Monaco GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

Even faster

Sebastian Vettel, Monaco GP 2017

Sebastian Vettel, Monaco GP 2017 

 © The Cahier Archive

 

By Dan Knutson in Monaco

Sebastian Vettel had been the best on Thursday, clocking a 1:12.720 in his Ferrari, which was the fastest lap ever recorded at Monaco. He went even faster in Free Practice 3 on Saturday when he turned a 1:12.395. Nobody else came close to that lap time.

“There will be plenty more but I was pretty happy in the afternoon,” he said Thursday. “In the morning maybe I was a bit wild, touching the walls a couple of times, but the afternoon seemed a bit better. Still we have some work to do on the car but it’s more fun this year, going faster, the cars are faster, so it’s been a good day.”

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes – Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda – Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault – Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault – Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari – Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

The Sauber drivers were the first out on Saturday.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Centigrade).

Bottas set the early pace, using Pirelli’s ultra soft tires to do a 1:14.122.

The ultra was the tire of choice for the session, and Raikkonen used them to get down to a 1:13.568 and then a 1:13.379. Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Perez and Ocon rounded out the top six in the first quarter of the session.

With 40 minutes remaining, Vettel took the lead with a 1:12.890. Raikkonen improved to a 1:13.013.

Mercedes had lost its way on the car setup in FP2, and halfway through FP3 Hamilton, third, was 0.34 of a second off of Vettel’s best.

Verstappen was on the move, moving into fourth with a 1:13.238 while teammate Ricciardo took over fifth.

Then, with 27 minutes to go, Verstappen moved to second with a lap in 1:12.940.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, Vettel tried new ultras and improved to a 1:12.558 – a new fastest ever on the track – while Raikkonen did a 1:12.875. Then Vettel went even faster – 1:12.395.

Bottas and Hamilton, third and fifth, could not match that pace. Nor could Verstappen and Ricciardo who were fourth and sixth.

With eight minutes remaining, Ocon crunched into the barriers at the exit of the swimming pool turns, and the Virtual Safety Car was deployed. Only four minutes were left when the track went green.

Everybody was on track but Ocon, so it was crowded out there.

The top 10 ended up as: Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Sainz, Kvyat, Magnussen and Vandoorne.


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