STRONG PERFORMANCE IN SOCHI SO FAR: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver in the final two practice sessions for the Russian Grand Prix. Image: AFP / Alexander Nemenov
Sochi, Russia - Lewis Hamilton edged his Mercedes teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg in the third practice for the Russian Grand Prix, taking first place by .068 seconds on Saturday.
Hamilton's time was the fastest in practice yet, beating his own time from Friday's (Aprl 29) second practice session.
Ferrari in the hunt
The two Ferraris were third and fourth, with Sebastian Vettel .603 seconds off Hamilton's time, and Kimi Raikkonen .720 further back.
Vettel, who faces a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, spent most of the session on a long race simulation run, clocking up 28 laps, more than any other driver.
Read: As it happened: 2016 Russian GP - 3rd practice
The four-time world champion had stopped out on track during second practice on Friday when his car failed due to an electrical problem.
Vettel has admitted he and Ferrari are under pressure to improve results after seeing Hamilton's team mate Nico Rosberg reel off three season-opening wins to lead the title race by 36 points.
There were fewer incidents than in Friday's practice, when the slippery Sochi asphalt caused several spins.
*Join us at 13:30pm (CAT) today (Saturday) for LIVE UPDATES of the qualifying session for the Russian GP.
2016 Russian GP 3rd Practice times:
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:36.403,
2. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:36.471,
3. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari 1:37.007,
4. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1:37.727,
5. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams 1:37.918,
6. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:37.985,
7. Max Verstappen (NED) Toro Rosso 1:38.133,
8. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren-Honda 1:38.260,
9. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Toro Rosso 1:38.465,
10. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1:38.542,
11. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1:38.622,
12. Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren-Honda 1:38.633,
13. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Red Bull 1:39.047,
14. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:39.162,
15. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas 1:39.230,
16. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault 1:39.238,
17. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas 1:39.239,
18. Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault 1:39.589,
19. Rio Haryanto (INA) Manor 1:39.599,
20. Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor 1:39.663,
21. Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber 1:39.740,
22. Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber 1:39.898