Ferrari increases gap to Mercedes in final practice in Monaco

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in the third and final practice session in Monaco, followed by teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Third and fourth were snatched by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, whilst Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton finished fifth.

The session started with the announcement that McLaren’s Jenson Button will take a 15-place grid penalty due to power unit changes, a disappointing blow for the Brit on his return to Monaco.

It’s awful for Jenson and awful for McLaren,” spoke McLaren racing director Eric Boullier, “and not expected at all. But it’s Monaco, so we’ll try anything we can.

In the fairly quiet session, it was clear that Mercedes were struggling in comparison to their rivals Ferrari, as Vettel and Raikkonen put in better lap times and seemed a lot more comfortable than Hamilton and Bottas.

With only eight minutes to go, Force India’s Esteban Ocon collided with the barriers on the exit of the swimming pool chicane, causing a virtual safety car.

The incident was caused by the Frenchman clipping the inside wall going into the chicane, which broke the front-right wishbone on his car, meaning that he was unable to steer away from the wall.

Luckily, Ocon was unhurt.

The only other notable event of the session came at the very end, as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo’s car had stopped at the side of the track, smoke coming out of the front brakes.

BBW [brake by wire] failed,” Ricciardo reported.

Yeah, the pedal went to the floor.

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Qualifying starts at 1pm GMT.

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