Sebastian Vettel proved the value of the updates brought by Ferrari to this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix by claiming top spot in final practice at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The session was ended early, however, when Renault’s Kevin Magnussen crashed out with eight minutes remaining, resulting in red flags.
Key to the updates Ferrari has added to its car in Canada is a new turbocharger and its effect were felt this morning when four-time champion ended the abbreviated session as the only man to dip under the 1:14s mark.
Vettel staked his claim on P1 around 20 minutes into a session that began with a flurry of quick times due a threat of rain for later in the session.
Until that time P1 had been owned by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, who had set an impressive benchmark of 1:14.310 on the red-banded supersoft tyres.
But while many headed back to pit lane after their first runs, Vettel bolted on a set of ultrasoft tyres and annexed top spot with a lap of 1:14.139. As he made the most of the softest tyres on offer this weekend he then found more pace to improve to 1:14.068.
The German then returned for another set of the purple-banded tyres and as light drizzle began to force some spectators to done rainwear, Vettel went quicker again, lowering the benchmark to 1:13.919.
Verstappen had improved to 1:14.158 but that was his best effort, as soon after Magnussen crashed out and the session was ended.
As the rain faded, several driver opted to try the conditions on dry tyres, including Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz who reported the track to be “full dry”. Magnussen too went out on ultrasofts but as he exited Turn 6 the rear of his Renault snapped out and he slid hard into the wall on the left of Turn 7, causing substantial damage to his car. The red flags were shown immediately and with debris strewn across the track the session was ended.
Behind Verstappen in second place, Nico Rosberg was third fastest for Mercedes, though he was almost four tenths of a second adrift of Vettel’s impressive pace. Fourth place went to Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, with the Finn 0.413 down on his team-mate.
Lewis Hamilton was fifth for Mercedes ahead of the second Red Bull Racing car of Daniel Ricciardo, who finished over three tenths behind his team-mate, Verstappen.
Carlos Sainz was seventh for Toro Rosso, more than half a second clear of his team-mate Daniil Kvyat, who finished in P14. Behind the Spaniard, the top ten order was completed by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Force India’s Sergio Perez and the Williams of Felipe Massa.
2016 Canadian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:13.919 21
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:14.158 19
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.316 22
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:14.332 21
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:14.334 19
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:14.487 22
7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:14.655 21
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:14.801 19
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:14.886 21
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:14.890 18
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:14.918 20
12 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:14.985 20
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1:15.023 17
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:15.199 20
15 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:15.444 16
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:15.656 19
17 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:15.704 14
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:16.078 24
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:16.085 17
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:16.326 24
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:16.622 18
22 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:16.901 15