Valtteri Bottas has led an all-Finnish lockout of the timesheets in Saturday’s practice session for the Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix, finishing the one-hour session fastest ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen.
The session, meanwhile sprang concerns for championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Friday pacesetter Max Verstappen, who both struck technical trouble.
Vettel’s problems reared their head on the German’s first run, prompting his team to call him into the pits. After a lengthy spell in the garage, he went back out before being told to box his car once more.
The Ferrari team confirmed that Vettel’s car had suffered a “loss in the hydraulic pressure circuit” and they restricted his running to allow enough time to prepare for the afternoon’s all-important qualifying session.
Meanwhile Verstappen, who finished fastest in both of Friday’s practice sessions, before a crash in FP2, again ended his session early. The Dutch driver reported an engine problem over the pit-to-car team radio before grinding to a halt at Turn 16.
Up at the front of the field, Bottas proved to be the session’s pacesetter on both the Soft and Super Soft tyres, lowering the circuit’s unofficial lap record on the latter compound with a time of 1:42.742.
Just under one-tenth of a second slower came Räikkönen, with the 2007 champion sandwiched by Bottas and teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Amid Verstappen’s dramas, Daniel Ricciardo showed the strength of Red Bull Racing’s RB13 chassis by lapping fourth-fastest, ahead of an impressive Esteban Ocon in the Force India. Despite his stoppage, Verstappen was seventh-quickest.
The Williams team continued its solid Baku form by getting both cars into the top ten. Felipe Massa lapped fractionally quicker than rookie teammate Lance Stroll, who is enjoying a new turn of confidence after his first points’ finish at the preceding Canadian Grand Prix. The Canadian finished ninth-fastest behind Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
Sergio Pérez took the second Force India tenth-fastest, ahead of the troubled Vettel, who was sandwiched between Nico Hülkenberg’s Renault and Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso.
Hülkenberg’s teammate Jolyon Palmer encountered more dramas, with the Englishman’s car catching fire early in the session. The former GP2 Series champion looks unlikely to be able to particpate in qualifying, which gets underway at 17:00 local time (GMT +4).
|2017 FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:42.742||21|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:42.837||14|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:43.158||23|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:43.287||24|
|5.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:43.344||21|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:43.614||16|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:43.738||18|
|8.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:43.908||21|
|9.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:44.040||17|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:44.138||22|
|11.||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:44.312||16|
|12.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:44.344||7|
|13.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:44.401||23|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:44.741||18|
|15.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:44.926||20|
|16.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:45.143||17|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:45.491||20|
|18.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:45.645||21|
|19.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:45.722||19|
|20.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:53.040||M||4|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team