Austrian GP: Vettel quickest in FP3, more problems for Alonso

Sebastian Vettel topped a rain-hit final practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix, as Fernando Alonso and McLaren hit trouble once again.

Vettel, quickest in Friday practice, led the way with a lap of 1:09.994, set on soft tyres before the rain hit the circuit at the halfway point and rendered the remaining part useless.

No leading driver managed to complete a timed lap with the supersofts ahead of qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton finished second behind Vettel and ahead of the German's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Sergio Perez was fourth fastest for Force India, with Nico Rosberg completing the top five.

The Mercedes driver were quick to jump to the top of the times, with Rosberg first and then Hamilton going fastest, the Briton starting the day with a lap of 1:11.131.

Hamilton upped the pace as his first run progressed, the Briton posting a 1:10:255 before Vettel dipped into the 1:09s to grab first place after the 10-minute mark.

Hamilton improved seconds later, but fell 0.017s short on Vettel's benchmark.

Despite the threat of rain, all the early runs where done with the soft tyres.

Alonso trouble

Alonso, facing a 20-place grid penalty plus a drive-through in the race, was the first driver to go out with the supersofts some 22 minutes into the session.

But McLaren's dismal weekend continued, and the Spaniard's car broke down after the halfway point, stopping on the main straight and causing a red flag.

McLaren reported the car suffered a gearbox problem, and it is believed it will need replacing, meaning more penalties for the Spaniard.

The rain hit the track while the session was stopped, and most drivers lined up at the end of the pitlane trying to find the time to test the supersofts.

However, the rain intensified quickly and drenched the track, making all the drivers crawl back to the pits.

Only Nico Hulkenberg braved the conditions initially, going for a run on intermediate tyres before pitting after just an untimed lap.

Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen went out with full wets with eight minutes left, but the Spaniard went off the track and then spun his Toro Rosso.

Other drivers also ventured out later on, but struggled to keep their cars under control.

Other incidents included Force India's Perez suffering a puncture early on, while Romain Grosjean was forced to return to the pits halfway through the session after reporting he could not get his Lotus in gear. 

Pos.  Driver   Team   Time   Gap   Laps 
 Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari 1:09.994   16
 Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes 1:10.011 0.017 16
 Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari 1:10.177 0.183 12
 Sergio Perez  Force India 1:10.221 0.227 14
 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes 1:10.332 0.338 23
 Felipe Massa  Williams 1:10.408 0.414 18
 Valtteri Bottas  Williams 1:10.417 0.423 14
 Max Verstappen  Toro Rosso 1:10.436 0.442 23
 Pastor Maldonado  Lotus 1:10.576 0.582 12
10   Romain Grosjean  Lotus 1:10.863 0.869 8
11   Nico Hulkenberg  Force India 1:11.009 1.015 14
12   Marcus Ericsson  Sauber 1:11.058 1.064 22
13   Carlos Sainz  Toro Rosso 1:11.139 1.145 18
14   Daniil Kvyat  Red Bull 1:11.139 1.145 14
15   Fernando Alonso  McLaren 1:11.168 1.174 13
16   Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull 1:11.819 1.825 10
17   Felipe Nasr  Sauber 1:11.906 1.912 9
18   Jenson Button  McLaren 1:12.616 2.622 16
19   Will Stevens  Marussia 1:13.328 3.334 14
20   Roberto Merhi  Marussia 1:13.960 3.966 8


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Austrian GP
Track Red Bull Ring
Article type Breaking news