FP3: Bottas tops Hamilton as Mercedes up the pace

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F1 Grand Prix, GP France, Circuit Paul Ricardfr

Mercedes continued on from Friday's pace setting performances as Valtteri Bottas headed Lewis Hamilton for another Silver Arrow one-two in final practice before French GP qualifying.

While everybody has worked overnight to improve their cars, so did Mercedes, and their advantage to the competition hadn't reduced at all. Ferrari did show signs of improvement, and if their drivers could string their best sectors together, they could be in the fight, but in this practice session, their best times were 4 tenths off of the Mercedes duo.

Both Mercedes drivers were tightly matched. Bottas fastest lap came from his first attempt in the second half of the session, with a mistake on his second attempt on that same tyre set denying him of a possible improvement. For Hamilton, it was the other way around, with the Briton only managing to get close to Bottas on his second attempt, after doing a cool down lap on the back of an imperfect first flyer.

Behind 4th, the gap to 5th was surprisingly big as Verstappen seemed unable to match the pace of the top 4. In fact, his best lap was nearly 1.4s slower than Bottas' best effort, and just a sigh quicker than team mate Gasly and McLaren's Lando Norris.

Daniel Ricciardo, powered by a B-spec Renault engine - contrary to Hulkenberg, who still used the previous specification - ended up 8th, followed by the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and Kimi Raikkonen, who completed the top 10 for Alfa Romeo.

At the back, George Russel was slowest of all as he hit technical trouble in his Williams. Having just managed 4 laps, the team decided to replace his car's battery pack to resolve some issues.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:30.159-18
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:30.200+0.041s15
316Charles LeclercFerrari1:30.605+0.446s15
45Sebastian VettelFerrari1:30.633+0.474s13
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:31.538+1.379s11
610Pierre GaslyRed Bull Racing Honda1:31.599+1.440s14
74Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault1:31.654+1.495s14
83Daniel RicciardoRenault1:31.802+1.643s12
955Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault1:31.887+1.728s14
107Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:31.943+1.784s16
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault1:32.023+1.864s15
1299Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:32.171+2.012s15
1323Alexander AlbonScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:32.178+2.019s16
148Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:32.385+2.226s15
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:32.400+2.241s13
1611Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:32.491+2.332s15
1726Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:32.540+2.381s22
1818Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:32.678+2.519s14
1988Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes1:33.902+3.743s21
2063George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:39.987+9.828s4