Japanese GP F1 FP3: Nico Rosberg fastest again at Suzuka

Nico Rosberg set the pace in final Formula 1 practice for the Japanese Grand Prix while his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton failed to complete a qualifying simulation

Japanese GP F1 FP3: Nico Rosberg fastest again at Suzuka

Rosberg's time of 1m32.092s was three tenths quicker than Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and ensured the championship leader completed a clean sweep of practice sessions this weekend at Suzuka.

A damp start meant drivers completed their installation laps on the intermediate or wet tyres but it wasn't long before they made the switch to slicks.

But the time lost early in the session meant drivers left it until the final minutes of the session to do their qualifying simulations which in turn created traffic that forced many to abandon laps.

Rosberg edged Hamilton on the medium tyre runs by just 0.054s and then improved by 1.2s when he fitted the softs and got a clean lap.

Hamilton was not so fortunate, losing time running wide at Degner 2 and then backing off and returning to the pits as there was not enough time to get a second run in.

Sebastian Vettel was third quickest, 0.639s off the pace, a fraction ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Kimi Raikkonen went quicker than Rosberg in the first sector, but was baulked by Renault's Kevin Magunssen on the approach to Degner 1, ruining his lap. He ended the session fifth.

Felipe Massa completed a late lap on the softs to vault into sixth, ahead of Hamilton, whose time was set on the medium tyres.

Renault showed good promise with Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen achieving exactly the same lap time to finish eighth and ninth respectively, 1.5s adrift.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10.

It was a troubled session for Haas with Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez having off-track excursions, with the latter spinning at the Esses.

Jenson Button also struggled, finishing 19th quickest, while Carlos Sainz Jr was bottom of the timesheet having completed just three laps.

FP3 TIMES

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.092s - 14
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m32.394s 0.302s 10
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m32.731s 0.639s 13
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m32.784s 0.692s 9
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.011s 0.919s 12
6 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m33.271s 1.179s 13
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.284s 1.192s 12
8 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m33.639s 1.547s 13
9 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m33.639s 1.547s 10
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m33.646s 1.554s 11
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m33.714s 1.622s 12
12 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m33.787s 1.695s 16
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m33.865s 1.773s 9
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m33.921s 1.829s 11
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m34.037s 1.945s 12
16 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m34.272s 2.180s 13
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.388s 2.296s 12
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.544s 2.452s 13
19 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m34.548s 2.456s 11
20 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m35.230s 3.138s 13
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m37.256s 5.164s 10
22 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m56.323s 24.231s 3

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