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F1 NEWS 

Monaco GP: Lewis Hamilton leads Daniel Ricciardo in practice three

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco GP 2014

Lewis Hamilton established himself as favourite for his fifth Formula 1 pole position of 2014 by topping Saturday morning practice in Monaco.

The Briton lagged 0.130 seconds behind Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the first part of the session, when all drivers were lapping on the slower soft-compound Pirellis.

But Hamilton was the first of the pair to head out on super-soft rubber for his qualifying simulation, doing so with 10 minutes to go.

By then, Red Bull pairing Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel had already jumped to first and second place respective on their option tyre runs.

The Australian was four tenths faster than Vettel, although the latter had looked set to improve on a later lap before being held up by having to pass Felipe Massa's Williams at Rascasse.

Hamilton then went fastest with five minutes to go, albeit just half a tenth faster than Ricciardo, and appeared likely to improve again before locking up and straightlining the chicane.

Rosberg, who was the last driver to head out on super-softs, left his best lap until late in the session.

He looked set to retake top spot on his penultimate lap, setting the fastest time of all in sector one and then a personal best in sector two, but a slow final sector meant he ended up third behind Ricciardo, 0.116s slower than Hamilton.

Vettel held on to fourth place ahead of Fernando Alonso, the latter lapping just two hundredths of a second quicker than Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Force India opted to sit out the first part of the session and was the last to hit the track, with Sergio Perez ending up a strong seventh fastest ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

Jean-Eric Vergne, who made visits to the run-off area at both Ste Devote and Mirabeau in the closing stages of the session, was ninth ahead of Toro Rosso team-mate and Monaco rookie Daniil Kvyat.

McLaren's troubles continued, with Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button 11th and 12th, while Williams also disappointed with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa 13th and 14th.

Lotus struggled too, with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado 16th and 18th, sandwiching Jules Bianchi's Marussia, which showed impressive pace that potentially gives him the chance to challenge for a Q2 position.

Marcus Ericsson was slowest after a difficult session during which he visited the Ste Devote escape road, having to reverse onto the track, and also survived a brush with the barrier.

Pos Driver                Team                  Time       Gap     Laps
 1. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              1m16.758s           27 
 2. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault      1m16.808s  +0.050s  26 
 3. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m16.874s  +0.116s  24 
 4. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m17.184s  +0.426s  23 
 5. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m17.428s  +0.670s  22 
 6. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari               1m17.448s  +0.690s  24 
 7. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes  1m17.725s  +0.967s  23 
 8. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m18.074s  +1.316s  21 
 9. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault    1m18.136s  +1.378s  19 
10. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault    1m18.166s  +1.408s  26 
11. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes      1m18.249s  +1.491s  28 
12. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m18.262s  +1.504s  21 
13. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes     1m18.430s  +1.672s  31 
14. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes     1m18.542s  +1.784s  30 
15. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari        1m18.598s  +1.840s  24 
16. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m18.776s  +2.018s  26 
17. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari      1m18.872s  +2.114s  23 
18. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault         1m19.118s  +2.360s  28 
19. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        1m19.149s  +2.391s  28 
20. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault      1m20.271s  +3.513s  32 
21. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari      1m20.394s  +3.636s  25 
22. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault      1m20.589s  +3.831s  30 
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