FP3: Vettel quickest before the rain


Sebastian Vettel set the pace in final practice for the Austrian GP but none of the front-runners put in qualy sims as the rain came down mid-session.

Getting in the laps as dark clouds gathered on the horizon, Vettel picked up where he left off on Friday – but sans the gearbox trouble.

With a new gearbox in his SF15-T, the Ferrari driver clocked a 1:09.994 on his sixth lap of the morning to go quickest.

That time put him ahead of Lewis Hamilton by 0.017s while Kimi Raikkonen slotted into third place and Nico Rosberg fourth.

However, with the clouds moving overhead, drivers began to swap to the supersoft tyres just before the halfway stage. Sergio Perez jumped to fourth place and Felipe Massa went sixth only for Fernando Alonso to break down on the start/finish straight, which brought out the red flags.

The timing could not have been worse as while the marshals cleared away his stricken MP4-30, the rain came down.

Mercedes and Ferrari still tried to get in a qualifying simulation but with the rain growing steadily harder, Rosberg was told to go "really slow" while Raikkonen slid off the track at Turn 5. He managed to avoid causing any damage to his Ferrari.

With rain forecast for qualifying as well as Sunday's race it was only a matter of time before drivers ventured out, needing to get a feel for the wet track.

That proved to be difficult for Nico Hulkenberg who went out on the intermediate tyres and promptly went straight on at Turn 2, ate gravel at Turn 5 and reported that it is "super slippery."

With 10 minutes remaining, several drivers headed out, some on inters, some on full wets.

Carlos Sainz had an off at Turn 3 and a spin coming through Turn 6 while Vettel went off at Turn 2 and Raikkonen at Turn 3 and then at Turn 2.

FP3 ended with Vettel quickest of all but Sainz the fastest driver in the wet. It also ended with news that Alonso's penalty tally is up to 25-places as McLaren had to change his gearbox.

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:09.994 16 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:10.011 0.017 16 laps
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:10.177 0.183 12 laps
4 Sergio Perez Force India 1:10.221 0.227 14 laps
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:10.332 0.338 23 laps
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:10.408 0.414 18 laps
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:10.417 0.423 14 laps
8 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:10.436 0.442 24 laps
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:10.576 0.582 12 laps
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:10.863 0.869 8 laps
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:11.009 1.015 14 laps
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:11.058 1.064 22 laps
13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:11.139 1.145 18 laps
14 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:11.139 1.145 14 laps
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:11.168 1.174 13 laps
16 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:11.819 1.825 10 laps
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:11.906 1.912 9 laps
18 Jenson Button McLaren 1:12.616 2.622 16 laps
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:13.328 3.334 14 laps
20 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:13.960 3.966 8 laps