In Saturday morning’s final practice session we finally got to see Mercedes’ pace on the fastest, hypersoft tyres – and it wasn’t enough to overhaul Red Bull, who topped their third practice session of the weekend, again courtesy of Max Verstappen.
Mercedes couldn’t match Ferrari either, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finishing second and third, ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the leading Silver Arrow. The good news for the world champions was that just a tenth of a second covered all four cars.
Verstappen’s team mate Daniel Riccardo, who believes Mercedes are the ones to fear this weekend, got a full session under his belt after an electrical problem had confined him to the garage for much of yesterday's second session. The Australian ultimately finished fifth, narrowly ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes.
Behind the top three teams, the enthralling ‘best of the rest’ battle took another twist in Montreal. McLaren and Haas were the fourth-best teams in FP1 and FP2 respectively, but the Force India of Sergio Perez took that honour in this final hour of practice.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, no doubt desperate to put a “difficult” Friday behind him, was just 0.043s behind Perez in P8, while Haas’ Romain Grosjean continued his impressive weekend with another top-ten finish.