Max Verstappen set fastest lap-time ahead of Sebastian Vettel. After the flying lap Verstappen complained about his Red Bull shifting gear by itself. Late improvement from third-fastest Lewis Hamilton to close within a tenth; McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne set fourth and fifth quickest respectively.
Vettel set fastest time in the early running. Lewis Hamilton temporarily held second place with a lap just under a adrift of the German.
25 minutes into the session – Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen set top two fastest lap-time.
Just after the halfway point the red flags came out when Marcus Ericsson hit the wall late in his lap. The Sauber speedy lost control of the rear and spun backwards into the barriers, smashing the rear wing of his car and shipping substantial rear end damage.
After the session restart, Vettel was the first to show, with the Ferrari drivers posting a fastest-time. That changed with 10 minutes left on the clock when both Verstappen and Ricciardo emerged for their quali simulations. Verstappen was quickly into his stride, re-taking first place with a lap of 1:41.829.
Following the flying lap, Verstappen slowed dramatically and reported that his car was changing gear by itself. He too was told to return to the pits.
Sixth place went to Ricciardo, who kissing into the wall following best lap-time, though the Australian failed to put in a qualifying simulation. Behind him, Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault ahead of Bottas, with Räikkönen ninth ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez.