Hamilton narrowly pips Rosberg in final Russian GP F1 practice

Lewis Hamilton grabbed top spot with his final fast lap of the third Formula 1 free practice session for the Russian Grand Prix

Hamilton narrowly pips Rosberg in final Russian GP F1 practice

The reigning world champion had seemed to lack the pace to depose Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who spent much of the pair's battle at the top of the timesheets as the low wear and degradation at Sochi allowed drivers to reel off multiple fast laps on each set of rubber.

But while Rosberg opted to pit after completing 22 laps, Hamilton continued for one final attempt on the super-soft rubber that all drivers used to set their fastest times

As was the case throughout much of the session, Hamilton was fastest in sector one, but this time he also set the fastest middle sector and, despite not being able to match Rosberg's final sector pace, did enough to go fastest by 0.068 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel, who was slowest heading into the last runs after completing heavy fuel work for much of the session as he prepares for his grid penalty, jumped into contention for top spot in the final 10 minutes.

His mighty pace in the second sector briefly suggested he could challenge the Mercedes, but ultimately he was six-tenths down in third.

Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, seven-tenths slower than Vettel, but he could have been faster but for an error at the final corner on what might have been a stronger lap.

Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who both briefly held best of the rest status behind the two Mercedes driver after setting times on their final set of tyres before the Ferrari drivers, ended up fifth and sixth.

Max Verstappen was seventh for Toro Rosso, with Jenson Button a solid eighth after being able to extract better performance out of the super-soft tyres than was the case on Friday.

Carlos Sainz Jr and Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10, the latter having briefly triggered a virtual safety car after going up the escape road at the Turn 13 right-hander at the end of the back straight and then needing assistance from the marshals to complete his U-turn to rejoin.

Daniel Ricciardo, who held top spot in the early going, ended up 11th but completed a large number of laps, second only to Vettel, in preparation for the race.

PRACTICE THREE TIMES

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.403s - 17
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.471s 0.068s 22
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m37.007s 0.604s 28
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m37.727s 1.324s 14
5 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m37.918s 1.515s 16
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m37.985s 1.582s 16
7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m38.133s 1.730s 22
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m38.260s 1.857s 14
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m38.465s 2.062s 25
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m38.542s 2.139s 18
11 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m38.622s 2.219s 23
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m38.633s 2.230s 12
13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m39.047s 2.644s 15
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m39.162s 2.759s 16
15 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m39.230s 2.827s 18
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m39.238s 2.835s 16
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m39.239s 2.836s 15
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m39.589s 3.186s 19
19 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m39.599s 3.196s 19
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m39.663s 3.260s 18
21 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.740s 3.337s 23
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.898s 3.495s 19


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