Scuderia Ferrari extended the advantage it enjoyed in Friday’s second practice session over rivals Mercedes-AMG in the final practice hit-out at the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel led teammate Charles Leclerc to the Italian team’s second 1-2 result on the timesheets this weekend, with the pair split by a little over one-tenth of a second around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The pace of the team’s SF90 challengers – generally accepted to be the quickest cars in a straight line – was breathtaking, as both Vettel and Leclerc became the first drivers ever to lap the 4.3-kilometre circuit in less than 71 seconds. More positive was the cars’ ability to manage their tyre life on the Soft compound tyres, with Vettel’s fastest overall lap coming on the third flying lap of his second stint.
Mercedes-AMG, which has so far dominated the 2019 season with victory at every one of the six Grands Prix to-date – including five 1-2 finishes – was left on the back foot. Lewis Hamilton made up for losing most of his planned running thanks to his crash in FP2, was the better of the Silver Arrows duo, but the Englishman’s best time was still nearly 0.4 seconds off Vettel’s quickest lap.
His teammate Valtteri Bottas, currently trailing the current championship leader by 17 points, finished the session fourth-fastest.
Rival outfit red Bull Racing bounced back from a troubled FP2 session to claim fifth and sixth on the timesheets, with Max Verstappen leading a seemingly much more assured Pierre Gasly by less than one-tenth of a second. The Milton Keynes squad’s Honda-powered RB15 challengers do not look to have the pace to match the ‘big two’ factory teams, however, with both cars’ best laps roughly one second off the ultimate pace.
The battle of the midfielders looks to be a closely fought affair, with less than four-tenths of a second covering seventh through fourteenth on the timing screens. The ‘best of the rest’ mantle was claimed by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished a confidence-boosting seventh-fastest while teammate Nico Hülkenberg was just a quarter of a second slower than the Australian in eleventh.
Lando Norris kerb-hopped his McLaren to eighth-fastest, narrowly outpacing the Racing Point Mercedes of Sergio Pérez. The Mexican gave the Canadian-owned team some atonement, as his teammate Lance Stroll’s session came to an abrupt end with an hydraulics failure that turned into a dramatic fire at the back of his car. There are question marks as to whether the team can repair his car in time for qualifying this afternoon.
|FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DU CANADA – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 3|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:10.843||19|
|2.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:10.982||+ 0.139||17|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:11.236||+ 0.393||20|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:11.531||+ 0.688||19|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:11.842||+ 0.999||15|
|6.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:11.914||+ 1.071||19|
|7.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:12.045||+ 1.202||16|
|8.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:12.154||+ 1.311||17|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:12.175||+ 1.332||17|
|10.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:12.298||+ 1.455||23|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:12.305||+ 1.462||17|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:12.337||+ 1.494||17|
|13.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:12.399||+ 1.556||21|
|14.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:12.423||+ 1.580||20|
|15.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:12.627||+ 1.784||24|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:12.708||+ 1.865||19|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:13.197||+ 2.354||11|
|18.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:13.966||+ 3.123||17|
|19.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:14.426||+ 3.583||24|
|20.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||no time||1|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari