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Motorsport | Formula 1

Bottas ruins quick run with crash

Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets in Saturday's third free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, before smashing his Mercedes into a wall at high speed.

The Finn, who is already set to receive a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox, clocked a fastest lap of one minute, 29.055 seconds ahead of afternoon qualifying at Suzuka.

Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton went second quickest in 1:29.069 and Sebastian Vettel – who trails the Briton by 34 points with five races left this season – 0.3 seconds adrift, while Kimi Raikkonen also hit a wall in the second Ferrari.

Bottas cut a dejected figure soon afterwards after losing control of his car exiting the fast left-hand 'Spoon' curve and crashing into the barriers, damaging his right rear suspension.

When practice resumed after a 10-minute halt to remove debris from Bottas's vehicle, Raikkonen soon followed suit, shunting his car into a wall and bringing another halt to proceedings.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who stunned Hamilton to win in Malaysia last weekend, registered the fourth fastest lap in 1:29.910 ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with Esteban Ocon's Force India next quickest.

Vettel, who set the early pace on a rain-hit Friday in Japan, locked-up and himself skidded onto gravel at the same curve as Raikkonen, realistically needs to win this weekend to revive his fading title hopes.


1. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 1:29.055
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:29.069
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1:29.379
4. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:29.910
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:30.018
6. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India - Mercedes 1:30.109
7. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 1:30.315
8. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1:30.424
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1:30.563
10. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 1:30.764
11. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1:30.764
12. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1:30.770
13. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:30.799
14. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas - Ferrari 1:30.982
15. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes 1:31.011
16. Pierre Gasly (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:31.353
17. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas - Ferrari 1:31.459
18. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - Ferrari 1:32.579
19. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1:32.698
20. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:33.962


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