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Russian GP: Vettel, Raikkonen keep Ferrari on top in FP3

Russian GP: Vettel, Raikkonen keep Ferrari on top in FP3

Sebastian Vettel continued Ferrari's dominance at Sochi as he set the pace in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08 Hybrid
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32

The German clocked a 1m34.001s on the ultrasoft Pirelli tyres, 0.337s quicker than teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Valtteri Bottas was Ferrari's closest challenger, 0.363s adrift in third and two tenths ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari and Mercedes headed out on the ultrasoft tyres early in the session as they battled to understand how to use their tyres in the most effective away ahead of qualifying.

After the first runs, Hamilton was quickest, 0.105s quicker than Vettel with Bottas third, a further tenth-and-a-half adrift.

With 20 minutes to go, Mercedes headed back out first, with Bottas going quickest with a 1m34.681s on his second timed lap, having done a build-up lap to get heat into the tyres.

Hamilton was on course to go quicker, using the same warm-up strategy, but made a series of mistakes in the final sector.

Raikkonen then put Ferrari top with a 1m34.338s before Vettel clocked the fastest-ever lap at Sochi with a 1m34.001s.

The German was on course to go even quicker and break the 1m34-barrier, but lost two tenths in the final sector.

Both Mercedes drivers improved on their second flying laps, but they stayed in third and fourth respectively.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was best of the rest in fifth, but he was 1.451s off the pace, a few thousandths clear of Felipe Massa.

Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who momentarily stopped on track in the closing minutes of the session before getting going again, was seventh ahead of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen in the Haas completed the top 10.

Jolyon Palmer was the only driver who failed to set a time, with his Renault team deciding to change his engine ahead of qualifying.

That came after Renault's mechanics worked well into the night to complete a precautionary chassis change for the Briton after an exhaust leak on Friday.

Russian GP Practice 3 results

1 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 17 1'34.001  
2 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 16 1'34.338 0.337
3 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 20 1'34.364 0.363
4 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 19 1'34.542 0.541
5 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 21 1'35.452 1.451
6 brazil Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 17 1'35.471 1.470
7 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 15 1'35.662 1.661
8 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 24 1'35.830 1.829
9 spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Renault 20 1'36.164 2.163
10 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 19 1'36.556 2.555
11 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 19 1'36.649 2.648
12 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 22 1'36.676 2.675
13 russia Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Renault 18 1'36.846 2.845
14 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda 12 1'36.869 2.868
15 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 21 1'36.962 2.961
16 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 20 1'37.164 3.163
17 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Honda 15 1'37.182 3.181
18 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 21 1'37.503 3.502
19 germany Pascal Wehrlein  Sauber Ferrari 17 1'37.657 3.656
20 united_kingdom Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 4    
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Russian GP
Sub-event Saturday practice
Location Sochi Autodrom
Author Lawrence Barretto