Abu Dhabi GP FP3: Sebastian Vettel tops F1 final practice

Sebastian Vettel was a surprise fastest in the final Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Abu Dhabi GP FP3: Sebastian Vettel tops F1 final practice

Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had set the pace with just over half of the one-hour session completed having been among a group of drivers to set times on ultra-soft Pirellis early on, which included Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel.

With just over forty minutes to go, Nico Rosberg, who had been fifth fastest behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with both using the slower super-soft Pirellis early on, went fastest after bolting on the fastest tyre.

Seconds after Rosberg knocked Raikkonen off top spot, Hamilton posted a time 0.103s quicker to take top spot.

But Vettel, on a fresh set of ultra-softs, then went 0.137s faster than Hamilton with 11 minutes remaining to secure top spot.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Raikkonen slotted in second and third on their late runs on ultra-softs, which left Hamilton and Rosberg, who remain favourite to qualify on the front row, down in fourth and fifth after completing their qualifying simulation runs before everyone else.

Ricciardo ended the session a distant sixth, a second off the pace, after failing to exploit the potential of his ultra-soft tyres.

Force India driver Sergio Perez was seventh fastest, less than a tenth off Ricciardo, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg ended up eighth after missing half of the session with a fuel system problem.

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas and Haas's Esteban Gutierrez, who took a fresh Ferrari engine ahead of this session, rounded out the top 10, ahead of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.

Renault's Jolyon Palmer was 12th fastest ahead of Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa didn't get the best out of his final set of tyres after a spin at Turn 6 right at the start of his run.

Toro Rosso returned to the track after stopping running in yesterday's session amid concerns it and the FIA had about safety following two punctures believed to be car-related.

Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat completed only 23 laps between them, with Sainz best placed in 18th place.

FP3 RESULT

Pos Driver Car Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m40.775s 16
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 0.137s 21
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.224s 14
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.290s 15
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0.393s 19
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1.056s 20
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1.110s 19
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1.292s 13
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1.301s 19
10 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1.579s 16
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1.810s 14
12 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1.841s 18
13 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1.889s 15
14 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1.908s 20
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 2.030s 17
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 2.282s 17
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 2.370s 17
18 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 2.526s 10
19 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 2.642s 22
20 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 2.958s 15
21 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 3.330s 13
22 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 3.463s 20


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