Mercedes out-pace Ferrari as Hamilton leads one-two | 2018 Russian Grand Prix third practice

Mercedes comfortably out-paced Ferrari in the final practice session for the Russian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton led a one-two for the team, six-tenths of a second faster than championship rival Sebastian Vettel, and setting a new track record for Sochi with a lap of 1’33.067.

Ferrari looked in better shape at the beginning of the session when both drivers improved on their best time from yesterday shortly after joining the track. But Vettel wasn’t happy with the balance of the car on his final run.

“Straight from the first lap I had more understeer,” he reported on the radio after his final runs. “Poor balance.

“The car was never together. It was better the first run. Especially the last sector, falling away from me the rear. At the end too nervous, the mid-corner was too much understeer
overall grip, mostly the rears.”

It was an eventful end to the session for Vettel. First he had a near-miss when he rejoined the track from the pits and passed close by Daniel Ricciardo, who was running along the pit lane exit.

Then Ferrari sent Vettel out for another run too late for him to rejoin the track, meaning he had to abandon his Ferrari at the pit lane exit. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen also failed to leave the pits for his practice start before the session ended.

The Red Bull pair, who will take grid penalties after qualifying, were fifth and sixth fastest. Charles Leclerc, looking much happier with his Sauber than he was yesterday, led the midfielders, though the times behind him were as tight as ever.

Two other teams lapped a tenth of a second off the Sauber: Esteban Ocon for Force India and Kevin Magnussen for Haas. Sergio Perez completed the top 10. A further two teams appeared on the fringes of the top 10: Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso and Carlos Sainz Jnr in the Renault.

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Third practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.067

+0.254 Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.321

+0.600 Sebastian Vettel – 1’33.667

+0.621 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’33.688

+0.870 Max Verstappen – 1’33.937

+1.327 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’34.394

+1.561 Charles Leclerc – 1’34.628

+1.742 Esteban Ocon – 1’34.809

+1.753 Kevin Magnussen – 1’34.820

+1.849 Sergio Perez – 1’34.916

+1.921 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.988

+2.058 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.125

+2.118 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.185

+2.146 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’35.213

+2.303 Marcus Ericsson – 1’35.370

+2.966 Brendon Hartley – 1’36.033

+3.004 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’36.071

+3.207 Lance Stroll – 1’36.274

+3.530 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’36.597

+3.925 Fernando Alonso – 1’36.992

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’34.818 1’33.385 1’33.067 -0.318 71
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’34.999 1’33.584 1’33.321 -0.263 77
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’34.488 1’33.928 1’33.667 -0.261 66
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’35.696 1’34.388 1’33.688 -0.7 61
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’34.538 1’33.827 1’33.937 +0.11 65
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’35.524 1’33.844 1’34.394 +0.55 62
7 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.054 1’35.432 1’34.628 -0.804 71
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’35.663 1’35.147 1’34.809 -0.338 73
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’36.196 1’35.331 1’34.820 -0.511 69
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’35.122 1’34.916 -0.206 44
11 Carlos Sainz Jnr Renault 1’35.341 1’34.988 -0.353 50
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1’36.944 1’35.137 1’35.125 -0.012 74
13 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’36.816 1’35.911 1’35.185 -0.726 76
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’36.274 1’35.568 1’35.213 -0.355 65
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.295 1’35.370 +0.075 51
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1’37.944 1’36.024 1’36.033 +0.009 79
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1’37.225 1’36.861 1’36.071 -0.79 80
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1’36.074 1’36.992 +0.918 55
19 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’39.137 1’37.001 1’36.274 -0.727 68
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1’37.187 1’36.617 1’36.597 -0.02 72
21 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.712 22
22 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1’37.022 25
23 Artem Markelov Renault 1’37.183 22
24 Nicholas Latifi Force India-Mercedes 1’37.206 24

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2018 Russian Grand Prix

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