Austrian GP: More problems for Lewis Hamilton as Sebastian Vettel top

Sebastian Vettel
Audio and text coverage of qualifying is live on the BBC Sport website from 12:55 BST
Austrian Grand Prix on the BBC
Venue: Red Bull Ring Date: 7-9 July
Coverage: Qualifying on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra (online only), and race on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app.

Sebastian Vettel headed title rival Lewis Hamilton in final practice at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was on a final run when he suffered a front brake failure heading into Turn Two and ran wide, missing his chance to set a definitive lap time.

He was 0.269 seconds down on Vettel, who has a 14-point championship lead.

Hamilton can start at best sixth in Sunday's race after being hit with a five-place grid penalty for an unauthorised gearbox change.

Mercedes discovered a problem with Hamilton's gearbox after the previous race in Azerbaijan and informed governing body the FIA on Tuesday, but the issue became public only on Friday evening at the Red Bull Ring.

Media playback is not supported on this device

F1: Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is on 'incredibly thin ice'

Teams have to run a gearbox for six consecutive events but Hamilton's has had to be changed before that period expired.

Even without the penalty, it looks like Mercedes have a serious battle on their hands with Ferrari this weekend, with Vettel impressively fast throughout final practice after struggling on Friday.

Mercedes said Hamilton's problem with be rectified before qualifying, which starts at 13:00 BST.

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third fastest, 0.423secs slower than Vettel but 0.096secs quicker than the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton entertains the fans at the Red Bull Ring before third practice
Lewis, you've got some smoke... oh, never mind

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth on their home circuit in the Styrian mountains, home region of Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

The Haas cars were seventh and eighth quickest, ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz.

The McLarens of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso were 13th and 15th, sandwiching the Renault of Jolyon Palmer.

Vandoorne is using an upgraded Honda power unit known as the 'phase three', which is said by insiders to be worth about 10bhp over the previous specification.

Alonso had to revert to the phase two engine on Saturday after a problem was discovered with his MGU-H, the part of the hybrid system that recovers energy from the turbo.

Top Stories