By Steve Keating
MONTREAL (Reuters) – Sebastian Vettel was fastest in final practice for the Canadian Grand Prix ahead of team mate Charles LeClerc on Saturday, signalling that Ferrari may be prepared to offer a challenge to the Mercedes dominance.
Vettel, who won from pole position last year in Canada, flashed Ferrari’s power advantage as the German lapped the sun- bathed island circuit with a best lap time of one minute, 10.843 seconds.
LeClerc, who topped Friday’s second practice, was 0.139 behind the four-times world champion but in front of the Mercedes’ of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton, bidding for a recording-equalling seventh win in Canada, was third fastest, bouncing back from a brush with the wall during Friday’s second free practice which sent the five-time world champion into the pits.
The Formula One championship leader, who topped the first practice but completed just eight laps in the second, had a routine error-free outing with his Finnish team mate following him on the timing charts.
The two Mercedes, using upgraded engines for the Canadian race, were followed by the Red Bulls of Dutchman Max Verstappen and Frenchman Pierre Gasly.
Topping two of the three free practices will provide Ferrari with a confidence boost as they try to end Mercedes domination in which Hamilton and Bottas swept the opening six races, including five in a one-two formation.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)