Max Verstappen quickest in final practice, top four split by 0.1s
Canadian Grand Prix - FP3

Max Verstappen quickest in final practice, top four split by 0.1s

10/06/2018

For the third practice session in a row, Max Verstappen topped the timesheets at the Canadian Grand Prix as Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all appear to be in the running for pole position at Montreal.

The Red Bull driver held a narrow 0.049s margin over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after finding all of his time advantage in the first sector. Despite an upgraded Renault engine in the back of the Red Bull this weekend, Verstappen was still losing time to Vettel on Montreal's long straights and that performance gap is likely to get even bigger when Ferrari and Mercedes run their fastest engine modes in Q3.

Lewis Hamilton will fancy his chances of securing pole position after setting the fourth fastest time -- 0.107s off Verstappen -- although Mercedes did not find the expected performance step when they ran the hyper-soft tyre for the first time this weekend on Saturday morning. The tyre should offer a 1.1s advantage over the ultra-soft compound Hamilton had been using up to that point, but he only found a 0.6s gain from the softer rubber. It remains to be seen whether that is due to the Mercedes' tendency to struggle on softer compounds or whether Hamilton has more in his locker for qualifying later this afternoon.

Such were the close margins in final practice that any of the top six drivers could hope to challenge for pole position, but Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas will both have to up their game after setting times 0.5s off their respective teammates. Neither driver has looked comfortable this weekend and both will be studying their teammate's data to understand where they are lacking ahead of qualifying.

Sergio Perez was seventh fastest for Force India as the battle outside the top six appears to be even closer than the battle for pole. Under 0.2s split Perez in seventh and Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso in 12th, with five different teams in the running for a place in Q3. At all the midfield teams, one driver appears to be performing better than his teammate but the big surprise in final practice was that Stoffel Vandoorne, who crashed in second practice and made a mistake early in FP3, held a 0.191s advantage over Fernando Alonso in the other McLaren.

The bottom of the grid looks set to be filled with Saubers and Williams, but Kevin Magnussen may also feature in the bottom five after appearing to struggle across all three sessions so far this weekend.

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