Hamilton fastest in FP3 as Ferrari edges closer

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Lewis Hamilton proved fastest in the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. As Rosberg made a mistake on his qualifying simulation to become third fastest, it is evident that Ferrari is likely to put up a close fight for pole and the race win on Sunday.

Running in final practice was dominated by the medium tyre as teams focused on saving the softer and much faster tyres for qualifying and the race. It was only at 15 minutes from the end that Hulkenberg started an attempt on the soft tyres, the first driver to do so in FP3. Until that time, the times were dominated by Ferrari, with Raikkonen once again getting more performance out of his scarlet car than team mate Vettel. Bottas was third fastest on the mediums, ahead of Rosberg, Maldonado and Nasr.

On the soft tyre, Hamilton set a single lap, good enough to stick to the top of the timesheet. Vettel was a close second while Nico Rosberg had a bad first sector on his timed lap and ended up 3 tenths off of his team mate.

There was a brief stoppage of the session approximately halfway when Daniil Kvyat lost control of his car halfway through the final corner. It seemed like he was on the throttle just a bit too early, causing the rear to spin. Strangely however, the Russian somehow failed to brake before he rolled rearwards into the gravel trap, and when he eventually did brake, he found himself stuck, triggering a red flag to recover the stricken car. Red Bull Racing however still managed to get Kvyat out again in the dying minutes, allowing him a single flying lap on the soft tyres.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamBest TimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:34.599-13
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1:34.6680.06914
36Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:34.9680.36916
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:35.1410.54213
577Valtteri BottasWilliams1:35.3930.79418
619Felipe MassaWilliams1:35.4710.87215
713Pastor MaldonadoLotus F11:36.3071.70814
83Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:36.3351.7368
927Nico HulkenbergForce India1:36.4211.82213
1012Felipe NasrSauber1:36.4291.83018
1122Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:36.4881.88914
1226Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:36.5481.9497
139Marcus EricssonSauber1:36.6122.01317
1433Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:36.6842.08511
1511Sergio PerezForce India1:36.7272.12814
1614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:36.8992.30011
1755Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:36.9792.38014
188Romain GrosjeanLotus F11:37.1512.55217
1928Will StevensMarussia1:39.7455.14612
2098Roberto MerhiMarussia1:40.5415.94214