Japanese GP 2016, Practice Three: Nico Rosberg completes Suzuka clean sweep
Hamilton makes a mistake on his final flying lap and doesn't improve time; Rosberg tops all three Suzuka practice sessions
By James Galloway at Suzuka
Last Updated: 08/10/16 8:09am
Nico Rosberg will head into Japanese GP qualifying on the back of a clean sweep of fastest times after topping a Practice Three session in which his chief rivals hit traffic or made mistakes.
After edging out Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on Friday, Rosberg finished six places and 1.2 seconds ahead of his title rival on Saturday morning at a damp Suzuka after Hamilton ran wide at the second Degner and did not improve his time.
There had earlier been less than a tenth in it between Rosberg and Hamilton on the medium tyres, which is likely to be more representative of how they fare in qualifying at 7am BST.
Rosberg's quickest time, 1:32.092, was three tenths of a second faster than Malaysia GP victor Daniel Ricciardo, with Sebastian Vettel a further 0.3s back in third.
Max Verstappen, who complained of "traffic everywhere" on his final flying lap, was fourth ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen had set the fastest time of all through the sweeping circuit sector, but encountered Jolyon Palmer approaching the first Degner and ran wide, before bemoaning the "f****** Renault" for spoiling his lap.
But while annoying the Finn, Renault delivered a sudden step forward in performance on the timesheet with Palmer and Kevin Magnussen finishing promising eighth and ninth positions respectively. The team have scored just three points finishes and are yet to make the final stage of qualifying in 2016.
Williams' Felipe Massa was 'best of the rest' in sixth, with Force India and McLaren slipping to the fringes of the top 10. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz completed only three laps due to mechanical trouble.
Japanese GP Practice Three timesheet
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:32.092
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +0.302
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +0.639
4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.692
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +0.919
6. Felipe Massa, Williams, +1.179
7. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +1.192
8. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, +1.547
9. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, +1.547
10. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, +1.554
11. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +1.622
12. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, +1.695
13. Valtteri Bottas, Williams +1.773
14. Sergio Perez, Force India, +1.829
15. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, +1.945
16. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +2.180
17. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, +2.296
18. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +2.452
19. Jenson Button, McLaren, +2.456
20. Esteban Ocon, Manor, +3.138
21. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, +5.164
22. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, +24.231
The F1 title run-in continues with the Japanese GP, live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. The race begins at 6am on Sunday. Watch the whole race weekend with a NOW TV week pass - £10.99, no contract