Unlike Friday’s heat, Saturday’s final practice got underway in cold and damp conditions. Although the rain held off at the start of the 60-minute session, there were still many damp patches around the track making the inters the tyre of choice.
The cooler conditions, and the rain washing away Friday’s rubber, meant graining was likely to once again be a severe problem for all.
With many drivers complaining about the conditions being too mixed during their installation laps – too wet in some corners, too dry in others – it was a very quiet start to the session.
Daniel Ricciardo explained: “These are the worst conditions. It’s too dry for inters, we’ll just burn ’em up and we might need them for qualifying.
“But it’s too wet for slicks, even if we go out on the hyper-softs we won’t learn anything. Have to wait for it to rain or dry up more.”
Only 15 of the 20 drivers put in even an installation lap in the first 30 minutes.
It wasn’t until 32 minutes into the session that Fernando Alonso set the first lap time of the day. It was a 1:21.213 on the hypersoft tyres.
Alonso finally shatters the silence and takes to the track in dry tyres! 🙌
The Spaniard has opted for the softest compound available, but there are still damp patches knocking about 😬
— Channel 4 F1® (@C4F1) October 27, 2018
This saw several other drivers take to the track, leading up to what was to be a busy final 30 minutes of running.
With the P1 time falling lap after lap, it was Sebastian Vettel who was quickest with 15 minutes remaining, his time down to a 1:17.836. But Red Bulls and Hamilton had yet to set a time.
Bottas’ session ended early as the Mercedes driver suffered a “hydraulic failure” and was forced to park his W09 on the exit of Turn 12.
⚠️ VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR (46/60 MINS) ⚠️
Valtteri Bottas pulls over in the stadium with a smokey Mercedes
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 27, 2018
Charles Leclerc was quickest with five minutes to go but when all was said and done, and the chequered flag had fallen, it was Max Verstappen who was quickest of all.
He finished FP3 with a 1:16.284 despite reporting that “again, my battery is not charging”, while Lewis Hamilton was second, 0.254s down, and Vettel third.
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson. Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten.
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:16.284 9
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.254s 9
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.282s 11
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 0.744s 7
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.761s 16
6 Charles Leclerc Sauber 0.775s 13
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.052s 11
8 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.241s 16
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1.281s 14
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.339s 10
11 Esteban Ocon Force India 1.447s 10
12 Sergio Perez Force India 1.535s 10
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.861s 10
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 2.161s 15
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 2.264s 11
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 2.353s 10
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 2.385s 9
18 Lance Stroll Williams 2.414s 8
19 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 2.555s 5
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1