Formula 1

Canadian Grand Prix practice: Sebastian Vettel keeps Ferrari on top – F1

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the final Formula 1 practice session ahead of qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel was left downbeat on Friday despite completing a one-two for Ferrari behind team-mate Charles Leclerc, as he feared that was not representative of his team’s real pace compared to rival Mercedes.

But Ferrari remained on top on Saturday morning as Vettel moved to the head of the times, outpacing Leclerc by 0.139 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton ended up best of the Mercedes, 0.393s off the pace, with Red Bull’s performance still unknown after Max Verstappen had his best lap ruined when he caught the championship leader entering the final chicane.

Vettel was quickest after the initial round of qualifying simulations on a 1m11.557s, which gave him a tiny 0.039s margin over Leclerc.

At this stage the Mercedes drivers were three tenths off the pace, but Valtteri Bottas leapt to the head of the times when he kicked off the final bout of new-tyre runs with 20 minutes remaining.

Bottas only just eclipsed the two Ferrari drivers with a 1m11.531s, and Vettel quickly moved back ahead but only by 0.06s.

That allowed Leclerc to scorch to the head of the times with a much bigger improvement to a 1m11.058s, as Hamilton aborted his first flying lap on new tyres.

Vettel made a marginal gain on his second flier, which allowed Hamilton to briefly split the Ferraris with a 1m11.236s after a cool-down lap.

Leclerc became the first driver to break the 1m11s barrier on a 1m10.982s but Vettel ended a slightly scruffy run with a blistering 1m10.843s, including the fastest first sector of anyone, to steal top spot from his young team-mate.

Hamilton and Bottas each failed to improve on subsequent runs and wound up several tenths off the pace.

Bottas would likely have been beaten to the fourth-fastest time had Verstappen been able to complete his personal-best effort.

The Red Bull driver was only 0.1s down on Vettel’s session benchmark after the first two sectors but encountered Hamilton in the final part of the circuit as the Mercedes was beginning its flying lap.

That left Verstappen 0.999s adrift but still fractionally ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly, who was around half a second slower than Verstappen through the first two sectors on his best lap.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo occupied the best-of-the-rest spot behind his former employer, edging the McLaren of Lando Norris for seventh.

Sergio Perez (Racing Point) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) completed the top 10 as the fierce, mixed-up midfield battle continued ahead of qualifying.

Perez’s team-mate and local driver Lance Stroll failed to set a time after a fiery end to his session.

Stroll was completing his installation lap when his Mercedes-engined Racing Point spat out a fireball entering the pitlane.

He was rolled back into the garage, where the car emitted another small lick of flame, and did not hit the track again.

Practice three times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m10.843s 19
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m10.982s 0.139s 17
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.236s 0.393s 20
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m11.531s 0.688s 19
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m11.842s 0.999s 15
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull/Honda 1m11.914s 1.071s 19
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m12.045s 1.202s 16
8 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m12.154s 1.311s 17
9 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m12.175s 1.332s 17
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m12.298s 1.455s 23
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.305s 1.462s 17
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m12.337s 1.494s 17
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m12.399s 1.556s 21
14 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1m12.423s 1.580s 20
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m12.627s 1.784s 24
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m12.708s 1.865s 19
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m13.197s 2.354s 11
18 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m13.966s 3.123s 17
19 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m14.426s 3.583s 24
20 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1

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