Scuderia Ferrari maintained its Friday pace advantage over Mercedes-AMG into Saturday’s final practice hit-out for the Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix. The red cars piloted by Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel dominated the final one-hour session, finishing over a second of the rest of the field.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen beat the two Silver Arrows to third-fastest, with the Mercedes W10 challengers of Valtteri Bottas and championship leader Lewis Hamilton languishing fourth- and fifth-quickest.
The Mercedes’ are typically able to pull out something special in qualifying, but eliminating a gap of over 1.4 seconds to the Ferraris will be an epic achievement on Saturday afternoon.
A tight midfield scrap was headed by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and his rookie teammate Alexander Albon – the latter narrowly avoiding an incident with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. when the Spaniard was on a flying lap – with the duo surprisingly split by the Haas Ferrari of Kevin Magnussen.
Two-time Baku podium visitor Sergio Pérez put his Racing Point Mercedes ninth-fastest ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen – the Finn’s teammate Antonio Giovinazzi was a solid twelfth-fastest, however the Italian will serve a 10-place grid penalty for a power unit element change.
Propping up the bottom of the timesheets, behind the Williams pairing of Robert Kubica and George Russell, was the second Red Bull Racing Honda of Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman will start Sunday’s race from the pit lane after missing a weighbridge check at the end of FP2, and chose instead to use the session to focus on race set-up work. It is not expected that he will take part in qualifying later today.
|FORMULA 1 SOCAR AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:41.604||+ 0.418||14|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:41.802||+ 0.198||14|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:42.852||+ 1.248||16|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:43.064||+ 1.460||19|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:43.176||+ 1.572||17|
|6.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:43.223||+ 1.619||18|
|7.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:43.294||+ 1.690||19|
|8.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:43.300||+ 1.696||19|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:43.430||+ 1.826||15|
|10.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:43.537||+ 1.933||19|
|11.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:43.561||+ 1.957||20|
|12.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:43.637||+ 2.033||20|
|13.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:43.924||+ 2.320||20|
|14.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:43.978||+ 2.374||19|
|15.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:44.039||+ 2.435||16|
|16.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:44.043||+ 2.439||19|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:44.374||+ 2.770||16|
|18.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:46.000||+ 4.396||19|
|19.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:46.290||+ 4.686||20|
|20.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:47.836||+ 6.232||22|
Image via Formula1.com