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Sebastian Vettel retained Ferrari's position at the top of the timesheets in third and final free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, but a downpour in the latter stages could turn things on its head with qualifying a short time away.

Picking up from where he left off in FP2, Vettel was once again fastest in what was a welcome trouble-free session for Ferrari, even if he would turn in a slower time than yesterday as cooler conditions in the Austrian hills made their presence felt.

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Indeed, with dark clouds threatening the region from the start of the session, 35mins was contested in dry conditions before a shower brought an early end to any significant track action, the foolhardy few that did venture out reporting a significant lack of grip even on treaded tyres, with Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Vettel all experiencing offs as they trialled the conditions.

Indeed, even if rain does stop before qualifying, with just the air temperature barely rising above 12 degrees, it will take time to dry regardless.

Should qualifying prove dry, the fight for pole position appears close between Ferrari and Mercedes, with just 0.017secs splitting Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, while Kimi Raikkonen was a tenth further back in third and Nico Rosberg fifth, the latter unable to complete his last flyer due to a yellow flag up ahead to clear Fernando Alonso's expired McLaren-Honda (see below).

Sergio Perez brought Force India into the mix with a fine lap in fourth place, albeit only as one of two drivers inside the top ten to get a lap on the super-soft tyres before the rain. Even so, this came despite a dramatic deflation of his soft tyre coming into turn eight during the early stages of the session, a problem traced to a rim failure.

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas followed up in sixth and seventh for Williams, less than half a second off the top spot, ahead of Max Verstappen - also on the super-soft -, Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean.

Meanwhile, McLaren's woeful Austrian Grand Prix weekend continued with Alonso's McLaren coming to a halt on the home straight, briefly bringing out a red flag. The Spaniard is already suffering a 20 place grid penalty this weekend, but could yet face more, while Jenson Button is also set for a mammoth 25 place grid penalty himself.