Rosberg fastest in final practice as Hamilton crashes


Nico Rosberg was fastest in final practice ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton crashed in the final minutes of the session.

Rosberg posted a time of 1:33.228 on the medium option tyres to clear Hamilton, who finished second fastest despite his off, at the top of the order by nine tenths of a second.

The Englishman, starting a hot lap in the final stages of hour long session, crashed at Turn 1 after running wide and locking up over the tarmac run-off area, breaking his front wing and damaging his left-front suspension.

Fernando Alonso, who looks increasingly likely to swap Ferrari for McLaren for 2015, was third, but 1.2 seconds down on Rosberg’s session topping time.

The two Williams team-mates were fourth and fifth, Felipe Massa half a second clear  of Valtteri Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo, who crashed in second practice on Friday afternoon was sixth for Red Bull.

Sebastian Vettel, who barely an hour before the session announced he would be leaving Red Bull at the end of the year, was just 15th after an ERS problem limited him to just six laps.

The two McLarens of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button were seventh and 10th, the pair split by the two Toro Rosso team-mates, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat – who will replace Vettel at Red Bull next season.

Esteban Gutierrez survived a spin at 130R to finish up 14th fastest, ahead of the two Lotus cars – Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado 16th and 17th after similar offs at Turn 1, although both drivers managed to avoid a Hamilton style accident.

Image courtesy of Daimler


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