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FP3: Bottas heads Sainz, as rain stops play in Le Castellet

23 Jun 2018

Less than 10 minutes. That’s how much meaningful running the teams got in before rain set in at the Paul Ricard circuit on Saturday afternoon. Just 15 drivers set a lap time – none of them particularly representative – with the fastest coming from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

PRACTICE 3 RESULTS

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 77 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes 1:33.666 3
2 55 Carlos Sainz SAI Renault 1:34.953 +1.287s 3
3 16 Charles Leclerc LEC Sauber 1:35.012 +1.346s 5
4 14 Fernando Alonso ALO McLaren 1:36.365 +2.699s 4
5 5 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari 1:36.756 +3.090s 5
6 2 Stoffel Vandoorne VAN McLaren 1:37.547 +3.881s 4

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Renault’s Carlos Sainz was over 1.2s behind the Finn in second, followed by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Stoffel Vandoorne, in the sister McLaren, was in sixth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who was back on track in a fresh chassis after missing FP2 following his shunt in the opening session. Force India’s Sergio Perez and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten.

The session began under a dark sky and the drivers immediately headed out on the newly-resurfaced track to get early running in ahead of today’s qualifying session.

However, it took less than five minutes for the rain to make an unwanted appearance, with Bottas among the early runners to get a timed lap under his belt before all 20 drivers returned to the respective garages while the rain hammered down.

With further rain expected for both qualifying and race, most teams chose to conserve their wet-weather tyre allocation and kept their cars in the garage.

Only in the final 10 minutes did a handful of drivers venture out in the very wet conditions: Alonso and team mate Vandoorne, the Williams of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, the Toro Rossos of Brendon Hartley - who will start Sunday's race from the back of the grid - and Gasly, and Sauber’s Leclerc.

If the weather stays like this, qualifying could be a real lottery!