Sebastian Vettel took Ferrari to the top of the timesheets in the final practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday morning, heading up a one-two finish for the Italian marque.
In a session that saw both Mercedes drivers struggle with tire wear and Nico Rosberg crash out after a suspension failure, Ferrari seized the initiative as it moved into the fight at the front.
Vettel posted a fastest lap time of 1:07.098 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton only finishing third.
Hamilton was forced to abandon an early run due to blistering on his rear tires, and although he bounced back late on, the Briton could only lap two-tenths off Vettel’s time.
However, there was worse news on the other side of the garage. Starting a flying lap on the ultra-soft tire with 20 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg ran wide at the exit of Turn 2 after suffering a rear-left suspension failure, causing his car to punt into the wall.
Officials immediately red flagged the session, and while Rosberg was unharmed, the same could not be said of his car, leaving Mercedes with a big repair job ahead of qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo led Red Bull’s charge in fourth place ahead of teammate Max Verstappen, while the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa followed in sixth and seventh respectively.
Nico Hulkenberg finished the session eighth for Force India, edging out the McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso in P9 and P10.
Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Sunday.