German GP: Leclerc leads Sauber 1-2 in rain-hit FP3

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German GP: Leclerc leads Sauber 1-2 in rain-hit FP3
By: James Roberts
Jul 21, 2018, 11:10 AM

Sauber's Charles Leclerc topped the times in a rain-hit final Formula 1 practice session at Hockenheim on Saturday afternoon.

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18. Glenn Dunbar
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 Mark Sutton
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB14 Mark Sutton
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda, stops in his pit area. Andy Hone
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda. Andy Hone
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33

Only nine drivers set a laptime in FP3 after a period of over half an hour where no cars took to the circuit due to heavy rain.

It was a Sauber 1-2 at the top of the timesheets as Marcus Ericsson set a lap 0.423s slower than his teammate.

Sergey Sirotkin was third for Williams ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari, followed by the two Toro Rossos and Nico Hulkenberg. The Renault driver was the only driver to set a time for the majority of the hour, until the final 10 minutes.

Conditions were still treacherous and at the end Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll and Vettel all had spins on the slippery track.

Persistent rain started 30 minutes before the start of Saturday morning practice, which meant initially only 14 cars ventured out for just one install lap, but 15 minutes into the session the rain intensified, flooding the track and all further running was limited.

For over 35 minutes spectators had no choice but to watch large puddles form on an empty circuit, until there was a final flurry of cars taking to the track in the final ten minutes.

Hulkenberg completed a lap to set a time of 1m 36.873s 11 minutes into FP3 and two minutes after his lap, his teammate Carlos Sainz took to the circuit and spun at Turn 10 on the flooded surface.

He was able to return to the pits without damage, but Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul told Sky Sports that as the rain was getting heavier conditions had become "unsafe" and added there was "no point in running" especially with a limit on spare parts.

There was one close call in the pitlane early on as there was a misunderstanding between Red Bull's Max Verstappen and McLaren's Fernando Alonso with regards to who was about to stop at the end of the pitlane to attempt a practice start. They drove around each other without harm.

More rain is forecast for Hockenheim this afternoon with qualifying set to start two hours after the end of FP3.

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGapkm/h
1 monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 8 1'34.577   174.105
2 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 9 1'35.000 0.423 173.330
3 russia Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 9 1'35.334 0.757 172.723
4 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 5 1'35.573 0.996 172.291
5 france Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 6 1'35.659 1.082 172.136
6 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 6 1'36.151 1.574 171.255
7 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 4 1'36.873 2.296 169.979
8 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 4 1'37.755 3.178 168.445
9 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 7 1'38.393 3.816 167.353
10 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 2      
11 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 2      
12 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 1      
13 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 1      
14 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 2      
15 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 1      
16 spain Carlos Sainz  Renault Renault 2      
17 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 2      
18 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 2      
19 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 1      
20 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 2
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event German GP
Location Hockenheimring
Author James Roberts
Article type Practice report