Sebastian Vettel has shown his credentials as a threat to claim pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix after going quickest in final practice at the Red Bull Ring.

By contrast, Friday pace-setter and his main championship rival Lewis Hamilton finished second-quickest, but suffered a worrying brake failure late in the session.

Hamilton was trying to chase down Vettel’s session-topping effort of 1:05.092 when he appeared to suffer a front-right brake disc failure on approach to Turn 3. The Englishman slid up the escape road and narrowly managed to avoid any major damage to his Mercedes, but the incident will give the team cause for concern ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session.

The problem threatens to compound the five-place grid penalty Hamilton will serve on Sunday’s race for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Traffic played a major role in the session with many drivers appearing to get in each other’s way over the course of the hour-long session. Behind the leading duo came their respective teammates, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen claiming third- and fourth-fastest on the timesheets.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was the session’s early pace-setter on U;tra Soft tyres, but fell to fifth as others improved on their qualifying-style runs. The Dutchman once again edged out teammate Daniel Ricciardo, although the gap between them was just one-tenth of a second.

The two Haas Ferraris enjoyed a strong session, with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean claiming seventh and eighth respectively. Both drivers, however, seemed to feature heavily in holding up faster cars during the session.

Continuing a rather Noah’s Ark formation, the two Toro Rosso entries rounded out the top ten, with Daniil Kvyat finishing ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. It was an impressive session from Sainz, who lost half of the session when his STR12 stopped on track on its out-lap with an engine cut-out. The marshals managed to recover his car to the pits, where the team was able to restart his car so he could rejoin the action.

After featuring inside the top ten on Friday, both McLarens slipped down the order. Stoffel Vandoorne was quicker in thirteenth place, while teammate Fernando Alonso – who reverted to Honda’s ‘Spec 2’ power unit overnight after his upgraded motor developed a MGU-H issue – was two spots behind.

Saturday’s qualifying session in Spielberg will begin at 14:00 local time (GMT +2).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:05.092 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
2. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:05.361 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
3. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:05.515 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
4. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:05.611 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
5. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:05.784 Pirelli Ultra Soft 23
6. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:05.896 Pirelli Ultra Soft 28
7. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:05.936 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
8. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:06.015 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
9. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:06.279 Pirelli Ultra Soft 27
10. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:06.284 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
11. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:06.374 Pirelli Ultra Soft 25
12. Nico Hülkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:06.563 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
13. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:06.578 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
14. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:06.595 Pirelli Ultra Soft 22
15. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:06.599 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
16. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:06.776 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
17. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:06.865 Pirelli Ultra Soft 23
18. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:06.875 Pirelli Ultra Soft 27
19. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:07.378 Pirelli Ultra Soft 20
20. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:07.468 Pirelli Ultra Soft 24

Image via Scuderia Ferrari

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.