Malaysian GP: Raikkonen edges Vettel in final practice

Kimi Raikkonen edged out Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel to the quickest time in final Formula 1 practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix

Malaysian GP: Raikkonen edges Vettel in final practice

Raikkonen posted a 1m31.880s on the super-soft compound tyres to finish 0.162 seconds clear of Vettel, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo half a tenth further back in third.

However, there was frustration for Ferrari in the final minutes of the session when Vettel was told to slow and return to the pits.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only manage the fifth quickest time, 0.659s off the pace, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas two tenths quicker in fourth.

Hamilton made a mistake at the final corner on his qualifying-simulation, running deep into the hairpin and failing to improve on his earlier time.

Mercedes brought a substantial upgrade to the W08 to Malaysia, including revised front wing, 'spoon' deflector, bargeboards and floor, but has so far struggled relative to its rivals.

The puzzle that's confounding Mercedes in Malaysia

It decided to run split programmes with its drivers in a bid to find answers, with Bottas running the new aero package and Hamilton reverting to the old.

Hamilton had set the early pace, when most ran used super-softs, clocking a 1m32.539s, with Raikkonen and Vettel slotting into second and third respectively.

When the teams bolted on fresh sets of super-softs, which Pirelli says is around 0.8s quicker than the soft, Ricciardo was the first out and went quickest with a 1m32.091s.

Vettel then moved to the top of the pile before Raikkonen usurped him to end the session quickest of all at a dry and muggy Sepang.

Max Verstappen was sixth quickest, 0.040s adrift of Hamilton, with his qualifying-simulation coming late on, but his session was disrupted when he had contact with Jolyon Palmer at the final corner.

Palmer, who had a scrappy session that included an off-track excursion, dived down the inside of the final corner, locking up and hitting the Red Bull.

The impact broke Palmer's front wing with Verstappen reporting a puncture, and both drivers were summoned to the stewards over the incident.

Sergio Perez improved to seventh quickest, 1.329s off the pace, with Felipe Massa eighth only 0.031s adrift in the Williams.

Esteban Ocon and McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne, who outpaced team-mate Fernando Alonso, completed the top 10.

It was another tough day for Grosjean, whose mechanics worked into the early hours of the morning following his bizarre Friday practice crash.

The Haas driver spun and aborted a flying lap when he picked up a flat-spot as a result of a big lock up into Turn 9 and ended up 18th.

His team-mate Kevin Magnussen had his running limited when the team recalled him to the garage after it suspected a problem with the engine but he got back out on track and clocked the 13th quickest time.

FP3 times

Pos Driver Car Gap Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m31.880s 19
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.162s 14
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 0.211s 16
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.449s 24
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.659s 20
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 0.699s 17
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1.329s 20
8 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1.360s 20
9 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1.410s 21
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1.441s 16
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1.650s 17
12 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1.658s 21
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1.907s 10
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.991s 14
15 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 2.044s 22
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Renault 2.326s 24
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 2.595s 12
18 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 3.034s 19
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 3.056s 19
20 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 3.165s 19


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