Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton edges out Sebastian Vettel in FP3

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton edged Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to the quickest time in the third and final Formula 1 practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton edges out Sebastian Vettel in FP3

The reigning world champion clocked a 1m34.599s - the fastest time of the weekend so far - on the soft tyre to finish 0.069s clear of Vettel.

The other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg was third, after a slow first sector, 0.369s off the pace with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

Raikkonen led the way after the medium tyre runs, with Ferrari team-mate Vettel 0.245s adrift in second - but the order changed significantly when drivers bolted on the soft tyres with 13 minutes of the one-hour session to go.

Rosberg was the first of the frontrunners to do a performance run, but his first sector was three tenths slower than his best on Friday.

His team-mate Hamilton had a much cleaner lap to top the charts for the first time this weekend.

The circuit was very dusty early on amid blustery conditions, with winds hitting 20mph and track temperatures 15C lower than they were during Friday's daytime session.

The dirty circuit meant a number of drivers struggled for grip with both Lotus's Romain Grosjean and Hamilton locking up on the run to Turn 1 and running wide onto the run-off.

Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, who was as high as fifth during the medium-tyre runs.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who didn't go out until the final half and hour and ran wide at Turn 13 on his medium-tyre run, was eighth, with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber's Felipe Nasr completing the top 10.

Jenson Button was the first driver out on track in a bid to make up for a loss of track time on Friday, when he completed just a handful of laps.

The Briton was the leading McLaren in 11th after 14 laps, five places and half a second quicker than team-mate Fernando Alonso in 16th.

Kvyat, who was caught out when he spun at Turn 4 and beached his Red Bull in the gravel, ended up 12th after the team got him back out for the final few minutes of the session.

Marcus Ericsson's Sauber was 13th, ahead of Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso and Force India's Sergio Perez.

It was a disappointing session for Carlos Sainz, who could only manage 17th, one place clear of Lotus' Romain Grosjean, who asked his team early in the session, "how can the car be so different?"

The Manors brought up the rear of the field, with Will Stevens eight tenths quicker than team-mate Roberto Merhi. Both were within the 107 per cent cut-off time.

FREE PRACTICE THREE RESULTS:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.599s - 13
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m34.668s 0.069s 14
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.968s 0.369s 16
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m35.141s 0.542s 13
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m35.393s 0.794s 18
6 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m35.471s 0.872s 15
7 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m36.307s 1.708s 14
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m36.335s 1.736s 8
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m36.421s 1.822s 13
10 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m36.429s 1.830s 18
11 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m36.488s 1.889s 14
12 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m36.548s 1.949s 7
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m36.612s 2.013s 17
14 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m36.684s 2.085s 11
15 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m36.727s 2.128s 14
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m36.899s 2.300s 11
17 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m36.979s 2.380s 14
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m37.151s 2.552s 17
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m39.745s 5.146s 12
20 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1m40.541s 5.942s 14


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