Sebastian Vettel has registered a late blistering lap to top the timesheets, two-tenths of a second ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton was a further three-tenths behind in third as his last attempted at a flying lap was hampered by traffic.

Hamilton, who had spent most of the session quickest, was beaten by Vettel with three minutes left to run in the session. The Briton had two chances to respond to Vettel’s lap, however, as most drivers were still on track preparing for qualifying, a line of cars had formed at La Rascasse which put an end to his lap before he could start it.

The Mercedes pair along with the two Manor Marussia drivers were the only cars who opted to run the super soft tyre at the beginning of the session.

Since FP2 was mostly rained out, this final practice session was critical for teams to gather as much data as they could for the race, which included running on the super soft tyre for the first time this weekend. Pastor Maldonado was the only driver of the field who ran with the super soft tyre before rain disrupted FP2.

Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen spent almost the first 20 minutes of the session in their garage while the rest of the grid began their long runs on the soft compound tyre.

Raikkonen only managed 11 laps after he ran too deep into Sainte Devote and hit the wall, bringing out the red flag briefly. Despite his accident, Raikkonen’s best time was good enough to see him finish sixth in the session. The Ferrari mechanics will have a big task ahead of them if they want to get Raikkonen’s car ready for qualifying, as there is a good chance the side impact caused damage to his suspension and possibly his gearbox.

The only other incident to occur in the session came when Max Verstappen spun his Toro Rosso into the wall at the final corner, damaging his rear wing. Verstappen was able to continue around the circuit and back to the garage.

Red Bull looked to have gained some of their downforce back, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing in fourth and getting within a second of Vettel’s benchmark. Fellow Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat was four-tenths behind in seventh.

Jenson Button made it into the top 10 finishing eighth ahead of Verstappen, while Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 1.6 seconds behind Vettel’s best lap.

Both Williams cars finished well down the grid with Valtteri Bottas in 15th and Felipe Massa a fraction behind in 16th. The pair was just outpaced by Fernando Alonso in the Honda-powered McLaren.

Image via XPB Images


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Josh Kruse

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