Vettel ahead again in rain-hit final practice

Sebastian Vettel set the best time in the final practice session ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring in Austria before the rain came.

Scuderia Ferrari driver Vettel set a best time of 1m09.994s early in the session on the Soft Pirelli tyre, but the rain meant none of the front-runners could set a time on the faster Supersoft tyre.

Lewis Hamilton was second fastest for Mercedes AMG PETRONAS, just 0.017s back on Vettel’s time, while the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen ended the session in third.

Sergio Perez was one of a handful of drivers who ran the Supersoft tyre during the session, and ended an encouraging fourth for the Sahara Force India team ahead of the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Perez had earlier suffered a rim-related puncture during the session.

Felipe Massa was sixth quickest in the leading of the Williams Martini Racing entries, just 0.009s ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, while Max Verstappen of Scuderia Toro Rosso was only a further 0.019s back in eighth.

The two Lotus F1 Team drivers completed the top ten, with Pastor Maldonado ahead of Romain Grosjean.

A number of drivers took to the track late in the session with the Pirelli full wet rain tyres to acclimatise themselves to the track in these conditions with rain forecast to possibly affect the qualifying session as well.

Fernando Alonso’s troubled weekend continued, with the McLaren-Honda driver stopping on track with apparent gearbox issues on the pit straight to cause a red flag. The Spaniard is already facing a twenty-place grid penalty for an engine change this weekend, but could face more penalties if his gearbox needs changing as well.

Red Bull Ring Free Practice 3 Result

15Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m09.994s
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m10.011s
37Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m10.177s
411Sergio PerezMEXForce India-Mercedes1m10.221s
56Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m10.332s
619Felipe MassaBRZWilliams-Mercedes1m10.408s
777Valtteri BottasFINWilliams-Mercedes1m10.417s
833Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso-Renault1m10.436s
913Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus-Mercedes1m10.576s
108Romain GrosjeanFRALotus-Mercedes1m10.863s
1127Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes1m11.009s
129Marcus EricssonSWESauber-Ferrari1m11.058s
1355Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault1m11.139s
1426Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull-Renault1m11.139s
1514Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda1m11.168s
163Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull-Renault1m11.819s
1712Felipe NasrBRZSauber-Ferrari1m11.906s
1822Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-Honda1m12.616s
1928Will StevensGBRManor-Ferrari1m13.328s
2098Roberto MerhiESPManor-Ferrari1m13.960s