Max Verstappen was fastest again in final practice for Formula 1's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, with the McLarens his main opposition.
- Verstappen comfortably on top
- McLarens second and third, big advantage over Mercedes and Ferrari
Having proved on Friday that Red Bull's Singapore problems were behind it, Verstappen was in charge for most of the Saturday morning session at Suzuka.
There was a brief spell of a McLaren 1-2, though, when Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri went for their final qualifying simulations before Verstappen did his and jumped to the top.
Verstappen's final 1m30.267s restored his place on top, but the margin was smaller than might have been expected - 0.240s over Norris, with Suzuka newcomer Piastri just 0.048s further back.
And there was a half-second gap from the McLarens back to their podium rivals.
Sergio Perez was 0.7s slower than Red Bull team-mate Verstappen in fourth, ahead of the two Ferraris, the two Mercedes and the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso, whose team-mate Lance Stroll was 10 places and 0.6s further back.
Though the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were together in the results in seventh and eighth, there was a 0.346s gap between them and Russell picked up right-rear wheel shield damage that Mercedes says requires a "lengthy" repair before qualifying.
Alfa Romeo made a rare appearance in the top 10 as Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas jumped up the order with early last runs and didn't actually lose too much ground when others came out. They ended up 10th and 11th.