FP3: Vettel puts himself in charge with new lap record!

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Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheet in Saturday's final free practice session, edging Lewis Hamilton by 0.217s in a session dominated by a Ferrari-Mercedes quartet.

Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen lined up behind their leaders while Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were unable to challenge their rivals.

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix Free Practice 3 times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:07.948s 17
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:08.165s + 0.217s 15
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:08.465s + 0.517s 23
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:08.490s + 0.542s 17
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:08.733s + 0.785s 12
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:08.788s + 0.840s 12
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:09.146s + 1.198s 14
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:09.257s + 1.309s 16
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:09.402s + 1.454s 22
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:09.448s + 1.500s 21
11 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:09.461s + 1.513s 19
12 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:09.588s + 1.640s 18
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:09.808s + 1.860s 23
14 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:09.864s + 1.916s 17
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:09.885s + 1.937s 14
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:09.985s + 2.037s 18
17 Lance Stroll Williams 1:10.001s + 2.053s 17
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:10.020s + 2.072s 15
19 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:10.116s + 2.168s 18
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:10.289s + 2.341s 16

Wednesday at Interlagos dawned with typically Brazilian weather - warm and cloudy - and the usual threat of rain, but drivers made their way to a dry track for the final 60 minutes of free practice before this afternoon's crucial qualifying shootout.

Sauber's Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson were the first to head out but Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen punched in the first relevant time with a 1m09.424s on supersofts.

The Finn was quickly overhauled however by Sebastian Vettel who shaved 0.8s off his tea mate's time.

Worries erupted in the Mercedes camp when Hamilton was called back to the pits where a diagnosis eventually revealed a dislodged breather pipe. The issues was diligently dealt with by the Silver Arrows squad, the Brit rejoining the action after a 20-minute delay.

In the interim, Bottas was snapping at Vettel's but unable to put in a faster lap than the German.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo slotted himself into fourth before Hamilton took up the spot to complete a Ferrari/Mercedes quartet.

With 20 minutes of running time left, Vettel put his head time and clocked in with a 1m07.948s lap under his belt that represented a new lap record of Interlagos

A lull in track activity encouraged Hamilton to tempt a lap on the supersofts. The effort brought an improvement but the Mercedes driver was still two tenths down on Vettel.

The indication in FP3 pointed to a two-way fight between Ferrari and Mercedes as the pair appeared out of reach of Red Bull, with Max Verstappen - the faster of the bulls - outpaced by 0.785s by Vettel.

Behind the top-six, Kevin Magnussen concluded the session as best of the rest, edging Haas team mate Romain Grosjean, while Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Sauber's Charles Leclerc rounded off the top-ten.

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