FP3: Vettel tops final practice

By on

Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheet at the end of the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Austrian GP. His advantage was narrow though, with Hamilton and Bottas close behind.

Kimi Raikkonen was 4th fastest, confirming that Ferrari seem to have found some extra pace overnight. The red cars were also clearly faster than the Red Bulls, who seemed to have fallen behind. The duo was 7 and 8 tenths behind the pace setter, with Verstappen in fact ending the session as a spectator. The Dutchman lost power at Turn 5 with just 10 minutes left on the clock.

Haas saw their cars once again end up in 7th and 8th, ahead of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. The latter stopped his car at Turn 2 minutes before the end of the session. "Problem, problem, problem, problem," he told his team. Asked what it is, he replied: "I don't know, but I had to stop the car, I think there is something wrong with the engine."

Drivers meanwhile continued to find out how unforgiving the kerbs are. Stoffel Vandoorne was stuck in the garage for a while after a moment on the kerbs cracked the nose cone of his car. Pierre Gasly, who already broke the front left suspension in FP2, reported another steering problem halfway in FP3, again resulting from damage on the kerbs. In fact, Toro Rosso confirmed three noses were damaged in the session.

Still, Vettel taking the top time may come as a surprise for Mercedes, and probably a wake-up call too. Surprisingly, Hamilton was told "Seems like the only loss we have to Vettel is the straights". On to qualifying...

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1:04.070-22
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:04.099+0.029s24
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:04.204+0.134s24
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:04.470+0.400s22
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:04.791+0.721s14
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:04.891+0.821s18
78Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:04.916+0.846s17
820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:05.013+0.943s16
955Carlos SainzRenault1:05.086+1.016s22
1016Charles LeclercSauber Ferrari1:05.219+1.149s25
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault1:05.228+1.158s19
1210Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:05.264+1.194s25
1331Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:05.444+1.374s21
1414Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Renault1:05.448+1.378s18
1511Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:05.502+1.432s24
169Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:05.699+1.629s27
1728Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:05.705+1.635s23
182Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault1:05.837+1.767s16
1918Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:06.029+1.959s23
2035Sergey SirotkinWilliams Mercedes1:06.318+2.248s22