LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JUNE 23: Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium driving the (2) McLaren F1 Team MCL33 Renault on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 23, 2018 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Valtteri Bottas finished on top of the time charts at the French GP at the Circuit Paul Ricard on Saturday. The 60-minute long free practice session started under cloudy, unpromising skies. Minutes into the session we started to see rainfall. The air temperature was 19 degrees C and the track temperature was 28 degrees C. The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the yellow-striped Soft tyre, red-striped Supersoft tyre, purple-striped Ultrasoft tyre.

 Valtteri Bottas Tops Rain Hit FP3

There was only around 10 minutes running on the track before the rainfall hit the track hard. Two minutes in Daniel Ricciardo was already feeling it, saying “Rain on my visor.” In the first couple of minutes there were some issues around the big shicane, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen going wide. Many others had slight slip ups in the initials laps too.

Once the rain started, all cars took shelter for 40 minutes. The Sky Sports broadcast team had their fun in the pit lane during the break. Ted Kravitz put on a show from the pit lane interviewing people like Niko Hulkenberg. The men in the booth got to see the rain affecting drivers live in action when their helicopter camera showed an in-course go kart spinning out.

A Few Brave Souls

A few brave cars came out for the final 10 minutes of the session. Fernando Alonso, both Williams cars and a few others went out for a few laps on wet tyres. When the session ended Charles Leclerc was telling his pitwall on his team radio:“To be honest the conditions are not that dangerous”. The status for qualifying or even the race tomorrow is up in the air as some predict thunderstorms for both sessions. In only hours we will find out who will be on pole for the first French GP in 10 years.

Pos No Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:33.666 3
2 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:34.953 +1.287s 3
3 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:35.012 +1.346s 5
4 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:36.365 +2.699s 4
5 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:36.756 +3.090s 5
6 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:37.547 +3.881s 4
7 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:38.317 +4.651s 5
8 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:38.450 +4.784s 3
9 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:39.641 +5.975s 4
10 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:39.738 +6.072s 3
11 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:40.087 +6.421s 4
12 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:40.743 +7.077s 3
13 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:49.711 +16.045s 3
14 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 2:02.399 +28.733s 4
15 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 2:04.093 +30.427s 5
16 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1
17 28 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 3
18 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1
19 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 2
20 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 3

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