Ferrari kept its strong form in the 2018 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel topped the third session at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Italian manufacturer stayed in front of Mercedes in the final practice session as well with Vettel beating teammate Kimi Raikkonen by just the 0.063s after the German did a 1m42.661s to Raikkonen’s 1m42.724s.
The two Ferrari drivers commanded the session despite the efforts from the lone Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton as Valtteri Bottas focused on the longer runs due to his grid penalty. Vettel heads into the qualifying with a strong hand from Hamilton.
The British driver finished third after his 1m42.798s lap time with Bottas (1m43.464s) in fourth. The Red Bull Racing duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were next up to complete the Top 6.
The Dutchman did a 1m44.048s in a late improvement with the Australian doing a 1m44.479s time. The best of the rest honours in seventh this time went to Sauber’s Charles Leclerc who did a 1m44.963s.
Racing Point Force India’s Sergio Perez (1m45.341s) was eighth with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m45.464s) in the sandwich as Esteban Ocon (1m45.485s) rounded out the Top 10 with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (1m45.536s) in 11th behind.
Both the Haas drivers did not get the chance to clock their best time on the super soft compound due a red flag after McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne spun onto Eau Rouge, nearly avoiding a contact with Bottas in the process.
Vandoorne’s teammate Fernando Alonso was ahead with Bottas in the middle of the two McLarens as they approached Eau Rouge. With McLaren seemingly pushing for another two practice, Vandoorne tried to get ahead of Bottas who was on a slower lap.
However, the Finn did not see the Belgian as he went around the outside onto the grass and spinning out to bring the red flag. The stewards immediately put them both under investigation.
Meanwhile, Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m45.814s) finished 12th with Renault’s Carlos Sainz (1m45.925s) in a Haas sandwich with Kevin Magnussen (1m46.087s) behind them. The two Toro Rosso drivers followed up in 15th and 16th respectively.
Pierre Gasly (1m46.182s) finished ahead of Brendon Hartley (1m46.259s) as the Frenchman had a rather embarrassing moment when he spun while exiting the pit when the session went green after the red flag period.
The two Williams’ and McLarens completed the 20 finishers with Lance Stroll (1m46.502s) leading Sergey Sirotkin (1m46.630s), Alonso (1m46.942s) and Vandoorne (1m47.061s) – with the McLaren drivers unable to do any lap on the supersoft tyre.