Max Verstappen has edged Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the fastest time in the third and final practice session of the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Following on from teammate Daniel Ricciardo dominating Friday’s two earlier sessions, Verstappen clocked a 1:41.829 on the Ultra Soft Pirelli tyre compound to finish just 0.072 seconds clear of Vettel. Current championship leader Lewis Hamilton hauled his Mercedes to third-quickest, a similar margin adrift of Vettel’s Ferrari.
The Dutch youngster had cause for alarm after posting his fastest lap when he reported his RB13 was “shifting [gears] by itself”. Teammate Ricciardo also triggered concern on his own side of the garage when he clipped the wall on his low-fuel run and cost himself a faster lap time than his sixth-fastest effort reflects.
Both cars were, however, back out on track before the end of the session, with Ricciardo’s car undergoing a rapid torsion bar change in the pits after his brush with the cement barriers.
The Australian finished behind the two McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, who underscored just how much Honda’s poor performance had contributed to the team’s inevitable divorce from the Japanese engine builder. The pace and grip from the MCL32 chassis looked strong, making the two drivers genuine contenders for a top-ten qualifying result later tonight.
The walls surrounding the five-kilometre circuit continued to have a rather magnetic attraction, with a number of drivers joining Ricciardo in coming close to – or even suffering – grief as they explored the grip limits available. The Australian was kept company by the likes of Vettel and his Ferrari teammate Kimi Räikkönen, along with Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll, in scraping the barriers.
The headline victim of the barriers was Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who had a low-speed spin into the wall at the exit of Turn 19. His car snapped into oversteer as he applied power to accelerate from the corner, causing significant damage to the rear wing and rear crash structure. The session was briefly red-flagged so marshals could clean up the debris left at the corner.
The restarting of the session triggered plenty of on-track action in the final minutes, with Vettel provisionally going fastest overall before he was usurped by Verstappen.
Nico Hülkenberg showed good pace in his Renault to finish seventh-fastest ahead of a nervous Bottas, who was a full six-tenths slower than Hamilton’s sister Mercedes.
Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest in seventh for Renault, with Valtteri Bottas failing to improve on his final run and ending up six tenths adrift of Mercedes team-mate Hamilton.
Bottas’ countryman Räikkönen was an underwhelming ninth-fastest and 0.8 seconds off teammate Vettel’s pace, ahead of the Force Indias of Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon.
Saturday’s qualifying session at Marina Bay will begin at 21:00 local time (GMT +8).
|2017 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:41.829||12|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:41.901||13|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:41.971||16|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:42.383||11|
|5.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:42.439||13|
|6.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:42.517||11|
|7.||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:42.549||10|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:42.592||16|
|9.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:42.708||16|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:43.010||14|
|11.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:43.109||15|
|12.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:43.356||17|
|13.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:43.368||11|
|14.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:43.574||17|
|15.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:43.724||17|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:44.041||16|
|17.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:44.223||18|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:44.295||16|
|19.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:45.760||15|
|20.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:46.339||7|
Image via Red Bull Racing