Monaco GP: Dominant Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in FP3

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest again in the Saturday morning practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

Monaco GP: Dominant Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in FP3
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70-H
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 Hybrid
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70-H
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 Hybrid
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM10
Romain Grosjean, Haas VF-17
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
 Felipe Massa, Williams FW40

The four-time F1 champion ended the hour-long session 0.345s clear of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who propped up a Ferrari 1-2.

Just like both of Thursday's practice sessions, the ulrasoft-dominated FP3 provided yet another fastest-ever lap of the Monaco Grand Prix, Vettel's 1m12.395s a three-tenth improvement on his own previous record.

After an initial flood of installation laps in the opening minutes, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was first of the frontrunners to kick off a proper run, the Finn quickly establishing himself at the top of the timesheets.

But compatriot Raikkonen's first effort dethroned Bottas immediately, the Ferrari man posting a 1m13.568s as Bottas himself then came up 0.053s short.

Despite causing a brief yellow flag as he stopped just short of the barriers at Antony Noghes, Raikkonen lowered the session benchmark further with his next proper effort - a 1m13.379s.

Lewis Hamilton briefly returned Mercedes to the top spot, but was relegated behind the two Scuderia cars in no time, Vettel now edging ahead of Raikkonen via a 1m12.890s lap.

The other Mercedes of Bottas was shuffled down even further at the conclusion of his first run, with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat splitting the two Silver Arrows.

As the session passed its halfway point, Verstappen broke up Ferrari's 1-2 at the top of the timing screens, going 0.050s off 12 laps into his ultrasoft stint.

But the Italian team soon restored the status quo, Vettel finally beating Thursday's best lap with a 1m12.558s effort a few seconds after Raikkonen had overtaken him and Verstappen.

Vettel then went even quicker, the German stringing together three purple sectors for a 1m12.395s – and going just 0.003s slower with his next push lap.

By that point, Mercedes now had its first sub-1m13s lap of Monaco courtesy of Bottas, who emerged as best of the rest behind the Ferraris heading into the final few minutes.

But the running in what had been a largely incident-free session was then disrupted when Esteban Ocon hit the guardrail on entry into Swimming Pool, damaging his Force India's right-front suspension and going nose-first into the barriers.

This triggered a Virtual Safety Car as the Force India was removed from the track, leaving less than four minutes for those seeking to do a last-gasp qualifying run.

Improvements were few and far between in the hectic final minutes, leaving Ferrari with a comfortable 1-2 out front.

Bottas took third ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, with Daniel Ricciardo in sixth after a suspected brake failure at the chequered flag left him stranded at the escape road at Ste Devote.

Toro Rosso preserved its strong form from Thursday, Carlos Sainz leading teammate Kvyat in seventh.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who had drawn the ire of Ocon for holding him up in the final sector, was ninth, while McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne made up the top 10.

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGap
1 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 23 1'12.395  
2 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 26 1'12.740 0.345
3 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 29 1'12.830 0.435
4 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 27 1'12.940 0.545
5 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 27 1'13.230 0.835
6 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 24 1'13.392 0.997
7 spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Renault 27 1'13.400 1.005
8 russia Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Renault 23 1'13.563 1.168
9 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 21 1'13.596 1.201
10 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Honda 21 1'13.805 1.410
11 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 23 1'13.936 1.541
12 united_kingdom Jenson Button  McLaren Honda 26 1'13.976 1.581
13 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 21 1'14.072 1.677
14 brazil Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 28 1'14.072 1.677
15 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 24 1'14.283 1.888
16 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 23 1'14.547 2.152
17 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 35 1'14.675 2.280
18 united_kingdom Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 25 1'15.164 2.769
19 germany Pascal Wehrlein  Sauber Ferrari 29 1'15.291 2.896
20 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 26 1'15.863 3.468
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