Austria, FP3: Vettel tops FP3 with new Red Bull Ring track record

Verstappen hits trouble

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By Olivier Ferret

30 June 2018 - 13:05
Austria, FP3: Vettel tops FP3 with (...)

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest ever lap of the Red Bull Ring to edge Lewis Hamilton by just under three hundredths of a second in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver powered past the record set in Valtteri Bottas in 2017 qualifying with around 20 minutes left in the session. With three DRS zones to work with and ultrasoft tyres onboard Vettel posted a time of 1:04.070 to eclipse Bottas’ benchmark by 0.181 seconds.

Championship leader Hamilton got close to pipping Vettel shortly afterwards, gaining most time in the final sector, but the Briton ended the session with a best lap of 1:04.099 to finish just under three hundredths of a second behind his title rival.

Mercedes split the Ferraris, with Bottas taking third place 0.105s behind his team-mate, while Kimi Räikkönen was fourth quickest, though the second Ferrari driver was a full four tenths of a second off the pace set by Vettel.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took fifth place, 0.791 behind Vettel, but there was drama for the Dutchman at the end of the session.

With around eight minutes left on the clock, Verstappen was on the run down Turn 5, when his dashboard display went back and he slowed dramatically before trundling through the gravel trap and then coming to a halt. “The engine just turned off, no power steering,” he reported.

It was the Red Bull driver’s second off of the morning. Early in the session he went to deep into Turn 4, the result being a trip through the gravel to find an escape road from which he could rejoin. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was sixth quickest at the end of the hour.

After good showing in both Friday sessions, Haas continued to monopolise best-of-the-rest status, with Romain Grosjean seventh and Kevin Magnussen eighth. They were the last drivers inside a second of Vettel, with Magnussen 0.943s behind the pacesetting German.

Carlos Sainz was ninth for Renault, while 10th place went to Charles Leclerc, who again impressed for Sauber. However, the Monegasque hit trouble late in the session however, stopping on track at Turn 2 just before the chequered flag was shown, with the young star reporting an engine issue.

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
01 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:04.070 22
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:04.099 24
03 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:04.204 24
04 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:04.470 22
05 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:04.791 14
06 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:04.891 18
07 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:04.918 17
08 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:05.013 16
09 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:05.086 22
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:05.219 25
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:05.228 19
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:05.264 25
13 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:05.444 21
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:05.448 19
15 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:05.502 24
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:05.699 27
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:05.705 23
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:05.837 16
19 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:06.029 23
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:06.318 23

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