Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel topped the times in the final practice session of the weekend ahead of the 2017 Russian Grand Prix, three tenths of a second clear of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, as Ferrari continued to dominate the running at Sochi.
The German set a time of 1:34.001 to take the top spot on a set of the ultra-soft tyres, setting the fastest ever time seen at the Sochi Autodrom in the process. Ferrari have managed to really get the ultra-soft compound dialled in during this session.
Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Valtteri Bottas was third and three hundredths of a second down on fellow countryman Raikkonen. The Finn has a relatively good record at the Sochi track, and will be hoping to repeat that form this weekend.
Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest and two tenths behind his team-mate, having once again not had the perfect session, and it is now looking increasingly likely that Mercedes perfect record during qualifying at this track, could come under threat later this afternoon.
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen was fifth, as the Milton Keynes based squad tried their best to reach the levels of the top two teams, but are so far coming up short. The Dutchman was ahead of Williams Martini Racing driving Felipe Massa, who finished in a respectable sixth for the British team, and once again crept into a strong position without really being noticed.
Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, in what was a steady session for the German compared to his team-mate, who encountered a number of issues, and in front of the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, who ended the FP3 session down in eighth.
The Australian experienced an engine cut out between Turns 4 and 5 in the final ten minutes of the session, reminiscent of the issues his team-mate suffered yesterday, Ricciardo was however able to get the engine fired back up again and continue on his way.
Carlos Sainz Jr was the first of the Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers in ninth, four tenths ahead of Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen, who completed the top ten.
Lance Stroll was eleventh, over a second down on more experienced team-mate Massa, but ahead of Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team driver Esteban Ocon, who did manage to out perform his team-mate Sergio Perez.
Home boy Danill Kvyat was thirteenth, but was not happy with the feel of the STR12 throughout the FP3 session, which will be a disappointment for the Russian ahead of his home race on Sunday.
McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso could only manage fourteenth fastest, 2.8 seconds down on Vettel’s lead time, despite the mapping of the Honda engine seeming much better here in Russia.
The Spaniard was one tenth up on Force India’s Perez, who had a poor session by the Mexican’s standards with no real reason to explain why he finished so far down the order.
Romain Grosjean , who was not enjoying a smooth ride in the VF17 during FP3, having switched back to Brembo brakes today, having tried out a different brand yesterday, was sixteenth. The Frenchman at a loss to know what he could do to get his car working, with plenty of comments back to the team over the radio.
Stoffel Vandoorne had a late start to the FP3 session as the McLaren engineers worked on his MCL32, but did manage to make it out in the end, and finished in seventeenth place, still four tenths up on the struggling Sauber F1 Team however.
Drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein finished in eighteenth and nineteenth place respectively, with just Jolyon Palmer having a worse session that the Swiss squad.
Palmer finished bottom of the pack, after complaining of low power at the midway point of the session. With little time available to them prior to qualifying later today, Renault opted to change the Brit’s engine completely ahead of that session, which meant the end of Palmer’s running in FP3, having completed just four laps.
That was after Renault broke the curfew for the first time this season to provide Palmer with a new survival cell for the rest of the Russian Grand Prix weekend.
2017 Russian Grand Prix – FP3 Results
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