Sebastian Vettel has stayed on top of the timesheets in Saturday’s final practice session for the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. The German lowered the Monte Carlo circuit’s unofficial lap record once again to lead Kimi Räikkönen in a Ferrari 1-2.
Vettel wound up just over three-tenths of a second clear of his teammate, continuing his pace-setting form after dominating Thursday’s second practice session.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas led the way in the early stages, but was almost immediately usurped by his compatriot Räikkönen, who clocked a 1:13.568. Bottas rallied, but ultimately fell five-hundredths of a second short of returning to top spot.
After giving himself a brief scare when he came close to nosing the barriers at Antony Noghes, Räikkönen went quicker on his next flying lap with a 1:13.379.
Räikkönen was then briefly toppled by the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, but the Briton was soon overhauled by the two Ferraris once again as Vettel moved to top spot with a 1:12.890 lap time.
The Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso entries then began to lap in earnest, which saw Bottas shuffled further down the order as an impressive Daniil Kvyat split the two Silver Arrows.
Max Verstappen, meanwhile, managed to get between the two Ferraris on the time sheets with a lap just five-hundredths of a second slower than Vettel before the red cars responded once again with Räikkönen and then Vettel reasserting themselves on top of the timing screens.
Bottas lapped below the 1m13s range on a later run to move into third, but the momentum of the session was interrupted when Force India rookie Esteban Ocon had his second encounter with the barriers this weekend.
The Frenchman had survived a scrape with the Armco in Thursday’s second practice session, but did major damage to the front end of his car with a crash exiting the Swimming Pool complex. The crash was caused by Ocon skimming the barriers at the chicane, breaking his front suspension which then pitched him nose-first into the barriers.
Race officials elected to declare a Virtual Safety Car – rather than a red flag – while the marshals worked to extricate Ocon’s battered car from the barriers.
Track action was resumed with barely four minutes of the session to run, leaving the field with little opportunity to move up the timesheets.
That left the Ferraris atop the timesheets ahead of Bottas, Verstappen and Hamilton. Last year’s Monaco pole-winner Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth-fastest, but worryingly suffered a brake failure after crossing the finish line to receive the chequered flag.
The Australian managed to pull his car up before it hit the barriers at Sainte Devote, but it will leave his mechanics with extra work to do ahead of this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session.
Toro Rosso’s strong Monaco weekend continued, with Carlos Sainz Jr. edging out teammate Kvyat to claim seventh overall. Kevin Magnussen put his Ferrari-powered Haas ninth-fastest, ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.
With teammate Jenson Button in twelfth, the two McLarens were split by Force India’s Sergio Pérez. Despite his crash, Ocon managed to claim thirteenth in the second VJM10.
The Williams team’s patchy form continued with its FW40s lapping in the lower half of the field. Felipe Massa led the way in fourteenth, and was again comfortably quicker than rookie teammate Lance Stroll.
The Grove team’s cars were separated by six-tenths of a second, as well as Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
After managing only eight laps in FP2 before an engine issue struck, Hülkenberg’s teammate Jolyon Palmer was well behind the German and only ahead of the Sauber drivers.
Saturday’s qualifying session in Monaco will begin at 14:00 local time (GMT +2).
|FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2017 – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:12.395||23|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:12.740||26|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:12.830||29|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:12.940||27|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:13.230||26|
|6.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:13.392||24|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:13.400||27|
|8.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:13.563||22|
|9.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:13.596||20|
|10.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:13.805||21|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:13.936||23|
|12.||Jenson Button||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:13.976||26|
|13.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:14.072||21|
|14.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:14.072||28|
|15.||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:14.283||24|
|16.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:14.547||23|
|17.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:14.675||35|
|18.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:15.164||25|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:15.291||28|
|20.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:15.863||26|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari