Brazilian GP F1 practice: Vettel leads Hamilton in FP3

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel went fastest in the third Formula 1 practice session for the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, beating Lewis Hamilton by 0.2s

Brazilian GP F1 practice: Vettel leads Hamilton in FP3

The Ferrari pairing made the early running on the Pirelli supersofts - Vettel fastest of all with a 1m08.857s - but there was little appetite among the other big hitters to emerge from their garages straight away.

A quarter of the session elapsed before the Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas hit the track, and Hamilton was instructed to abort his practice start and return to the pits straight away.

The world champion remained in the garage with the engine cover off for a further 15 minutes while the mechanics traced the problem to a dislodged breather pipe.

When Hamilton got under way again he was instantly on the pace, clocking a 1m09.098s on the supersofts.

After a sunny and warm start to the day, the clouds had rolled in ahead of FP3 so while the air was less chilly than it had been on Friday, the track temperatures were only slightly higher than in the first two practice sessions at 33C.

Vettel's early flier remained the benchmark until he surpassed it with a 1m07.948s 40 minutes into the session, half a second up on Bottas's best of 1m08.465s, and a new lap record.

Hamilton took advantage of a brief lull in track activity to punch in a lap just 0.217s shy of Vettel's time, but while he was fastest of all in the second sector he reported that his tyre pressures weren't quite right.

Despite attempting another run, Hamilton failed to improve and had to settle for second, three tenths of a second ahead of team-mate Bottas, who edged the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen into fourth place by scarcely three hundredths.

The Red Bulls were the last to run, waiting until the half-way mark before leaving their garages, and each made just two flying laps over the course of one run on supersofts before parking up once more.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo slotted in behind the leading group and over a second adrift of Vettel's pace, both complaining of problematic understeer.

Verstappen eventually got the better of Ricciardo in their internecine struggle, but his best time of 1m08.733s on supersofts was still 0.785s off Vettel.

The Saubers of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson were initially fourth and fifth until they were displaced by the Red Bulls, and Leclerc's hopes of improving his time were briefly thwarted when he was instructed to return to the pits so that the team could investigate a technical issue.

Leclerc hit the road again with 10 minutes to go and found more pace, but it wasn't enough to earn the 'best of the rest' spot as the Haas duo of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, and the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, slotted in ahead, leaving Leclerc to round out the top 10.

FP3 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m07.948s - 17
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m08.165s 0.217s 15
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m08.465s 0.517s 23
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m08.490s 0.542s 17
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m08.733s 0.785s 12
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m08.788s 0.840s 12
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m09.146s 1.198s 14
8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m09.257s 1.309s 16
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m09.402s 1.454s 22
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m09.448s 1.500s 21
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m09.461s 1.513s 19
12 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m09.588s 1.640s 18
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m09.808s 1.860s 23
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m09.864s 1.916s 17
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m09.885s 1.937s 14
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m09.985s 2.037s 18
17 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m10.001s 2.053s 17
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m10.020s 2.072s 15
19 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m10.116s 2.168s 18
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m10.289s 2.341s 16


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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel
Author Stuart Codling
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