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Hamilton fastest in Russian 3rd practice

2014-10-11 12:26

FASTEST AGAIN: Mercedes' championship leader Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap during the third and final practice session on Saturday for the 2014 Russian GP. Image: AFP / Alexander Nemenov

SOCHI, Russia - Formula 1 leader Lewis Hamilton was fastest in Saturday's final practice for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix as Mercedes continued to dominate a weekend likely to seal the Constructors' championship.

Hamilton, who has a 10-point advantage over German team mate Nico Rosberg after winning the last three races, produced the fastest lap yet of the new Sochi circuit with a best time of 1min38.726.

The 2008 champion spun late in the session at the penultimate corner, but escaped without damage.


Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said: "It was a tremendous lap, he (Hamilton) seems to extract the maximum out of the car at the moment. Somehow, Lewis seems to nail it on the first lap, Nico (Rosberg) seems to struggle a bit more, but this is just practice."

Rosberg was second fastest, 0.290 slower, on a warm and bright morning at the 5.8km track that snakes around the Black Sea resort's imposing Olympic Park venues used for the 2014 Winter Games.

Hamilton, chasing his ninth win of the season on Sunday, was also fastest on Friday (Oct 10), although Rosberg was quicker in the morning.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas was third for Williams in a session that was briefly halted after the McLaren of Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen stopped on track with a gearbox problem that will bring a five-place grid penalty.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, the only driver other than the Mercedes duo to win this season, was fourth fastest. Pastor Maldonado failed to set a lap time with mechanics working on his Lotus.

Sunday's race comes after a dark weekend in Japan, with Marussia's Jules Bianchi critically injured in hospital after the Frenchman crashed into a recovery tractor. Britain's Max Chilton is the team's sole driver in Sochi.

3rd and final free practice session at Sochi International Street Circuit

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min38.726
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min39.016
3. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1min39.097
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1min39.755
5. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1min39.954
6. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min40.009
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min40.011
8. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min40.151
9. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:40.205
10. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 1min40.338
11. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min40.355
12. Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1min40.669
13. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1min40.699
14. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1min41.146
15. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1min41.520
16. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 1min41.915
17. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1min42.436
18. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham - Renault 1min3.109
19. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault 1min43.975
20. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Ferrari 1min44.737
21. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault

Second free practice session
First free practice session

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