Austrian GP | Vettel tops FP3 as Rosberg’s wishbone breaks

Vettel tops final practice at the Austrian Grand Prix.

As Mercedes suffered high levels of degradation and a suspension failure with Rosberg, Vettel posted the new fastest ever lap at the Red Bull Ring. Taking the title away from Rosberg yesterday, and Raikkonen today. After the Ferrari pair squabbled for top honours in FP3. 

From the green light in FP3, after Ericsson posted an initial lap time, it was Vettel and Raikkonen jousting for the top spot in final practice.

Despite his first run being on the supersoft tyres, Raikkonen held Vettel to a slender margin as he lapped the Red Bull Ring in 1:07.977, just two tenths slower than his team-mate on the softer compound.

When Raikkonen later returned to the track with a set of new ultrasoft tyres, Kimi flipped the deficit to his team-mate to a seven-hundredths of a second lead.

However, Vettel too returned to the track with ultrasoft tyres as he set the fastest lap time of the weekend so far. Sebastian’s lap however saw Vettel lock up slightly and run all four wheels off track at turn nine.

As for Mercedes, the session highlighted a key issue for the team. With high levels of degradation and blistering on ultrasoft tyres when the track remained dirty. No other team showed the same levels of blistering after just eight-laps, however the issue Mercedes faced appeared to clear with a clean track.

Unfortunately for the Silver Arrows, though, FP3 also showed a more prevalent issue with Rosberg, as his suspension broke while riding the exit kerb at turn two.

As Nico ran slightly over the exit kerb, his rear-left wishbone buckled. Forcing Nico into a spin towards the wall and ending his session under the red flag.

Mercedes immediately set to work to find the cause of the issue once Nico’s car returned to the pits. While informing Lewis to stay off the kerbs when he returned to the track for a few flying laps.

In the early stages of the session, Mercedes were not been able to post any flying laps as they worked on longer runs when the degradation began to show. As a result, Rosberg was only able to end the session in 22nd place.

Rosberg will also face a gearbox change and a subsequent five-place grid penalty for his session ending crash. With the team confirming after the session that the left rear top wishbone failed after an unusually high load at full throttle on the exit of turn 2.

As will session topping Vettel, who will take a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change after his FP2 crash. Meaning Vettel will once again not be able to start the race from pole, after topping an FP3 session for the fifth time.

Pos Driver Laps Time Gap
1 Sebastian Vettel 19 1’07.098  —
2 Kimi Raikkonen 25 1’07.234 0.136
3 Lewis Hamilton 19 1’07.308 0.21
4 Daniel Ricciardo 21 1’07.639 0.541
5 Max Verstappen 21 1’07.761 0.663
6 Valtteri Bottas 22 1’07.814 0.716
7 Felipe Massa 26 1’07.831 0.733
8 Nico Hulkenberg 22 1’08.285 1.187
9 Jenson Button 18 1’08.304 1.206
10 Fernando Alonso 16 1’08.327 1.229
11 Sergio Perez 25 1’08.442 1.344
12 Esteban Gutierrez 21 1’08.475 1.377
13 Pascal Wehrlein 28 1’08.534 1.436
14 Romain Grosjean 20 1’08.550 1.452
15 Kevin Magnussen 31 1’08.569 1.471
16 Daniil Kvyat 31 1’08.786 1.688
17 Jolyon Palmer 26 1’08.939 1.841
18 Carlos Sainz Jr. 11 1’09.008 1.91
19 Rio Haryanto 27 1’09.116 2.018
20 Marcus Ericsson 25 1’09.137 2.039
21 Felipe Nasr 19 1’09.557 2.459
22 Nico Rosberg 16 1’10.959 3.861