Raikkonen tops animated final practice

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Malaysia, Sepang International Circuitmy

Kimi Raikkonen was fastest at the end of an animated session with numerous incidents and spins. As incidents prevented late improvements, the Finns earlier time continued to be fastest, just a tenth ahead of Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel.

Even though the session was dry, earlier rain had washed the track green, meaning there was little grip yet again. Numerous drivers fell foul to that, with several overshooting their braking points at the final and first corners of the track, two sharp corners following long straights. Bottas and Hamilton were among them, with Hamilton notably doing so on his last flying lap, hence ending up in 5th, two tenths down on Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo was just quicker than both Mercedes, going third fastest in a straightforward session for him. His own team mate, Max Verstappen, seemed to be on the way for a relatively quiet session as well, until he had a misunderstanding in the dying seconds with Jolyon Palmer. The latter, on a flying lap, appeared to understand that Verstappen was allowing him past, but when he didn't, the Renault driver hit Verstappen in the back, causing a puncture for the Red Bull driver, and some damage to his Renault's front wong. Both obviously blamed each other for the incidents via the team radio.

Force India were again well in the top 10 with Perez going 7th fastest and Ocon 9th fastest. Felipe Massa snuck in between them while Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top 10, just ahead of of his McLaren Honda team mate, Fernando Alonso.

Haas meanwhile struggled badly in FP3 as Grosjean was unable to find any pace, and ended up only marginally faster than the Sauber cars. Kevin Magnussen was even worse off, as he first sat out part of the session with an electrical problem, and when he eventually did return on track in the closing stages, an engine issue forced him to return to the pits again.

The end of the session also saw a problem occur on Sebastian Vettel's car, with the German slowly going to the pits without shifting gears.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
17Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:31.880-19
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1:32.042+0.162s14
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:32.091+0.211s16
477Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:32.329+0.449s24
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:32.539+0.659s20
633Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:32.579+0.699s17
711Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:33.209+1.329s20
819Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:33.240+1.360s20
931Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:33.290+1.410s21
102Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda1:33.321+1.441s16
1114Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:33.530+1.650s17
1218Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:33.538+1.658s21
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:33.787+1.907s10
1427Nico HulkenbergRenault1:33.871+1.991s14
1555Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:33.924+2.044s22
1610Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:34.206+2.326s24
1730Jolyon PalmerRenault1:34.475+2.595s12
188Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:34.914+3.034s19
199Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:34.936+3.056s19
2094Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari1:35.045+3.165s19