Ferrari dominated the third and final practice session of the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Saturday, with Sebastian Vettel and his teammate Kimi Raikkonen setting sizzling timings in overcast conditions that left the rest of the pack trailing.
Friday had seen a severely-disrupted FP1 session come to a premature end and the bad news continued with FP2 as the entire session was called off with not even a single car making it out of the pitch.
As a result, a lot was riding in FP3, and Ferrari proved that Sebastian Vettel’s win in the season-opening Australian GP was no flash in the pan with both their drivers sending out a statement of intent.
While Hamilton was unlucky not to edge his teammate Bottas after a lock-up on Turn 14 prevented him from placing ahead of the Finn, the fact that he was not dominant in Practice at the Australian GP will give him hope he can turn things around in qualifying.
Initially, Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Lance Stroll (Williams) and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) had topped the leaderboard, but Ferrari wrested control just after the halfway mark via Kimi Raikkonen. And the 37-year-old was then beaten in turn by his teammate, Vettel, to complete a one-two for the Maranello-based Ferrari team.
Qualifying is in a few hours time, at 12.30 PM IST.
Force India’s drivers, Sergio Perez and Sebastian Ocon, were lagging behind, finishing in 13 and 17th place, respectively. McLaren’s struggles from Australian continued in the Far East, with neither Fernando Alonso or Stoffel Vandorme able to churn out a competitive time.
The top 10 drivers in FP3:
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
5. Felipe Massa Mercedes
6. Max Verstappen Red Bull
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
8. Lance Stroll Williams
9. Joylon Palmer Renault
10. Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso