Monaco GP: Vettel beats Mercedes in final practice

Sebastian Vettel defeated the Mercedes duo in Free Practice 3 at Monaco for Ferrari, in a session that was halted at the halfway point when his teammate Kimi Raikkonen hit the wall.

Vettel set his 1m16.143s fastest time with less than four minutes remaining on a second set of supersofts, while Mercedes' Nico Rosberg jumped to second with a late lap of 1m16.361, 0.218s off the pace.

Teams required answers in this session from the supersoft tyres, which had not been run (bar Pastor Maldonado's brief adventure) this weekend due to rain in Thursday's FP2, so teams had an extra set of tyres available over normal.

Lewis Hamilton went straight out on the supersoft, recording a 1m19.074s, then a slow lap, then 1m17.504s. After straightlining the Nouvelle Chicane, he attacked again, put in a 1m17.021s, then overshot the chicane again.

Hamilton then went quickest on his eighth lap, lowing the top time to 1m16.705s.

Teammate Nico Rosberg, also on the supersofts, was 0.566s down after their nine-lap stint. He reported: "Too much oversteer, I think we need to reduce the engine braking."

Mercedes switched to the soft for the middle element of the session. Hamilton came perilously close to hitting the barrier after losing control of the rear of his car on the bump under braking for the Nouvelle Chicane.

Rosberg improved his time on the soft tyre, a 1m17.139s, moving to within 0.434s of Hamilton. He rejoined for a final supersoft run, improving his time to 1m16.770s, just 0.065s off Hamilton.

Hamilton grumbled he "seemed to have lost some grip" on his final supersoft run, and then "something's not right with this car".

Ferrari joined session late, and ran initially on the soft-compound tyre. Raikkonen set 1:18.092, the fastest time on the soft at that point 1.3s off Hamilton's pace, with Vettel over 0.5s off Raikkonen's pace, not helped by a huge lock-up at the Nouvelle Chicane.

On his first supersoft run, Vettel leapt up to second on 1:16.885, 0.18s off Hamilton's pace with a relatively short stint suggesting a much lower fuel load.

Raikkonen's first run on the supersoft yielded a 1:17.401, 0.696s off the pace, before he promptly deposited his Ferrari into the wall at Ste Devote. "I think I've lost the left-rear," he reported.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo went fourth quickest on his second supersoft run, 0.977s off the pace. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) was an impressive fifth.

Raikkonen ended up sixth, ahead of Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) and Jenson Button (McLaren).

Thursday's star Max Verstappen spun his Toro Rosso backwards into the barrier at Anthony Nogues. "Rear wing is damaged," he reported as he dragged the car back to the pits. He was ninth fastest, ahead of Lotus's Romain Grosjean.

Marcus Ericsson had a huge moment at Ste Devote, just keeping his Sauber out of the wall. Sergio Perez also had a scare at Rascasse avoiding a Ferrari, but just managed not to hit anything with his Force India.

Pos   Driver   Car / Engine   Time  Gap   Laps 
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1'16.143   27
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1'16.361 0.218 31
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1'16.705 0.562 31
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1'17.120 0.977 26
Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1'17.256 1.113 39
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1'17.401 1.258 11
Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1'17.471 1.328 28
Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1'17.767 1.624 28
Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1'17.788 1.645 23
10  Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1'17.806 1.663 28
11  Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1'17.832 1.689 30
12  Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1'17.956 1.813 28
13  Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1'18.102 1.959 32
14  Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1'18.197 2.054 26
15  Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1'18.212 2.069 29
16  Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1'18.242 2.099 32
17  Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1'18.767 2.624 38
18  Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1'19.269 3.126 37
19  Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1'21.093 4.950 31
20  Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1'22.225 6.082 30
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Monaco GP
Sub-event Saturday practice
Track Monte Carlo
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari
Article type Practice report