Sebastian Vettel headed a Ferrari one-two in final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix as the Italian squad pulled away from the chasing pack at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Vettel qualifying simulation, coming 25 minutes before the end of the session, delivered a blistering lap of 1:38.054. Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen then took second place, three tenths off the German’s pace.
Mercedes could not get close to the Scuderia’s pace on the hypersoft tyres. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton ended the session in third place, just over half a second down on Vettel’s benchmark, with Valtteri Bottas fourth and four hundredths of a second off his team-mate.
Red Bull Racing, whose car characteristics made them highly fancied at this street circuit going into the weekend, were even further off the pace, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing in fifth place, while team-mate Max Verstappen finished sixth. Both drivers were over a second slower than Vettel over the 5km circuit.
Vettel dominated early on in the session, too, setting the pace on hypersofts as both Mercedes and Red Bull focused on evaluating the hardest compound on offer this weekend, the soft.
Red Bull had the edge on the yellow-banded tyre with Verstappen setting a time of 1:40.826 to sit in third ahead of the qualifying simulations, a second ahead of similarly shod Bottas and Ricciardo.
Verstappen was less than happy with the performance of his car, however, lamenting how his Renault engine was functioning across the course of the session.
When the chequered flag fell, best of the rest behind Ricciardo was Haas’ Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman was 1.693s off the pace of Vettel, however. Grosjean was followed on the timesheet by compatriot Esteban Ocon who was in turn followed by his Racing POint Force India team-mate Sergio Perez. However, Ocon was the subject of an investigation for a possible unsafe release during the session. The top 10 order was rounded out by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who was 2.2 seconds behind P1 man Vettel.
2018 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 19 1:38.054
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 16 1:38.416 0.362
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 14 1:38.558 0.504
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 17 1:38.603 0.549
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 14 1:39.186 1.132
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 10 1:39.265 1.211
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 14 1:39.747 1.693
8 Esteban Ocon Racing Point Force India 14 1:40.073 2.019
9 Sergio Perez Racing Point Force India 14 1:40.231 2.177
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 10 1:40.254 2.200
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 17 1:40.450 2.396
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 13 1:40.559 2.505
13 Carlos Sainz Renault 14 1:40.591 2.537
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 16 1:40.686 2.632
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 15 1:40.798 2.744
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber 20 1:40.915 2.861
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 18 1:41.562 3.508
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 19 1:41.884 3.830
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 18 1:41.953 3.899
20 Lance Stroll Williams 18 1:42.220 4.166