Azerbaijan GP: Vettel quickest in red-flagged FP3

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Azerbaijan GP: Vettel quickest in red-flagged FP3
Valentin Khorounzhiy
By: Valentin Khorounzhiy
Apr 28, 2018, 11:10 AM

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel set the pace in a red-flagged third free practice session for Formula 1's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-18 Ferrari
Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18

Vettel ended the session 0.361s clear of his nearest rival, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, but came up short of the overall best lap of the weekend set by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on Friday.

The Saturday morning practice was briefly suspended for a late crash for rookie Sergey Sirotkin, whose Williams FW41 suffered a hard impact with the outside wall at the Turn 3 left-hander.

The session began with a round of installation laps, with Ricciardo putting the first flyer on the board eight minutes after the green flag waved.

His early benchmark was immediately surpassed by Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel, the pair then trading the session lead several times before the latter managed a 1m43.176s to end the opening run seven tenths clear of his teammate.

The Ferrari 1-2 remained past halfway, before the two Mercedes cars split Vettel and Raikkonen – with Valtteri Bottas recovering from two off-track excursions on his opening run to go second on fresh ultrasofts.

But Raikkonen then swiftly reclaimed second place, before Vettel a logged a minor improvement with a 1m43.091s effort.

Shortly after Hamilton broke up the Ferrari 1-2 once more, Sirotkin's crash suspended track action, with only three minutes left on the clock when the running resumed.

The top three remained unchanged, with Vettel leading Hamilton and Raikkonen, but Red Bull's Max Verstappen put a lap together to pip Bottas to fourth place.

Force India's Sergio Perez was sixth despite going off on his final effort, with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen in seventh.

Magnussen's teammate Grosjean endured a difficult session in 15th, struggling badly with oversteer on his opening run and suffering a spin at the Turn 16 left-hander.

Lance Stroll was eighth for Williams, with Esteban Ocon and Sirotkin making it two Force Indias and two Williams cars respectively in the top 10.

Friday pacesetter Ricciardo was only 12th, the Aussie forced to abort a late push lap in traffic.

With harder tyres at a premium heading into the race, all teams but Renault ran exclusively on ultrasofts.

The French manufacturer's pair of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg ran supersofts for most of the session, and ended up 16th and 17th in the timesheets.

Session results

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGap
1 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 17 1'43.091  
2 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 16 1'43.452 0.361
3 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 17 1'43.493 0.402
4 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 17 1'43.519 0.428
5 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 20 1'43.569 0.478
6 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 9 1'43.936 0.845
7 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 11 1'43.958 0.867
8 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 8 1'44.123 1.032
9 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 11 1'44.220 1.129
10 russia Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 9 1'44.534 1.443
11 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 12 1'44.763 1.672
12 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 17 1'44.861 1.770
13 france Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 16 1'44.905 1.814
14 monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 15 1'45.218 2.127
15 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 12 1'45.261 2.170
16 spain Carlos Sainz  Renault Renault 15 1'45.432 2.341
17 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 11 1'45.456 2.365
18 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 13 1'45.505 2.414
19 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 17 1'45.910 2.819
20 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 11 1'46.186 3.095
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Azerbaijan GP
Location Baku City Circuit
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
Article type Practice report