Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheet in final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix beating Lewis Hamilton by more than two tenths of a second around the Autódromo José Carlos Pace at Interlagos.
Ferrari driver Vettel set the pace for most of the one-hour session. Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen set the first time of the morning with a lap of 1:09.424 that he quickly improved by 15 hundredths of a second, but Vettel was already on track and running quicker. He dropped the benchmark by more than half a second.
That lap time held through the first part of the session and though Räikkönen would again take P1 as the first man to bolt on new supersofts and undertake a quali sim, Vettel again swiftly reclaimed top spot, crossing the line with just over 20 minutes to go in a new track record time of 1:07.948.
Hamilton, meanwhile had a scrappy start to the session, leaving the pit lane to begin his work early in the session only to be told to immediately return. He then remained in the garage until the halfway point. He immediately vaulted to P2 with a time of 1:09.098.
Fifteen minutes later Hamilton bolted on a new set of supersoft tyres and attacked Vettel’s quali sim time. The Mercedes man went quickest of all in the second sector but time lost elsewhere meant he had to settle for a best time of 1:08.165, 0.217s adift of Vette.
Third place in the session went to Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes, with the Finn finishing half a second off Vettel’s time and just 0.025 ahead of Räikkönen.
With Ferrari and Mercedes locking out the top four spots, fifth place wen to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman, who complained of an inability to get heat into his tyres, ended the 60-minute session 0.785s behind Vettel and just 0.055s ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Australian driver Ricciardo is set to take a five place grid penalty tomorrow for a gearbox change.
Best of the rest in the session was Haas’ Kevin Magnussen who finished 1.198 off Vettel and 0.358 behind Ricciardo. On what is shaping up as a good weekend for the American team, Romain Grosjean was eighth 0.111 behind team-mate Magnussen. Ninth place in the session was taken by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, with Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in P10.
2018 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 17 1:07.948
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 15 1:08.165 0.217
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 23 1:08.465 0.517
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 17 1:08.490 0.542
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 12 1:08.733 0.785
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 12 1:08.788 0.840
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 14 1:09.146 1.198
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 16 1:09.257 1.309
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 22 1:09.402 1.454
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber 21 1:09.448 1.500
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 19 1:09.461 1.513
12 Esteban Ocon Racing Point Force India 18 1:09.588 1.640
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 23 1:09.808 1.860
14 Carlos Sainz Renault Renault 17 1:09.864 1.916
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 14 1:09.885 1.937
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 18 1:09.985 2.037
17 Lance Stroll Williams 17 1:10.001 2.053
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren 15 1:10.020 2.072
19 Sergio Perez Racing Point Force India 18 1:10.116 2.168
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 16 1:10.289 2.341