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Max Verstappen led final practise at the Japanese Grand Prix as he pursues the championship

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r25IQAEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMC7ATFtAAHZOuEIAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC Max Verstappen led final practise at the Japanese Grand Prix as he pursues the championship

Max Verstappen, the undisputed championship leader, set the fastest time in Saturday’s final practice for the Japanese Grand Prix as he tries to win his second consecutive world championship this weekend in Suzuka. The Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz was outpaced by the Red Bull driver’s quickest lap time of 1 minute, 30.671 seconds, as the track was dry. No matter what his competitors do, Verstappen can win the championship on Sunday if he sets the best lap in the race.

If the Dutchman triumphs and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, his closest rival, finishes third or worse, he will keep his title.

Friday’s practice was hampered by persistent rain, as Verstappen was passed by Mercedes teammates George Russell and Lewis Hamilton for third in the second session.

But in Saturday’s final practice, he stood out by switching to soft tires late in the session and setting the quickest lap.

Sainz came in second, clocking in at 1min 30.965sec, ahead of Leclerc, another member of the Ferrari squad, who came in at 1min 30.980.

While qualifying is set to occur in dry circumstances later on Saturday, Sunday is predicted to see some rain.

Fernando Alonso of Alpine, who was fastest in the opening session, finished fourth.

Russell, who nearly collided with Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri late in practice, placed sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Mick Schumacher, a driver for Haas, participated in the final practice after missing Friday’s second session due to an earlier collision that completely his chassis.

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