FP3 in Suzuka was another action packed affair with Valtteri Bottas taking the top spot. It did not come without some drama, though. After about the 20-minute mark, Bottas put his right tires up on the (still wet) AstroTurf and couldn’t keep his Mercedes out of the wall, bringing out the red flag.
Just as the running had resumed, Kimi Raikkonen lost the rear at Degner and slid through the gravel trap to put his Ferrari into the tire barrier there, to end his FP3 session. Further back, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth, respectively. McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso finished 8th, but has a replacement for every possible component of the PU, so he will be starting the race from Fukushima.
Qualifying had a few more incidents, still. A few cars lost traction at Degner 2 again and Romain Crashjean managed to end Q1 early after shunting out behind the paddock. Hamilton led Q1 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Bottas was fourth with a slide into the gravel at Degner and a lucky escape. Q2 started with Hamilton absolutely destroying the track record with a 1:27.819, more than a second faster. Hamilton also took Q3 ahead of Bottas and Vettel. A slew of grid penalties, though will have the provisional grid looking like this: