Brazilian GP: Bottas pips Hamilton in a tight FP3 session

Valtteri Bottas set the pace in a tight Formula 1 final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix as the top four were separated by just a fraction of a second

Brazilian GP: Bottas pips Hamilton in a tight FP3 session

The Mercedes driver clocked a 1m09.281s to finish just 0.003s clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton at Interlagos.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was 0.045s off the pace in third, with team-mate Sebastian Vettel only a further 0.013s adrift in fourth.

Cool and overcast conditions greeted the teams on Saturday, with Ferrari focusing on the super-soft tyres and Mercedes the softs early on.

Raikkonen led the way initially, 0.040s ahead of Vettel, with Hamilton able to get within a couple of tenths.

When attention turned to qualifying-simulations, it was Raikkonen who went quickest, but he was soon deposed by Bottas, who inched ahead.

Back came Raikkonen with another improvement, only for Vettel to move ahead by just 0.060s.

Raikkonen shaved another few hundredths to reclaim top spot, only for Bottas to pip him in the closing stages.

Just 0.058s separated the top four drivers, with the fastest sectors split between Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was the closest challenger, leaving it until the final few minutes to pump in the fifth fastest time, 0.963s off the pace.

Fernando Alonso was an impressive sixth for McLaren, with Force India's Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon separated by a 0.035s in sixth and seventh.

Max Verstappen survived a late spin late on, having taken too much of the exit kerb at the final corner, to finish ninth. Carlos Sainz Jr completed the top 10.

Felipe Massa, racing on home soil in F1 for the final time, was 11th quickest, but his last quick lap was scuppered because of Verstappen's spin.

His Williams team-mate Lance Stroll failed to complete a timed lap after stopping out on track early in the session, reporting a loss of power.

Stroll needs a new gearbox, which will mean a five-place grid penalty, and an engine change but he will avoid a penalty for the latter by re-using an old engine.

FP3 times

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 1m09.281s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 0.003s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 0.045s
4 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 0.058s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Red Bull/Renault 0.963s
6 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda McLaren/Honda 1.007s
7 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India/Mercedes 1.041s
8 Esteban Ocon Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India/Mercedes 1.076s
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Red Bull/Renault 1.214s
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault Sport F1 Team Renault 1.318s
11 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda McLaren/Honda 1.356s
12 Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Williams/Mercedes 1.390s
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Haas/Ferrari 1.440s
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport F1 Team Renault 1.462s
15 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Haas/Ferrari 1.481s
16 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso/Renault 1.700s
17 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso/Renault 1.804s
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber F1 Team Sauber/Ferrari 1.845s
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Sauber/Ferrari 2.199s
20 Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing Williams/Mercedes -


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