Valtteri Bottas completed a Mercedes clean sweep of the practice sessions for the French Formula 1 Grand Prix, posting the quickest time in a rain-marred final session at Circuit Paul Ricard.
An unexpected downpour lashed the Le Castellet circuit shortly after the session began, with Bottas’ first timed lap on Ultrasoft tyres proving to be the benchmark effort for the remainder of the session.
The only other drivers able to post a representative lap time in the dry conditions were Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr and Sauber’s Charles Lerclec, who completed an unusual and unrepresentative top-three on the timesheets.
Ten minutes into the one-hour session and the entire circuit was now wet, with teams ordering their drivers back into the pits to avoid risking any damage to their cars ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session, which is now also expected to be rain-affected.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso led a number of drivers onto the circuit in its final ten minutes to have a run on wet-weather tyres, but off-track moments by the Williams pairing of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll – whose sole laps were almost half a minute off Bottas’ pace – proved conditions were simply too slippery.
The two Haas drivers, as well as Brendon Hartley, Nico Hülkenberg and Max Verstappen did not attempt to post a lap time.
Hartley ran a few exploratory laps in his Toro Rosso to ensure its replacement Honda engine was working properly. The New Zealander will start at the back of the grid after being forced to swap to a new power unit when his suffered a terminal failure in Friday’s second practice session which was topped by Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Qualifying gets underway at 16:00 local time (GMT +2).
|FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:33.666||3|
|2.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:34.953||+ 1.287||3|
|3.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:35.012||+ 1.346||5|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:36.365||+ 2.699||4|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:36.756||+ 3.090||5|
|6.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:37.547||+ 3.881||4|
|7.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:38.318||+ 4.651||5|
|8.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:38.450||+ 4.784||3|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:39.641||+ 5.975||4|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:39.738||+ 6.072||3|
|11.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:40.087||+ 6.421||4|
|12.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:40.743||+ 7.077||3|
|13.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:49.711||+ 16.045||3|
|14.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||2:02.399||+ 28.733||4|
|15.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||2:04.093||+ 30.247||5|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||no time||1|
|17.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||no time||3|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||no time||1|
|19.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||no time||2|
|20.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||no time||3|
Image via Formula1.com