Singapore GP Practice 3: Red Bull edge rivals Ferrari and Mercedes
Less than two tenths covers Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes; McLaren finish inside top five as Bottas and Raikkonen struggle
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 30/09/17 8:42am
Max Verstappen kept Red Bull ahead at the Singapore GP in Practice Three, but Ferrari and Mercedes delivered markedly-improved form to close right up at the head of the field.
In an additional surprise, both McLarens finished in the top five, the day after finally confirming they will split from Honda next season.
Red Bull threatened to run away with the weekend after dominating Friday's running but their P3 advantage over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was less than a tenth, with Lewis Hamilton close behind in third for Mercedes.
Both Red Bull drivers also ran into problems with Verstappen hit by a gearbox glitch and Daniel Ricciardo, who was only sixth, tagging the barriers at Turn 10.
With just 0.142s covering the top three teams, there is the genuine prospect of a three-way fight for pole when qualifying begins at 2pm BST live on Sky Sports F1.
McLaren, meanwhile, could be in shape to prosper if Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, both off form so far this weekend, struggle as they did in P3.
While both Finns finished well down the top 10, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne impressed en route to fourth and fifth places respectively ahead of the lead Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
The slow and twisty nature of the circuit was always likely to reduce the disadvantage of McLaren's Honda power unit, but top-six positions on the grid would still represent a major surprise.
Hulkenberg looks likely to challenge the McLarens for at least the fourth row, with Force India several tenths adrift of both teams in final practice.
Meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson brought out the red flag midway through the session when he spun into the barriers, demolishing the rear crash structure on his Sauber.
Singapore GP Practice Three Timesheet
|1. Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:41.829|
|2. Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+0.072|
|3. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.142|
|4. Fernando Alonso||McLaren||+0.554|
|5. Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||+0.610|
|6. Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+0.688|
|7. Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+0.720|
|8. Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.763|
|9. Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+0.879|
|10. Sergio Perez||Force India||+1.181|
|11. Esteban Ocon||Force India||+1.280|
|12. Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||+1.527|
|13. Jolyon Palmer||Renault||+1.539|
|14. Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+1.745|
|15. Felipe Massa||Williams||+1.895|
|16. Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+2.212|
|17. Lance Stroll||Williams||+2.394|
|18. Romain Grosjean||Haas||+2.466|
|19. Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||+3.931|
|20. Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+4.510|