Vettel tops FP3 as Ferrari dominate in Monaco
Monaco Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel tops FP3 as Ferrari dominate in Monaco

Sebastian Vettel topped the final practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix as Ferrari continued to dominate practice ahead of this afternoon's important qualifying session in Monte-Carlo.

Vettel was fastest in all three sectors but it was the middle sector, between Mirabeau and first part of the Swimming Pool complex, where he really impressed. He held a 0.278s over teammate Kimi Raikkonen on that part of the track and was nearly 0.5s faster than title rival Lewis Hamilton in sector two alone. The combination of all three of Vettel's sectors left him 0.345s clear of Raikkonen as Ferrari look well placed to secure a front-row lockout on Saturday afternoon.

The Mercedes looked in slightly better shape than it did on Thursday, but the car was still lacking the effortless grip of the Ferrari. Valtteri Bottas, who has been committed in the fast sections of the lap throughout all three practice sessions, was 0.435s off Vettel and 0.400s faster than teammate Hamilton in fifth.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes with a time 0.545s off Vettel and a comfortable 0.290s quicker than Hamilton. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo was 0.452s off Verstappen in sixth and ended his session in the run-off area at Sainte Devote after his brake by wire system failed in the final few minutes.

Toro Rosso continued in good shape with the seventh and eighth fastest times ahead of Kevin Magnussen's Haas in ninth and Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren in 10th. The McLarens looked quick throughout FP3, with Jenson Button in 12th place, but a turbocharger and MGH-H failure ahead of the session means the Brit will be given a 15-place grid penalty on his one-off return this weekend. Vandoorne also has a three-place grid penalty for colliding with Felipe Massa at the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago, meaning McLaren will struggle to capitalise on some of the best practice pace it has shown all season.

The Force Indias were close to breaking into the top ten, but as Esteban Ocon tried to find a few extra tenths in the final ten minutes of the session he clipped the inside barrier on the entry to the second part of the Swimming Pool, broke his right front suspension and clattered into the barriers on the exit. The team now faces a race against time to rebuild the car in time for qualifying.

Felipe Massa was 14th as Williams continued to struggle while Renault also looks slow with Nico Hulkenberg 15th and Jolyon Palmer 18th. Romain Grosjean was also in that mix as his Haas continues to misbehave through the highspeed corners at Monaco and he finished the session nearly a second shy of teammate Magnussnen.

The two Saubers ended the session 19th and 20th with Pascal Wehrlein 0.572s faster than teammate Marcus Ericsson.

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DERBY OF THE WEEK
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26/05/2018
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