Russian Grand Prix FP3: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2

Lewis Hamilton exerted his dominance over the field with the fastest time for the final Formula 1 practice session for this weekend's Russian Grand Prix

Russian Grand Prix FP3: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2

Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished 1-2, while Ferrari was struggling for outright pace with Sebastian Vettel third ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen - both six tenths down on Hamilton's pace.

Despite the Ferraris setting the pace early on, Mercedes soon eclipsed them when both Bottas and Hamilton took to the track 20 minutes into the hour-long session.

Conditions on the Black Sea resort were sunnier than yesterday, with a maximum air temperature of 24 degrees C. Like Friday's two practice sessions, this morning's hour long period was free of incident.

Vettel's session finished at the end of the pitlane as he was too late to make a second attempt to try a practice start and stopped his Ferrari just short of the red light.

Radio traffic between Vettel and Ferrari suggested both driver and team knew it was going to be tight to get back out, although as he was driving down the pitlane with five seconds remaining on the clock he thought they had enough time to rejoin the track.

After stopping at the line Vettel climbed out of his car and started to push it back to the garage.

When he exited the pits a few minutes earlier it was a close call as he came into the path of Daniel Ricciardo who was driving to the right of the track to stay off the racing line.

Max Verstappen was fifth quickest in his Red Bull, despite having to abort his first flying lap when he ran wide on three occasions on the lap. He finished nearly half a second ahead of his team-mate Ricciardo.

Finishing the session in an impressive seventh place - and best of the rest - was the Sauber of Charles Leclerc, one place ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon.

Kevin Magnussen's Haas and the second Force India of Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten, the latter 1.8s off the outright pace of Hamilton across the 5.8km Sochi lap.

The two Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg were 12 and 14th with Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) and Romain Grosjean (Haas) splitting them - the latter had a minor spin at the final corner at the end of the session.

FP3 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.067s - 13
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m33.321s 0.254s 16
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.667s 0.600s 14
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.688s 0.621s 11
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m33.937s 0.870s 11
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m34.394s 1.327s 14
7 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.628s 1.561s 15
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m34.809s 1.742s 16
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m34.820s 1.753s 15
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m34.916s 1.849s 14
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m34.988s 1.921s 13
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m35.125s 2.058s 21
13 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m35.185s 2.118s 18
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m35.213s 2.146s 12
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.370s 2.303s 16
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m36.033s 2.966s 22
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m36.071s 3.004s 16
18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m36.274s 3.207s 20
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m36.597s 3.530s 14
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m36.992s 3.925s 21

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author James Roberts
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