Sebastian Vettel topped final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix as Nico Rosberg crashed due to a suspension failure.

Rosberg was on a qualifying simulation run when his left rear suspension failed as he accelerated out of Turn 2, with the car being pitched left and hitting the barrier head on. Rosberg was unhurt in the incident – which brought out the red flag – and the damage to the car was largely confined to the left rear corner and the nose.

Vettel was already quickest at the time of Rosberg’s accident, with his time of 1:07.098 being the fastest of the weekend so far. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen ensured it was a Ferrari one-two as he posted a 1:07.234, with both drivers using the ultrasoft tyre. While Vettel’s pace is encouraging, the German will take a five-place grid penalty after qualifying for a gearbox change.

Lewis Hamilton was third quickest after admitting on Friday that he is not quick enough around the Red Bull Ring, with the defending champion 0.210s slower than Vettel on his late lap. Hamilton had earlier complained of problems with his rear tyres as Mercedes saw blistering on the ultrasoft compound during its high fuel runs.

The majority of drivers set their best times on new ultrasoft tyres, but Hamilton can attribute some of the deficit to Ferrari to the fact he was on used ultrasofts having had to abort his first run when Rosberg crashed.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth quickest for Red Bull, half a second off Vettel’s time just ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen as 0.122s separated the pair. The Two Williams drivers of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh respectively – 0.7s off the pace – with Bottas suffering a spin at the final corner when set to improve late on.

Nico Hulkenberg was over 1.1s off the pace in eighth but set his best time on supersofts, with Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso rounding out the top ten.

Pascal Wehrlein was an encouraging 13th quickest for Manor as he suggested he could fight for a place in Q2 this afternoon. Wehrlein split the two Haas drivers, with both having set their times on supersofts. The two Toro Rossos struggled in FP3, with Daniil Kvyat 16th and Carlos Sainz 18th.

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Mercedes is investigating the reason for Rosberg’s failure but should be able to repair the car in time for qualifying. The team will also analyse whether the gearbox was damaged in the incident, as a replacement would result in a five-place grid penalty.

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Pos Driver Team Time Laps

01
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
1:07.098
20

02
Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari
1:07.234
26

03
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
1:07.308
20

04
Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull
1:07.639
22

05
Max Verstappen
Red Bull
1:07.761
22

06
Valtteri Bottas
Williams
1:07.814
23

07
Felipe Massa
Williams
1:07.831
27

08
Nico Hulkenberg
Force India
1:08.285
23

09
Jenson Button
McLaren
1:08.304
19

10
Fernando Alonso
McLaren
1:08.327
17

11
Sergio Perez
Force India
1:08.442
26

12
Esteban Gutierrez
Haas
1:08.475
22

13
Pascal Wehrlein
Manor
1:08.534
29

14
Romain Grosjean
Haas
1:08.550
21

15
Kevin Magnussen
Renault
1:08.569
31

16
Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso
1:08.786
32

17
Jolyon Palmer
Renault
1:08.939
27

18
Carlos Sainz
Toro Rosso
1:09.008
11

19
Rio Haryanto
Manor
1:09.116
28

20
Marcus Ericsson
Sauber
1:09.137
25

21
Felipe Nasr
Sauber
1:09.557
20

22
Nico Rosberg
Mercedes
1:10.959
16

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