Nico Rosberg quickest in Japanese Grand Prix final practice

Nico Rosberg
Rosberg was on pole position for last year's Japanese Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg pipped team-mate Lewis Hamilton to fastest time in final practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Rosberg was 0.297secs ahead as the two Mercedes returned to their customary positions after their mysterious struggles in Singapore last weekend.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, a dominant winner in Singapore, was only eighth, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fifth.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was closest to the Mercedes in third ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

The Australian was 0.502secs behind the Mercedes, an impressively close margin considering the power deficit of the Red Bull's Renault engine compared to the Mercedes on a circuit where lap time is quite power-dependent.

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Inside F1: Japanese Grand Prix

Out on track, it was clear where the Red Bull was making up the time lost - Ricciardo looked superb through the Esses section in the first part of the lap, one of the most challenging sections on arguably the greatest race track in the world.

Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen was an impressive seventh, with Lotus's Romain Grosjean and the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz completing the top 10.

McLaren-Honda are struggling as expected on the Japanese manufacturer's home track - Jenson Button was 12th fastest, prevented from doing a final run by a technical problem, and Fernando Alonso 16th, after a faster lap was thrown away with a mistake at the double left-hander at Spoon.

The persistent rain of Friday was replaced by warm, dry weather and Suzuka was resplendent, the sea and mountains clearly visible in the distance to the south and north.

Qualifying, which starts at 07:00 BST, is expected to be dry and Hamilton and Rosberg appear the clear favourites for pole position.

Japanese GP Final practice results

Japanese GP coverage details

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