Event: Japanese Grand Prix
Track: Suzuka Circuit

Weather: dry 17.6°C
Tarmac: dry  27.1°C
Humidity : 64%
Wind : 3.6 km/h South

"Verstappen Leads the Charge in Suzuka: Final Practice Sets the Stage for a Fierce Qualifying Battle

In a thrilling display of skill and strategy, the Suzuka Circuit played host to the final practice session ahead of the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, marking the fourth round of a riveting Formula 1 season. As teams and drivers dialed in their cars for the upcoming qualifying, it was Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing who emerged as the frontrunner, continuing his dominant streak with the fastest lap time in FP3.

Verstappen, who has been unbeatable in qualifying sessions thus far this season, seems poised to extend his pole position streak. However, the competition is breathing down his neck, notably the McLaren duo who showcased exceptional pace, albeit marred by minor errors on their flying laps. The special livery of the McLaren cars added an extra layer of intrigue, as fans speculated whether it could bring additional luck to the team.

Ferrari and Mercedes also threw their hats into the ring with promising performances. Despite Charles Leclerc's voiced frustrations over the timing of his runs, Ferrari's pace suggests they might be holding back their true potential, a classic strategy to keep rivals guessing. Mercedes, on the other hand, found solace in securing third and fourth fastest times, a significant achievement given their apprehensions about the track's compatibility with their car.

As for individual performances, Yuki Tsunoda caught attention by placing ninth, signaling a potential entry into the Q3 shootout, which would mark his third appearance this season. His performance, especially with the home crowd's support, adds an exciting dynamic to the qualifying battle.

While Verstappen leads the pack, his teammate Sergio Perez is hot on his heels, indicating that Red Bull's internal competition remains as fierce as ever. However, both Red Bull drivers reported issues with their cars, hinting at a potential vulnerability that could be exploited by their rivals.

The session was not without its drama, as both Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo found themselves spinning off the track, though without significant consequences. These incidents underscore the razor-thin margins for error that drivers navigate in their quest for perfection.

As teams prepare for qualifying, the stage is set for a tightly contested battle. With the midfield teams showing signs of potential upsets and the top contenders grappling with their own challenges, the Suzuka Circuit is poised to deliver another chapter in a season that continues to surprise and excite fans around the globe.

Qualifying is up next, and the anticipation is palpable. The question on everyone's mind: Can anyone dethrone Verstappen, or will the Dutch dynamo secure his fourth consecutive pole position? As the clock ticks down to the start of the qualifying session, the air is thick with expectation, setting the scene for what promises to be an unforgettable showdown at Suzuka.

Quickest Sector Times

The quickest sector times were:

  • Sector 1: 31.323 sec. by Lando Norris (McLaren MCL38)
  • Sector 2: 40.318 sec. by George Russell (Mercedes W15)
  • Sector 3: 17.660 sec. by Alex Albon (Williams FW46)

1:30,267 min was the quickest lap time in a dry FP3 of last year, set by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull RB19.

FP3 Times Table 2024 Japanese GP

P No Driver Team Time 1st Gap Laps Tyres
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:29,563 23 S
2 11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:29,832 +0,269s 25 S
3 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:29,918 +0,355s 24 S
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30,037 +0,474s 21 S
5 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:30,082 +0,519s 24 S
6 4 Lando Norris McLaren 1:30,137 +0,574s 14 S
7 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:30,171 +0,608s 27 S
8 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:30,226 +0,663s 19 S
9 22 Yuki Tsunoda Racing Bulls 1:30,341 +0,778s 21 S
10 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30,383 +0,820s 25 S
11 23 Alex Albon Williams 1:30,533 +0,970s 23 S
12 77 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:30,546 +0,983s 26 S
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo Racing Bulls 1:30,682 +1,119s 24 S
14 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:31,022 +1,459s 18 S
15 24 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:31,067 +1,504s 16 S
16 27 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:31,139 +1,576s 21 S
17 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:31,141 +1,578s 19 S
18 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:31,342 +1,779s 23 S
19 2 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:31,452 +1,889s 20 S
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:31,462 +1,899s 22 S

✅ Check out our 2024 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix preview.


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