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Max also quickest in third free practice at Suzuka

Published on 23 September 2023 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen set again the quickest time in the third free practice session ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. The McLaren of Lando Norris was second on the 5,807-meter long Suzuka circuit, ahead of his teammate Oscar Piastri in P3. Max’ teammate at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc completed the top five.

Before the start of the third free practice session AlphaTauri announces who is going to drive for the team next year: Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, with Liam Lawson as reserve driver.

Ahead of the session it is dry, and no rain is expected, the temperature is 27 degrees, with a track temperature of 43 degrees. When the lights go green it takes a little while before any cars come out on track. After five minutes it is Carlos Sainz who is the first to come out with his Ferrari. Not much later followed by his teammate Charles Leclerc. Both drivers are on soft tyres. Sainz is also the first to set a time. With Leclerc going a little bit faster.

Slowly more cars come out, almost all on soft tyres. Both McLarens set faster times than the Ferraris, while only a few drivers are still in the pits, including Max. After seventeen minutes he also comes out on track. The reigning world champion, driving this weekend with a special helmet inspired by the Japanese flag, also has soft tyres on his car. The Dutchman has three purple sectors in his first flying lap and puts his RB19 in P1, ahead of the McLaren of Norris and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

Halfway the session the top three is formed by: Verstappen, Norris, and Leclerc. Perez is in P6. Max is on a second run with a used set of tyres, his first sector is purple, but he just comes short in the rest of the lap to set a faster time. It is getting a bit quieter on track. Only the Ferraris are still out.

With only fifteen minutes left in the session, both McLarens are setting faster times than Max. Oscar Piastri is the first to to go faster than the Dutchman, followed by his teammate Norris who goes even faster. Max, who has been in the pits for a while, falls back into P3.

With twelve minutes to go, Max comes back out on track on a new set of soft tyres. The Dutchman sets a faster time and puts his Red Bull back in P1, ahead of both McLarens.

Perez moves up into P4 in the final phase of the session, he is seven tenths slower than Max. That marks the end of the third free practice session at Suzuka.

Contest GP Japan: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results third free practice Japan:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:30.267 11
2Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:30.507+0.240s15
3Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:30.555+0.288s14
4Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:31.004+0.737s11
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:31.022+0.755s19
6Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:31.137+0.870s19
7Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:31.159+0.892s12
8George RussellRUSMercedes1:31.505+1.238s9
9Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:31.549+1.282s15
10Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.668+1.401s14
11Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.699+1.432s14
12Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:31.880+1.613s15
13Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:31.924+1.657s12
14Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:31.951+1.684s17
15Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:31.979+1.712s12
16Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:32.002+1.735s12
17Liam LawsonLAWAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:32.048+1.781s17
18Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:32.113+1.846s11
19Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:32.154+1.887s18
20Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:32.199+1.932s14