Vettel’s Ferrari teammate was the benchmark on Friday and set the initial pace in Saturday afternoon’s one-hour session.

But Leclerc made only a tiny improvement on a “useless” final run, allowing Vettel to leapfrog him for top spot and Verstappen to showcase impressive performance in his -powered .

Drivers were not allowed to take to the track until 10 minutes into the session to allow race organisers to complete fence repairs and remove a sausage kerb that had caused an enormous crash in the Formula 3 race that preceded FP3.

Leclerc hit the front after the first meaningful qualifying simulations and his 1m20.452s headed Vettel by 0.16s with 20 minutes of the session remaining.

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On their final runs, Vettel improved twice – he overhauled Leclerc on a 1m20.331s on his first flying lap, then cemented top spot with a 1m20.294s on the second.

Leclerc, by contrast, only improved by half a tenth, bemoaning it as “a bit of a useless run”.

That meant he slipped behind Verstappen, who will not contest qualifying properly because he has a grid penalty this weekend, and ’s Mercedes.

Verstappen and will be buoyed by ’s upgrade Spec 4 engine powering him to a lap time so close to Vettel on such a power-sensitive circuit.

Bottas nipped into third on a 1m20.403s, exactly the same time as Leclerc and ahead because he had set the laptime first.

World championship leader was only sixth-fastest, behind a rapid lap from ’s .

backed up his teammate with the seventh-fastest time as both lapped within half a second of Vettel.

Alex Albon dropped his left-side wheels into the gravel exiting the second chicane on his final qualifying simulation, and so only ended up with the eighth-fastest time as he failed to improve.

“I’m amazed how much the car changed,” said a bemused Albon. “Maybe the track gripped up more but I had no grip at all.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) completed the top 10.

Some laptimes were deleted during the session, including Leclerc’s second-fastest effort (at the time) with 10 minutes to go.

lost his quickest time, a 1m21.554s, and fell to the back of the midfield group and only ahead of the two Williams drivers.

Session results

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