Sebastian Vettel Fastest in Chinese Grand Prix Final Practice

Following final practice ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, Chris Soulsby looks at the F1 field ahead of qualifying to see which team is where for the second race of 2017.

Formula 1 finally managed to burst into action this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix, with the weather clearing up in Shanghai which allowed dry running in the final practice session of the race weekend.

The 60 minute session provided a lot of on track action, with this session being the first real session where teams were able to test their cars and get a rough idea on performance and on set up.

Sebastian Vettel Fastest in Chinese Grand Prix Final Practice

For the second race weekend in a row, Sebastian Vettel was fastest in final practice for Ferrari, completing 20 laps and setting a best lap time of a 1:33.336. Kimi Raikkonen followed Vettel in second fastest in the second Ferrari, setting a 1:33.389, only 0.050 seconds slower than his team mate also on the supersoft tyre.

Valtteri Bottas edged out his team mate, Lewis Hamilton, to finish the session in third fastest for Mercedes. Hamilton followed Bottas in fourth place, just over 0.1 seconds slower than him. After this session, Ferrari look to me much stronger than Mercedes at this current stage of the race weekend, being considerably faster than any other  team so far. However, it will be interesting to see how that battle for pole position unfolds for the race in China.

Felipe Massa was fifth fastest for Williams, being faster than both of the Red Bull drivers of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who were sixth and seventh fastest. Massa’s team mate, Lance Stroll, also ended the session inside the top ten, being eighth fastest. This could be a very interesting battle in qualifying and in the race, with Red Bull Racing and Williams looking evenly matched at this stage of the weekend in China.

Jolyon Palmer was the highest placed Renault in final practice in ninth. Closely following him however was Carlos Sainz Jr in the Toro Rosso, being just 0.030 seconds behind. Palmer’s team mate, Nico Hulkenberg, finished the session in 11th fastest, with Sainz splitting the two Renault cars.

Kevin Magnussen was the highest finishing Haas in the session in 12th place, followed by Sergio Perez in 13th, and the second Haas driver of Romain Grosjean in 14th place.

Daniil Kvyat was 15th fastest, closely followed by Esteban Ocon in 16th place, with the Force India driver being only 0.007 seconds slower than the Toro Rosso.

Fernando Alonso was the highest finishing McLaren of final practice in 17th place, just ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson in 18th place. Alonso’s team mate, Stoffel Vandoorne, was 19th fastest, setting a faster lap than the slowest driver of the session in the form of Antonio Giovinazzi in the second Sauber who finished the session in 20th.

With very limited running so far this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix, qualifying promises to be exciting, with the battle continuing between Ferrari and Mercedes, and a new battle shaping up between Red Bull and Williams.

Results from Practice 3 of the Chinese Grand Prix:

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:33.336
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:33.389
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:33.707
  4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:33.879
  5. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:34.773
  6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:34.946
  7. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:35.092
  8. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:35.182
  9. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:35.192
  10. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:35.223
  11. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:35.449
  12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1:35.521
  13. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:35.626
  14. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:35.680
  15. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:35.804
  16. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:35.811
  17. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:35.9912
  18. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:36.063
  19. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:36.221
  20. Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, 1:36.705

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