Spanish GP Practice Three: Lewis Hamilton top, Valtteri Bottas spins
Hamilton 0.5s clear of Ferraris after 'fantastic lap'; Bottas beaches Mercedes in gravel and finishes third; Haas ahead of Red Bull; Watch Spanish GP qualifying at 2pm on Sky F1, build-up from 1pm
By Matt Morlidge in Barcelona
Last Updated: 11/05/19 2:51pm
Lewis Hamilton continued Mercedes' Spanish GP charge in final practice as he finished half a second ahead of the Ferraris, though team-mate Valtteri Bottas spun into the gravel.
Mercedes have held an advantage over Ferrari all weekend in Barcelona but while Bottas topped both Friday sessions, Hamilton found his form in Practice Three as he set the pace with an impressive 1:16.568, which is just three tenths slower than the track record.
Charles Leclerc was the fastest Ferrari in second place but 0.531s behind Hamilton, with Vettel a further tenth back in fourth.
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"That lap, half a second quicker, that's Lewis to a tee," said Sky F1's Jenson Button. "He could have a difficult P1, P2 but then he just brings it out when it matters. He's ready for qualifying now, he has that confidence.
"A fantastic lap."
But while Mercedes appear the favourites for qualifying, which starts at 2pm on Sky Sports F1, it wasn't all plain sailing for the world champions as Bottas beached his W10 in the Turn Five gravel.
On his first out-lap of the session on medium tyres, Bottas lacked grip and lost control of his car, causing a red flag after reporting that he was "stuck". Fortunately for the championship leader his Mercedes avoided damage, and he returned to the track with 15 minutes remaining in the session.
But while Bottas split the Ferraris in third, he will hope to be a lot closer to Hamilton in qualifying after finishing 0.555s behind his team-mate.
Haas ahead of Red Bull, Russell crashes
The big surprise from the session was arguably Haas' performance. The US team, who lie eighth in the constructors' standings, finished fifth and sixth in final practice with Romain Grosjean, their lead car, just a few hundredths slower than Vettel in the Ferrari.
Both Grosjean and team-mate Kevin Magnussen were ahead of Max Verstappen, and Red Bull have plenty of work to do before qualifying. Pierre Gasly was only 14th after a compromised lap.
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Alex Albon, Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz completed the top-10 for Toro Rosso, Alfa Romeo and McLaren respectively - hinting at an incredibly close midfield battle - while Renault could only manage 12th and 17th with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.
Lando Norris needs a big improvement after finishing 18th in the other McLaren, only ahead of Williams, whose young driver George Russell prompted an early end to the session after smashing his car into the barriers with minutes remaining.
That crash and damage has handed another problem to a team under pressure.
Spanish GP Practice Three Timesheet
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:!6.568|
|2) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.531|
|3) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.555|
|4) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+0.604|
|5) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+0.624|
|6) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+0.962|
|7) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.990|
|8) Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso||+1.296|
|9) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+1.401|
|10) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+1.435|
|11) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+1.537|
|12) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+1.782|
|13) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+2.088|
|14) Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||+2.125|
|15) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+2.166|
|16) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+2.172|
|17) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+2.406|
|18) Lando Norris||McLaren||+2.439|
|19) George Russell||Williams||+2.853|
|20) Robert Kubica||Williams||+4.002|
Watch the Spanish GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Sunday's race starts at 2.10pm. Sky Sports is the home of live and exclusive F1. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live