Sebastian Vettel continued to set the pace in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix, but the Ferrari driver was pushed hard by title rival Lewis Hamilton who finished just eight hundredths of a second behind the German.
Ferrari were quickly to the fore in the hour-long session, with Kimi Räikkönen setting the early pace with a time of 1:21.399. Vettel might have challenged that but he suffered a lock up in Turn 1 and was forced to abandon the attempt. He lapped again and set a time of some six tenths of a second behind the Finn and it was thus left to Hamilton to try to eclipse Räikkönen in the opening exhancges.
The Mercedes driver obliged, though only by the tiny margin of 0.007s, leaving Räikkönen second and third-placed Vettel on his way to the pit lane with a vibration from his flat-spotted tyre as the session moved into its second half.
The German then emerged on a fresh set of supersoft tyres and immediately jumped to the top of the order, initially with a time of 1m21.035s, before improving massively with a second attempt of 1:20.509s. The German also reported a mistake at Prabolica and suggested there was more time available there.
Räikkönen then made it a Ferrari one-two as he posted a best time of 1:20.682, but Hamilton then split the red cars with a time of 1:20.590s to wind up just 0.081s than Vettel. Just 0.173s covered the top three in the session.
Valtteri Bottas, in the second Mercedes, finished in fourth place some six tenths off the pace, while Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen fifth and almost nine tenths of a second adrift of Vettel.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was only eighth fastest, behind haas’ Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon, but the Australian’s session only featured one early quali style run on supersofts before he spent most of the second half of the session on a long supersoft run.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc finished the session in ninth place and the top 10 order was rounded out by Romain Grosjean in the second Haas.
2018 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 18 1:20.509
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 14 1:20.590 0.081
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 16 1:20.682 0.173
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 18 1:21.112 0.603
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 15 1:21.388 0.879
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas 15 1:22.011 1.502
7 Esteban Ocon Force India 16 1:22.055 1.546
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 15 1:22.310 1.801
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber 17 1:22.313 1.804
10 Romain Grosjean Haas 16 1:22.357 1.848
11 Sergio Perez Force India 13 1:22.486 1.977
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 20 1:22.631 2.122
13 Carlos Sainz Renault 15 1:22.737 2.228
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 20 1:22.778 2.269
15 Lance Stroll Williams 19 1:22.860 2.351
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 25 1:22.882 2.373
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23 1:22.892 2.383
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 16 1:22.987 2.478
19 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 10 1:23.149 2.640
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 19 1:23.164 2.655