Sebastian Vettel topped the final practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as most drivers chances of a qualy simulation were ruined by a late red for Stoffel Vandoorne.
After a few sprinkles in Friday’s practice, the rain was expected to arrive in ernest for FP3. It didn’t. A shower earlier in the day meant the drivers once again had to deal with a green track as well as chilly conditions. Air temperature was a mere 11’C as everyone in the pits kept one eye on the sky. Ferrari ran the early 1-2 with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Both Ferraris had a few problems with Nico Hulkenberg as the Renault driver ran a different programme and tripped up both Scuderia drivers, costing them lap time.
Kimi Raikkonen’s best time after 30 minutes was a 1:43.425 set on the supersoft Pirellis.
Mercedes came out to play with Lewis Hamilton up to second on the soft tyres, 0.098s down, while Valtteri Bottas went third. Both Ferrari and Mercedes are running brand new upgraded engines this weekend.
Behind them Daniel Ricciardo lined up in fifth place while Max Verstappen did not set a time until halfway through the session. No issues for the Dutchman, just Red Bull deciding to leave it late.
He was the last driver to set a time and took fifth off his team-mate on his first run. With 20 minutes remaining in the session, the Ferraris left the pits on fresh supersoft tyres as they put in qualifying simulations in preparation for the afternoon session.
Vettel once again failed to match Raikkonen’s pace in the middle sector and could only move up to second place. His time was 0.033s down on his team-mate’s, which was a 1:42.734.
Ferrari went for a second hot lap on the supersofts with Vettel finally edging Raikkonen. The German clocked a 1:42.661 to beat Raikkonen by 0.063s. After a rather sedate session there was some drama with 10 minutes remaining as Stoffel Vandoorne attempted to pass Valtteri Bottas around the outside. The Mercedes driver did not see him and Vandoorne was forced into evasive action at the start of the Kemmel Straight and spun on the grass. FP3 was red flagged as the marshals retrieved Vandoorne’s car.
The session resumed with three minutes on the clock and a rushing Pierre Gasly spun as he tried to get going. Ferrari finished 1-2 with Hamilton third ahead of Bottas and the two Red Bull drivers. Charles Leclerc was best of the rest in seventh place.
The top-10 from the Belgian GP’s final practice session.