08/10/11 - 03:00
Japanese Grand Prix
Suzuka Circuit • Free Practice 3

Free Practice 3

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We'll be back in two hours - 6am UK time - to bring you qualifying? Will the Red Bulls turn up and dislodge Button from the top? Join us for the action.


There are several drivers doing some practice starts as the session draws to a close.


Sure enough, it is: Webber clambers up to 5th, but it's the only notable move in the final moments. Button leads another McLaren one-two - and yet it looks like the Red Bulls have more in reserve.


Session over - drivers can finish the lap they're on, but it looks like Button will be top once again.


Vettel a second down on Button, but looked very comfortable nevertheless.


Massa creeps up to fourth in the meantime, as well. Vettel looking a touch heavy, as if he's running a hefty fuel load.


Some key drivers coming through as the session comes to an end. The times will come in this order: Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel.


Hamilton coasts through a second lap, but looks to have put his foot down for another timed lap now.


Alonso comes through a second behind Button, but it's good enough to take third place.


Hamilton up to second - half a second adrift of Button, however - looks like Button's set a very decent mark.


Buemi up to seventh after his flying lap - one place ahead of team-mate Alguersuari.


Rosberg crosses the line on his attempted flyer - but he cannot improve his best time.


Here come the rest of the field. Interestingly, Button is out of the car and that looks like session over for the Briton.


The Toro Rossos are out on soft tyres, they're on their own.


Button's hot lap a little earlier than the rest of the field - they're all in the pits for the moment, watching on.


Button clocks a 1:31.255 - that's 1.4 seconds better than Schumacher's best time. He looks a bit bemused in the Mercedes pitlane.


It's going to be very quick - Button ripping up Schumacher's mark through the first two sectors.


Button is out on a flyer on soft tyres. How will his pace compare in a qualifying-style simulation?


Schumacher sets the new fastest lap on the option tyre - a 1:32.725. Webber, not on the same compound, tucks into second pace, just seven-hundredths of a second behind.


Vettel has done 13 laps already in this session, and now he's back in the pits. Most drivers in the garage for the moment.


Kobayashi runs wide at the Spoon - the number of times he has done that already this weekend... it's a deceptively tricky corner though.


Alonso shaves some tenths off his best, but still remains third-fastest behind Button.


Hamilton quickest through the first sector... but pulls into the pits having backed off in sector two.


So as we move into the final 20 minutes the standings are: Rosberg, Button, Alonso, hamilton, Webber, Vettel, Schumacher, Sutil, Massa, Petrov


Rosberg top with a 1:32.878! It looks as if the German was using the soft tyres, but not confirmed yet.


A bit of a shuffle now as the yellow flags stop waving. But Liuzzi's car still there by the turn!


Alonso gets a proper time in - 1:33.346 - just three-tenths behind Button, and into second.


Alonso backs right off, so we're denied a look at the Ferrari's true pace. Yellow flags for Liuzzi's car as the stewards do their work.


Liuzzi has stopped on track by 130R - looks like a technical problem - and that's the second session in a row that the HRT man has had to grind to a halt.


Alonso also begins a flying lap - it will be his first of the day. He's a touch behind both McLaren and Red Bull on the evidence of yesterday's sessions.


Vettel is also out on track, with Hamilton not too far behind.


We are back in action - a queue of cars come out on track, headed by Paul Di Resta, whose Force India has yet to set a time so far this morning.


"Just put the wheel on the kerb and bottomed out," Senna explains to the BBC. "Hopefully we can still have a good qualifying."


Halfway through the session, and the red flags have been lifted. As it stands, Button has set the fastest time of the day. We'll be back in action in approximately 60 seconds.


Senna back into the pits - he can have the awkward chat with his team about how he managed to put the car in the wall..


Webber had the mechanics working on his car and was unable to go out at the start of the session - he's benefited a little from this delay, because word has it he'll be ready to go out as soon as the session resumes.


Ferrari's two drivers were midway through a race-run simulation - that's scuppered their stint a bit. Everyone back in the pit as the flag continues to fly.


Senna absolutely fine, by the way. The damage to the car perhaps not as bad as it would appear, though he has his front left tyre up on his bonnet... Race against time to be ready for qualifying.


Session red-flagged. That's going to eat into practice time as the stewards deal with Senna's car.


CRASH! Senna goes into the wall for his Renault - a nasty one from a relatively minor moment on the Spoon corner - he just caught the astrosturf and then lost all control.


"The car is sliding a lot," Barrichello tells Williams.


Smooth from Button - he's down to a 1:33.044. Vettel improves - but he's still almost a whole second adrift in second place.


Vettel held up - he can only go seventh as he backs off in the final straights. Meanwhile Schumacher is up to second.


Kobayashi up to third in the Sauber - a creditable effort for a man who had a very erratic day yesterday. He's got an expectant home crowd to please this weekend.


Vettel joining Button on track, will be eyeing a fast lap on his medium tyres.


1:33.493 for Button - he easily displaces the Toro Rosso pair of Alguersuari and Buemi who had just risen to the top. Button is the first of the 'big guns' to put down a time so far.


As if to prove my point, Sergio Perez puts down a 1:36.227 to put down a marginally more representative time, and the Toro Rosso of Alguersuari looks set to go even faster...


A sign of how far the times can come down - Jerome D'Ambrosio, perennial backmarker, has just put down a quicker lap than Maldonado. Still about 10 seconds that the top drivers will be able to shave off that mark.


Looks as if it's Maldonado's team-mate Barrichello who's out on track, as well as the HRTs, Virgins and Saubers.


1:41.979 from Maldonado - that's the first timed lap of the day. Other cars joining him out on the track.


Maldonado appears to be out on medium compound tyres - the quicker option tyres will be tested later on in the session as the track heats up.


A racer on track! Here comes Pastor Maldonado in the Williams. He has all the time in the world to do a practice start from the pitlane as well.


The qualifying session is just three hours away. Looks like the sunny skies will hold for that one.


The calm before the storm now, as the track falls completely silent at this stage of the hour's free practice.


"There's a lot of grip out there," Button tells his team. That sounds like good news for the McLaren man.


Drivers back into the pits - a few adjustments and the session will get away in earnest.


Vettel, who needs just one point to become champion, had a run-in with the tyre wall in the first session. He says that shunt was a wake-up call.


Some news to bring you from yesterday's racing - starting with the fact that McLaren's Jenson Button was the quickest in both sessions.


This far into the season I'm sure you know the drill: it's a series of installation laps - several cars out straight away for a one-lap look at the track.


An hour of free practice begins in Suzuka!