Lewis Hamilton topped a disrupted final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The championship leader had to wait until after a 15 minute rain shower that paused running early in the session to put in a competitive lap time, having locked up at the chicane on his first lap of the day.
He was soon back on pace when the track dried enough for quick running, setting a 1m29.599s lap to go more than a tenth quicker than Sebastian Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen was the early pace setter, topping the times by a tenth of a second before the rain brought everyone into the pits. He couldn’t match his team-mate’s time after running resumed in the second half of the hour-long practice, and ended the session third quickest.
His running was almost brought to a premature end not long after returning to the track after the short shower. The Ferrari man ran off at the S curves, running over the grass and narrowly avoiding contact with the wall.
The session continued without any incidents until two minutes before the chequered flag, when the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg ran off at the same corner. Hulkenberg had just run over the slippery curb and lost control of his car, barrelling over the grass and hitting the wall rear end first.
The incident left the Renault with a heavily damaged right hand side, giving the mechanics plenty of work to do in the two hours before qualifying.
Aside from Hulkenberg himself, Pierre Gasly was the man to lose out due to the incident. The Toro Rosso driver had been complaining that he hadn’t had a free run since FP1, with traffic hampering his running in the final session. He’d been heading out to put in some final laps before qualifying when the red flag was brought out, leaving him sat at the exit of the pit lane, shaking his head.
Gasly ended the morning 20th, having only completed 10 laps.
His 2019 team-mate Max Verstappen picked up fourth quickest, beating the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth, ahead of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.
Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10, with Romain Grosjean just missing out in P11.
Charles Leclerc managed 12th quickest, ahead of Brendon Hartley, Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg and Marcus Ericsson.
Neither McLaren driver ran the super soft compound, with Fernando Alonso not running the qualifying tyre at all during the three free practice sessions. The team has come to Suzuka without enough sets of super soft tyres. It has opted for the default Pirelli tyre selection, though denies it missed the deadline for picking how many sets of each compound it would bring to the race.
Despite running the slower tyre, Fernando Alonso managed to finish 17th, ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, and Gasly.