French Grand Prix – Valtteri Bottas set the pace ahead of Carlos Sainz in the final free practice session at the Circuit Paul Ricard, but a heavy rain shower meant that any lap times were insignificant.
A heavy downpour in the opening minutes of the session meant that minimal running was completed, meaning that the expected qualifying simulations were not completed before the qualifying hour.
Of the drivers who decided to leave the pits in the dry opening minutes of the session, Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time of a 1:33.666. However, with rain already starting to fall at turn five, drivers were unable to complete anything close to a qualifying simulation.
The lack of running is perhaps a bigger problem for the Finn, who was denied the opportunity to complete qualifying and race simulations on Friday after he was forced to end his free practice two session early due to a water leak.
Second fastest was Renault’s Carlos Sainz, albeit over one second off the pace, followed by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
With the rain intensity quickly increasing, several drivers failed to set a dry lap time, with regular front-runners Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen well down the order.
Despite the varying predictions about whether or not rain will affect the qualifying session later today, the many of the teams refrained from completing any wet-weather running and remained in the pits for the remainder of free practice three.
A handful of drivers ventured out of the pits in the final ten minutes of the session; McLaren’s Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley and the Williams pairing of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll.
Emphasising the difficulty of the conditions, Leclerc, Stroll and Sirotkin had harmless off-track moments as they tested the wet-weather track.
To view the full results from the session, click here.