Final practice for the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix proved to be a closely-fought affair, although Mercedes once again led the way on the stopwatch.
After newly-crowned four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver in Friday’s two practice sessions, this time it was the turn of his teammate Valtteri Bottas to set the pace.
With just over 0.05 seconds covering the fastest four drivers, Bottas headed the order with a time of 1:09.281 on Pirelli’s Super Soft compound. Hamilton followed in his wake just 0.003 seconds slower, with the two Ferraris of Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel hot on their heels just 0.045 and 0.058 seconds off the pace respectively.
Red Bull Racing kept both of its drivers in the garage early in the session to preserve engine mileage and proved unable to match the pace of the top four. Almost a second slower than Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo ended the session fifth on the timesheets. Teammate Max Verstappen, who struggled with understeer, could manage no better than ninth-fastest and scuppered his attempt at a qualifying-style lap on Super Soft tyres with a wild spin exiting Junção.
Just four-hundredths slower than Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso hauled his McLaren-Honda sixth fastest ahead of Force India duo Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon. Behind Verstappen, Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. completed the top ten.
In their wake came the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne and Williams’ Felipe Massa, while the second Renault of Nico Hülkenberg split the Haas pairing of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.
While tensions exploded in a public slanging match between Toro Rosso and their outgoing engine supplier Renault, the team’s drivers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley knuckled down to finish 16th and 17th respectively. Still making up lost mileage, the pair topped the lap count and clocked over 60 laps in the one-hour session.
Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson brought up the rear with the slowest times.
Williams rookie Lance Stroll managed a single lap before stopping out on track with a suspected gearbox issue. When his car was returned to the pits, the team’s mechanics set about changing the car’s gearbox and engine, which will give the Canadian youngster a grid penalty for Sunday’s race.
Saturday’s qualifying session at Interlagos, which now looks set to be run in dry weather conditions, will begin at 14:00 local time (GMT -2).
|FORMULA 1 GRANDE PRÊMIO HEINEKEN DO BRASIL 2017 – FREE PRACTICE 3 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:09.281||24|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:09.284||26|
|3.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:09.326||20|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:09.339||21|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:10.244||14|
|6.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:10.288||15|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:10.322||21|
|8.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:10.357||23|
|9.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:10.495||9|
|10.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:10.599||23|
|11.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:10.637||21|
|12.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:10.671||14|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:10.721||19|
|14.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:10.743||18|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:10.762||20|
|16.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:10.981||32|
|17.||Brendon Hartley||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:11.085||30|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:11.126||25|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:11.480||27|
|20.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||no time||1|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team