Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in FP3 at Spa

Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in FP3 at Spa

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel, Photo: Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel topped the final free practice session ahead of team-mate in Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at Spa-Francorchamps.

Despite Formula One competing at the longest circuit on the calendar, the top three drivers are in just one tenth of a second.

Vettel benchmark of 1:42.661 in the first round of the qualifying simulations was enough to edge ahead of four-time Belgian Grand Prix winner Raikkonen.

Hamilton raised hopes of Mercedes being able to compete against Ferrari by setting a time very close to the pace. Whilst fourth-placed Valtteri Bottas was clearly on an alternate programme, given his pending back-of-the-grid penalty.

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth fastest. But both drivers were over one second off the pace and look unlikely to be as competitive as the top two this weekend.

Charles Leclerc placed his Sauber seventh-fastest, ahead of Racing Point Force India’s Sergio Perez and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. The German will also start from the back of the grid. Esteban Ocon completed the top ten in what could be a strong debut weekend for the Racing Point Force India team.

The red flags were brought out in the final ten minutes of the session when Stoffel Vandoorne spun out on the Kemmel straight.

Competing in his home Grand Prix weekend, the Belgian was looking to overtake a slow-moving Bottas after Raidillon.

However, both drivers went towards the left-hand side of the straight, forcing Vandoorne onto the grass and spinning him.

The car made minimal contact with the barrier. It gives the team hope of the incident not affecting his qualifying hour.

With only two minutes of the session remaining, there was a rush to complete a final flying lap. And Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly spinning his car at the exit of the pit lane, but only a handful of drivers completed a lap.