Ferrari will head into qualifying for the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix as favourites to claim pole position after completing a clean sweep of the event’s three practice sessions.
As was the case in Friday’s second practice session, championship leader Sebastian Vettel edged out teammate Kimi Räikkönen to go to post the fastest lap time seen so far this weekend, giving the team a 1-2 result on the session timesheets ahead of the Mercedes drivers.
The German whittled his way down to a 1:34.001 lap time during a stint on the Ultra Soft Pirelli tyres, posting a succession of fast times over the course of the run.
Räikkönen too looked tidy, finishing three-tenths of a second off his teammate’s pace to mirror his FP2 result after being the fast driver in the opening practice session.
His Finnish compatriot Valtteri Bottas was a mere fraction behind in the first of the Mercedes’, with teammate Lewis Hamilton fourth-fastest. Hamilton appeared to be right on the limit and narrowly avoided clouting the wall when his car suffered snap oversteer.
The ‘best of the rest’ honours once again went to Red Bull Racing with Max Verstappen going fifth-fastest, albeit a full 1.5 seconds off the pace of the Ferraris.
His teammate Daniel Ricciardo suffered a momentary loss of power in his RB13 which compromised his final run and left the Australian eighth-fastest behind Williams’ Felipe Massa and Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg.
Carlos Sainz Jr took his Toro Rosso ninth-fastest ahead of Kevin Magnussen, whose Haas F1 Team elected to abandon their switch to Carbon Industrie brakes and reverted to Brembo after running with the former on Friday.
The switch back to Brembo did nothing to reduce teammate Romain Grosjean’s almost constant complaints over the pit-to-car radio. The Frenchman was bitterly unhappy with the handling of his car, which lapped half a second slower than Magnussen and confined him to sixteenth-fastest overall.
Williams rookie Lance Stroll had his first hit-out on the Ultra Soft tyres this weekend and put the sticky rubber to good use by placing eleventh-quickest. The Canadian teenager was, however, still over a second slower than teammate Massa on the same tyres.
Force India teammates Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez were twelfth- and fifteenth-fastest in the session, sandwiching the second Toro Rosso of local driver Daniil Kvyat and Fernando Alonso, who once again led McLaren Honda’s charge.
Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was seventeenth on the timing screens, ahead of the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.
Jolyon Palmer’s troubled weekend continued, with the Englishman failing to set a time in the session. His Renault team opted to switch him to the spare chassis for the rest of the weekend, completing an overnight assembly in a marathon session for his mechanics. Unfortunately he encountered troubles with the power unit early on, forcing the team to spend the rest of the session swapping that out so he can make it out in time for qualifying later in the afternoon.
Saturday’s qualifying session at Sochi will begin at 15:00 local time (GMT +3).
|2017 FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:34.001||17|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:34.338||16|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:34.364||20|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:34.542||19|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:35.452||21|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:35.471||17|
|7.||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:35.662||15|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:35.830||24|
|9.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:36.164||20|
|10.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:36.556||19|
|11.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:36.649||19|
|12.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:36.676||22|
|13.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:36.846||18|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:36.869||12|
|15.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:36.962||21|
|16.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:37.164||20|
|17.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:37.182||15|
|18.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:37.503||21|
|19.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:37.657||17|
|20.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||no time||4|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari