2017 Russian GP FP3: Vettel completes Ferrari's Free Practice clean sweep

2017 Russian GP FP3: Vettel completes Ferrari's Free Practice clean sweep

Sebastian Vettel ensured that Ferrari finished on top of all three Free Practice sessions for the Russian Grand Prix, ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Once more, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton trailed in third and fourth respectively.

James Eagles

Ferrari asserted their early weekend dominance over Mercedes in the third and final Free Practice session at Sochi - with Friday afternoon's top four repeating itself, Sebastian Vettel getting the edge on Kimi Raikkonen once more.

Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas continued to struggle, three and five-tenths adrift of Vettel's time of a 1:34.001, as all the drivers bar Jolyon Palmer utilised the ultra-soft compound.

Palmer's session was a write-off due to chassis changes made last night, enforced by exhaust gases melting some parts of the safety cell. Only managing four laps hampered by an engine problem, he failed to set a time.

Contrary to yesterday afternoon, Vettel proved to be the pace-setter, his early time of a 1:34.933 four and six-tenths ahead of both Bottas and Raikkonen respectively, with Hamilton a further tenth adrift.

Ferrari flex their muscle

Although, Hamilton was not to be left behind, bettering Vettel's initial time by a tenth, showing good pace in the final sector - a pattern of his weekend thus far.

Further down the order, Romain Grosjean and Haas' problems intensified; the Frenchman complaining of a lack of grip in the final sector. And after a flawed day yesterday, the American constructor switched back to Brembo brake discs.

At the sharper end, times started to tumble in the last 20 minutes. Bottas was first to strike, a 1:34.681 enough to topple Hamilton, but not for long - as Raikkonen and then Vettel blew his time out the water. In the Mercedes garage, both Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff grimaced and winced.

The challenge to Vettel and co ended there, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen claiming the 'best of the rest' tag, nearly one-and-a-half seconds down on the German. Felipe Massa continued his stellar weekend in the Williams, finishing sixth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen, who rounded out the top 10.

Free Practice 3 classifcation

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari 1:34.001 - 17
2 Kimi RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:34.338 +0.337 16
3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes 1:34.364 +0.363 20
4 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 1:34.542 +0.541 19
5 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull 1:35.452 +1.451 21
6 Felipe MASSA Williams 1:35.471 +1.470 17
7 Nico HULKENBERG Renault 1:35.662 +1.661 15
8 Daniel RICCIARDO Red Bull 1:35.830 +1.829 24
9. Carlos SAINZ Toro Rosso 1:36.164 +2.163 20
10 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas 1:36.556 +2.555 19
11 Lance STROLL Williams 1:36.649 +2.648 19
12 Esteban OCON Force India 1:36.676 +2.675 22
13 Daniil KVYAT Toro Rosso 1:36.846 +2.845 18
14 Fernando ALONSO McLaren 1:36.869 +2.868 12
15 Sergio PEREZ Force India 1:36.962 +2.961 21
16 Romain GROSJEAN Haas 1:37.164 +3.163 20
17 Stoffel VANDOORNE McLaren 1:37.182 +3.181 12
18 Marcus ERICSSON Sauber 1:37.503 +3.502 21
19 Pascal WEHRLEIN Sauber 1:37.657 +3.656 17
20 Jolyon PALMER Renault No Time - 4