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F1 NEWS 

Belgian GP: Valtteri Bottas tops final practice for Williams

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Belgian GP 2014, Spa

Valtteri Bottas went quickest for Williams in a frenzied final few minutes of third practice for Formula 1's 2014 Belgian Grand Prix, outpacing Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo by 0.268 seconds.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was the best of the title contenders in third.

Many drivers only had the opportunity to run one or two flying laps on the soft Pirelli tyre at the end of the session, and were thwarted by traffic.

ANALYSIS: F1 2014 shows its speed at Spa

After overnight rain a dry line had already formed in some places, thanks to the preceding GP3 qualifying session, as the F1 cars took to the circuit for their installation laps.

With the track temperature still hovering around the 16C mark and the surface still mostly wet, there was little activity for the first 30 minutes as most teams - apart from the tail-enders - elected not to risk their machinery.

Thus Marussia annexed the top two positions for half the session as Jules Bianchi (2m01.823s), Max Chilton (2m05.120s) and Andre Lotterer (2m07.529s) each essayed a tentative lap before reporting back to the pits.

Esteban Gutierrez was the first driver out on slick tyres, half an hour into the session. He instantly took 1.581s out of Bianchi's time, then improved again by over four seconds as his medium-compound Pirellis came up to temperature, and this provided the cue for others to join the fray.

The track evolved quickly over the final 20 minutes as increased activity broadened the dry line, and Ferrari fans will have been heartened by the sight of Kimi Raikkonen bolting on a set of soft tyres and briefly topping the timesheets with five minutes to go.

Bottas, Ricciardo and Rosberg then went faster using the same tyre choice, but Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were unable to eclipse their team-mates and finished fifth and sixth fastest.

The inside story of the Williams revival

Sebastian Vettel finished the session outside the top 10 having done all his running on the medium compound.

He has reverted to an older engine after an ignition problem in one cylinder set in motion a failure of his nominated power unit on Friday.

Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     1m49.465s           12
 2.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault      1m49.733s  +0.268s  9
 3.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m49.739s  +0.274s  13
 4.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari               1m49.817s  +0.352s  9
 5.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1m49.817s  +0.352s  13
 6.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari               1m49.890s  +0.425s  9
 7.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault    1m49.893s  +0.428s  11
 8.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m50.203s  +0.738s  11
 9.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes     1m50.423s  +0.958s  11
10.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault    1m50.535s  +1.070s  10
11.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes  1m50.592s  +1.127s  12
12.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes      1m50.748s  +1.283s  11
13.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m50.814s  +1.349s  10
14.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m50.866s  +1.401s  11
15.  Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari        1m50.962s  +1.497s  12
16.  Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault         1m51.509s  +2.044s  9
17.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault         1m51.610s  +2.145s  10
18.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari        1m51.898s  +2.433s  15
19.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari      1m52.457s  +2.992s  14
20.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari      1m52.984s  +3.519s  14
21.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault      1m54.294s  +3.829s  11
22.  Andre Lotterer     Caterham-Renault      1m55.008s  +5.543s  13
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