Hamilton edges Rosberg in close FP3

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.

AS IT HAPPENED: Russian Grand Prix – FP3

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Pos Driver Team Time Laps

01
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
1:36.403
17

02
Nico Rosberg
Mercedes
1:36.471
22

03
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
1:37.007
28

04
Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari
1:37.727
14

05
Felipe Massa
Williams
1:37.918
16

06
Valtteri Bottas
Williams
1:37.985
16

07
Max Verstappen
Toro Rosso
1:38.133
22

08
Jenson Button
McLaren
1:38.260
14

09
Carlos Sainz
Toro Rosso
1:38.465
25

10
Sergio Perez
Force India
1:38.542
18

11
Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull
1:38.622
23

12
Fernando Alonso
McLaren
1:38.633
12

13
Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull
1:39.047
15

14
Nico Hulkenberg
Force India
1:39.162
16

15
Esteban Gutierrez
Haas
1:39.230
18

16
Kevin Magnussen
Renault
1:39.238
16

17
Romain Grosjean
Haas
1:39.239
15

18
Jolyon Palmer
Renault
1:39.589
19

19
Rio Haryanto
Manor
1:39.599
19

20
Pascal Wehrlein
Manor
1:39.663
18

21
Marcus Ericsson
Sauber
1:39.740
23

22
Felipe Nasr
Sauber
1:39.898
19

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