After Mercedes dominated practice yesterday, Sebastian Vettel finished the final session fastest. He was ahead of the Mercedes duo who ended the session in the garage. Lewis Hamilton suffered a front right brake failure in the closing stages of the session that saw both Silver Arrows in the garage, Hamilton for repairs and Valtteri Bottas for extensive checks.
Hamilton and Vettel traded fastest times at the top of the board in the second half of the session before Vettel recorded the fastest lap time. His 1:05.092 was just over two-tenths of Hamilton, and four-tenths faster than Bottas. After a slow start, Kimi Raikkonen finished off the top five, half a second off the pace of his teammate Vettel.
The beginning of the session belonged to Red Bull as Max Verstappen dictated the pace. He eventually ended fifth, behind the top four by just a tenth of a second. It is clear that Red Bull have closed into the leading fight throughout the season so far, but they still have some pace to find if they want to intervene in the championship battle and challenge for some outright wins.
The second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo was a further tenths off the pace in sixth with a 1:05.896. Kevin Magnussen put in a strong performance for Haas to end in the ‘best-of-the-rest’ position of seventh. The top ten was completed by Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Sainz had a poor start to the session as he made it to the start of his installation lap before his Toro Rosso shut down. The marshals were able to recover the car back to the pits and the team did an excellent job of turning the car around and getting Sainz back out on track just after the half hour mark.
Finally having received the mark three of the Honda engine, Stoffel Vandoorne was the fastest McLaren in thirteenth, finishing 1.468 seconds off the pace with a 1:06.578. Fernando Alonso started the day having to revert back to the mark two version of the Honda engine as the MKG-U unit broke on his new engine. With less power than his teammate, he finished fifteenth and under a tenth slower than Vandoorne. Alonso will not pick up a penalty for changing his engine unit because the one that was put into the car has already been raced with.