Russian GP, Practice Three: Lewis Hamilton stays ahead of Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton leads another Mercedes one-two and finishes 0.600s ahead of title rival Vettel in final practice; Qualifying starts at 1pm
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 04/12/18 5:40pm
Lewis Hamilton maintained his advantage over Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari at the Russian GP by setting the pace in the final practice session.
An in-form Hamilton topped another Mercedes one-two with a new Sochi track record, a 1:33.067, outpacing Valtteri Bottas by two tenths of a second on the hypersoft tyres.
Vettel struggled again with his qualifying simulations, finishing third and 0.600s behind his championship rival as he lacked grip.
Ferrari were on the back foot to an upgraded Mercedes, changing their suspension midway through the session and frustrating Vettel by mistiming his final lap to deny him a practice start - meaning the driver then had to push his car back down the pit-lane.
Hamilton appears to be in control, though Vettel's fastest lap did come on worn tyres, hinting that Ferrari have found slightly more pace on Saturday.
"I still think we've got a very intriguing qualifying to come," said commentator David Croft ahead of the shootout.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth and only two hundredths of a second off Ferrari team-mate Vettel, while Red Bull could not replicate their Friday form/
Max Verstappen was eight tenths down in fifth, with Daniel Ricciardo more than a second adrift. Both drivers are facing grid penalties in Russia and concentrated on race pace.
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The battle for Q3 seems fierce with Charles Leclerc an impressive seventh for Sauber and both Force India's once again in the top-10.
There was only half a second splitting Leclerc from seventh to Sergey Sirotkin of Williams in 17th.
Williams and Mclaren locked out the back four positions again, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso 19th and 20th for the Woking team.
Russian GP Practice Three Timesheet
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:33.067|
|2) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.254|
|3) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+0.600|
|4) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+0.621|
|5) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.870|
|6) Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+1.327|
|7) Charles Leclerc||Sauber||+1.561|
|8) Esteban Ocon||Force India||+1.742|
|9) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+1.753|
|10) Sergio Perez||Force India||+1.849|
|11) Carlos Sainz||Renault||+1.921|
|12) Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+2.058|
|13) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+2.118|
|14) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+2.146|
|15) Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+2.303|
|16) Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+2.966|
|17) Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||+3.004|
|18) Lance Stroll||Williams||+3.207|
|19) Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||+3.530|
|20) Fernando Alonso||McLaren||+3.925|
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