Vettel leads tightly-contested final practice, Verstappen hits trouble – FP3 Report

Ferrari looking to challenge Mercedes in Austrian qualifying

Austrian Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time of the weekend ahead of Lewis Hamilton to set up a potentially close qualifying hour at the Red Bull Ring.

With drivers seemingly able to complete more than one qualifying lap on the same set of tyres, the Ferrari driver’s lap time of 1:04.070 was just 0.029 of a second of his Mercedes championship rival, with the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas close behind in third.

Kimi Raikkonen finished a couple of tenths further back, whilst Red Bull appear to be short of the pace required to challenge for victory, with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo several tenths behind.

The thousands of fans situated in the Max Verstappen grandstand have been given cause for concern ahead of qualifying. The Red Bull ground to halt with less than ten minutes to go after a complete car shutdown, possibly due to an electrical issue.

Despite Austria’s lack of corners, drivers still frequently found the limits of the Red Bull Ring’s high-speed turns; there were off-track moments for front-runners Verstappen and Raikkonen at turns four and eight respectively, and Hamilton locked up and ran deep into turn three.

Haas continued their strong Friday pace by taking seventh and eighth, with Romain Grosjean leading Kevin Magnussen.

Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc completed the top ten.

After a damaging Friday practice for both McLaren and Toro Rosso, both Brendon Hartley and Stoffel Vandoorne wrote off front wings when they ran wide on the exit of turn nine.

Both drivers ran onto the higher yellow kerbs and sustained damage to their front wing end plates, setting back their sessions.

To view the results of the session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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