Chinese GP: Vettel fastest in FP3, engine woes for Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo suffered a spectacular Renault engine failure.

Chinese GP: Vettel fastest in FP3, engine woes for Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, waits next to his stricken car
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing stops on track in FP3
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H and Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-18
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18

Vettel headed a one-two for Ferrari after jumping Kimi Raikkonen in the final third of the session, but his former team Red Bull will head into qualifying with serious concerns.

Ricciardo pulled up just after the halfway mark in the one-hour session, exiting the penultimate corner with his Red Bull belching bursts of flame and plumes of smoke.

A virtual safety car was deployed as the marshals dealt with Ricciardo's latest Renault-induced disappointment, which comes less than a week after he retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix with an energy store failure.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports that "disappointing is probably an understatement" after the latest problem on only the third weekend.

"I think we've got a suspected turbo failure," he said. "That is what the analysis is at the moment.

"Whether its damaged the combustion engine only time will tell."

Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen ended up fourth fastest, splitting the two Mercedes, but also aired concerns to his team over the radio.

He declared "every time I push to the limiter I lose speed" and compared it to his feeling in Azerbaijan last year, when he eventually retired with an engine failure.

Heavy rain after Friday practice, which continued overnight, and a cold and overcast morning made track conditions poor at the start of the session, although there was no delay in cars hitting the track.

Raikkonen was first to set a lap time and Nico Hulkenberg briefly held top spot for Renault before speeds rapidly increased and Ferrari established itself at the head of the leaderboard.

The two drivers both had spells on top before the halfway point of the one-hour session, with Vettel holding the advantage at that point on a 1m33.689s.

Raikkonen then surpassed Lewis Hamilton's Friday benchmark on a 1m33.469s, before Vettel posted a 1m33.018s with just over 15 minutes to go.

Hamilton had a messy session, twice running onto the wet AstroTurf on the exit of the Turn 9 and 10 double left-hander.

His second trip wide was more dramatic, running all four wheels off-track on the exit of Turn 10 and spinning wildly before coming to a rest facing the wrong way on the edge of the circuit.

Verstappen then went fourth, just behind the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, while Kevin Magnussen took advantage of the absent Ricciardo being shuffled back to 14th to take sixth for Haas.

Magnussen's teammate Romain Grosjean propped up the timesheets after stopping mid-session with fiery rear brakes.

The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz's Renault and Sergey Sirotkin's Williams completed the top 10.

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

ClaDriverChassisEngineTimeGap
1 5 germany  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 1'33.018  
2 7 finland  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 1'33.469 0.451
3 77 finland  Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 1'33.761 0.743
4 33 netherlands  Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 1'33.969 0.951
5 44 united_kingdom  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 1'34.057 1.039
6 20 denmark  Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 1'34.329 1.311
7 11 mexico  Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 1'34.445 1.427
8 31 france  Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 1'34.456 1.438
9 55 spain  Carlos Sainz.  Renault Renault 1'34.582 1.564
10 35 russia  Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 1'34.741 1.723
11 27 germany  Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 1'34.841 1.823
12 14 spain  Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 1'34.851 1.833
13 2 belgium  Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 1'34.977 1.959
14 28 new_zealand  Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 1'34.991 1.973
15 3 australia  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 1'35.061 2.043
16 10 france  Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 1'35.079 2.061
17 18 canada  Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 1'35.375 2.357
18 16 monaco  Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 1'35.497 2.479
19 9 sweden  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 1'35.679 2.661
20 8 france  Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 1'35.756 2.738
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