Vettel sets the pace in FP3 at China

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F1 Grand Prix, GP China, Shanghai International Ciruitcn

The third practice session at the Chinese Grand Prix weekend was topped by Ferrari. Contrary to Friday's sessions, running was uninterrupted and enabled teams for the first time to really optimise their car set-ups ahead of qualifying.

Needless to say, it became an extremely busy session, as drivers and teams aimed to recover a small bit of time from Friday. It was clear that cars were running different fuel loads and different tyres early on as teams were trying to get more data.

Ferrari rapidly emerged atop the timesheet though, with Raikkonen first, and then Vettel going faster to set the best time of the day, around the halfway mark of the session. Raikkonen later further improved on his own time to get within 0.053s of his German team mate.

Mercedes focused longer on longer runs, with Bottas running without the T-wing on his Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton ran with the device on his car, but saw Bottas be after than him, most likely due to a mistake in turn 14 on his fastest lap, leaving him 4th. Overall, Ferrari's advantage over the Mercedes appears to indicate once again that Ferrari has made great strides in closing their performance disadvantage to the scarlet cars from Maranello.

At the bottom end of the timesheet, McLaren was battling it out with Sauber, as predicted before the weekend. Both teams are suffering on the long straights due to their power units being down on power compared to the rest of the field.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1:33.336-20
27Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:33.389+0.053s19
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:33.707+0.371s26
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:33.879+0.543s25
519Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:34.773+1.437s23
633Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:34.946+1.610s20
73Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:35.092+1.756s23
818Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:35.182+1.846s24
930Jolyon PalmerRenault1:35.192+1.856s21
1055Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:35.223+1.887s24
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault1:35.449+2.113s22
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:35.521+2.185s22
1311Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:35.626+2.290s20
148Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:35.680+2.344s22
1526Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:35.804+2.468s23
1631Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:35.811+2.475s24
1714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:35.912+2.576s17
189Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:36.063+2.727s25
192Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda1:36.221+2.885s21
2036Antonio GiovinazziSauber Ferrari1:36.705+3.369s24