Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2017

Bottas fastest but crashes in final practice

2017 Japanese Grand Prix third practice

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Valtteri Bottas was quickest in final practice at Suzuka despite crashing halfway through session and being unable to continue.

The Mercedes driver had gone for his first run on a set of super-softs when he ran wide at the exit of Spoon curve and hit the barrier with the right-hand side of his car. Bottas limped back to the pits with a broken front wing and rear suspension.

His crash brought out the first of two red flags which badly disrupted other drivers’ efforts to do their qualifying simulation runs. That included Lewis Hamilton, who had done the fastest first and second sector times when his team mate crashes, but had to abort his run and pit.

The session was red-flagged again within minutes of it restarting when Kimi Raikkonen put his Ferrari more comprehensively into the barrier at Degner two. Vettel had run wide at the same corner earlier but continued. Raikkonen was caught out by a snap of oversteer and didn’t have enough room to keep the car from the wall.

That those conducting performance runs had to scrap their efforts again. There was enough time at the end of the session for further runs to be conducted but no one improved sufficiently to dislodge the two Mercedes from the top of the times sheets, both of which set their quickest efforts on the soft tyres. Even Vettel’s final super-soft run left him three-tenths of a second shy.

The Red Bull drivers completed the top five with Esteban Ocon’s Force India close behind. His team mate was ninth after losing time on the final sector on his best run. Both Renaults also appeared in the top ten plus a single of the Honda-engined McLarens, driven by Fernando Alonso.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’29.0559
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’29.0690.01419
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’29.3790.32423
433Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’29.9100.85515
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’30.0180.96313
631Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’30.1091.05412
727Nico HulkenbergRenault1’30.3151.26019
814Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’30.4241.36913
911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’30.5631.50812
1030Jolyon PalmerRenault1’30.7641.70922
1119Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’30.7641.70921
122Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’30.7701.71518
1355Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’30.7991.74423
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’30.9821.92712
1518Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’31.0111.95620
1610Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Renault1’31.3532.29825
178Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’31.4592.40413
189Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’32.5793.52422
1994Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’32.6983.64321
207Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’33.9624.90712

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1’30.1511’29.055-1.09639
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’29.3771’48.7191’29.069-0.30852
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’29.1661’29.379+0.21347
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’29.5411’30.018+0.47740
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’29.6381’33.962+4.32435
6Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’30.7621’29.910-0.85241
7Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’30.8991’49.5181’30.109-0.7937
8Nico HulkenbergRenault1’30.9741’30.315-0.65944
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’31.2351’30.424-0.81134
10Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’31.5301’51.3451’30.563-0.96738
11Jolyon PalmerRenault1’31.7571’30.764-0.99345
12Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’31.9121’52.1461’30.764-1.14844
13Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’31.2021’30.770-0.43243
14Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’32.2521’30.799-1.45338
15Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’31.2161’30.982-0.23427
16Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’31.6021’52.3431’31.011-0.59146
17Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’31.0321’31.459+0.42735
18Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Renault1’32.5011’31.353-1.14843
19Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’33.3971’32.579-0.81853
20Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’32.8971’32.698-0.19952

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Bottas fastest but crashes in final practice”

  1. Hopefully Ferrari are sandbagging!

  2. These 2017 cars have got Suzuka is baring it’s teeth… can’t remember seeing so many people getting bitten here, let alone it being only practice. I love this circuit!

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