Sebastian Vettel's mistakes are letting Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes off the hook

Sebastian Vettel's mistakes are letting Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes off the hook

Sebastian Vettel's mistakes are letting Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes off the hook

Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a dominant third and final practice in blistering heat on Saturday ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Red Bull had also expected to be in the mix but Australian Daniel Ricciardo, whose win in Monaco raised hopes of a repeat at a track that also plays to the car's strengths, failed to make the cut in the second phase.

"The Ferrari were just two fast so we focused on doing the best job we could and maybe lockout the second row".

Mercedes struggled with their rear tyres more than their rivals when running the ultrasoft compound, but with a free choice of which compound to start on (if it's dry, due to Q2 being wet), they face the decision of the more durable soft compound or the faster ultrasoft off the line.

Ricciardo put that down to bad luck, but he knows he'll need to rely on more than just luck to recover into the significant points-paying positions on Sunday.

Kimi Raikkonen, one of the few to set his initial lap time using the mediums, was one of the later drivers to complete his qualifying simulation and went into third place - setting the best final sector time of the session along the way.

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"It looks like in the wet conditions we aren't as confident as we are in the dry", said the German, whose team are mourning the death of former chairman Sergio Marchionne with flags flown at half mast. "We're good", came the reply.

Vettel had been quickest in both the first and second phases of qualifying but Mercedes got their timing right when it mattered.

Red Bull are expected to be among the favourites at a comparatively slow track that suits the aerodynamic qualities of their auto much more than Mercedes, whose drivers seemed to lack grip, and is less engine dependent. "But there's a difference between the two tyres, particularly for that long straight, so I think it's highly unlikely we're going to sacrifice keeping our positions at the start - but again, I don't know what the team are going to decide but I imagine we are going to start on the ultra, even with the choice".

The German's team-mate Carlos Sainz was next, ahead of Haas' Kevin Magnussen, Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and McLaren's Fernando Alonso.

Hulkenberg did not run for the last half-hour after stopping out on track with an engine shutdown.

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