Bottas fastest in FP3 despite crashing out
7 October 2017 – Valtteri Bottas led team-mate Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes 1-2 during final practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, a session interrupted by two red flags, one of which he caused with an off-track excursion.
Bottas and Hamilton set the pace during the early runs on Soft tyres, both drivers eclipsing the benchmark posted by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on Friday.
However, as the Silver Arrows – and a handful of rivals – made the switch to the Super Soft compound, Bottas lost control of his car at Spoon.
Bottas drifted wide over the kerbs, flicked up some astroturf and slid through the gravel, initially hitting the wall with the right-rear of his car, and then the right-front.
With debris littered over the track, the session was red flagged, ending a host of Super Soft laps, including a particularly rapid effort from Hamilton.
And moments after the session restarted, Kimi Räikkönen went off at Degner 2, damaging the front-left of his Ferrari and bringing out the red flags once more.
Over the final 20 minutes, the top positions remained as they were, with Bottas (1:29.055) and Hamilton the only drivers to set their best times on Softs.
Vettel, having survived an earlier moment at Degner 2, was Mercedes' nearest challenger in third, just over three-tenths down on Bottas' time.
Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo took fourth and fifth respectively, the best part of a second adrift, ahead of a close midfield scrap.
Esteban Ocon caught the eye with a late run to put his Force India sixth, in front of Renault's Nico Hülkenberg and McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who will take a 35-place grid penalty.
Sergio Pérez and Jolyon Palmer ensured that Force India and Renault got both cars inside the top 10, the latter posting an identical time to Williams driver Felipe Massa.
Having led McLaren's charge in FP1, Stoffel Vandoorne slipped to 12th in FP3, followed by Carlos Sainz Jr. (Toro Rosso), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Lance Stroll (Williams).
Romain Grosjean shouted over the radio after getting caught up behind team-mate Magnussen on a hot lap, as he placed 17th, just behind the other Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly.
Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein were again cut adrift in their Saubers, finishing over a second slower than Grosjean, as the sidelined Räikkönen brought up the rear.
Saturday's qualifying session at Suzuka will begin at 15:00 local time