Raikkonen hits the front for Ferrari in final Malaysian GP practice

Getty Images
0 Comments

Kimi Raikkonen rose to the front of the pack in the final Formula 1 practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday morning, heading up a one-two finish for Ferrari.

Ferrari flipped the formbook on its head on Friday by easing clear of the field in FP2 despite chief title rival Mercedes being tipped to dominate proceedings, with the Silver Arrows finishing over a second off the pace.

Ferrari carried its good form through to Saturday as Raikkonen turned in a fastest lap time of 1:31.880, finishing one-tenth of a second clear of teammate Sebastian Vettel at the end of the session.

However, Vettel’s hopes of cutting the gap in the drivers’ championship were put in doubt when he slowed at the end of FP3, with Ferrari’s pit wall telling him to come back to the pits.

Red Bull and Mercedes looked evenly matched through FP3, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing third ahead of the Silver Arrows of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in P4 and P5.

Mercedes opted to split the aerodynamic setups on its cars to try and find out why it was so far off the pace, with Bottas going two-tenths of a second faster with the updated package.

Max Verstappen took sixth for Red Bull, finishing seven-tenths of a second back from Raikkonen, and the Dutchman was caught up in a bizarre incident with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer in the dying moments of the session.

On a hot lap, Palmer tried to pass a slow Verstappen on the inside of the final hairpin, only for the pair to make contact and the Renault driver to lose a chunk of his front wing.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon both finished in the top 10 for Force India, taking P7 and P9 respectively, with Felipe Massa splitting the pair for Williams. Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top half of the order for McLaren.

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5am ET today.