.

“Dreamed up by Lenovo and fashioned by iconic design firm Pininfarina, the trophy’s striking shape mirrors the air intake on F1 cars and features a parametric pattern that echoes the proportions of the Lenovo logo.”

Meanwhile, Pininfarina’s Paolo Trevisan added: “For Pininfarina, with its unparalleled heritage rooted in the automotive tradition, it’s an honor to be a part of Formula 1’s history with this innovative tech driven trophy, created for a partner like Lenovo, which shares our deep passion.

“Formula 1 represents the pinnacle of automotive competition, where design plays a pivotal role. Just as each car on the track stands as a testament to human dedication to innovation, our trophy embodies the essence of craftsmanship and forward-thinking aesthetics. It serves not only as a symbol of victory but also as a reflection of our rich legacy and our values of elegance, purity, and innovation.”

Here’s what was said after Friday in F1 Japanese GP