FP3: Bottas pips Hamilton to P1

Date published: November 11 2017

It finished with another Mercedes 1-2, this time with Valtteri Bottas ahead, however, FP3 perhaps bodes well for qualifying as the top four were separated by 0.058s at the Interlagos circuit.

Saturday’s final practice got off to a bit of a slow start, partly due to Lance Stroll’s troubles.

With just four times on the board, none belonging to him, the Williams driver broke down at Ferradura, reporting that “something happened with the gear” and that he “lost power.”

After the VSC was lifted it was Kimi Raikkonen who set the early pace with a 1:09.633 while Sebastian Vettel made it a Ferrari 1-2, 0.040s down on his team-mate.

Contending with a track that was a good 20’C cooler than FP2, Lewis Hamilton was third and Valtteri Bottas fourth. They were, however, running the softs to Ferrari’s supersofts.

Fernando Alonso, also using the soft tyres, entered the mix as he went fifth quickest – 0.735s down – as Red Bull held off running aside from an installation lap each in the opening half of the session.

Team boss Christian Horner confirmed that it was for no other reason than to save engine life.

Red Bull joined the action with just over 20 minutes remaining, splitting tyre strategies between the two drivers with Daniel Ricciardo on the supersofts and Max Versatppen on the softs.

As their rivals swapped to the supersoft tyres for a qualifying sim, Bottas went quickest only to be pipped by Raikkonen and then Vettel with Bottas fighting back.

A 1:09.281 for the Finn handed him the FP3 P1 by 0.003s ahead of Hamilton with Raikkonen third and Vettel fourth. The top four were separated by 0.058s!

Ricciardo put in a late effort to go fifth while Verstappen was down in ninth place with a late spin at Turn 12.

Fernando Alonso was P6 ahead of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon while Carlos Sainz completed the top ten.

Times
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:09.281
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:09.284 0.003
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:09.326 0.045
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:09.339 0.058
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:10.244 0.963
6 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:10.288 1.007
7 Sergio Perez Force India 1:10.322 1.041
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:10.357 1.076
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:10.495 1.214
10 Carlos Sainz Renault Sport 1:10.599 1.318
11 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:10.637 1.356
12 Felipe Massa Williams 1:10.671 1.39
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:10.721 1.44
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport 1:10.743 1.462
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:10.762 1.481
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:10.981 1.700
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:11.085 1.804
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:11.126 1.845
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:11.480 2.199
20 Lance Stroll Williams