Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Mercedes out-pace Ferrari as Hamilton leads one-two

2018 Russian Grand Prix third practice

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Mercedes comfortably out-paced Ferrari in the final practice session for the Russian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton led a one-two for the team, six-tenths of a second faster than championship rival Sebastian Vettel, and setting a new track record for Sochi with a lap of 1’33.067.

Ferrari looked in better shape at the beginning of the session when both drivers improved on their best time from yesterday shortly after joining the track. But Vettel wasn’t happy with the balance of the car on his final run.

“Straight from the first lap I had more understeer,” he reported on the radio after his final runs. “Poor balance.

“The car was never together. It was better the first run. Especially the last sector, falling away from me the rear. At the end too nervous, the mid-corner was too much understeer
overall grip, mostly the rears.”

It was an eventful end to the session for Vettel. First he had a near-miss when he rejoined the track from the pits and passed close by Daniel Ricciardo, who was running along the pit lane exit.

Then Ferrari sent Vettel out for another run too late for him to rejoin the track, meaning he had to abandon his Ferrari at the pit lane exit. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen also failed to leave the pits for his practice start before the session ended.

The Red Bull pair, who will take grid penalties after qualifying, were fifth and sixth fastest. Charles Leclerc, looking much happier with his Sauber than he was yesterday, led the midfielders, though the times behind him were as tight as ever.

Two other teams lapped a tenth of a second off the Sauber: Esteban Ocon for Force India and Kevin Magnussen for Haas. Sergio Perez completed the top 10. A further two teams appeared on the fringes of the top 10: Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso and Carlos Sainz Jnr in the Renault.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.06713
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’33.3210.25416
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’33.6670.60014
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’33.6880.62111
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.9370.87011
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’34.3941.32714
716Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’34.6281.56115
831Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’34.8091.74216
920Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’34.8201.75315
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’34.9161.84914
1155Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’34.9881.92113
1210Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’35.1252.05821
138Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.1852.11818
1427Nico HulkenbergRenault1’35.2132.14612
159Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’35.3702.30316
1628Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’36.0332.96622
1735Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’36.0713.00416
1818Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’36.2743.20720
192Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’36.5973.53014
2014Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’36.9923.92521

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Third practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.067

+0.254 Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.321

+0.600 Sebastian Vettel – 1’33.667

+0.621 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’33.688

+0.870 Max Verstappen – 1’33.937

+1.327 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’34.394

+1.561 Charles Leclerc – 1’34.628

+1.742 Esteban Ocon – 1’34.809

+1.753 Kevin Magnussen – 1’34.820

+1.849 Sergio Perez – 1’34.916

+1.921 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.988

+2.058 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.125

+2.118 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.185

+2.146 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’35.213

+2.303 Marcus Ericsson – 1’35.370

+2.966 Brendon Hartley – 1’36.033

+3.004 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’36.071

+3.207 Lance Stroll – 1’36.274

+3.530 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’36.597

+3.925 Fernando Alonso – 1’36.992

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.8181’33.3851’33.067-0.31871
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.9991’33.5841’33.321-0.26377
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’34.4881’33.9281’33.667-0.26166
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’35.6961’34.3881’33.688-0.761
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’34.5381’33.8271’33.937+0.1165
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’35.5241’33.8441’34.394+0.5562
7Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’37.0541’35.4321’34.628-0.80471
8Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’35.6631’35.1471’34.809-0.33873
9Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’36.1961’35.3311’34.820-0.51169
10Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’35.1221’34.916-0.20644
11Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’35.3411’34.988-0.35350
12Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’36.9441’35.1371’35.125-0.01274
13Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’36.8161’35.9111’35.185-0.72676
14Nico HulkenbergRenault1’36.2741’35.5681’35.213-0.35565
15Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’35.2951’35.370+0.07551
16Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’37.9441’36.0241’36.033+0.00979
17Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’37.2251’36.8611’36.071-0.7980
18Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’36.0741’36.992+0.91855
19Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’39.1371’37.0011’36.274-0.72768
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’37.1871’36.6171’36.597-0.0272
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber-Ferrari1’36.71222
22Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’37.02225
23Artem MarkelovRenault1’37.18322
24Nicholas LatifiForce India-Mercedes1’37.20624

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2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Mercedes out-pace Ferrari as Hamilton leads one-two”

  1. Last season’s pole time finally got beaten albeit by little over a tenth only.

    1. Thank you very much!

  2. I think we can write off any excitement over the driver’s championship now.

    1. Just one single engine component needs to fail, and it’s right back on. I wouldn’t rule out anything yet.

      1. Unless it fails on Vettel car.

    2. Yup. Especially since Mercedes has a pace advantage. If Ferrari had half a second advantage they would have a shot.

      But with their overall organisation no chance.

  3. So do you reckon the Ferraris are still sandbagging?

  4. Do we know how the ferraris did against the merc in their race simulation stints? Pole was a disadvantage for Vettel last year. They could focus on the race and try to overtake the Mercedes on the start straight after the lights go out.
    If Vettel manages to qualify in P2 today, my money is on him.

  5. Bit of an odd decision by Ferrari to try and send their drivers out seconds before the end of the session. Vettel not even reaching the end of the pit lane before the light went red.

    Trying to get all the daft out of their system before Qualifying?

  6. Despite Ferrari’s clear advantage, I think there is a good chance Lewis will make another miracle and take pole position today. You probably think it’s impossible, but I really believe there is a chance.

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