Sebastian Vettel appears to be the strong favorite for Formula 1 pole position for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after dominating final practice for Ferrari on Saturday morning.
Vettel set an unofficial lap record through FP2 on Thursday afternoon, but was able to gain even more time through FP3 for Ferrari as he shaved another three-tenths of a second off his best lap.
The four-time F1 champion ended FP3 with a fastest time of 1:12.395, giving him P1 by three-tenths of a second ahead of Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Mercedes vowed to bounce back on Saturday after going in the wrong direction with setup in FP2, but struggled to make any serious impression at the top of the timesheets. Valtteri Bottas was third, while teammate Lewis Hamilton finished eight-tenths of a second off Vettel in fifth place.
Red Bull put itself in the fight for the front two rows of the grid as Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and sixth respectively, while B-team Toro Rosso got both of its cars into the top 10. Carlos Sainz Jr. finished seventh ahead of Daniil Kvyat in P8.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Red Bull, though, with Ricciardo suffering a brake-by-wire failure at the very end of the session, forcing the Australian to abandon his car at Sainte Devote.
Kevin Magnussen took ninth place for Haas ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, with Jenson Button taking 12th in the second MCL32 car. Button will be subject to a 15-place grid drop, though, following an engine change since Thursday.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon became the second driver of the weekend to suffer a crash, shunting his VJM10 car into the barrier at the exit of Swimming Pool after clipping the barrier and breaking the steering arm, leaving the team with plenty of repairs to complete in time for qualifying.
Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday.