In the last free practice session before qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas headed the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel – but the session was cut short by a huge crash for Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon, who put his STR14 heavily into the wall on the pit straight.
Bottas was enjoying a healthy margin of around four tenths of a second over the two Ferraris of Vettel and Charles Leclerc with five minutes of Free Practice 3 remaining when Albon ran wide on the final corner. The Thai driver’s Toro Rosso wobbled on the astro turf before he was sent hurtling at worrying speed into the nearside track barrier.
Albon was soon out of the car and walking around, but the STR14 looked a long shot to be rebuilt in time for qualifying. That’s a shame, as both he and team mate Daniil Kvyat had shown strong pace, finishing the session in ninth and 10th respectively.
Behind Bottas and the two Ferraris, Lewis Hamilton failed to put one good lap together to end up fourth, while Nico Hulkenberg was once again impressive for Renault to go P5 – as he was in FP2 – ahead of the similarly impressive Kimi Raikkonen, sixth for Alfa Romeo.