Sebastian Vettel has topped the final practice session in Austria, lapping the Red Bull Ring a tenth of a second quicker than his teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton put in a late lap on the ultra-soft tyres to finish a further tenth of a second behind Raikkonen, while Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finished ahead of Max Verstappen in fourth, half a second off the pace.

The session was red flagged with 20 minutes left to go when Nico Rosberg’s left rear suspension unhinged itself at the exit of Turn Two, sending him into a spin and eventually into the wall causing heavy damage to his Mercedes.

Since the red flag came in the latter stages of the session, many driver’s lap times were compromised including Hamilton, who had just joined the track on a new pair of ultra-softs.

Once practice resumed with just over 10 minutes to run, the track was full with drivers attempting to complete their qualifying simulations in limited time.

Fernando Alonso was caught out by the new kerbs at Turn Eight when he ran too wide and the kerbs damaged the front wing and sidepod of his McLaren. Despite the incident the Spaniard finished the session in 10th position, while his teammate Jenson Button was a fraction quicker in ninth.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas spun in the closing stages of practice as he lost control entering the final corner on a flying lap. The Finn ended the session seven-tenths off the pace in sixth position ahead of Felipe Massa in seventh.

Force India was again a presence in the top 10 with Nico Hulkenberg finishing in eighth position and a tenth of a second ahead of Sergio Perez in 11th.

The Haas pair were still off the pace as Esteban Gutierrez finished in 12th position while teammate Romain Grosjean was a tenth further behind in 14th. Both drivers were just under 1.5 seconds off Vettel’s benchmark.

Image via XPB Images

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Josh Kruse

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