The final practice session saw Red Bull dominate proceedings as drivers Vettel and Mark Webber posted the two fastest timings of 1:32.136 and 1:32.371 respectively, ahead of third placed Felipe Massa who could only manage a timing of 1:32.824.
Retiring Michael Schumacher recovered from his skidding accident in the second practice to post the fourth best timing and he was followed by Sauber duo Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi. Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta and Pastor Maldonado rounded up the top ten in that order.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, currently leading the Championship leader board on 194 points, was 11th as Ferrari again struggle to get anywhere near Red Bull and McLaren, with Kimi Raikkonen in next ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who suffered a scare late in the hour-long session.
A look at the Suzuka Circuit
Esteemed Formula 1 commentator Steve Slater previews the action.
The previous two practices have been a back and forth battle for supremacy between McLaren and Red Bull, with McLaren driver Button fastest in the first practice while Red Bull's Webber was fastest in the second practice.
However, it seems that Red Bull have got the upper hand over their rivals on the final practice session and will go into qualifying with the momentum and confidence.
There were lots of issues with traffic during the final practice, with several drivers' runs were ruined by a slower car on track. This resulted in Hamilton coming close to having an incident with Pic, who was extremely slow approaching the Casio Triangle.
Nico Hulkenberg undid his good work of Friday, when he finished the day fourth, by crashing his Force India at the Degner curves, taking the front left corner off the car and leaving his mechanics with a lot of work to do to get him ready for qualifying.
Here are some of the major stories leading up to Saturday's Japanese Grand Prix qualifying:
Sebastian Vettel put himself in line for a fourth straight Japanese Grand Prix pole position as the Red Bulls dominated final practice at Suzuka.
Retiring Formula One great Michael Schumacher made an unwanted impact in second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has not ruled out the possibility of Lewis Hamilton returning to McLaren one day.
Ross Brawn insists Mercedes have not offered Michael Schumacher a role for when he retires at the end of the season.
Mexican telecommunications company Telmex will remain as a sponsor of Sauber in 2013 despite the impending departure of Sergio Perez to McLaren.
Lotus remain determined to move ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship during the closing stages of the 2012 season.
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