At 24°C in FP3 it was a massive 15°C cooler than practice on Friday, influencing track temperatures and track evolution, allowing much faster times in comparison to the previous two sessions.
In theory, cooler temperatures should suit the Mercedes, though yet again they were no match for the Maranello outfit who reigned supreme for the third session in a row, putting them in good stead for qualifying this afternoon.
Leclerc the man to beat
Charles Leclerc has been in fine form in recent weekends after closing the gap in the championship standings to just three points from teammate Sebastian Vettel, cementing him as the favourite to clinch pole position this afternoon.
The Monegasque topped the times in FP3 with a blistering 1:12.380, ahead of Max Verstappen in second and Vettel in third.
Verstappen split the two Ferrari’s, with the Dutchman looking the closest rival to challenge Leclerc and Vettel to pole position.
Mercedes’ cause for concern was evident with mid-session work on Lewis Hamilton’s car, changing the sidepods and putting on slimmer bodywork to adapt to the lower temperatures.
For all their efforts, Hamilton was way down in sixth place, behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas in fourth.
A continuous issue for several drivers throughout FP3 was exceeding track limits which in turn forced the stewards to delete lap times.
The story of the midfield
Kevin Magnussen put yesterday’s problems behind him setting a stunning time in fifth place, even faster than Mercedes’ Hamilton and half a second ahead of Haas teammate Romain Grosjean.
Daniel Ricciardo had another miserable session after yesterday’s spin, with the only drivers behind him the two Williams drivers.
At the back Robert Kubica, using a new package this weekend, was again ahead of Williams teammate George Russell on the old spec showing hopeful signs of closing the gap to the rest of the field.
However, Russell did only complete eleven laps after floor damage hindered his progress in FP3.
Third Practice results:
1. Charles Leclerc – 1:12.380
2. Max Verstappen – 1:12.548
3. Sebastian Vettel – 1:12.644
4. Valterri Bottas – 1:12.890
5. Kevin Magnussen – 1:12.893
6. Lewis Hamilton – 1:12.965
7. Carlos Sainz – 1:13.300
8. Pierre Gasly – 1:13.324
9. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:13.351
10. Romain Grosjean – 1:13.378
11. Sergio Perez – 1:13.476
12. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:13.496
13. Alex Albon – 1:13.554
14. Lando Norris – 1:13.556
15. Antonio Giovinazzi – 1:13.671
16. Lance Stroll – 1:13.672
17. Daniil Kvyat – 1:13.767
18. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:13.816
19. Robert Kubica – 1:15.540
20. George Russell – 1:15.824