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Valtteri Bottas topped final practice at the 2018 Formula One French Grand Prix on Saturday in a session disrupted by rain.
The Mercedes man was one of only 15 drivers to set a time early in the day, as the rain came tumbling down within 10 minutes of the session starting. Bottas’ mark of one minute, 33.666 seconds put him comfortably clear of Carlos Sainz Jr. in second.
On Friday, Bottas’ Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was the dominant force, topping both FP1 and FP2. Hamilton trails Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by one point in the Driver Standings.
Fans will be hoping the rain keeps up later in the day, when the drivers emerge again for what has the potential to be a fascinating qualifying session.
The running was limited on Saturday in FP3 as teams opted against any risk in the tough conditions:
Formula 1 @F1
FP3 CLASSIFICATION: 20 drivers, and just 61 laps completed #FrenchGP 🇫🇷 #F1 https://t.co/Nz3LXXkekb
Dark clouds gathered over the Le Castellet circuit as the drivers lined up for the start of final practice, with rain seemingly inevitable for those involved.
The Haas F1 team weren’t feeling confident about the prospects of getting some practice in the bank:
Some did venture out, though, with Bottas one of the few to show some early pace. The Finn was the closest to Hamilton early in the day on Friday and is expected to be a big contender in qualifying.
Still, there was even a tentativeness in him as he tried to make his way around this circuit, with an initial mark of 1:33.666 more than a second down on his time from FP1.
The heavens then opened and the rain continued to tip down at the halfway point in the session:
Formula 1 @F1
30 mins remaining in FP3
#FrenchGP 🇫🇷 #F1 https://t.co/pAXDW4g9rq
But the majority of the drivers will have to make do from the experience they accrued on Friday, as they head into qualifying in what will be changeable conditions. Given this is the first time F1 is back in France for 10 years, that should make for a qualifying packed with thrills and spills.