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).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:41.829 Pirelli Ultra Soft 12
2. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:41.901 Pirelli Ultra Soft 13
3. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:41.971 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
4. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:42.383 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
5. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:42.439 Pirelli Ultra Soft 13
6. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:42.517 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
7. Nico Hulkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:42.549 Pirelli Ultra Soft 10
8. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:42.592 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
9. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:42.708 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
10. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:43.010 Pirelli Ultra Soft 14
11. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:43.109 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
12. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:43.356 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
13. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:43.368 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
14. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:43.574 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
15. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:43.724 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
16. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:44.041 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
17. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:44.223 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
18. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:44.295 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
19. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:45.760 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
20. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:46.339 Pirelli Ultra Soft 7

Image via Red Bull Racing

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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.