Max Verstappen keeps Red Bull on top in Singapore
Singapore Grand Prix - Free Practice 3

Max Verstappen keeps Red Bull on top in Singapore

17/09/2017

Max Verstappen consolidated Red Bull's blistering Friday form by topping a tight final practice in Singapore, despite hitting trouble late on.

The Dutchman had posted a 1:41.829 in the final 10 minutes of the session to jump to the top of the timesheets, but minutes later was on the radio complaining of gearbox troubles. He pitted momentarily before returning to the track to complete another competitive lap.

Sebastian Vettel finished second for Ferrari but managed to close the gap to just 0.072s. It wasn't a straight forward session for Vettel who for the second time this weekend tagged the barriers, this time on the exit of Turn 21. Lewis Hamilton was also able to get within 0.142s of the Red Bull to set up an interesting qualifying session this evening.

Daniel Ricciardo, who was fastest in both sessions on Friday, looked likely to post a similar time to his teammate but also made contact with the barriers on his final flying lap. He finished the session sixth quickest behind the McLaren pair of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, who continue to impress on the high downforce Marina Bay circuit, and Nico Hulkenberg's Renault.

After complaining of no grip, Valtteri Bottas never found his rhythm in the Mercedes, eventually finishing eighth. The Finn also endured a scary moment over the Anderson Bridge where he had to wrestle his car back after it had gone sideways. Compatriot Kimi Raikkonen finished just behind in the Ferrari and like Bottas was unable to match the time set by his teammate.

Force India's Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished 10th and 11th respectively but over a second off the frontrunners' pace. Jolyon Palmer, who yesterday discovered he has lost his Renault drive, managed to split the Toro Rossos for 13th while Williams still seem a mile off the pace at what is arguably the team's worst circuit.

The session had earlier been Red Flagged for around 10 minutes after Sauber's Marcus Ericsson got out of shape on the exit of Turn 19 and spun into the wall.

Like FP1, the final practice session in Singapore is run in daylight and doesn't offer a fully accurate representation of qualifying and race conditions with grip low and lap times high. Verstappen's best time of the session was still almost a full second off Ricciardo's Friday benchmark.

Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix takes place at 21:00 local time.

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