Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of final practice for the Russian Grand Prix, with the two Mercedes drivers separated by just 0.068s.
The defending champion took top spot on his final flying lap in the session having struggled to put a clean lap together on his first attempt. With Nico Rosberg so close behind, it throws up the prospect of a straight fight between the Mercedes pair for pole position.
Ferrari had a more productive session after Sebastian Vettel’s problems in FP2, with Vettel carrying out plenty of long running as he managed 28 laps in the hour-long session. With the most mileage, Vettel also ended up with the third fastest time but was 0.6s slower than Hamilton as Ferrari is left with a big gap to try and close in qualifying.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth but a further 0.7s behind his team-mate, with the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas just 0.2s further back. Max Verstappen, Jenson Button, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten, with Daniel Riciardo the lead Red Bull in 11th but over two seconds slower than Hamilton.
Q1 looks set to be an exciting fight between a number of teams, with Daniil Kvyat in 13th just 0.8s quicker than Felipe Nasr who was slowest overall in FP3. Sauber, Manor, Renault and Haas all look set to fight for a place in Q2 this afternoon.
Turn 13 proved to be the most difficult corner during the final hour of practice, with numerous drivers running wide. The corner requires braking while turning slightly left before a tight right-hander, and Perez was first to go straight on, failing to turn around cleanly and needing to be pushed backwards by marshals before rejoining.
Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean all also went straight on at the same corner, highlighting how easy it will be for drivers to make mistakes in qualifying.
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