Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the third practice at Suzuka. Mark Webber was second quickest and the gap back to the nearest challenger – Felipe Massa – was an impressive seven-tenths of a second. Michael Schumacher was fourth fastest ahead of the two Saubers of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button, Paul di resta and Pastor Maldonado. Fernando Alonso was 11th, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, who had a scary moment in 130R when he encountered a slow-moving Charles Pic in the final minutes of the session. Jean-Eric Vergne impressed with 14th fastest ahead of Nico Rosberg, Bruno Senna and Daniel Ricciardo, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg (who crashed early in the session), the two Caterhams, two Marussias and two HRTs.
It will be interesting to see whether the patterns will be repeated in qualifying in a few hours.