Austrian GP: Sebastian Vettel fastest in rain-hit final practice

Sebastian Vettel
Vettel put in a time of 1:09.994 secs before rain hit in the final part of the session
Austrian Grand Prix
Venue: Spielberg Dates: 19-21 June
Live text and radio commentary via BBC TV, radio and the BBC Sport website and app, plus extended highlights on BBC television. Full coverage details here.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel pipped Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to fastest time in Saturday's rain-truncated final practice at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Vettel was just 0.017 seconds quicker than Hamilton before rain hit the Red Bull Ring halfway through the session.

Hamilton had been on a faster lap before making a mistake at the final corner.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Massa nearly runs over Ferrari team boss

Perez was the only driver of the top five to set a time on the faster super-soft tyres.

The top teams' attempts to do that before the rain came were frustrated when Fernando Alonso's McLaren stopped on the pit straight with a gearbox problem which caused fluctuating engine revs.

This required a gearbox change, which meant a further five-place grid penalty to add to the 20-place drop he has for using more than the permitted number of engine parts.

Alonso's problem brought out the red flag to stop the session so the McLaren could be recovered and the rain started to come down as the leading drivers were queued at the end of the pit lane waiting to go out.

Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen needed the safety of the run-off area as the rain struck
Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen needed the safety of the run-off area as the rain struck

On their single lap back to the pits, Raikkonen went off the track at Turn Five but was able to rejoin.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg ventured out of the intermediate tyres and went off twice in one lap, saying over the team radio: "It's slippery. There's no grip at all."

Later, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel went out - Sainz on the full-wet tyre and Vettel on the intermediates - and both went off the track because of the lack of grip.

Sainz went on the radio to say: "Oh, OK, it's very slippery but we need to run."

His engineer agreed, but Sainz had several more spins as he continued to circulate, but despite that the Spaniard was the fastest driver who went out on wet tyres at the end of the session, ahead of Rosberg.

Raikkonen also had an off, as he went out on the full-wet tyre.

The session underlined the impression that Ferrari could threaten Mercedes for pole position when qualifying starts at 13:00 BST, although showers are predicted for the afternoon and could affect the session.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Inside F1 - Austria practice and Red Bull future

Williams look to be the third fastest team, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas sixth and seventh in the dry.

Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen was an out-of-position eighth after an early run on super-soft tyres, ahead of the Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean.

Alonso's problem was another bitter blow for McLaren, who even before the session started already knew that both drivers would be hit with major grid penalties for using more than the permitted number of engine parts.

In addition to Alonso's penalty, Button also has a 25-place penalty because of engine changes.

As they will not be able to serve the full grip drop, both will have some form of in-race punishment on Sunday, probably a 10-second stop-and-go for both cars.

It was inauspicious timing for McLaren as incoming Honda president Takahiro Hachigo is scheduled to be at the track on Saturday.

Final practice results

Austrian GP coverage details

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton got the better of his Mercedes counterpart Nico Rosberg for the first time this weekend
Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez put his Force India fourth fastest, just behind Kimi Raikkonen
Nico Rosberg
Rosberg managed fifth-fastest after topping the first session on Friday

Top Stories