In a rushed FP3 session, Sebastian Vettel was the fastest ahead of his teammate Kimi Räikkönen and Vatteri Bottas.
After a very dark Friday, Saturday looked better and lighter which allowed the cars to actually run. The session started with practice starts in the end of the pitlane. With a very few laps covered on Friday, the track was still green and allowed quick improvements in the lap times.
To add to the polemic about t-wings, Valtteri Bottas’ one -which was in simple configuration- broke in a braking zone. After the first quarter of an hour, Daniel Ricciardo was in the lead with a 1:35.647 with super-soft tyres, the softer compound brought out for this week-end. All the drivers worked on different programmes as the teams had to get prepared for the qualifying session and the race in the same session.
Like in Australia, the drivers often lost the rear and found themselves spinning like Jolyon Palmer and Marcus Ericsson. At mid-session, Kimi Räikkönen started a qualifying session and claimed the fastest time in 1:34.519 but it is beaten by Sebastian Vettel for more than one second.
Unlike most of the teams, Mercedes managed to keep both of their drivers in the pits for more than ten minutes. In his first flying lap, Bottas was one second away from Vettel with a mistake in the last sector while Lewis Hamilton was seven tenths away from Vettel. Räikkönen eventually found the pace and got to 0.05s from his teammate.
With five minutes to go, Hamilton went out with a set of fresh tyres and after setting purple first sector, made a mistake in the hairpin and had to settle for P4 as his teammate had improved.
Vettel ended the session in the lead ahead of Räikkönen and Bottas. Hamilton, Massa, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Stroll, Palmer and Sainz completed the top 10.