Sebastian Vettel edged out Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen to set the pace in final Austrian Grand Prix practice, while Nico Rosberg crashed following a suspension failure.
Vettel clocked a 1m07.098s on the ultra-softs, 0.136 seconds clear of Raikkonen with Lewis Hamilton just under a tenth further back in third.
Reigning champion Hamilton ran wide at Turn 8 early in the session and radioed his Mercedes team complaining about his rear tires, which looked to be badly blistered. After a long stint in the garage, he returned to the track for his qualifying simulation, but had to abort his run when the session was red-flagged after Rosberg crashed.
The championship leader ran onto the curbs on the exit of Turn 2 with the left-rear tire vibrating heavily. The suspension then appeared to fail, pitching him into the barriers nose-first before he rebounded back onto the track.
Mercedes is investigating the issue and now faces a race to get the car fixed in time for qualifying later on Saturday afternoon. As Rosberg was unable to complete a low-fuel run at the end of the session, he ended up bottom of the times.
After a 10-minute stoppage, the session restarted with drivers left with just 12 minutes to complete their qualifying simulations. Vettel was first to set a lap time and promptly went quickest while Hamilton’s first effort was 0.656s off the pace.
After a cool-down lap, Hamilton improved to a 1m07.308s but could not make any further inroads into Vettel’s leading time.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth quickest, half a second off the pace but a tenth quicker than teammate Max Verstappen.
Valtteri Bottas ruined his final run when he pushed too hard into Turn 8 and spun but was still sixth, a fraction ahead of Williams teammate Felipe Massa.
Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who lost a piece of bodywork from his McLaren when he clobbered the aggressive yellow curbs late in the session, completed the top 10.
PRACTICE 3 TIMES:
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m07.639ss||0.541s||22|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m07.761ss||0.663s||22|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m08.285ss||1.187s||23|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m08.442ss||1.344s||26|
|16||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m08.786ss||1.688s||32|
|18||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m09.008ss||1.910s||11|