Sebastian Vettel quickest in final Austrian F1 practice as Max Verstappen suffers engine failure

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Sebastian Vettel finished fastest in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen suffered an engine failure.

Vettel was slower than his championship rival Lewis Hamilton on Friday, but the Ferrari driver turned up the pace in the hours before qualifying.

The German edged out Mercedes' Hamilton by just three hundredths with a new track record of one minute and 0.4070 seconds at Spielberg's Red Bull Ring.

Verstappen, however, faces a race against time to be ready for qualifying following an engine problem.

"The engine just shut down," Verstappen reported on the Red Bull radio after he came to a stop at the side of the track.

The Dutchman's Red Bull crew will now have a little less than two hours to get his car up and running for qualifying.

Verstappen, who finished fifth, seven tenths slower than Vettel, also ran through the gravel at Turn 4 after losing control of his Red Bull.

Valtteri Bottas finished third for Mercedes with Kimi Raikkonen, who also took an off-track excursion at Turn 7, was fourth.

The McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne finished 14th and 18th with the two Williams cars rooted to the foot of the timings.

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, who could replace Raikkonen at Ferrari next year, finished 10th but suffered an engine scare in the closing moments of the one-hour session.

The Monaco-born rookie pulled up with the issue. "I think there is something wrong with the engine," he said.

Hamilton, who is 14 points ahead of Vettel in the championship, is bidding for his second win in as many weeks following his triumph in France last Sunday.

- PA

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